Online Art Class Reviews and Masterpost

IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator Mod Emeritus
Online Art Class Masterpost
This thread is for gathering information and reviews on online classes. There are tons out there, now, but figuring out which ones are worth the cost can be hard.

If you've taken a class and you have something to say about it, please feel free to post. If you have something to say and don't want it attached to your name, so long as its still a productive and reasonable review, please PM me. I will post your review anonymously. Try to list pros and cons, and if you have your work from the class anywhere online, link to it for us.

First, here's a general list of classes.
Note: If critiques are only available by a provided peer community, in a group "Q&A" session, or you only have a small chance to be chosen for critique from the professor, then it will be listed as "No". If they are available by an extra tier of payment I will try to be specific. Otherwise, if listed as "No" you should assume that whats available is a course of videos you can watch at your own pace. Prices are rounded up, from quick browsing. Check the sites for specifics.
website: [url=""]-Main Site-[/url] [url=""]-Youtube Channel-[/url]
Critique Available:

Courses/Lessons provided:
Forum Thread:

website: -Main Site- -Youtube Channel-
Focus: Anatomy.
Price: $80-$150 (videos are sold in sets)
Critique Available: No
Proko is a free youtube channel that is a gateway to buying more structured videos available through his mainsite. It should be note that there is a lot of free content and looking through his channel should be a huge benefit to beginners. All considering, I haven't seen any of the pay videos, so its hard to know how much more in depth they are. The youtube makes some things clear though, Proko is articulate, easy to understand, and not bad at editing. The videos tend to have a little fun.
Courses/Lessons provided:
Anatomy of the Human Body
Figure Drawing Fundamentals
Portrait Drawing Fundamentals

Watts Atelier of the Arts
website: -Main Site- -Youtube Channel-
Focus: Anatomy, Fundamentals, Landscape, Illustration
Price: Monthly payments, $100 for fundamental videos, 200 for full access.
Critique Available: Yes Monthly payments increase to $300-700 for feedback.
Watts is well known for its instruction, and a few AC members have benefited from classes at the actual school. The suggested course of action is to take a lower tier membership, and then upgrade for a month of feedback. Generally watts is traditionally focused, and they have their own methods for using materials and constructing the figure.

Courses/Lessons provided:

CG Master Academy (CGMA)
website: -Main Site- -Workshops- -Youtube Channel-
Focus: Illustration, Concept Art, 2D/3D digital art techniques.
Price: Courses: $600 - 700 Workshops $40 per course
Critique Available: Yes for courses, No for workshops
CGMA provides courses that are much more aimed at career/portfolio building than traditional fundamental skills. Because critique is included in courses, you'll need to register for classes, as they have limited seats.

Courses/Lessons provided:

website: -Main Site- -Youtube Channel-
Focus: 2d Digital painting techniques
Price: $144 (yearly)-$1000 (one class)
Critique Available: Yes, courses with crits are all pretty much $1000. You can now Subscribe to a year of schoolism (currently, unless you kickstarted it you must pay for a full year ($144) and it costs an extra dollar to switch classes.
Schoolism has been around for a while and its been highly praised. For a comparable course selection to CGMA, the classes are a bit more expensive. The professors are generally well known professionals, and some classes fill up excessively fast. Again, the focus tends to be more career/portfolio building rather than traditional fundamental skills.

Courses/Lessons provided:

Art Camp
website: -Main Site- -Youtube Channel-
Focus: Basic learning and Workflow management
Price: $250
Critique Available: No
Art camp was popularized by Noah Bradely's initial "dont go to artschool" blog, after which he started this course. Artcamp now appears to be a banked collection of videos and a forum that you are granted admission to upon purchasing the course. In my opinion, art camp is more of a kick forward than a structured course, with some good tips on how to set yourself up for better self teaching. I've you've never gone to school and have no idea where to begin, this isn't a terrible option for beginners to start to figure out their way. If you are looking for in depth, pointed technical lessons to build your fundamentals, I would lean more towards watts in terms of cost to information. Buying art camp give you lifetime access to the videos you purchased, though.
Forum Threads:

Courses/Lessons provided:
School of Visual Storytelling (SVS)
website: -Main Site- -Youtube Channel-
Focus: Character, Animation, Childrens Books
Price: 40-450
Critique Available: No
I haven't really heard much about these classes, there is a huge range in price, and the scope seems a bit narrow compared to some of the other online schools. Checking out the youtube channel here is a good idea (as it is with any of the school), as I noted slightly tinny audio. They do offer live sessions, with limited seats.

