Drawspace.com is one of the largest online art education sites on a worldwide scale, making it quite the surprise to me how relatively unknown it is. The entire site started in 2001 and has been growing internationally ever since. As someone who is admittedly not adept at drawing, I thought I'd give it a chance.
The website is remarkably simple to use. It gives a nice, brief description of the main goal: for everyone to be able to draw. But, this goal is only their broad statement. Upon peeling through the layers, Drawspace encourages the emerging artist to have a well-rounded appreciation of the arts as well as have confidence in their work going forward.
The process for signing up is simple. All that is needed is a username, password, and email address. Then you're in. You have access to 50+ free lessons, plus 5 credits to enjoy extra lessons. The categories of information covered are impressive, and the content is well-organized and exciting.
The categories of information provided are as follows, and they all accompany PDF and EPUB formats for easy reading, and most include video:
Introduction to Drawing: This is a great place to start, with both setting the stage for learning and assisting the beginner in mind. There are 70 lessons over two units in this step.
Contour Drawing: Advancing upon the basics with some geometry and mathematical approaches dropped in. 89 lessons are currently available.
Shading Techniques: This is a three-section unit covering several forms, texturing, and use of negative space to create a more realistic image in drawing. This unit has 93 lessons.
Composition and Perspective: This is a dense unit comprised of only 14 lessons, but the lessons approach the topic in a critical manner.
Diversity in Visual Arts: This unit brings in the art appreciation aspect while still encouraging expansion on previously built skills taught in the program. It is three units with 103 lessons available.
People and Animals: This three-unit section studies the realism in drawing and composing the various aspects of texture and realism in creating drawings of living creatures. 58 lessons in total.
The Lighter Side of Art: This short unit of 13 lessons covers perspective on cartoon sketching with an emphasis on using shapes to build forms in drawing.
Creating Art in Color: This final 4-unit section emphasizes coloring techniques in drawing, with emphasis on colored pencils and acrylic painting. These 53 final lessons finish with lessons to challenge your own creativity and instincts.
Drawspace.com is obviously a vast resource, a wealth of information. Their lessons and units are constantly expanding, with new instructors and contributors joining in the fun on a regular basis. For anyone interested in starting drawing or improving their drawing, this website is definitely worth checking out.
As far as accessing content goes, the plus side is that they offer a handful of lessons and a small number of recurring monthly credits for free, just for registering. However, the catch, if there really is one, is that you will have to pay for full access to all lessons. What's great, though, is that they provide several different pricing options to accommodate any budget. A single $20 investment gives you 10 credits, with one credit giving access to one lesson. If you work more regularly on the site, they have a monthly option of $9.50/month which gives you greater access as well as the removal of their ads. For full, uninhibited access, you can invest in a full year for $149.
Whatever your level of commitment, Drawspace.com is worth checking out, and it's easy to get started for free. Canceling is easy, and there's no payment information to be entered, so there's no risk to try it for yourself.
Give it a whirl, and get creating!
Enjoy a sample video from their catalogue below, covering Linear Shading: