Some say they don’t like art. We say, that’s a pretty big statement against a term which encapsulates such vast ranging media. “When I say artist”, said the legendary Jackson Pollock, “I mean the one who is building things … some with a brush – some with a shovel – some choose a pen.” Choose your tool, then, and let us show you how to learn to become an artist for free.
Take a Free Art Course
For those without the time, money or inclination to embark on a degree course, there is a brilliant initiative called Future Learn. It offers free university courses to anyone and the whole thing is conducted online at a pace of between 1 – 6 hours a week. The University of Warwick, The British Museum and Yonsei University in Korea are just a few of the many establishments that contribute to the educational resources.
Launched in 2012, Future Learn does not currently offer many art programmes but its list is growing. Once you’re registered you’ll be alerted to new courses that fit your interest. It’s worth mentioning that you won’t come away from the course with an actual degree and you must be prepared to work under your own steam; you’ll only get out as much as you put in. Register for free and begin your programme on your computer, tablet or even your mobile from anywhere in the world.
Free Online Art Lessons
The web is chock-full of instructional guides and videos from art lovers keen to share with you their expertise. Here’s a tiny fraction of them:
The Virtual Instructor gives an illustrated guide to painting, drawing and digital art, all for free. If you’d like to go premium you can sign up for an under £2/month membership and watch live streamed lessons. Signing up to their free e-newsletter gives you a sneak peak of what’s offered with membership.
Free Online Art Classes is run by an artist and art instructor. Categories span fabric printing, jewellery making and advice on finding subject matter.
Arty Factory includes illustrated directions for creating ancient Egyptian-style art, perspective drawing, Pop art and more.
Creative Live offer a large catalogue of free-to-stream art and design tutorial videos, many of which deal with how to use digital programs.
Getting Yourself Art Supplies
Artists’ Network runs a monthly sweepstake with arty prizes worth up to £115, such as an acrylic brush set.
For myriad graphic designs and intricate patterns printed on thick, good quality paper, consider ordering some free wallpaper samples. Cut and glue them, build with them, draw on them, replicate them or create a collage. Farrow & Ball will send free wallpaper samples on request.
Designer Wallpapers offer a small selection as samples.
Bank some good karma by joining a sharing network. Streetbank is an online resource that enables sharing between neighbours. It currently consists of nearly 41,000 members. You’ll find art supplies and tools to borrow here.
Talent without inspiration is like a damp firework. Find something to stir your creative juices before you put pen to paper. For starters, check out our post on See Art for Free and Become a Cultural Mastermind, where you’ll find advice on finding free galleries, student art shows, street art tours and art markets.
A man with a soothing voice and a wonderful talent, the late Bob Ross is one to watch for nifty art tips and inspiring natural subject matter. Stream clips from his show Joy of Painting on the dedicated Bob Ross Youtube channel.
Get outdoors. Try capturing natural beauty such as lakes, vegetation and rolling hills with watercolour paints. Have a go at using charcoal to depict architecture like old cathedrals, bridges or modern skyscrapers.
Ask a friend to sit for you so you can take their portrait. They say a good artist manages to bring out the personality of the subject in his/her drawing or painting. Are you up to the challenge?
Turn Everyday Items into Art
You can make art for free using items around the house and garden.
Papier Mâché is delightfully messy and requires only newspaper, glue and a bowl and paintbrush. You can use white PVA glue or wallpaper paste watered down or a mixture of flour and water glue.
Bring forth the demons and humanoids of your imagination into moulded papier mâché form.
Experiment with moulds such as balloons: pack the gluey newspaper around the balloon, leave to dry then pop and remove the balloon, leaving you with a bowl.
Make your own stop motion animation video with your camera phone and a free app. It’s the flaws of this technique which give it its distinctive charm, unlike anything you could create with high-tech digital programs. Stop Motion Studio is a brilliant app which is, for a limited time, free to purchase. For Android devices, try the rather adorable Gifagram Lite.
Look at this miniature installation consisting of tiny scenes inside toilet roll inner tubes. It’s the innovation of artist Anastassia Elias, who uses tweezers to assemble the pieces.
Su Blackwell is just one of many artists who use old books as their medium. In order to give this technique a go yourself, source some free books after reading our blog post How to Become Well-Read for Free.
John Dilnot creates shadow box art using twigs and paper:
Shadow box “forest” – this would look really cool as a series of stacked boxes too, with the forest continuing – I think I’d have to put a little butterfly in there (maybe tea-stained paper) or a little nest or bird – this one is full of owls.
You might want to visit Streetbank for this one, as a saw for the wooden box and pliers for the twigs will be helpful.
We have our daily Pinterest trawl to thank for this find:
DIY String Map Art
A piece of wood, a load of nails and some string are used to dramatic effect. Choose your design, pencil it onto your piece of wood, lie the wood flat on the ground and carefully bang the nails straight downwards all the way along the outline. Don’t worry about the state of your wood; even a bit of old driftwood will give an excellently rustic look.
We thought we’d leave you with this final inspiration: The Daily Routines of Famous Creatives. How does your regime compare to those of Mozart or Picasso?
More free art stuff on Latest Free Stuff:
Free Art Galleries Entry