Courses/Lessons provided:

Individual Lectures (Gumroad, and such)

Accuracy - A Drawing Guide by Dorian Iten
website: www.dorian-iten.com/accuracy/
Focus: Proper Proportions/Measuring
Price: Pay what you want.
Description: Great for beginners, or people who may not have learned some of the foundations of measuring in school. This teaches the basic methods of comparing angles, lines, and analyzing shapes.

Iruka on


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    FlayFlay Registered User regular
    I've bought all of Proko's premium videos. I haven't watched the free videos for comparison, but the premium videos are on average 5-10 minutes longer than the free videos. You also access to many more example videos (of his gesture process, for example) which I've found very useful. The anatomy series also comes with several rotatable 3D models of bones (and, I assume, muscles in the future), which I've also found pretty handy. The 'skelly' app he released does a similar job to the 3D models, but it's impossible to isolate individual bones.

    YMMV but I've gotten my money's worth.

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    IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator Mod Emeritus
    @Flay For Proko, do you automatically get access to new content after you pay that 80 bucks? so if he releases new premium vids, you don't have to pay anything additional?

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    FlayFlay Registered User regular
    edited September 2015
    His videos are sold in sets. If you pay for the Artistic Anatomy series, which is currently ongoing, you'll get all the videos in that series as he releases them, until he finishes and moves on to the next series.

    Flay on
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    IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator Mod Emeritus
    edited September 2015
    So I got a schoolism subscription. Right now I'm in Jason Seiler's "The Art of Caricature " class. I wanted to make a few notes about schoolism since I've always had questions but I never really knew enough about it to think "Yes, this is worth 1k". After getting in and watching the critique videos, I can say that I can see the values in those courses. Direct feedback from the instructor would be a huge benefit. But I'm going to focus my posts on this one particular class. I'll probably link back to user reviews in the OP, so if anyone else takes a crack at a course and wants to leave some feedback in here, go for it.

    The Art of Caricature with Jason Seiler schoolism review,

    For some initial notes, I'm still working on getting through the actual assignments. When you are in the self taught class, there's less of an inclination to consume lessons one week at a time, though to some degree that is probably a better way to approach it. I'm instead watching ahead, and re watching stuff as I tackle the actual assignment.

    I decided to take this class for some reasons that are contrary to Seiler's endgoal, I'm not really aiming to do Caricatures for magazines, but rather to make better and more interesting faces in my personal work and character design. Finding likeness has always been difficult for me, so I figure some of the root of my problems is making generic features.


    -Seiler loves faces and it shows.
    At no point in the course did it seem like Seiler was disinterested in the subject matter at hand. Every face he looks at is "funny", and he displays a huge amount of skill in just observing the features. The first few videos on this are great.

    -Seiler isn't caught up on style.
    I signed up for this course blindly, so I didn't know much about the artists work outside of the video preview for the course. I assumed that he would be interested in art that mostly looks a particular way in terms of rendering and style, but he seems to really enjoy his students explorations and focuses on fairly technical corrections in terms of getting likeness and using good value.

    Lots of tips for beginners
    He has a few videos dedicated to taking and using reference, sketching out your ideas, and pushing yourself. I think hes also really efficient in critiques with newer artists, honest without being harsh. I noticed a lot of critique videos asked him to be more hard on them, and not "hold back", but I think Seiler strikes a great tone of pushing his students forward without actively trying to beat them down.


    -The original recordings are pretty old
    Seiler is running CS2 in the original videos, which dates them (assuming he upgraded as time went on) to 2005/2006. That's mostly detrimental in teaching you anything about how he uses photoshop now with a larger tablet, I wasn't really in it for his painting techniques, but if you were, or are just starting out, you may not want to have to translate that information to 9 years of photoshop development. It also means that Seiler's art has improved quite a bit from those original paintings he did for the class, and there are certain aspects to his old work that I don't like as much as his recent work. You can supplement both of these issues with watching the critique videos, though, which are far more recent.

