Best Digital and Traditional Illustration Courses review

11 Best Digital & Traditional Illustration Courses [2021]

Last Updated On: April 17, 2021

Are you intrigued by all those wonderful illustrations you’ve been seeing on Pinterest and everywhere? And now you want to be an illustrator too? But there are so many online courses claiming they’ll teach you how to make amazing illustrations, which one should you enroll in? 

Well, just like you, I’ve been in this dilemma for quite a long time. I wanted to focus on traditional illustration methods alongside digital illustration. And finally, I found the best illustration courses containing what I needed.  

In this detailed article, I’ve reviewed and listed the 11 best illustration courses (Paid and Free) to ease out your journey to becoming a great illustration artist! I’ll also be sharing some of the best tips that helped me to sharpen my skills. So keep on reading!

Keeping in mind that some of you might be interested in traditional illustration methods as well (just like me), I’ve divided the courses into two sections. I have analyzed more than 30 courses to find the best courses among them. Here, you’ll find the top digital and traditional illustration courses’ review. So, whether you’re interested in traditional illustration or digital illustration, I hope you’ll find your desired courses with the help of this article!

To practice the classes on Digital Illustration, you can use any digital software or drawing tablet. Most popular digital illustration softwares are::

For the traditional illustrations, you can use traditional drawing tools like a sketchbook, pencils, coloring mediums, etc.

7 Best Digital Illustration Courses

1. Ultimate Guide to Digital Sketching: Beginner to Advanced by Udemy

Illustration courses review
Udemy Ultimate Guide to Digital Sketching Review
  • Rating: 4.5 (2,944)
  • Total Number of Students: 30,816
  • Number of Courses: 1 (8 sections)
  • Certificate: Available
  • Level: Beginner to Advanced
  • Time to Complete: Around 2 weeks at 10 hours per week
  • Video Material Length: 5.5 hours on-demand video
  • Requirements: Drawing Tablets, Any Drawing Software
  • Project: Available
  • Cost: $16.99

What You Will Learn

  • The fundamental elements and techniques of sketching
  • Sketching from life and imagination
  • Learn to use digital effects and more
  • Learn to digitally draw in a professional way

Key Pros/Why You Should Enroll

  • This course gives you step by step guide to drawing digitally
  • You’ll learn to digitally sketch from life
  • You’ll learn to digitally sketch objects and scenes from your imagination
  • You’ll be able to improve your sketches using digital techniques
  • You’ll be able to build a strong portfolio with outstanding digital arts

Top Review

“I picked up this course because I wanted to start drawing digitally, I thought I already knew how to draw but Austin taught me how to actually draw. Not just replicating photos, but how to construct an idea and draw from my imagination to create something truly unique and in my style.

The course is very practical based, and there's a good time balance in the videos with lectures ranging from 7-12 minutes and then an assignment. The course is taught on Procreate but is specifically designed to work with any (well developed) drawing app, and as I followed this course on Sketchable I can confirm that this is true.”

- Sarah Beswick

When I started doing digital illustrations, I was looking for something to help me build the foundations and this course is perfect to guide you to be a digital illustration artist. So, if you’ve already started scribbling on your digital drawing platform, then I'm pretty sure you’re gonna love this course! Especially, if you're a complete beginner and want to have a strong base. And I think you’ll have fun while doing this course because of the exercises and all. And it can actually help you boost your creativity as it did for me!

I recommend you to absolutely do this course as it can really enhance your digital drawing skills especially if you're a beginner. But just to keep pace, make sure you know how to use the basic tools in your digital drawing software. I really hope this course will help you make amazing illustrations even if it’s from your imagination.

2. The Ultimate Digital Painting Course - Beginner to Adva by Udemy

Digital Painting Course review
Learn Digital Painting with Udemy’s Ultimate Digital Painting Course
  • Rating: 4.5 (8,792)
  • Total Number of Students: 53,764
  • Number of Courses: 1 (18 Sections)
  • Certificate: Available
  • Level: Beginner 
  • Time to Complete: Around 2 months at 10 hours per week
  • Video Material Length: 27h 8m on-demand video
  • Projects: Available
  • Requirements: Drawing Tablet, Drawing Software
  • Cost: $12.99

What You Will Learn

  • Drawing Fundamentals
  • Different styles and techniques of digital painting
  • Using different textures and materials
  • How to create concept art
  • Color theory
  • Character design
  • Perspective drawing
  • How to do photo-realistic painting

Key Pros/Why You Should Enroll

  • It’s a complete guide to digital drawing and painting
  • Start from the basics to creating advanced art 
  • 60 different projects to get you skilled
  • You’ll learn how to make a social media portfolio
  • And finally, you'll have two great instructors to learn from!

