Essentials: Online Educational Courses for Artists

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On June 2, 2021, a noteworthy event took place in the world of online education. On that day, LinkedIn completed its incorporation of the online educational content and thousands upon thousands of video classes that had been part of the website was one of the first online education websites and one of the most successful. Now, all that content will appear on LinkedIn Learning.

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This transition comes more than six years after LinkedIn bought the online education company from its founders, Lynda Weinman and her husband, Bruce Heavin, who started the website in 1995. The price: $1.5 billion.

In addition to being an author and business leader, Lynda Weinman is also an artist. On students all types (including artists) could learn to crop a selfie in Photoshop, produce a funny animated GIF for their grandparents, or edit a graduation video for family and loved ones.

Today, LinkedIn Learning is one of the best online educational services, but it’s not the only one artists can use to gain skills in digital photography, video, audio, animation, or even more practical ones like how to use Microsoft Office or create a PDF. Here are four web-based platforms (including LinkedIn Learning) that can help you expand your artistic horizons.

LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning requires you to have a monthly subscription to access all the content on the website. Its vast library has more than 16,300 courses in seven languages across creative, technical, and business categories. Since LinkedIn took over, it has continued adding features. For instance, you can now access the content in different languages.

There are also lots of features that help you keep track of how you’re learning. For instance, the website tells you how much more of a particular video you need to watch to complete it. It will read “COURSE 1h 45m 51s left,” which means you have just under two hours of video to watch to complete the course. Plus, if you’re using the web version of a course, you can access the transcript and follow along with the speaker; the text is highlighted in bold, in real time, as the instructor in the video speaks.

LinkedIn Learning has a mobile app for both iOS and Android devices. After a one-month free trial, you can pay for your subscription monthly ($29.99 a month) or for an entire year up front (for $19.99 a month ). You can also pay for courses individually. There is also some free content on the website, and students should check with their schools to see if they can access the service without cost.


It won’t be a surprise to many that another great educational resource for artists is YouTube, where you can find how-to videos on just about anything, including less commonly known art techniques such as silverpoint or frottage drawing. One of the big attractions for using YouTube is that it’s free. But the downside is that unlike LinkedIn Learning, which curates the content, anyone can create YouTube content and upload it. The quality of videos varies a lot, so you may not always be confident that the creator of a YouTube video is actually an expert in his or her field. You can download YouTube mobile apps for both iOS and Android devices.


Geared to creative types, Skillshare combines a curator model (like LinkedIn Learning’s) with an anyone-can-be-a-teacher model (like YouTube’s). Courses deemed most worthy by Skillshare are boosted on the site’s promo pages; recent featured content included introductions to nature painting, DSLR photography, and hand lettering. To access all of Skillshare’s content, you need a Premium membership: Pay an annual fee of $168 (which comes to $13.99 per month) or in monthly payments of $32 each. There are iOS and Android mobile apps available for each of those platforms.


Coursera is primarily a free service that works with many universities, distributing content in conjunction with courses that these universities offer. It offers a wide array of courses and also lets you audit classes taught by exceptional teachers at top-notch schools, free of charge. However, if you want to earn credits for taking the classes, or earn a certificate or degreee, that’s when you’ll need to pay.

Under Arts & Humanities you’ll find beginning courses on contemporary art (from the Museum of Modern Art), graphic design (from California Institute of the Arts), and music production (from the Berklee College of Music), to name just a few. Tired of being a starving artist? Go for an MBA from the University of Illinois or a master’s in social work from the University of Michigan.

Coursera pricing varies depending on whether you are paying for a premium version of one of their courses, a specialization bundle, a certificate, or a degree. Mobile apps are available for both iOS and Android devices.

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