1. Art Supply Manufacturers 

Many artist-grade product manufacturers offer loads of free information about how to use their products. Much of this information can be applied to your studio practice in general, even if you don’t end up purchasing their product. The highest quality artist materials manufacturers tend to have the most in-depth and thorough material; their commitment to artists is obvious.

Winsor & Newton
Winsor & Newton makes a large assortment of artist-quality paints and painting accessories. Visit their Resource Centre for instructional videos, health and safety info, colour charts, techniques, FAQ, and more.

Gamblin Artists Colours
Gamblin focuses on artist quality oil paints, mediums, and grounds. Their website contains a wealth of information on the medium, including historical techniques, colour palettes, colour mixing, and more. There is even a video to further explain colour mixing techniques called Navigating Colour Space.

The Liquitex website offers resources for their acrylic products, including how-to videos on varnishing, spray paint, and even inspiration. They also offer a number of literature hand-outs which include step-by-step how-tos for their product.

Golden Artist Colours
Golden specializes in artist-grade acrylic paints. Their website offers free information on application techniques, including paints, mediums, and grounds. They also have a large library of innovative decorative techniques in their Decorative Library.

2. The Library

In the age of the internet, it helps to remember that there are a plethora of artist books at your local library, the information from which is not found online. Books on techniques, how-to, art business, inspiration, theory, and more are beneficial for the artist who is open to learning new things.  Additionally, be sure to check with your local art school or college to see if they allow non-students to use their library.

3. The Internet!

For the business side of being an artist, visit the Art Biz Blog, browse the “business of art” posts on Artsy Shark, or the articles for artists on ArtBusiness.com.

The art supply store Opus has many resources online including how-to videos and information hand outs. If you live in Vancouver, they also offer free live demos at their stores. A schedule is posted here.

For art inspiration and drawing tips, visit the Artist’s Help tumblr
For general artist advice, visit the Artist Advice tumblr

Tessa McSorley offers the free e-course “how to draw.”

For some good old-fashioned inspiration, visit these websites:
Artists Inspire Artists
The Jealous Curator
I Love That Photo
The Art Cake

4. Local free talks and lectures from artists

Many galleries both public and private offer free artist talks and lectures to coincide with the opening of a new exhibition. You can learn a lot of surprising information from hearing an artist speak about their own work; it might even give you some inspiration for your own practice. Check your local listings to find an event you are interested in. In Canada, you can sign up for Instant Coffee.

5. 10 Weeks to Improve your Artistic Career (from The Practical Art World)

The Practical Art World posted a series of 10 “prompts” for artists to invigorate their practice. You can do one per week, one per day, or just the ones which inspire you!

Week 1: Contact Artists you Admire
Week 2: View Art in Person
Week 3: Create a Structured Project
Week 4: Take Advantage of your Resources
Week 5: Fine-tune an Artistic Target
Week 6: Get your Paperwork in Order
Week 7: Seek out and Learn from Critical Feedback
Week 8: Take a Class
Week 9: Exhibit Your Work
Week 10: Connect with Your Community

What is the most helpful free resource you’ve used as an artist? 

Image credit: Antony Ruggiero

8 thoughts on “5 Places to Find Free Art Education & Inspiration

  1. A great list of resources to keep artists connected and learning, all year.
    I would like to add to your list university lectures as part of a free resource to artists. Sometimes you can attend lectures in the evening. I would just contact a University in your area that offers a BFA and you should be able to find out about any public lectures.

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