Top Review

“Such a great course! I learned a lot about how to paint using my newly bought pad and now I feel ready to start illustrating my own book. The course goes over many painting styles, techniquesa, and much more. I would recommend it to anyone looking to paint digitally.”

-Natalia Tishina

If you’ve already done the Ultimate Guide to Digital Sketching: Beginner to Advanced then this should be your next step. Now that you know how to draw digitally, it’s time to learn how to paint them. 

When starting digital illustrations, I really wanted to know how the blend modes work and how to use them, how to use textures in my drawing, and all those cool things illustration artists do. Trust me, if you’ve been wondering how people are doing all these amazing digital illustrations and realistic digital drawings, you have to do this course. This is all (most probably) you’ve been looking for. 

I absolutely loved this course and I think this is one of the best digital painting courses. I really hope you will like it too!

3. Illustrator for Non-Illustrators by Lynda

Learn Adobe Illustrator Online
Learn to Use Adobe Illustrator to make Illustrations
  • Total Number of Students: 122,970
  • Number of Courses: 1 (6 Sections)
  • Certificate: Available
  • Level: Beginner
  • Time to Complete: Around 1 week at 10 hours per week
  • Video Material Length: 3h 22m
  • Projects: Available 
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Cost: $30 per month or $20 per month annually

What You Will Learn

  • Various drawing tools on illustrator
  • Learn gesture drawing, contouring, still-life, and doodles
  • Basics of perspective drawing
  • Inking, shading, adding highlights
  • Analyze forms

Key Pros/Why You Should Enroll

  • Explore the fundamentals of digital drawing specifically with Adobe Illustrator
  • You’ll learn to use the tools of illustrator to make great illustrations
  • Strengthen your digital drawing skills

Top Review

Finally! I really wanted to talk about this course! In short, I LOVED this course! If you want to make illustrations with Adobe Illustrator, then this is a perfect course for you. I think this course is a very very clean one. You’ll easily understand everything. The instructor talks about the things you actually need to know to make digital drawings. But this isn’t an all-rounder course. If you’re a beginner, GO FOR IT! This is one of my most favorite courses on digital illustration and I’m sure you’ll love it too!

4. Drawing Vector graphics by Lynda

Adobe Illustrator Certification
Learn to Make Vector Illustrations with Adobe Illustrator
  • Total Number of Students: 67,030
  • Number of Courses: 1 (6 Sections)
  • Certificate: Available
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Time to Complete: Around 2 weeks at 10 hours per week
  • Video Material Length: 5h 34m
  • Projects: Available
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Cost: $30 per month or $20 per month annually

What You Will Learn

  • Explore and research through illustrative design
  • Learn to use the clockwork method
  • Archive and reuse unused ideas
  • Create custom keyboard shortcuts on Illustrator to make your job easy
  • Responding to client expectations and revisions
  • Presenting effectively using design rationales
  • Presenting your artwork to clients
  • Using symmetry to streamline your workflow and more

Key Pros/Why You Should Enroll

  • This course will help you work more efficiently and improve craftsmanship
  • Find solutions to problems you might face while drawing on Adobe Illustrator
  • The perfect course for you to help you start making great illustrations with Adobe Illustrator

This course is an absolute gem! It created a great first impression on me and I was not disappointed. This course helped me to solve the problems I faced while making illustrations in Adobe Illustrator. One of the best things about this course is the Clockwork method! If you're having problems with your anchor points, you’re not the only one! But in this course, you’ll learn to effectively use the 12 core drawing tools on Adobe Illustrator. 

But this course is not only limited to that. It also teaches you the creative approach to make great illustrations.

If you’ve already played a little bit with Adobe Illustrator then you’ll have more fun while doing this course. I really hope this course will help you a lot as it helped me!

