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The 12 Best Online Illustration Courses (2023 Reviews & Rankings)

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By Fatima Mansoor

best online illustration courses

With the best online illustration courses, you can learn the fundamentals and advanced techniques of illustration to bring your creative ideas to life.

The world of illustration is always evolving, and the industry encompasses a number of different disciplines, from hand-drawn and digital illustration to animation, motion graphics, and more.

Whether you’re just getting started or looking to perfect your skillset, online courses provide comprehensive coverage of key topics like color theory, perspective drawing, composition, and more.

You’ll get to know the tools of the trade, understand the steps to designing beautiful illustrations from scratch, and learn how to make impactful decisions that set your work apart.

We’ve reviewed and ranked all of the best illustration courses online based on a number of critical factors, including instructor credentials and experience, student reviews, course curriculum quality, cost, and more.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost for you, we might get a commission if you click the link and purchase.


How We Chose the Best Illustration Classes Online

There are literally hundreds of online courses in illustration, and as you can probably guess, not all of them are created equal.

To make sure we chose only the best, we took a number of things into consideration.

First, we looked at the qualifications and experience of each instructor teaching these courses. We considered their credentials, awards or distinctions they had earned, and the length of their career in illustration and teaching.

We also paid close attention to how up to date the information in the curriculum was, and made sure that the instructor had a good grasp of the contemporary trends and technology used in illustration today.

Additionally, we examined student feedback from online reviews to get a better idea of how helpful and effective each course was. While we had our own thoughts on these courses as we reviewed them, we thought it was equally important to take student opinions into account to see what others had to say.

Finally, we looked at the overall cost and time commitment required of the courses to determine value for money and ensure that each course was affordable and accessible for all types of learners.

What are the Best Online Illustration Courses?

Here are our picks for the top illustration courses you can take online in 2023…


1. Find Your Style: Five Exercises to Unlock Your Creative Identity (Skillshare)

Find Your Style: Five Exercises to Unlock Your Creative Identity (Skillshare) Find Your Style: Five Exercises to Unlock Your Creative Identity (Skillshare)

Trying to find your style? This course will set you on the path to uncovering your artistic identity so you can express yourself in the most effective way possible.

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Skillshare offers a 1-Month Free Trial. After that, the price is around $165 per year. See our Skillshare review for more info.

Are you in a creative dilemma? Can’t find your style?

Fret no more because Andy J. Pizza, pioneer of illustration, has devised a guide to help you identify your artistic influences, experiment with innovative strategies, and create impactful artwork that reflects your individuality.

The course comprises five detailed lessons, each structured to help you explore different aspects of your artwork. Andy discusses the elements of your style and then moves on to two activities.

Firstly, you will create a digital collage comprising wireframes and aesthetic ideas. Then you will move on to style tiles, designs, and color pallets used by interior designers. Finally, you can apply these techniques to your projects.

Many illustrators fail to market themselves on various social media platforms. Andy will also teach you how to choose the medium to showcase your work and reach the target audience.


2. Character Illustration: Drawing Faces, Figures & Clothing  (Skillshare)

Character Illustration: Drawing Faces, Figures & Clothing (Skillshare) Character Illustration: Drawing Faces, Figures & Clothing (Skillshare)

From sketching poses to mastering the intricacies of facial expressions, you'll learn all the different aspects of character design in this fantastic online class.

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Skillshare offers a 1-Month Free Trial. After that, the price is around $165 per year. Our Skillshare pricing guide has more details.

If you’re fascinated by the creative world of character illustration, this course will be your best companion!

The course’s instructor and leading comic artist, Gabriel Picolo, will teach you to create dynamic characters for comic books, video games, and animation. Participants will learn various illustration concepts such as anatomy, body language, facial features, poses and gestures, proportions, and costume designs. All these elements are crucial to giving your character a personality.

Gabriel’s objective is to enable students to develop their personalized character illustration style so they can apply their skills to different illustration projects. He also reviews your work to identify loopholes and improve your skill set.

Once you complete all the activities, you will have a portfolio of illustrations to help you secure lucrative work opportunities and pursue your dreams of becoming a professional character illustrator.


3. Mastering Illustration: Sketching, Inking & Color Essentials (Skillshare)

Mastering Illustration: Sketching, Inking & Color Essentials (Skillshare) Mastering Illustration: Sketching, Inking & Color Essentials (Skillshare)

Learn the basics of sketching, inking, and color along with more adventurous techniques like texture and lighting effects, all while exploring your style and developing your artistic voice.