    In combination with the old videos, if you have a good technical understanding of photoshop, watching him set up certain things up may drive you a little crazy. Its a pretty minor nitpick, in the scope of the class. Everyone works differently, but I thought that was worth mentioning if you are looking for program tips.

    -Pacing yourself at the self taught level maybe difficult
    When you sign up for a schoolism class, there's a ton you can consume at once. This isn't really particular to Seiler's class of course, but its something to think about as you are committing to a year of schoolism when you sign up now, so having some forward thought on how you are going to commit some time to your course and where you are going to try and get feedback is important.

    Some notes specific to me

    I don't really follow celebrities or pop culture
    A lot of the assignments are celebs and politicians because the class is really aimed at you being a professional artist doing this for publications. Since thats not really my end goal, I was pretty frightfully bored. I switched out the assignments for drawing some more recognizable people for me, game grumps, friends, and the like, and things are going more smoothly. If I were taking the normal class I would push my self to be on assignment, but I think in the self taught class it may make more sense to work with people who you, and the people who may crit you, are really familiar with.

    The industry stuff at the end was a little less interesting to me
    I don't have aspirations to do this for freelance, and a lot of his last videos break down the back and forth between him and his art directors. Useful information for most students in the class, but for me it was all pretty familiar just from peers and school.

    I wish I could pay a lighter fee just to grab some of Seiler's feedback at the end of the course
    Not getting feedback from the instructor is rough, especially when its hard to find students in his lot that are in the course for the same reasons you are so you can feed off the provided crits. Being able to pay a reduced fee for a onetime crit would be pretty excellent, as I'm not sure I would want to grab the full course just to follow along with the class. That being said, it is something I'm considering so that's a positive reflection on the course.

    Its way out of my comfort zone
    This class is probably the furthest from what I do "normally" and that's why I took it. My sketches are weak and I can tell just by looking at them and comparing them to the videos. That's a powerful wake up call for any artist, even if you are far along in your process and career, to realize you are bad at certain things and push yourself hard to try and get some skills in it just because. If anyone is just feeling stagnant, I encourage you to try a course that's way outside your current reach.

    Anyway! As I get some work done I'll be sure to post it on the forums so I can get crits from you guys! I'm going to stop typing now.

    Iruka on
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    IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator Mod Emeritus
    c-c-cross poooost:
    Absolutely. For anyone else, these are a really great free resource:

    The site is Ctrl+Paint

    I just started in the tutorial library and went in order. The videos are really helpful, then the files for the exercises are linked at the bottom.


    Brush Control Pt.1
    Brush Control Pt. 2
    Brush Technique: Blending
    The worksheet on that one isn't available on the site, but you can find it here:
    Paint Blending Practice

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    CarlosBCarlosB Registered User regular
    I purchased Proko's Premium Portrait Drawing and Figure Drawing courses. Haven't purchased the anatomy courses.

    • The Figure Drawing course is excellent and actually gets better as the course progresses. You can tell Stan is learning how to make better videos
    • He gives you assignments at the end of almost every video
    • Premium is well worth it because you get maybe 100 demonstrations of Proko doing the different assignments
    • The learning curve is well thought-out as well. Only felt like one of the segments was confusing because of my lack of anatomy knowledge
    • His videos are in HD and you can really see everything he's demonstrating
    • Proko will provide feedback if you tag a drawing with #proko in a post on social media. I think if you asked him to in an email he would likely give you more detailed feedback as well.
    • Appreciate his efforts to make learning enjoyable

    • Portrait Drawing videos were the first ones he made, so they move too rapidly through the demonstration and he doesn't include his reference photo in the video itself. Thus, it's harder to learn from his demonstrations. He also doesn't provide assignments in the same way as the Figure Drawing Course. Stan has said he wants to redo this course later on. If you're just interested in drawing faces, his free Portrait Drawing videos are probably fine.

    Some NSFW drawings I made at the end of the course. I also made hundreds of gesture drawings and variations during the course. Prior to this, I'd most recently completed all of the exercises in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain and taken a few beginning or figure drawing classes at local art centers or community colleges, but didn't retain a ton from them.

    I think the most important thing about the Proko course is that you have to make sure to do the assignments. His videos are so slickly produced and densely informational that it's easy to watch them all in a row, enjoy them, and learn something. But you won't retain most of the information this way and you won't get better at drawing.

    Proko also provides a really important instruction at the top of the Premium videos page (and nowhere else, so it's easy to miss) -- do each drawing three times. I think being able to draw along with Proko really did help me learn and have something to compare against. I followed this for most exercises but admittedly I didn't do the final project three times over (a multi-hour, detailed figure drawing). But I did make several different final drawings.
    What I recommend to students is:

    1. Attempt the pose
    2. Watch me draw the pose and you follow along
    3. Attempt the pose again without looking at mine

    This allows you to compare your original to mine and see where the differences are. Then drawing it while watching me helps you learn through imitation. And finally drawing it a third time from memory reinforces the good habit. Drawing the same thing 3 times might seem boring, but it’s this kind of discipline practice that will get you faster results.

    Getting momentum is important. Draw hard and draw often!

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    IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator Mod Emeritus
    Thanks for posting that review @CarlosB that's excellent information.

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    IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator Mod Emeritus
    edited January 2016
    Disclaimer: As stated in the OP, If you'd like to post a review but would like to do so anonymously, You can submit it to me via private message and I will post it for you. This honest feedback on a course was submitted to me by a student, and posted at their request. Information on online courses can be limited, and safe spaces/ways to post honest feedback about people who are big in their industries can be tough. If you've taken a class and have feedback for the course, it can be immeasurably helpful for students about to purchase courses, which is no small expense for most of us!

    What follows is the text provided from the student, verbatim.

    Rad Sechrist How To School Storyboard Class Review

    So I'm currently taking this class at the moment and wanted to jot down thoughts along the way so that it wouldn't all come out in the bath after everything's been said and done. This is a boards class focused on feature animation.

    I wanted to review his class because frankly, there's nothing out there, not even on his own school's site. I feel like I took a risk investing in his class that I now have regrets about it and wish to share.


    • The first 4 weeks are great, learning about cutting and camera moves was huge for me. Learning how feature works in comparison to tv animation was also very helpful.

    • The feedback is spot on.

    • The class is good if you already know what you're doing and just need someone to give you feedback.


    It's a long list I'm afraid! It's by no means intentional, I think Rad is a decent guy, I just have a lot of feedback in ways it could be improved. Around the 4 week mark though is where I felt things were really starting to go askew. Let me just say that I think with anything new it's normal and natural to feel a little frustrated by your own inabilities, but that frustration can be relieved by getting the solid information you need in order to strive ahead. I relied heavily on the feedback of art buddies outside of class during this time to get me through the rough patches and I also went back to Kris Pearn's old Schoolism class I have on hand. The difference in information is pretty staggering.

    And just to clarify that the 4 week mark is where we started our intrepid adventure into a 80-100 panel storyboard we'd be working on for the next 2 months.

    • During this time I was frustrated, a lot, and I didn't really feel like I had a way to express it in a way that could be received or invited, or that I could get a helpful solution outside the critique itself. There was a disconnect, communication always felt kind of jerky and awkward.

    I think my main issue with the class is that we really don't get into the nuts and bolts of storytelling, which you'd think is what would drive this class. He read off from Save the Cat on how a feature works and went over the wants and needs of a character, that the characters need to relate to each other, but there's so much more in the guts that doesn't get discussed. Like what's the best way to break down your story, how do you pull it apart and inspect all the elements to make sure it's working? Information is read off to us, we board and get critique, and in effect don't really process the information in what I would consider to be an educational manner. We're never really told how to break down the storytelling process, how to whip everything into shape and making sure it all points back to our theme.

    • Critique doesn't feel personalized or geared toward the individual. By that I mean simply being told what to keep, what to take out in an editorial process is topical. Something more appropriate would be first understanding the story the student is trying to create, taking notice of issues individual students may be struggling with and offering personal solutions.

    • Which leads me to the fact that there's a lot of us. My class is 35, and it sounds like previous classes were larger. The general format is 2 hours per class with 1 hour dedicated to the lesson, and 1 to critique with a little extra time if needed. Or if class runs a little longer then remaining critique is continued on the following Tuesday at the same time.