5. Drawing vector graphics: Painting with vectors by Lynda

Adobe Illustrator Classes Review
Lynda Drawing vector graphics: Painting with vectors Review
  • Total Number of Students: 96,259 
  • Number of Courses: 1 (5 Sections) 
  • Certificate: Available
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Time to Complete: Around 2 weeks at 10 hours per week
  • Video Material Length: 4h 21m
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Cost: $29.99 per month if paid monthly

What You Will Learn

  • Painting in Adobe Illustrator
  • Making custom brushes
  • Transforming hand-painted brush strokes into digital brushes
  • Creating bitmap surface textures
  • Working with layers and blend modes

Key Pros/Why You Should Enroll

  • Give your illustrations a totally unique look 
  • Make your artworks look more organic
  • Master the basics of painting with Adobe illustrator

If you have watched the previous two courses of Von Glitschka, please don’t skip this one either! All three of these courses are great resources for learning illustration on Adobe Illustrator. 

This course talks about how you can create an organic look on your illustrations through hand-painted custom brushes. Once you understand how to do this, you’re most likely to find out other creative ways and unique styles to add to your illustrations. Now if you’re not a beginner, this might not be anything new to you but it’s a great course for beginners. A bonus to that is you’ll be getting a free vector brush set included in the exercise files!

6. Introduction to Graphic Illustration by Kadenze

Best Free Digital Illustration course review
Kadenze Introduction to Graphic Illustration Review
  • Rating: 4.7/5
  • Number of Courses: 1 (5 Sessions)
  • Certificate: Available
  • Level: Beginner
  • Time to Complete: 3 weeks at 10 hours per week
  • Video Material Length: 10 hours of work per session
  • Projects: Available
  • Prerequisites: Drawing Tools, A computer, Drawing Softwares
  • Cost: Free/ $20 per month / $300 (Credit Eligible)

What You Will Learn

  • Basic to advanced techniques of  making digital illustrations
  • Using drawing tools from Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign
  • How to achieve effective composition in illustration

Key Pros/Why You Should Enroll

  • Understand the professional process of making good illustrations
  • Hands-on project for better understanding
  • Get a better understanding of designing approach
  • Achieve originality in your artwork

Top Review

“Excellent course! Highly recommended. As an artist with over 20 years of experience, I found Mr. Junichi Tsuneoka's style of art refreshing. Can help to relax and break up the rigidity of being stuck on photorealism artwork.”

-Anonymous

When I started this course I wasn’t very sure about it but it actually turned out to be a pretty good course. There were some things that I was looking for and I actually found them in this course. One thing I still can’t decide is whether it is for beginner or intermediate level. I think it’s definitely a good course if you're just starting out with digital illustration and also if you can use Adobe Illustrator pretty well.

7. Make Things Make Money: The Business of Illustration and Lettering by CreativeLive

Illustration Classes review
CreativeLive Learn How to Make Money with Your Illustrations Review
  • Rating: 4.9/5
  • Total Number of Students: 23.4k 
  • Number of Courses: 1 (29 Lessons)
  • Certificate: N/A
  • Level: All Levels
  • Time to Complete: Around 2 weeks at 10 hours per week
  • Video Material Length: 4h 42m
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Cost: $11 per month, Buy the course at $99 

What You Will Learn

  • Honing your craft through passion projects and social media 
  • Attracting clients through your online presence 
  • Three ways to make money for your business: Commercial Work, Commissions, and Products 
  • Creating a process that will get you the job every time 
  • Charging what you're worth

Key Pros/Why You Should Enroll

  • This course is a complete step by step guide to earning money with your artwork
  • You’ll learn how to grow your already existing business (If you have one!)
  • Get to know detailed strategies to plan a successful future of using your art skills

Now, this is a course you should not miss at any cost! Once you’re into making illustrations, maybe you’ve found your own art-style or maybe you’re just starting out, whatever stage you’re in, just watch it! Trust me it’s totally worth your money! I can assure you, just like me you’ll be hooked throughout the lessons. I’m not gonna say much about this course, ‘cause you’re gonna be amazed to find out just how amazing this is!


