Free online resources for the self-taught artist

I have come to conclusion to share my research with all of you. As a person who wants to learn how to draw and do all sorts of artsy stuff, starting can be rather difficult whether it’s motivation or looking for resources. For the past few weeks, I’ve been looking at various internet sources and found some good ones you may or may not know. I made sure that these resources would be free and legit since let’s face it, education is expensive. I also did included a couple of blind recommendations since I haven’t tried a resource completely but does offer some potential.

These are arranged based by one’s needs since there are different arts you might want to focus on. If you’re really starting out, I suggest for you to do things one at a time and focus on a specific learning path or goal like learning the fundamentals, figure drawing etc.

If you have any more to add or suggest hit the comments so I can check it out and add it to the list.

Traditional Drawing:

  1. Drawabox

Drawabox is free online resource that requires a lot of reading and discipline. This is a text-based approach to teaching but he does have a few videos put up, but the bulk of his teaching is on the site itself. The creator of Drawabox studied at the Concept Design Academy in Pasadena, California, and hopefully this assures you of his expertise. His resources are structured so all you have to do is to read it, to follow it, and to practice it. And you’ll be drawing a heck load of boxes.

  1. Proko

Proko, created by Stan Prokopenko, is a Youtube channel dedicated to teaching you how to draw. The reason I placed it here among all the other Youtube channels I checked is that it’s structured. I’m currently learning Figure Drawing and he’s currently my go to online resource. His videos are actually freemium so you have to pay for more detail BUT don’t let that stop you because his videos still do sure pack in a lot of knowledge and doesn’t sacrifice its content.

Digital Painting:

  1. Ctrl-Paint

Ctrl-Paint is free online resource that teaches you the basics of digital painting.  This free and extensive video library was created by Matt Kohr who attended Savannah College of Art and Design. His videos are short and substantial which helps for those who can only attend to lessons for only so much time in a day. He adds new videos in his video library every Thursday so don’t worry if the lessons aren’t keeping up with the times. I appreciate that he also organized the video library, so it can be easily navigated. A sure learning resource for beginners who wants to learn how to digital paint.

Game Design:

  1. Coursera

Coursera is an online school that holds free and credit-eligible online courses but what piqued my interest was the fact that the famous California Institute of the Arts or CalArts had a course about video games. You can audit the course for free meaning you get to view the lectures and learning materials. You can opt for enrollment to get credit much like the other courses available on the site. This course is taught by Fran Krause who happens to be the illustrator of Deep Dark Fears.


I have to admit that I haven’t exactly checked on different resources regarding animation but I have found these channels that might be helpful, so these are my blind recommendations:

  1. The Art of Aaron Blaise

This is a Youtube channel run by Aaron Blaise, an animator, director, an artist for more than 30 years. He has this series called Aaron’s Art Tips in his Youtube channel. I included this because of his experience and background in animation. I also found it neat that an animation director would set-up his own Youtube channel to impart knowledge on the given topic. Give it a look!

  1. Howard Wimshurst

This is another Youtube channel that I found intriguing. He puts up videos on how to animate different sorts of scenes and all sorts of animation-related tutorials. He’s a freelancer animator and illustrator. Watching his showreel and all his other works can be quite mesmerizing. Give it a look!

Other learning resources:

  1. Kadenze

This is similar to different online schools like Coursera but dedicated to music and the arts. They have quite a collection and you can audit courses for free. They have courses like Graphic Illustration, Comics etc.

  1. New Masters Academy

New Masters Academy is actually a paid online learning resource BUT I’d like to direct your attention to their Youtube channel that has a series of FREE timed figure model references. They have the Nude and Non-Nude series so you can pick whichever you’re comfortable with. Don’t expect that the models are heavily clothed in the non-nude series if you’re looking for poses with some sort of dress or armor on them.


I hope that this article helped you get in the right direction and hopefully found what you’re looking for. Don’t forget to comment if you have other free online resource suggestions to add to the list!


