If you are looking for a thoughtful Christmas gift for someone who loves drawing and painting, look no further.
Craftsy has got you covered this holiday season with 1,000s of online videos that will turn you into an art pro in no time or at the very least you are guaranteed to pick up a new tip or two.
Makers for the millions: access online classes 24/7/365
One of the great things about Craftsy classes is you can access your instructional videos from anywhere at any time on any device. You just need your password and ID, and a little bit of time on your hands.
You don’t have to be a member to purchase a class for someone, but you do have to be a member in order to view the videos. Membership is free and it’s quick to sign up.
BTW, this blog post is NOT sponsored by Craftsy. I just stumbled across the platform a year ago and love it.
Craftsy has several things going for it that traditional instructional videos don’t.
One big family: Interact with Craftsy instructors and other creators
One awesome thing about the platform is you are encouraged to interact with your instructor and other students, which turns Craftsy into one big creative family. You cannot get that experience from a book or CD.
Give the gift of learning to someone you love
Craftsy also has a cool gift option. You can purchase a video in advance for someone and send the purchase link via email to your favorite artist. You can also set it up to notify the gift receiver at a different date–say like Dec. 25.
If you are an artist, you might want to give a nudge to your mom or significant other by sharing the specific class you are dying to take. That way you are sure to get exactly what you want. They just need your email address and the link to the class to make a purchase.
Craftsy is for creators of all types
Craftsy doesn’t just create videos for artists. They also offer instruction on cooking, quilting, baking, sewing, woodworking and so much more.
If you can create it, they probably have a class in your area of interest taught by a talented instructor, who loves to share their tips and techniques for a reasonable fee.
Plus, there are tons of FREE classes
One cool thing is Craftsy also offers free classes – 35 to be exact, at the moment.
Yes, I said FREE. I have taken classes on how to make pizza, cook chicken properly without turning it into rubber, cupcake decorations, and photography…just to name a few. You can check out their free classes here.
Colored pencil classes
Now back to the medium we all love – colored pencil.
Craftsy currently offers 16 video classes featuring colored pencils. They cover a wide variety of subjects like animal and people portraits, landscapes, flowers and mixed media.
The instructional video series typically range in prices from $19.99 to $39.99.
They also offer more than 20 pattern downloads (PDF instructions from the artist and a project drawing outline) for around $7 to $10.
You can find the full list of colored pencil classes here.
Let me just say, I have never taken a bad class on Craftsy. Although they don’t cost a bundle, you have to prioritize, right? There simply isn’t enough time in a day to fit them all in.
So here are my top 8 picks for this holiday season.
Classes for Beginners
Colored Pencil Essentials / Susan Rubin / $29.99 / 4.9 stars (34) / Beginner
You get 7 streaming videos in this class that will instruct you in the colored pencil basics.
You can watch the video promo and purchase this class at https://www.craftsy.com/drawing/classes/colored-pencil-essentials/45505.
Luminous Landscapes in Graphite and Colored Pencil / Amy Lindenberger / $39.99 / 5.0 rating (2) / intermediate
Learn how to create soft-focus dreamy landscapes with Amy Lindenberger unique approach in this 6 video series. She uses clayboard instead of paper. The first step is to create an underlay with graphite and erasers. Then more graphite and colored pencils are layered on top to create a painterly effect.
Watch the video promo and purchase at https://www.craftsy.com/drawing/classes/luminous-landscapes-in-graphite-colored-pencil/54703.
Getting Started with Colored Pencil and Watercolor / Janie Gildow / $29.99 / 5.0 rating (1) / Intermediate
Learn how to recreate this idyllic lake scene in 6 streaming videos with Janie Gildow.
Watch the video promo and purchase at https://www.craftsy.com/drawing/classes/getting-started-with-colored-pencil-watercolor/60725.
Realistic Textures in Colored Pencil / Cynthia Knox / $24.99 / 4.6 rating (10) / intermediate
Cynthia Knox instructs you how to create realistic textures in her 6 video series. She touches on fruit skins, metallic surfaces, wood grain, fur, fabric and more.
Watch her promo or purchase the series at https://www.craftsy.com/drawing/classes/realistic-textures-in-colored-pencil/54188.