    • I noticed that if anything was not in board format, it got ignored. So if people were posting issues they were having with their story and were posting script, it was passed over for the next student's work!

    • I really question the class format itself. Sessions are recorded, but they're the same classes recorded every quarter. If all of this has been explained before in previously recorded classes, then what's the point? It would be much more productive if we were given the lessons ahead of time to watch, be given the assignment, and then have the 2 hour class session where we could ask questions we may have, and really get into the nitty gritty of the more fine technical aspects of story, or more in depth feedback.

    • Rad's process is a bit difficult if you're new to boarding, and that's basically going straight ahead with no thumbnailing. I don't recommend it, and I think it really tripped me up early on thinking this is how it should be done. We never get into that aspect of process, maybe some photoshop tricks to make things faster, but thumbnailing or breaking down a scene are not discussed.

    • The order in which things are taught at times can be odd. I think instead of week 6 it would have been more appropriate to talk a little about process somewhere in the first few weeks when people had those questions. After week 4 I no longer felt prepared for the task given.

    • I don't feel like his heart is really in this class, and I don't think he's a good teacher. Taking this class didn't get me excited for boarding, it gave me a lot of dread and frustration. Going back to Kris Pearn's schoolism class is literally day and night and I strongly recommend getting your hands on it.


    If you already know what you're doing and are just looking for a little refresher and feedback then it's suitable, but if you're new to boarding and want to get in depth knowledge in understanding the process then no, I don't recommend it.

    Iruka on
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    IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator Mod Emeritus
    edited September 2016
    Realistic Portraiture with Jason Seiler schoolism review

    So I want to chronicle my schoolism experience. As noted above, His caricature self taught course was enough for me to get a feel for his lecture style and feedback style. I'd recommend grabbing schoolisms subscription for a year to anyone whos looking to take these classes, because the difference between all these teachers and structure may surprise you.

    ON Schoolism Itself:

    So, I put down my 700 on this course and I have to say, the first two-three weeks were riddled with problems. Day one, all the vidoes for lesson one were uploaded at midnight, but resolved to an error. They fixed this in the morning. Then, turning in the assignments resulted in an error, that took another day to fix. Then the feedback vidoes resulted in the same errors, another day to fix. Every service has its hiccups, and I felt bad for Seiler who received all of our assignments late. I'm sure messed with his personal scheduling, and for us students it was a frustrating time. Schoolism support was slow to respond, so you never really knew how long each issue would take to resolve.

    In combination with the class switches taking a day and other weird structural choices, I think schoolism has a lot of room for improvement for its infrastructure. There are not a lot of services like it, and I've not experienced CGMA which is probably its only real comparable alternative. To me, all that doesn't mean that for the money you shouldn't get a relatively smooth online experience.

    Anyway, on to the course:


    -Jason Seiler is an accurate painter,

    Seiler is a pro ans has been for a long time, and therefor he has a keen eye for measuring. Watching him pick up very small discrepancies in your work by mostly glancing at it is pretty great. It reminds you that practicing measuring is not a fruitless endeavor, even as a more experienced artist.

    -Hes got solid feedback, generally, that is technically focused

    This is a class on realism, and he had a huge range of skill levels in his class. All of his crits were generally focused and accurate. If you want to take a course where someone is going to tell you that your eye is just a hair too low, or that you were just off by a few brush strokes and pixels, he has the chops to provide that kind of feedback for sure.

    -Its a really good excuse to get that kind of photo study done

    If you aren't in school, forcing yourself to do six weeks of this kind of thing can be a pain, and even worse is trying to get someone to actually spend the time checking it for errors. If this is something you think would benefit you, this is a great place to get this type of study done. knowing you are going to get as pointed feedback as possible makes you commit. The two weeks of drills on individual features was probably my favorite part.


    -Its not an anatomy course.

    I went into this class looking to improve faces in my illustrations, and not really become an accurate portrait artist. Its probably important to note that for the painter who's expecting someone to slowly walk them through facial planes and construction is going to be slightly disappointed by the very short focus on it. The truth is Seiler does not seem to really build up his drawings that way on paper. Hes measuring his subjects more directly from photos and using his knowledge to fill in any gaps, but because of that, the less experienced may feel difficulty getting started. He does cover anatomy of the skull and individual features, but its pretty quick.