Book Review: Deep Dark Fears by Fran Krause

Fran Krause is an animator, illustrator, and cartoonist that has brought his and our irrational fears into life through colored lines. What began as a web comic found in is now turned into an amusing and terrifying book.

deep dark fears.jpg

I got this book as a present for my sister for Christmas. On a daily basis, she would go on to Tumblr and submit her own irrational fears, in hope that hers get illustrated someday. It wasn’t long until I asked my dad to buy this book for her from me as a present. And what a lovely Christmas it was! I got her a book that says DEEP DARK FEARS and she was overjoyed.


In this book, Deep Dark Fears, Krause certainly captures the true essence of fear. He illustrates it vividly, making sure you didn’t miss that panel that involves blood in a comedic way. Aside from the content of this book, the art is really well done. The water color style is easy on the eyes, and every irrational fear got the comic it deserved, all thanks to this fellow right here that did a great job.


The book is a collection of 101 comics, which isn’t bad but as easy it is to read, it is also way too quick to finish. Nevertheless, the collection of the comics was so good that I didn’t mind reading it over and over again.


Although this book gave me some troubling nights, I would definitely recommend you to grab a copy of Deep Dark Fears! It is funny, amusing, gruesome, wonderfully illustrated, and will give you nightmares and anxiety for the next following days. Enjoy your read!

Details of the Book: 144 pages | 6.8 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches | Hard cover | English

Get it from Book Depository!

Art Book Review: The Little Prince by Ramin Zahed

little prince cover.jpg

On December 2015, the beloved children’s classic story of the Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was translated to the big screen as a full length animated feature. If you have seen the movie, you would know that the movie is in CGI and beautiful stop motion. This art book definitely extends the story behind the scenes. This book is written by Ramin Zahed, Foreward by Jeff Bridges (The voice actor of the Aviator), and Introduction by Mark Osborne (The director of the movie).

Unlike other art books out there, it doesn’t have a dust cover but a solid hard cover with some nice texture. I’m aware that there is another version of the book where the cover shows the Little Prince and the Fox in their stop-motion form. This version, as you can see, is a concept art of the Aviator meeting the Little Prince for the first time at the Sahara Desert.

This book is divided to  different parts: Foreword, Introduction, Beginning the Journey: The Terrifying Challenge of Adapting a Classic, Exploring the Neighborhood, The Art of Peter De Sève, The Art of Lou Romano, The Art of Céline Desrumaux, Storyboard and Color Script Development, Exploring the World of Saint-Exupéry, The Art of Alexander Juhasz, Scene Spotlight: The Aviator’s Plane Crashes in The Desert, Exploring the Universe, Tackling the Complexities of Scale and Texture, The Play of Light and Shadows, The Challenge of Creating CG Cloth and Hair, The Cutting Room Floor, Scene Spotlight: Releasing the Stars and Afterword. (Whoo that’s a lot!)

Here are some previews of the book:





What I like about this book that it explains the iconic characters and locations in the book and what was present in the movie. Some may be disappointed with the fact that there were several characters that wasn’t given a scene in stop-motion form but was not entirely cut out in the movie such as the Lamplighter. They explain in the book why they wasn’t able to allot a scene for them.

Nonetheless, they present their content well. There is at least a spread for each character and location in the movie, that is both full in text and in art. Not only do you see the pre-production art, you get to know the story behind it! They include as well stills of the crew working on the stop-motion scenes in the movie, and no joke that stop-motion is hard and deserves to be recognized.

Overall, the book is as beautiful as it is insightful. This book boasts beautiful artwork, from concept art to storyboards to color scripts to the stop-motion models used in the movie. You really come to appreciate the hard work put into the movie after reading this.So if you’re a fan of the movie or the book or just love looking at art, don’t hesitate to grab a copy for yourself. (I’m so glad that I got this 20% off at Fullybooked BGC branch!)

Details: 160 pages | 11.3 x 0.7 x 10.3 inches | Hard cover | English

Get it from Book Depository!

(Originally written using another blog.)