 4 Best Traditional Illustration Courses

1. The Complete Drawing & Painting Illustration Course by Udemy

Illustration Course by Udemy
Udemy The Complete Drawing & Painting Illustration Course Review
  • Rating: 4.7 (1,125)
  • Total Number of Students: 8,731
  • Number of Courses: 1 (11 sections)
  • Certificate: Available
  • Level: Beginner
  • Time to Complete: Around 4 weeks at 10 hours per week
  • Video Material Length: 12 hours on-demand video
  • Projects: 20
  • Prerequisites: Drawing supplies
  • Cost: $12.99

What You Will Learn

  • The fundamentals of blending, adding highlights and shadows 
  • The basics of graphite pencils, colored pencils, and watercolor illustration
  • Drawing portraits 
  • Learn how to take your illustrations to a totally different level!

Key Pros/Why You Should Enroll

  • This course teaches you the fundamentals of illustration using graphite pencils, colored pencils and watercolor
  • Starting from the basics you’ll get to know advanced methods of drawing and painting stunning illustrations 
  • With over 20 different projects you’ll get to implement what you’ve learned throughout the course
  • You’ll get to learn how to add shadows and lightings, and different methods of shading properly
  • And finally, at the end of the course, you should be ready to do two complete portrait illustrations 

Top Review

“This course is very informative and very detailed on every step of how to do an illustration.”

- Roberto Rolando Santos

I have done Jaysen’s courses before and I can assure you, your money won’t go in waste. He actually teaches you how to draw and how to draw effectively. Now, in terms of traditional illustration, this course might help you a lot on how to use different mediums for your illustrations, if you’re a total beginner. What I loved about this course is that Jaysen started off simple, gradually building up confidence in you and moving on to more complex drawings.

He demonstrates the step-by-step procedures of drawing things that might actually seem quite complex to beginners. So, in this course, you’ll actually learn while following along with your instructor.

So, basically, this course will help you with simply demonstrated ways of using different painting mediums to make complex illustrations. And if you really give some effort, I believe you can even start selling your illustrations after doing this course.

2. Mastering Illustration: Sketching, Inking & Color Essentials by SkillShare

Illustration Classes Online
SkillShare Mastering Illustration: Sketching, Inking & Color Essentials Review
  • Total Number of Students: 26,494
  • Number of Courses: 1 (15 Lessons)
  • Certificate: N/A
  • Level: Beginner 
  • Time to Complete: Less than a week in 10 hours per week
  • Video Material Length: 2 Hours 11 minutes
  • Projects: Available
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Cost: $19 per month

What You Will Learn

  • How to refine your artwork
  • Textures and lighting effects
  • Play with colors, add intensity and evoke emotion in your illustrations

Key Pros/Why You Should Enroll

  • Get to explore your art style and brainstorm ideas
  • Learn in a fun yet effective way
  • A great course to build your illustration foundations

Top Review

“As a beginner who gets discouraged easily, this was a great overview of how to explore different art tools and I definitely learned a few basics but feel this might be good for more intermediate too, as I definitely feel I could rewatch it after some practice and gain more from it once I'm more familiar with the foundations.”

- Katy Rose 

If you’re an artist or hobbyist or just randomly in drawing there’s no way you haven’t heard of Jazza! Now I’ve done quite a few illustration classes on SkillShare and this is one of the bests. In this course, Jazza will take you through a step-by-step process of making a complete illustration. There’s also another course you can take Digital Illustration: Creativity, Style, and Efficiency in Adobe Illustrator. This one I think could be a great cherry on top of your beginner’s illustration skills.

3. How to Draw ( Bundle) by CreativeLive

Online Illustration Classes
CreativeLive Learn to make Illustrations with How to Draw Review
  • Rating: 4.5/5 (Avg of 3 courses)
  • Total Number of Students: 30K (Avg)
  • Number of Courses: 3
  • Certificate: N/A
  • Level: Beginner
  • Time to Complete: Around 2 weeks at 10 hours per week
  • Video Material Length: 1.5 hours (Avg)
  • Projects: Available
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Cost: $49

What You Will Learn

  • Using different pencils according to your purpose
  • Applying different shading methods
  • Practice measurement and proportions in your work 
  • Develop themes for drawing
  • Create harmonious color palettes
  • Use different mediums such as watercolor, gouache, brush pens, and colored pencils
  •  Learn 8 different color styles along with highlights and shadings

Key Pros/Why You Should Enroll

  • You’ll learn to make illustrations in a fun way
  • Bunch of beginner-friendly techniques to help you become an artist
  • This course will help you shake off the fear of drawing and boost up your creativity! 