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Skillshare offers a 1-Month Free Trial. After that, the price is around $165 per year.

Are you passionate about illustration and want to upskill yourself? Grab your hands on this superb course taught by a professional illustrator and animator Josiah Brooks.

You will start with design essentials such as sketching, inking, and coloring. Next, you will try out the different sketch types and the innovative techniques used to carve compelling sketches.

Another factor that budding illustrators overlook is the inking technique concept. Josiah has prepared a lesson to teach you how to add depth and intricate details to your work using inking techniques. You will also learn color theory and excel in digital coloring using photoshop.

The course is self-paced with tons of downloadable resources, so you can always refer back to the study materials. It is especially useful when you are communicating with a potential client and want to tailor a personalized work plan according to their design needs.

In a nutshell, whether you’re an intermediate-level artist, a graphic designer looking to freelance, or an animator, this course will brush up your basic concepts and leverage your illustration skills. You’ll be competent enough to create high-quality illustrations that meet industry standards.


4. Advanced Illustration Course (CG Spectrum)



Want to transform your talent into a career? CG Sepctrum’s Illustration Course offers you a complete roadmap to a full-fledged career in illustration. This platform will equip you with the right knowledge to become a professional illustrator.

Buckle up because this course includes all the latest digital illustration techniques used and vetted by industry professionals. You will learn all the fundamentals of character and environment design,coloring, and inking.

To give you maximum value for money, CG Spectrum allows you to schedule a one-to-one mentorship session with renowned illustrators who will give you a complete roadmap according to your current skill set.

You can connect with individuals from industry leaders like Walt Disney Animation Studios, Epic Games, and Weta Digital. You can collaborate on projects, pitch new ideas, and make connections that will accelerate your growth. Moreover, CG Spectrum also allows you to avail of its job placement assistance service.

Overall, CG Spectrum is more than just an online course! It’s a community of unparalleled learning and networking opportunities.


5. Easy Drawing, Painting & Illustration For Absolute Beginners (Udemy)


Regularly $84.99, often goes on sale

This course on Udemy is an ideal opportunity if you have a creative mindset but lack direction. Taught by a seasoned artist, Chantelle Taylor, this course is suitable for beginners just stepping into digital art.

The course spans over eight lectures. Chantelle starts with a comprehensive discussion of sketching, drawing, shading, painting, and coloring. Next, you will learn how to create the perfect color pallets according to a particular scenario.

You can download all study materials such as images, templates, assignments, color pallets, etc.

As you watch the lessons, you can create your artwork and present it to Chantelle, who will give you personalized feedback on your work. It is especially important for newbies who are looking to build their portfolios and refine their skills as digital artists.

Once you’re familiar with the basics, this course also includes lessons on creating innovative digital illustrations using industry-standard tools and software. At the end of the course, Chantelle also discusses tips on how you find leads and monetize your artwork.


6. The Complete Drawing & Painting Illustration Course (Udemy)


Regularly $109.99, often goes on sale

This is another outstanding course on Udemy aiming to teach you how to create stunning, out-of-the-box artwork. However, this course targets intermediate-level and professional illustrators looking to revise their basics and learn updated design techniques.

Jaysen Batchelor and Quinton Batchelor have jointly created this course. First, you will revise the fundamentals of drawing, sketching, and creating attractive compositions.

From using graphite pencils to painting illustrations using watercolors, Jaysen and Quinon will enlighten you with the right knowledge to capitalize on your current skill set. You will also explore the various brush techniques, choosing the right brushes, watercolor paper, and graphite pencils to amp up your artwork.

To further help you speed up your learning curve, Jaysen and Quinton have designed a separate lesson on various top-notch illustration styles. The lesson will cover all details about cartooning and preparing realistic portraits. Students will also learn anatomy, landscape painting, and still life.

By the end of the course, you will be acquainted with creating digital art with pencils, watercolors, and various other illustration software.


7. Illustration Techniques to Unlock Your Creativity (Domestika)


Regularly $59.99, often goes on sale

Domestika is another renowned platform offering an extensive course on illustration techniques. Led by a highly-esteemed illustrator with over 15 years of experience, Adolfo Serra, the lessons introduce you to advanced illustration concepts.

To start, you will learn about the history of illustration, types of illustration, and how contemporary design techniques are used.

From color schemes and mixing techniques to freestyle painting, Aolfo will demonstrate how to design captivating, in-depth illustrations. Other design elements such as contrast, balance, and rhythm will also be taught to create clear, impactful drawings.

