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My Favorite Online Art Resources...

When I started painting a few years ago, I became hooked on YouTube as it quickly became the greatest and most accessible (not to mention free) resource for learning art. I started off with mainly YouTube tutorials and through a few YouTube artists I was following at the time, I stumbled on Skillshare. Skillshare is an online learning platform offering a plethora of courses from people who are experts or working professionals in their fields. The classes cover a variety of topics from fine art, design, business, marketing, social media, the culinary arts, lifestyle, music, and many more, with a heavy focus on the creative arts (fine arts, music, and design).

Together both YouTube and Skillshare have been instrumental in my art journey and helping me to discover my art style and learn basic techniques. Below I've listed my favorite YouTube channels and Skillshare teachers, along with examples of pieces I have completed as a result of tutorials and class on both platforms.

YouTube channels I'm loving

  • Painting with Jane - I'm not really sure how I stumbled on to Jane Font's channel, but I quickly became addicted. I must say, of all the YouTube art channels out there, hers is my favorite. A self-taught artist, who used to own an art gallery in her hometown of Ogden, Utah, she teaches primarily acrylic painting tutorials with a no-fuss, warm demeanor, clearly explaining her choice of brushes, technique, composition etc. She doesn't detour into other topics while she paints, she keeps the focus mostly on the painting, or her choice of subject. And even if she does deviate from the topic at hand, she swiftly circles it back to her art and creative journey. What I love most about her teaching style is the manner in which she breaks down a seemingly complicated image into digestible, easy to tackle elements. I've been hard pressed to pinpoint her artistic style. It's not really abstract, though she has done a few abstract pieces. She's not a realist painter because she often goes on a rant about how paintings should look like paintings and not like photographs. Yet there were many times when she would use a reference image and produce a painting damn near identical to it. Her style may be more inclined towards expressionism, because she loves painterly, visible brushstrokes and even when she's being faithful to the reference image, she always manages to change something or put her own personal twist on it. She's done quite a few finger paintings as well. One of my favorite tutorials is "Stormy Sky", in which her ingenious use of finger painting to create clouds is quite liberating. She posts tutorials every Tuesday but has been known to miss a few weeks. While her website is another way to keep up to date with her weekly tutorials, and promotions on her custom made brushes that she sells on a regular basis, a little more work is required on the blogging side. Her channel is purely instructional, however, and she has not gone down the often slippery slope of vlogging as other artists have done.

All paintings are done in acrylic on canvasses, canvas board or Fredrix canvas sheets mounted on wooden boards

  • Katie Jobling - Speaking of vlogging, Katie Jobling's channel has been one of my favorites for a really long time, mostly because of her knack of vlogging her daily routine as an artist. I must admit that a huge part of the appeal for me of this channel is the bucolic setting. Katie Jobling is an English artist who lives in the countryside in Derbyshire, England with her husband and her basement studio (which seems to have been plucked right out of the pages of Ideal Home magazine and my fantasies) has a view of rolling, green hills with the occasional herd of horses just loafing about. Truly, an artist's dream studio. Katie, a self-professed expressionist painter, uses oil as her preferred choice of mediums but for the sake of time and convenience, she uses acrylics for most of her YouTube tutorials. She also dabbles quite a bit in watercolors. Her style of painting is quite refreshingly loose, starting off with a few broad brushstrokes which in a short amount of time materialize into discernible shapes, depth and dimension, infused with such a light touch that the visible, stark brushstrokes have a harmonious effect. I especially love her watercolor style (even though she admits that she is not primarily a watercolorist) as I feel she uses watercolors the way they were intended to be used, loose and fluidly. Her subjects are mostly florals, seascapes, stags and occasionally abstract pieces. Her sweet demeanor and the vision of an idyllic lifestyle of an artist living in the countryside (glimpses of which are shown in her regular vlogs as she pops into town for errands or through camera shots of the scene from her studio window) make her videos a truly pleasurable viewing experience. She regularly sells her artwork on her Etsy shop (and even has quite a few videos with tips on how to make a living as an artist). Also check out her blog

Paintings done using acrylic on canvasses.

  • Jenna Rainey- This is a pretty recent addition to my YouTube subscription list. While Jenna's style is loose and more suitable for art prints and licensing work, I have learnt many valuable tips on watercolor, from how to hold your brush to various techniques, such as wet on wet, which I'm currently in love with. Her tutorials are very informative, she has a personable manner about her and just watching her paint (especially on her time-lapse videos) with the beautiful soothing instrumental music in the background is an almost narcotic experience. I have filled many a page in my huge A3 size moleskine sketchbook with the help of her tutorials. However, I think where Jenna Rainey truly shines is her business savvy. After all, she has built a 7-figure empire from her calligraphy and art. She has a wealth of information and tips on how to build a creative business found in her newsletters available on her website to her regular podcasts and many courses and of course, her YouTube channel. She regularly talks about her humble beginnings and her struggle in the early years, and how she started teaching watercolors as she was learning it herself. The lesson being: The right time to start is now, not in some distant future. All in all, a great resource of knowledge and inspiration for beginner artists.

