“Every artist was first an amateur” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Dance classes or music lessons can end up costing quite a bit but if there's one hobby that is quite cheap to take up, it's learning how to draw.

So how can you learn how to draw without having to pay to go to art school?

Here are our tips.

Learning to Draw with Social Networks

Be it charcoal, gouache, acrylics, or graphite pencils, art, drawing and painting include a lot of different techniques and styles. Before you try and learn all these techniques, you need to learn the basics like perspective, anatomy, still life, light and shadow, etc.

Which are the best social networks for learning to draw?
If you want to learn to draw, there are plenty of resources on social media. (Source: stevepb)

Not everyone has the means to attend an art school or private art lessons. Similarly, not everyone wants to make a career out of their art.

It’s hardly surprising that families earning less tend to spend less on leisure activities. If you’re a student or unemployed, you’ll have even less to spend on art classes. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t learn how to draw.

Thanks to social networks, you can learn to draw for free. Start with YouTube and discover thousands of drawing tutorials from talented artists and teachers. This is a great way to discover new techniques.

Amateur artists can improve their art without having to break the bank. YouTube videos are a good way to learn about different mediums, too, such as coloured pencils, graphite pencils, paintbrushes, etc. Instagram is one of the best social networks for learning how to draw for free. Plenty of artists share their art on the platform to show off their skills and talent. Some artists even post “stories” showing how they create their work.

Similarly, if you visit Pinterest and search for “draw a face” or “draw manga”, you’ll find tonnes of stuff. You’ll find what you’re looking for. Finally, head to Facebook and have a look around. While this isn’t the best social network for finding drawing lessons or tutorials, it is a great place to find communities of artists and places to get help and advice about your drawing.

Of course, if you want to work on your drawing skills, make sure that the feedback you get is helpful. In many cases, users might be too critical or not critical enough. If you want to improve, make sure that you're using feedback that tells you how to improve.

Learn more about learning to draw for free.

Using Books to Learn How to Draw for Free

Books are still among the best way to learn new skills and you don’t necessarily have to pay for them.

Which are the best books for learning how to draw?
Libraries are still a great resource for free books. (Source: LubosHouska)

There are books on drawing that will show you all the techniques you need to know. This could be a book focusing on how to draw manga, how to draw comic books, or even how to draw dragons and other fantasy creatures and these types of book are regularly being published.

Start by choosing a book on the fundamentals of drawing before moving onto other specific techniques and styles. Whether you’re interested in watercolours, pencils, oils, or sketches, you’ll be able to find something.

You don’t even need to pay for the books. Most libraries will have these types of books available and you can borrow them or even use them as you draw in the library as long as you don’t make too much noise or take up too much space. Most of these books will cover what you need to learn and include things like vanishing points, 3D objects, and anatomy, for example.

Once you’ve finished reading the book, why not head into the streets and sketch something?

Drawing a street or a landscape is a great way to practise the techniques you learnt in a book. Of course, you can't do a step by step drawing tutorial in the middle of the street, but if you want to draw people or work on some perspective drawing, this is a good place to do it.

Learning how to sketch isn't complicated and all you need to do is sit somewhere moderately comfortable with your sketchbook, a pencil, and work on a quick drawing or do some doodling.

Discover the best drawing websites.

Learning to Draw in Clubs

There are plenty of clubs for artists or learning how to draw. Some are free and others may ask for a modest membership fee.

How do you find a drawing club?
Some groups go on hikes to wonderful places and then draw them! (Source: Free-Photos)

Have a look around at what’s available, check out some of the clubs and groups near you, and find out where and when they meet. These places are great to find like-minded people, make new friends, share advice, and improve your art in a friendly environment. It’ll also encourage you to practise regularly. You mightn’t immediately think of this if you’ve got a busy schedule. Groups usually meet up once a week and take time to practise drawing.

These workshops come in all shapes and sizes and you might even go for a walk in the woods before sitting down to draw a landscape or some portraits. Being in a group allows you to share ideas and support one another.

And that’s it! If you want to learn how to shade, draw a cat, or even just get better using a graphite pencil, being surrounded by others with similar goals is the way to do it.

Check out the best drawing apps.

Learning to Draw with a MOOC

Have you heard of MOOCs?

MOOCs have been a teaching revolution. It stands for “massive open online course”. This means that you can follow a course online. Usually, you can follow the course whenever you want. There’s also a forum for students to discuss things with one another as well as with their lecturers.

Many of the world’s best universities offer MOOCs. This means you can study at a great university from the comfort of your own home.

Most courses are free and you just need to sign up to them. There are exercises that you have to do for each module and there are also versions you can pay for that come with a qualification.

To get the most out of your MOOC, you’ll need to study regularly and stay motivated because, without a regular schedule, it’s easy to give up.

In terms of improving drawing techniques, the advantage is that you can learn with MOOCs from all over the world.

In a matter of weeks, you’ll learn about the fundamentals of art and techniques to improve your art. You’ll also be given homework, though!

Find out how to get better at drawing.

Learning to Draw with Service-Trading

Service-trading is a new way to learn new skills without having to pay.

Can you learn to draw for free?
With service trading, somebody can teach you to draw and then you can return the favour in another way. (Source: StockSnap)

Rather than pay to learn how to draw, you can offer your time or skills up as payment. For example, you could get drawing lessons and offer sewing lessons in return. Thus, no money has to change hands. It’s all about trading favours for favours.

Some sites exist to facilitate the exchange of services. In other words, one good turn deserves another. There are also sites where you can organise these service swaps. That said, drawing lessons aren’t the most popular service being offered. But you can always have a look for them. Drawing, painting, and sculpture lessons are still found in art schools that you have to pay for but that doesn’t mean it’s the only way to learn it, though.

Why not look for a friend who knows how to draw?

Maybe they can teach you and you can do something for them in return. Plus, you get to hang out with your friends.

If you need help with your drawings, figure drawing, one-point perspective or linear perspective, sketching simple shapes, or using different drawing tools, get a drawing tutorial from one of the many gifted and talented drawing tutors on Superprof.

Firstly, you'll need to think about what kind of tutorial will be best for you, your budget, and your learning style as there are three main types available: face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages in terms of effectiveness and cost so make sure you choose the right type.

Face-to-face tutorials tend to be the most costly but also the most cost-effective. Online tutorials are good for those who can't find tutors locally but they tend to be better for the theoretical subjects rather than hands-on subjects like art. Finally, group tutorials lack the personalised approach offered by the other two but tend to be the cheapest as all the students are sharing the cost of the tutor's time.

Before you choose your tutor, remember that many of the tutors on Superprof will offer free tutoring for the first hour so you can discuss what you're after and see if they're right for you!

Check for drawing lessons on Superprof.

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Joseph is a French and Spanish to English translator, language enthusiast, and blogger.