10 top learning resources for illustrators

Whether you're new to illustration or you're a seasoned professional, there's always more to learn. But with so many options, how do you know where to focus your time – or more importantly, where to spend your money?

This round-up explores great 10 ways to learn, including both paid and free online resources, books in print, and even some of the best YouTube channels for illustrators. If you're looking for a few more resources in your learning toolbox, this should get you started.

Online learning

You can learn almost anything online these days, so it's no surprise at how many places offer courses on design and illustration. Here are my top three picks for online learning.

01. CreativeLive 

From free

CreateLive offers online classes for creative professionals, including classes that focus specifically on art and design. You'll need to pay between $39 and $199 for its on-demand courses, but it also offers a ton of free, live and on-air classes.

With more than 10 million students and 650 instructors, there's a large, growing community of creatives waiting for you to connect with and learn with.

02. Society of Visual Storytelling

From US$10 per video/ $12.50 per month to access everything

SVSLearn is another online learning resource for illustrators. Since 2012, SVS co-founders Will Terry and Jake Parker have been making instructional videos that highlight their work process.

Since then, Lee White has joined the team, along with other top illustrators and industry professionals, such as Guy Francis and Mel Milton.

03. London Art College

From $283/£190

My last recommendation in this category is the London Art College. The London Art College offers 30 online art courses for all ages and abilities. Its courses are accessible 24/7, and you can work at your own pace.

As an added bonus, you'll have access to your own personal tutor. Prices are reasonable, and there are a few different study types available: Diploma (most priced at $508/£360), Certificate ($396/£275), Short ($283/£190), and Young Artists ($198/£125).

Books are another great resource for continued learning. If you're a designer or an illustrator, make sure you have these three books nearby – or for a more comprehensive collection, take a look at our list of books every graphic designer should read.

04. Universal Principals of Design

$25/£13

Whether you're an artist, illustrator, designer, or developer, the Universal Principals of Design by William Lidwell, Kritina Holden, and Jill Butler is a must-have.

Inside its pages, you'll learn how to make your designs work for you (and your clients) by reviewing many different concepts and practices, from a variety of industries and disciplines.

05. Illustration that Works

$20.40/£26

They call it the 'everything you need to know' guide to the world of professional illustration, and I couldn't agree more. Greg Houston breaks down the technical aspects of illustration and design in this 200-plus page book.

In addition, there are several assignments for you to try, and 400 examples for you to follow.

06. Creative Illustration

$29/£27

Another remarkable book is Creative Illustration by Andrew Loomis. In fact, if you can only have one book on your shelf, this should be the one – especially if you're serious about a professional illustration career.

Loomis breaks this book into seven sections: Line, Tone, Color, Telling the Story, Creating Ideas, Fields of Illustration, and Experimenting and Studies. Although some of the illustrations are a bit outdated, the lessons are timeless.

The best of YouTube

YouTube is often overlooked as a 'serious' learning platform. And while some of the content isn't great, there are tons of useful resources out there. In fact, there's so much stuff for illustrators that it was difficult for me to pick my top three – so I picked my top four instead.

07. Draw with Jazza

Free

One of my favourite YouTube channels is Draw with Jazza. Run by Josiah Brooks, Draw with Jazza is filled with a little bit of everything: reviews, tutorials, unboxings and more.

If you're looking for an all-round good channel, this is your best bet. I had an opportunity to interview Josiah on Roundabout: Creative Chaos (listen here).

08. Will Terrell

Free

Will Terrell's channel is another great resource for illustrators. He offers tips, advice, tutorials and interviews. He also uploads a lot of speed-sketching videos, which are fun to watch.

09. Brandon Green

Free

Although the number of new videos has slowed a little, the existing content on this channel is more than enough. Brandon Green's artistic technique and teaching style will keep you coming back for more.

10. Will Terry

Free

Last, but certainly not least, is Will Terry. You probably recognise his name from the Society of Visual Storytelling, above. On his YouTube channel, Terry gives advice to illustrators about business, marketing, and professional practices. There's a lot of encouragement and anecdotes, and the occasional interview.

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