9 Best Skillshare Classes for Digital Artists

Want to improve your artistic skills? Thanks to online learning platforms like Skillshare, you can learn almost anything from anyone.

But that leads to another problem: With literally thousands of classes to choose from, how do you decide which class to take?

If hunting for the perfect course leaves you too exhausted to even get started, look no further. Our team has compiled the best online courses for illustration, animation, and graphic design available on Skillshare.

So stop searching and start learning!

Table of contents

A woman draws art using an iPad and Apple Pencil.
No matter your skill level, there are always new and exciting things that you can learn to draw.

Getting Started With Skillshare

We aren’t here to sell you on Skillshare but all of the classes on our list exist on the platform. And, because it’s one of the most popular learning websites, there are a few things you should know.

  • Cost: Skillshare charges $90/year for unlimited learning
  • Ratings: Teachers and classes are reviewed by students, so you’ll know what to expect before jumping in
  • Selection: There are thousands of classes to choose from
  • Exclusivity: Some classes are only available on Skillshare
  • Comments: Found in many classes, you can keep learning from student questions and teacher feedback

Thankfully, you don’t have to spend your money up front. Skillshare offers a free 7-day trial with unlimited learning, so you can get started at no cost.

An image depicting a Paperlike screen protector for iPad and an iPad
    with Apple Pencil.
No artistic adventure is complete without Paperlike. Upgrade your drawing experience today!

Tools You’ll Need

We recommend the following tools to help you get started on your self-led journey in digital art:

Best Skillshare Classes for iPad Illustration

With over 6,000 courses taught by instructors from all over the world, Skillshare is an incredibly popular platform for the digital arts. For our purposes, we'll be diving into the best of these that focus using our preferred app for digital illustrators: Procreate.

An image depicting a title card for the Skillshare class Intro to
    Digital Painting by Mimi Chao.

Intro to Digital Painting: Procreate to Photoshop! by Mimi Chao

Skill Level: Novice

You won't be a beginner for long after taking this introductory class to Procreate by one of Skillshare’s Top Teachers. Not only is Mimi's style entertaining and whimsical, but she also breaks down the technical aspects of Procreate so you can use them quickly and easily. Before you know it, your drawing workflow will become second nature and smooth as silk.

You’ll Learn How To:

  • Set up your illustration for a consistent look
  • Create custom brushes
  • Master secret Procreate tools to make your art stand out

Why We Love It:

Mimi's style shines throughout the class, inspiring students to develop their unique styles using her simple tips and tricks. You have to try this one.

You Might Also Like: Intro to Procreate: Illustrating on the iPad

Text: An image depicting a title card for the Skillshare class Drawing
    People by Sarah Holliday.

Drawing People: Creating Unique and Dynamic Character Poses in Procreate by Sarah Holliday

Skill Level: Intermediate

On its own, this class pays for a Skillshare subscription several times over by providing art-school-level knowledge on figure drawing. Sarah moves through each concept quickly, making this a perfect course for intermediate students. As another of Skillshare’s Top Teachers, Sarah’s class has been taken over 10,000 times.

You’ll Learn How To:

  • Draw basic proportions
  • Stylize the human form
  • Create character poses

Why We Love It:

Figure drawing can be difficult, frustrating, and downright intimidating. Sarah breaks this skill into bite-sized pieces that are easy to conceptualize and understand. This class will make sense to landscape artists as it focuses heavily on proportions.

You Might Also Like: Isometric Illustration in Procreate: Design Your Dream Room

An image depicting sample art created as part of the class Draw
    Animals in Procreate by Cat Coquillette.

Draw Animals in Procreate: Plus Tips for Art Licensing Sales by Cat Coquillette

Skill Level: Advanced

This class is perfect for students with a consistent art style who are looking to take their art to the next level. Packed with professional tips and tricks, you'll walk away from this class with a print-ready illustration ready for market.

You’ll Learn How To:

  • Choose a print-worthy canvas size
  • Trace images to create your own original sketch
  • Add texture and shading details

Why We Love It:

By taking this class, you’ll get free access to the same brushes and textures Cat uses in artwork that she has created for Target, Urban Outfitters, Homegoods, and more, making her a star-studded Skillshare teacher.

You Might Also Like: Creating an Animated Illustration in Procreate

Best Skillshare Classes for Animation on iPad

Animation can seem intimidating for any digital artist. Thankfully, there are plenty of amazing animation classes on Skillshare that break these concepts down so you can bring your illustrations to life.

An image depicting a title card for the Skillshare class Intro to
    Looom by Rich Armstrong.

Intro to Looom: Create Playful Looping Animations on Your iPad by Rich Armstrong

Skill Level: Novice

As a relatively new app in the marketplace, Looom stands apart with a unique interface that simplifies the complex animation process. For a class with a more traditional approach to animation, see our alternative recommendation below.

You’ll Learn How To:

  • Navigate Looom’s unique interface
  • Work with multiple reels and frame rates
  • Create and share an IG-worthy animation

Why We Love It:

A budget-friendly alternative to Adobe’s Creative Cloud, Looom doesn’t need a subscription and is available as a one-time purchase with a $10 price tag. It’s a wonderful addition to any digital artist’s toolkit.

You Might Also Like: DIY Animation for Beginners

An image depicting sample art created as part of the class Procreate
    Animation for Illustrators by Brook Glaser.

Procreate Animation for Illustrators: Create Easy GIFs in Procreate 5 by Brooke Glaser

Skill Level: Intermediate

By the end of this class, you won't be able to unsee all of the new ways you can breathe life into your Procreate drawings with just a few simple steps. This class is a must for all Procreate fans.