Pet Portraits in Colored Pencil / Gemma Gylling / $29.99 / 4.6 rating (30) / Intermediate
Gemma Gylling shares her tips and techniques for capturing stunning animal portraits in her 7 video series. Watch her promo and purchase at
Watch her promo and purchase at https://www.craftsy.com/drawing/classes/pet-portraits-in-colored-pencil/38937.
Vivid Flowers in Colored Pencil / Cynthia Knox / $29.99 / 4.8 rating (46) / intermediate
Learn the secrets of layering, blending and burnishing to create true-to-life, radiant flowers in this 7 video series.
I have personally purchased this video series and love it. She also talks about how to color match your reference photos to your pencils to come up with realistic blends. This was very helpful to me. Great series!
Check out her promo or purchase at https://www.craftsy.com/drawing/classes/vivid-flowers-in-colored-pencil/35814.
Step-by-step Photorealistic Colored Pencil Portraits / Karen Hull / $39.99 / 4.7 rating (3) / Advanced
Karen Hull is the latest colored pencil instructor to arrive on the Craftsy scene with her 7 video series.
This series is definitely for advanced learners. You may get frustrated if you do not know a lot about how colored pencil functions as a medium. She jumps right into to creating stunning portraits by moving around the prominent features of the face. In my opinion, she is an engaging instructor, and I loved every minute of instruction and wanted more.
View the promo and purchase at https://www.craftsy.com/drawing/classes/step-by-step-photorealistic-colored-pencil-portraits/457818.
Radiant Portraits in Colored Pencil / Kerry Brooks / $24.99 / 4.8 rating (52) / Advanced
Kerry Brooks takes you through the steps of creating a hyper-realistic portrait in her 7 video series.
I bought this series and love it. Kerry seems to just kiss the paper with color to create very delicate looking skin. You won’t regret taking her class! Awesome value.
Craftsy is a user-friendly program, but like any interface it has its quirks.
Here are few tips for navigating Craftsy
- Make sure you pay attention to the assigned levels. Advanced classes really do mean advanced knowledge in the medium is needed.
- However, I wouldn’t avoid beginner or intermediate classes if you are a pro. For instance, Amy Lindberger (intermediate class Luminous Landscapes) teaches how to create on clayboard. I have been researching colored pencil artists for several years now, and this is the first time I have heard of anyone working on this substrate. So don’t assume beginner classes are a waste of time.
- Keep your mind open to new ways of doing things, because every artist has their own unique processes.
- Take advantage of the free classes. What do you have to loose?
- Navigate by categories to find what you want, but you can also search for specific items in the search bar.
- Every couple of months, I go in and check for newly-released and free classes. You can do this by doing a search on any topic that interests you. After you select an item, arrow over the drop down menu and choose “newest” or “free.” This will shuffle your search to include new or free classes first in the search line-up.
- Use Favorites to keep track of the classes you would like to purchase in the future.
- Share classes on social media or via email to people who might be interested.
- Subscribe to their newsletter and social media sites to keep current and find out about their latest sales.
- Keep your eye open for sales: Around the holidays, they frequently discount classes. So if you have your eye on a specific class, you may want to wait a bit. Odds are a one-day or weekend sale might be around the corner.
- If you do not like your class, you can return it within 30 days.
- If someone gifted you a class that you already have or you just prefer another, you can exchange classes by working with their customer service department.
- Remember it takes a little bit of time to learn any new program. If you are having trouble, check out their help page.
- Do not purchase a gift for someone else and a class for yourself at the same time. It turns everything in your checkout cart into a gift for that one email address. So if you are purchasing for someone else, make sure to purchase items for yourself separately.
- Craftsy suggests you only purchase directly from their website (www.craftsy.com) and not on any mobile apps. If you purchase from the Itunes store, they cannot honor refunds.
Well, that’s all I have for you folks. If you have tried any Craftsy classes that you love, please leave the link in the comments section.
Happy drawing, Melissa
Melissa LeGates is a professional writer and retired Air Force journalist. She specializes in long-form features and loves to write about living a victorious Christian life, art and health. She and her husband live in Delaware. In her free time, she is a student of colored pencil, watercolor, acrylics and oils.
She is also an avid blogger and currently maintains three blogs:
– PTSD/my first book “Set My Captives Free” launch at https://setmycaptivesfree.wordpress.com
– Her writing career: https://melissalegates.wordpress.com
– The world of colored pencil art and artists: https://coloredpencilenthusiast.wordpress.com.
You can contact Melissa at firstname.lastname@example.org.