Top Review

“I'm writing this review not immediately after watching the class, but a year after doing so -- and the impact on my life has been tremendous.”

- Emmon Scott on watching the 2nd course in this bundle

If you’re interested in a more fun yet educative course rather than the serious ones then this bundle is for you! Learn to make illustrations of everyday objects and more but in a fun way. This bundle will offer you three courses, all taken by the same instructor. 

To be honest, this isn’t a course for you if you’re looking for something serious. But because CreativeLive offers you access to more than 1500 courses for just $11 per month, I think you should give this one a try. At least, if you can’t stop procrastinating and if you're afraid of drawing then go give it a try and you won’t be disappointed. Also, you never know where you’ll get to learn something new!

Also if you decide to take this bundle, I recommend you also take the course Color Fundamentals. I kind of liked it and who knows you might find it useful too! ( And yes, there are a lot better courses on color theories out there).

4. Illustration Techniques to Unlock your Creativity by Domestika

Domestika Illustration class
Domestika Illustration Techniques to Unlock your Creativity Review
  • Rating: 99% Positive Reviews (3.2K)
  • Total Number of Students: 94,587
  • Number of Courses: 1 (16 Lessons)
  • Certificate: Available
  • Level: Beginner
  • Time to Complete: 1 week at 10 hours per week
  • Video Material Length: 3h 1m
  • Projects: Available
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Cost: $12.99 

What You Will Learn

  • Various techniques and processes to make great illustrations
  • Discover new styles with a combination of techniques
  • Learn what it means to have a unique art style

Key Pros/Why You Should Enroll

  • By the end of this course, you’ll have created a freehand illustration sketchbook
  • Discover guidelines and exercises to boost your creativity
  • Learn to get out of the box without any fear of drawing imperfectly

Top Review

“Very professional and playful. The most fun I have had drawing in years. He got me out of my rut and gave me so many fun ideas to try. I really grew, and developed a fresh concept of excellence and pride in what I create and how I display/share it.

- Mandy Steward

Another fun yet great course to watch! Domestika courses can be quite alluring from the ads! Well, I watched some but I had language issues and I don’t feel comfortable keeping pace with a course while watching subtitles. But this course is both in Spanish and English so that was a plus point for me. Now, a cool thing about this course is that by the end of this course you’ll have a sketchbook with illustrations to look back to. It’s overall a great course and a fun way to learn illustration.


Special Recommendation & Bonus Tips!

Have you decided which courses you’re gonna go for? If not here’s my special recommendation for you,

Now, even after doing all these courses, there are so many things to do if you want to be a great illustration artist. Firstly, there’s no substitute for practice. No matter how lazy you are, no matter how busy you are, manage yourself to draw at least a line every day. I got this great inspiration from The Habits of Effective Artists. Go watch it if you haven’t yet! Here are some YouTube channels you can follow: Yes I’m a Designer, Jazza, Sinix Design, Marco Bucci, Fernando Nunes, etc. There are a bunch of other great YouTube channels and these are just a few among them. I’m not even gonna say that these are the best!

Here’s another thing I’d like to share with you, it is normal to want to make great illustrations while doubting your abilities to do so and this actually leads to NOTHING at all. Instead, once you’re done with your desired courses or while you’re doing them, follow YouTube tutorials. Try to copy other people’s art-works( for educational purposes) but don’t misuse them in any way. Trust me, this will gradually help you get super skilled while understanding other art-styles and proper uses of colors. And hopefully, soon you’ll be able to create your own original artworks!

Conclusion

So, this was my ultimate list consisting of the best illustration courses found across the internet for beginners and artists as well. I wanted this article to be a complete guide for anyone who wants to be an illustration artist or hobbyist regardless if it's a digital illustration or traditional. Some of the illustration courses will also help those who are interested in illustrating with Adobe Illustrator. 

From the above list of courses, you can actually be a good illustration artist if you do them sincerely (and with enough hard work). I hope you’ve found your desired course! And if you think I’ve missed something that definitely deserved to be on this list then do contact me. I’ll check it out and update the course list with an honest review on it!

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