Next, Adolfo will shed light on the latest drawing and sketching tools, including simple line work and advanced shading techniques. Concepts such as using light and shadow will also be demonstrated in live drawing sessions to help students learn how to bring form and structure to illustrations.

The course further delves into character development. You will learn about the essential design components of a character’s personality.


8. Illustrating Characters and the Stories They Tell (CreativeLive)


Plans starting around $13 per month

CreativeLive is another dynamic course that takes you on a creative journey of character illustration. Mary Jane Begin, a popular children’s books author, is the instructor and teaches storytelling through character development.

Mary emphasizes creating distinctive characters that children can relate to and translating them into compelling stories. You will get hands-on, practical experience and experiment with various styles, mediums, and techniques to hone your skills in character design.

After learning the basics, you’ll realize how character development is, in fact, the backbone of any thrilling, exciting children’s stories. Hence, the next few lessons will focus on initial sketches, illustration drafts, using gestures and colors, and using narrative arcs to infuse your character design with personality and emotion.

Overall, this course will benefit all aspiring illustrators aiming to become professional animators or storytellers.


9. Become a Digital Illustrator (LinkedIn Learning)


1-month free trial, then LinkedIn Learning pricing goes to $39.99/month to access or $19.99/month if you pay for a year upfront

Hit the jackpot by enrolling in this outstanding course on LinkedIn and get a chance to learn from leading illustration experts.

The course begins with Adobe Illustrator where you will learn to draw with a tablet, apply color theory and composition to different scenarios, create complex shapes and objects, use layers and masks, etc.

Next, you will learn Procreate, a famous iPad application, and Adobe Fresco, a vector graphics app used with a stylus and touch devices. The lessons are structured, so it’s easy for amateurs and professionals to navigate and learn how to create visually appealing and professional masterpieces.

Let’s suppose you’re determined to have a professional career in digital art. In that case, this course will equip you with immaculate knowledge of the latest software and tools to compete in the digital art industry.


10. How to Design Children’s Illustrations (Vectornator)



Vectornator Academy is an excellent resource for illustrators looking to expand their skill set and learn surface pattern design from Ewa Brzozowska. The first few lessons cover the interface of the Vectornator app and how to use it efficiently to create illustrations.

The course then moves on to character and scene design elements. Scene design involves creating immersive environments compatible with the story plot and complementing the characters’ personalities. Next, you will explore different color palettes to create moods, contrast, and atmosphere in your illustrations.

Finally, Ewa concludes the course with texture design, in which students will learn to add texture using the Vectornator app and create an engaging experience for children.


11. Pen and Ink Illustration: The Basics for Creating Magical Drawings (Skillshare)


Skillshare offers a 1-Month Free Trial. After that, the price is around $165 per year.

If you can work well with brushes and pens, this course by Yasmina Creates will help you polish your skills and help create various pen and ink illustrations.

Yasmina will explain using pen and ink to create illustrations such as botanicals, landscapes, flowers, and animals. The course comprises 9 lessons that teach you about creating line weights, adding shadows, using highlighters, cross-hatching, etc. You will learn to use watercolors and colored pencils and try out different brush sizes.

Once you’ve grasped the concepts well, you can start searching for clients and implement your skills in a wide range of projects. You can also interact with Yasmin to clear your queries and with other students in the community.

Above all, this course provides an interactive learning opportunity to build a solid foundation for creating unique pen and ink illustrations.


12. Digital Illustration: Doodles to Designs (Skillshare)


Skillshare offers a 1-Month Free Trial. After that, the price is around $165 per year.

Led by John Burgerman, this course covers a range of topics, from creating custom brushes to designing doodles to designing characters, icons, and abstract patterns. The crux of this course is to teach illustrators how to prepare their work for an art print or screen print.

Adobe Illustrator is the primary tool used throughout the course.

You will explore the functionality of Adobe Illustrator and try out different doodle illustrations. John says that creativity and individual expression are key to impactful doodle illustrations. You will be free to create your doodles for posters, children’s picture books, murals, T-shirts, etc.


A Final Word on the Best Online Illustration Courses

Whether you’re interested in traditional techniques or cutting-edge digital tools, there’s a course to help you refine your creative potential.

Before enrolling in any illustration course, make sure to go through the course format, student reviews, and instructor’s profile so you’ll know what to expect.

No matter your proficiency level, taking an online illustration class will help you build your portfolio and connect with like-minded artists for more opportunities.

Have any questions about our guide the best online illustration courses? Let us know by commenting below.

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