    I would hope someone whos reeeeally in depth with this kind of stuff, like proko, might put out some more robust facial anatomy guides later.

    - Its not much of a conversation.

    You are turning in your work to a teacher who hasnt seen any of your other work and probably never will, which means that you don't really form a really solid relationship regarding your own personal aspirations for the course. Generally, this course if technical enough that its not really detrimental, but if you are a cartoonist or an illustrator just looking to push some realism into your work, its probably important to note that your crits aren't going to take that into account. The course should be looked at as hard line assignments to do verboten.

    -Its probably not a great self-taught course for advanced students.

    Because its not really an anatomy course, and because Seiler measures by sight, his demos are interesting but not quite as informative as someone more prone to "show their work" as they go. There's not a lot of advice in here that you don't know in your heart, its the critiques that will force you to look at your work with heavier scrutiny. Unless you are super interested in how Seiler's career got started and such, the meat of the course is in the feedback.

    Some notes specific to me

    -In the end... I kinda still wish I took the caricature course.

    I think that Seiler really narrowed his focus in this class to treat it more as a foundation for is other course. In the end, I got a bit bored with my finished portrait because taking things to that level or rendering doesn't interest me. This is my problem, and doesn't really reflect on the course.

    Iruka on
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    gavindelgavindel The reason all your software is brokenRegistered User regular
    Watts Atelier (Full subscription)

    The full sub to Watts online includes drawing, painting, and master classes. The drawing classes are all available for the basic sub. They actually include some rather advanced head and figure work in charcoal. Thus, the difference for a full subscription ($200 a month) is in the painting and master classes.

    The full materials almost universally assume that you have competence in the drawing section of the class. They focus on differences in medium and execution, leaving the basic construction to you. This seems pretty necessary, or we'd need hours to get anywhere.

    First up, gouache. Jeff emphasizes a layered, tile approach to gouache. He advertises this medium as a stepping stone to oil to help promote control and design. The four demonstrations are quite impressive, though cryptic. Each is several hours long, taking the piece from layin (drawing already done) to final touches. This phase feels a bit lacking in technical help. He shows the four pieces and their workbooks, but he doesn't linger on the thought process behind the build up.

    Next is oil, a section I'm not going to be much of a judge on. He starts by reusing the assignments from the drawing section - the Asaro head, the anatomy abstractions - but with the complications of a new medium and limited palette. Given I haven't even finished the drawing versions of these, I haven't tried the oil ones yet.

    Painting also includes still life and landscape sections. These begin to focus more on composition and harmonies. By now, you should know how to draw the barn. This is more about how to put the barn on the hill. This begins to delve into a more abstract set of art.

    Next, the master classes. These fall into a couple broad categories: in depth technical work on a subject, a broad discussion of a topic, or industry examples. The in depth technical stuff includes drapery, perspective, anatomy - things where you dive in and really grind at it. The broad discussions are mostly by Robert Watts, and they're broad relaxed lecture classes. The industry examples are geared towards examples of comic work, concept art work, card work, etc, and they show someone take a project through the paces from conception to finish.

    The amount of material in the full subscription is amazing. Some of these painting classes have 20 videos in them, and many of the master classes are 10 to 15 each. If you actually worked through them, one at a time, I think it would take years to finish. The format for assignments remains workbooks with examples to complete and turn in. I imagine that turn around remains an issue (generally takes about three weeks for my submissions to get graded). There is no real reward for completing modules, of course, except bragging rights and some silly achievements.

    Personally, the most useful classes for me in the full package are the brass tack ones: perspective, drapery, anatomy. These are (not coincidentally) also the most accessible to noobs and the ones least interested in abstracted musing. I'm not sure I could justify paying 200 dollars a month for some of the more philosophical classes. There are some upcoming classes that seem interesting; I particularly want to see how the Watts emphasis on the abstraction adjusts for inking and comic work.

    Regardless, there is no duration of membership. You can upgrade and downgrade at will, and obviously you can keep whatever workbooks you downloaded. I would recommend the full program as something to sample for two or three months and then review.

    Book - Royal road - Free! Seraphim === TTRPG - Wuxia - Free! Seln Alora
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