Paintings done using watercolors on A3 Moleskine watercolor sketchbook

  • Minnie Small- This channel is unashamedly a purely vlogging channel. Minnie, a soft-spoken young artist living in the UK makes no bones about her content. She barely has any instructional art videos but I believe her channel is just as informative as the ones I've already mentioned and highly interactive. She is regularly seen in her videos going about her daily routine or showing what a regular work weeks looks like for an artist working from home. And then there is her sketchbook series, called "1 hour in sketchbook" where she invites her followers to join her for one hour sketching and painting away while she discusses the latest movies she's seen, books she's read, struggles as an artist, etc. At one point, she even documented (through a series of vlogs) the whole process of finding an apartment in London and moving day. In other less capable hands, this might have fallen flat with a lot of viewers, but I find her honesty and openness about her life as an artist invigorating. She paints mostly with watercolors and ink, but also gouache and very rarely, acrylics. I especially love her tiny paintings of houses. She runs a blog where she sells her art, in the form of paintings, zines, stickers etc.

Paintings done using gouache on Strathmore 400 series mixed media sketchbook

  • Maria Raczynska- Maria is a native Polish watercolor artist based in Los Angeles. Of all the artists I've mentioned I can say her style is the most diverse as she paints in both a realist and loose style. While I've painted from her tutorials many times, in the beginning when I first started with watercolors I found it hard to follow some of her videos as she paints very swiftly (presumably to take advantage of the wet on wet technique) and I felt her level of detail was more appropriate for an intermediate or advanced watercolorist. Also, most of her videos do not have any instructional voice overs. Furthermore, her use of extremely fine, thin watercolor brushes for details was problematic for me because even my finest brush did not yield the extremely thin lines hers did. But perhaps, now that I'm a bit more comfortable with watercolors, I might give her videos another chance. However, she does have an online art school and a patreon page where she has more in-depth videos.

Paintings done in watercolors on a variety of sketchbooks: Winsor & Newton watercolor block, Strathmore 400 series mixed media sketchbook, and Moleskine watercolor pocket sketchbook

Other notable mentions:

  • Angela Anderson - While I'm not currently subscribed to this channel, I regularly check it for new videos. Her paintings are sublime, even if a little more involved and time consuming than Katie Jobling's or Jane Font's. In fact, some of Angela's videos can go over 3 or even 4 hours which, when translated into painting time would probably span an entire day (when you take into account how many times one would pause a tutorial to mix a certain color or finish painting an element of the composition etc). Also her use of an extensive color palette is rather daunting. Having said that, I often check her channel because she has a wider variety of subjects (painting everything from florals to landscapes, animals, cityscapes, portraits, and still life).

Paintings done in acrylic on canvas and canvas board.

  • The Art Sherpa- Cinnamon Cooney's art channel features beginner and intermediate painting tutorials. She has a rather creative selection of subjects, from fantasy figures, colorful dogs, to her own unique twist on Halloween, and her acrylic April series, where she paints one small painting a day every day for the entire month. One concept I learnt from this channel is the technique of creating living shadows.

Paintings done using acrylics on canvas and canvas board.

  • Joni Young Art - This is a relatively new channel, with less than 50k subscribers, but Joni, an artist who lives in British Columbia, Canada, often translates the natural beauty around her in her paintings by infusing them with a sense of magic and surrealism. Her paintings tend to lean towards fantasy-like scenes which she easily recreates with a limited color palette and the use of a technique called dry brushing. She uses highly concentrated colors. In fact, I've rarely seen her dip her brush in water, which adds vibrancy to her paintings.

Skillshare teachers I regularly follow

  • Peggy Dean- The Pigeon Letters founder is a Top Teacher on skillshare and the first teacher from whom I learnt the art of loose watercolor florals, urban sketching and pen and ink illustration. A prolific artist, modern calligrapher and teacher, I must have taken every class she has on Skillshare. Her classes helped fill up many sketchbook pages and taught me the technique of layering pen over watercolor (Ohn Mar Win also uses this technique) to provide texture and a sense of play. Peggy is a true creative, teaching a variety of classes, from watercolors, gouache, modern calligraphy and brush lettering, pen illustrations, digital art, and even a class on embroidery on photographs.

Paintings done in watercolors, gouache and Sakura Pigma micron pen on a variety of sketchbooks: Watercolor florals in Pentallic Aqua Journal, pen illustrations done in The Works sketchbook, and gouache done in Stillman and Birn beta series sketchbook

  • Ohn Mar Win - Ohn Mar Win is an incredible food illustrator who, in her classes, venerates the art of keeping a sketchbook. She has many classes on watercolor and ink and her style is delightfully loose. But I think it is her classes on sketchbook practice where she shows her progression as an artist that I found really inspiring as they teach you to really love the process and embrace it, while monitoring signs of improvement in your daily practice, rather than focus on the end product, Also, it is heartening to see an artist who started their journey later in life, after marriage and kids. Or rather, in Ohn Mar Win's case, she resumed the journey ( as she used to work as an in house designer for greeting card companies before taking an 8 year hiatus to raise her kids ) and honed her long-buried painting skills by daily practice on her trusted moleskine sketchbooks.