You’ll Learn How To:

  • Navigate all of Procreate’s animation tools
  • Apply nine different animation techniques to your own illustrations
  • Export and share to Instagram

Why We Love It:

We can see why Brooke has over 40,000 followers on Skillshare. She uses tons of whimsical examples for each lesson, making animation fun and approachable.

You Might Also Like: Insect Illustrations and Animations in Procreate

An image depicting a title card for the Skillshare class Animation
    for Illustration by Kay Leathers.

Animation for Illustration: Animating Textures in Photoshop by Kay Leathers

Skill Level: Advanced

Kay gracefully walks the fine line between keeping the class engaging yet incredibly thorough, making this class the perfect introduction to animation in Photoshop for high intermediate and advanced illustration students.

You’ll Learn How To:

  • Set up an animation workspace in Photoshop that allows you to draw with your iPad
  • Reverse-engineer an illustration to view your style in a new light
  • Animate in three different styles

Why We Love It:

Few classes on Skillshare go to the kind of depth on Photoshop animation that Kay does in this one. Her vast knowledge and love of Photoshop will make you into a fan if you aren’t already!

You Might Also Like: Animation Principles: Add Playful Personality To Your Animations by Jake Bartlett

Best Skillshare Classes for Graphic Design on iPad

A basic understanding of graphic design is essential for all digital artists. Plus, with graphic design jobs up as much as 32% in some places over the next 10 years, a self-led education in graphic design can lead to extraordinary creative opportunities.

An image depicting samples created during the Skillshare class
    Graphic Design Basics by Ellen Lupton, Cooper Hewitt, and the Smithsonian
    Design Museum.

Graphic Design Basics: Core Principles for Visual Design by Ellen Lupton, Cooper Hewitt, and the Smithsonian Design Museum

Skill Level: Novice

If you're going to learn the core principles of graphic design from anyone, learn from the best. The instructors do a fantastic job boiling down all essential concepts into an easy-to-follow 30-minute course.

You’ll Learn How To:

  • Nail down the basics of graphic design from symmetry types to scale and framing
  • Break your illustration down to grids and hierarchy (and why they matter)
  • How to make it all come together to create alignment within your composition

Why We Love It:

As veterans in the graphic design world, Ellen and Cooper share time-tested examples and prompts sure to send those abstract concepts home. Welcome to a world-class introduction to Graphic Design.

You Might Also Like: Demystifying Beauty: Inspiration for Design

An image depicting samples created during the Skillshare class
    Radical Typography by James Victore.

Radical Typography: Using Hand-Drawn Branding for Expression & More by James Victore

Skill Level: Intermediate

Just like how Picasso trained in traditional portraiture before he developed his own unique style, this class will challenge you to make graphic design your own.

You’ll Learn How To:

  • Utilize the psychology of typography
  • Break free from convention and play with words to make art
  • Create a brand from just your handwriting

Why We Love It:

Graphic design is changing. No more stale lectures you can only find at expensive art schools. James’ teaching style encapsulates this shift towards individual personality and style that makes graphic design the exciting industry it is today.

You Might Also Like: Color Theory: Get Inspired by Color!

An image depicting a title card for the class topic “Web Design with
    WordPress,” part of the Skillshare class Building out your Graphic Design
    Portfolio by Derrik Mithcell.

Building out your Graphic Design Portfolio by Derrick Mitchell

Skill Level: Advanced

This crash course has it all, from unique project prompts to realistic industry insights. Derrick sets you up to land a job you'll love.

You’ll Learn How To:

  • Create a mind-blowing portfolio using Derrick’s 20+ project prompts
  • Write a compelling resume that stands out in the industry
  • Build digital and hard-copy portfolios

Why We Love It:

Derrick is like a cool, creative big brother. He tells you like it is and sets you up for success at every opportunity.

You Might Also Like: Freelance Graphic Designers Masterclass

A woman leans against a desk while making notes on an iPad.
Finding the best Skillshare classes can be hard, but don’t waste too much time browsing.

Still not sure where to start?

We've outlined several classes that we think are the best in their digital art category based on skill level. If you still aren't sure which path to take out of the big 3 (Illustration, Animation, Graphic Design), choose one of these classes to break the ice:

  1. Find Your Style with Five Exercises to Unlock Your Creative Identity by Andy J. Pizza will do exactly what it says in the title. We also love his podcast called Creative Pep Talk when we need a little extra creative T.L.C. From there, graphic design or illustration might call your name.
  2. If you just need to jump-start the old drawing machine, take your iPad outside with Fatih Mıstaçoğlu in Watercolor Sketch Journaling. Who knows? Maybe animation will seem like an intriguing follow-up challenge.
  3. When people, places, things, and text feel overrated, try Digital Marbling: Create Stunning Abstract Work in Procreate. This might be just the right creative salve for your illustration muscles.

If you’re still struggling, take a few minutes and listen to episode #229 of the Creative Pep Talk podcast by Andy J. Pizza where he outlines six steps to finding your creative taste.

We promise it’s a game-changer no matter where you are in your creative journey.

An image showing the Paperlike screen protector and related
    packaging.
Make your iPad screen feel like real paper.

Don’t Forget the Tool All Digital Art Students Need

Whether you’re learning about texturizing your illustrations, creating hand-drawn lettering, or using your iPad to draw in Photoshop, you’re likely pushing your iPad screen to its limit. Every digital art student needs a screen protector that can keep up.

Paperlike covers the slick glass of your iPad screen with a surface that feels more like paper so you can stop sliding and start sketching freely!

Order your Paperlike today!