Paintings done in watercolor and line work in Sakura Pigma micron pen in Pentallic Aqua Journal

  • Cat Coquiellette- of Cat Coq fame has built a name for herself over the past decade as a self-proclaimed digital nomad, and a connoisseur in the field of passive income, travelling all over the world, while making a living from her art and licensing work. While I admire her art, which is modern, trendy and travel-inspired, it is her use of Photoshop to create a plethora of compositions, patterns, color palettes and layouts and her expertise in the mine field that is social media to market her brand that I found impressive. Many of her classes are about rendering watercolor or acrylic artwork into repeatable patterns using Photoshop and how to then apply them to mock ups for licensing. In fact, she recently published a couple of classes, one on how to use Instagram as a way to leverage your brand, and the latest on how to use Photoshop for any sort of creative work. What makes Cat Coq stand out is her ability to appeal not only to artists but all creatives (be they photographers, textile designers, etc), leveraging her extensive knowledge of social media strategies, marketing strategies and forecasting trends to reach more creatives across the board.

  • Ana Victoria Calderon- A year or so ago, I took one of this Mexico City-based artist's classes on watercolor gems and jewelry. It must have been one of her more advanced classes because I came away with the impression that she is realist painter, as there was an intricate level of detail involved in that class. However, recently, I took more and more of her classes and started following her on social media. I can only describe her style as whimsical, pretty, feminine, with heavy metaphysical overtones as her paintings are infused with a love of the cosmos and sacred geometry. Her paintings are vibrant and have a lot of texture, due to her ingenious use of mediums like salt, nail polish remover, even bleach. Her classes tend to run a little long but that's because she always includes a few practice videos before she embarks on the class project. Her classes, even though long, are thorough and informative and have inspired the paintings below.

Paintings done using watercolors, acrylic, gouache, white out pen in A3 Moleskine watercolor sketchbook

  • Amarilys Henderson- Henderson is another prolific artist and teacher on Skillshare, with classes on a variety of topics from loose florals to tips on how to structure a typical day working from home. One of my favorite classes on Skillshare has got to be her "Watercolor Animal Portraits - Paint Through The Seasons" where she teaches you to paint 4 animal portraits, each with a seasonal theme. Fun!!

Paintings done using watercolors and gouache in Canson mixed media sketchbook

  • Sadie Saves the Day- Sade J's classes are truly a pleasure to watch, as she renders her rather intimidating pieces into easy exercises with intricate color choices and techniques explained simply in calming voice-overs. Her excellent class "Perfect Portraits: Painting Faces and Skin Tones In Watercolors with Ease" completely demystified watercolor portraits for me (a phrase that used to strike fear into my heart) as she explained her technique in an easy-to-follow step by step format. I found her use of an initial layer of diluted purple quite ground breaking as it helped add dimension and depth to skin tones.

Paintings done using watercolors in A3 Moleskine watercolor sketchbook

  • Joly Poa- A Manilla based artist who is more active on YouTube and Instagram (@jolypoa) than the other Skillshare teachers I've previously mentioned, Poa's main area of expertise is florals. Her classes are a wonderful exercise in expressionism, letting loose and creating beautiful floral compositions with a mix of a few simple thin and broad strokes. In fact, one of her classes is titled "Dance with Your Brush: Paint Expressive Watercolor Florals", where she demonstrates how to create ethereal pieces that feel as light as air.

Paintings done using watercolors in A3 Moleskine watercolor sketchbook

  • Sharone Stevens- If Joly Poa's paintings are an exercise in expressive strokes, Sharone Steven's work is an exercise in controlled brushstrokes and use of water. I christened my A3 watercolor Moleskine with a painting from one of her classes. I started taking her classes because I've been painting loose for a while and I craved more structure and attention to detail. Her classes are very thorough and well thought out and I ended up with quite a few nice spreads in my sketchbook.

Paintings done using watercolors in A3 Moleskine watercolor sketchbook

Other notable mentions:

  • Leah Goren- Goren has all of 2 classes published on skillshare, but even though she's not as active on Skillshare as her peers, I must credit her classes with being one of my first introductions to the world of gouache. Primarily a gouache painter, she has a very painterly, modern, colorful style, where she manages to achieve dynamic pieces with a very limited color palette.

  • Julia Bausenhardt- Julia, a German-based illustrator, paints mostly nature and botanical scenes in watercolors and gouache. Her classes were enjoyable, especially the ones on vintage-style gouache butterflies and kitchen items done in a lovely, folksy style.

Painting done using gouache in Moleskine watercolor pocket sketchbook

  • Pooja Kenjale-Umrani- I've taken only one class by this artist, "10 Types of Watercolor Mushrooms - Let's demysitfy and explore the world of mushrooms! but I believe she deserves a notable mention as one of the loveliest pages in my moleskine A3 watercolor notebook (a spread of a magical mushroom forest in watercolor) is a result of that class. I will definitely be taking more of her classes.

Paintings done using watercolors in A3 Moleskine watercolor sketchbook


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