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Free online resources for creatives stuck at home

As we all adjust to the changes to our lives caused by coronavirus pandemic, and social distancing becomes the (hopefully temporary) new normal, the creative community is coming together with various brilliant examples of solidarity and support. Every day, we have seen more and more individuals, groups and companies offer their talents and services for free. There's almost too much to count now – which is no bad thing for creatives.

Below are just a few of our favourite online resources and services currently being offered for free during the coronavirus pandemic. You'll find everything from creative software and drawing lessons, to free books and talented authors doing daily story times. 

Some things here are aimed specifically at artists and designers, while others are simply designed to help you manage being stuck at home. Rest assured whatever situation you find yourself in right now, you'll find something here to help make life a little brighter. 

Please feel free to share any resources we've missed at contact@creativebloq.com or on Twitter @Creativebloq. Let's get started with some amazing free tools...

Free software

There are a number of companies offering services for free in an attempt to support creatives financially. Here are all the current offers:

Get Adobe CC free for two months

Adobe is offering two months Creative Cloud for free to already existing individual CC subscribers. With the Covid-19 outbreak hitting everyone hard, this will no doubt come as very welcome news to artists and designers reliant on Adobe apps.  

Adobe CC free for students and teachers

Adobe is also offering temporary free licenses to students and teachers, which could be a lifesaving offer for students currently reliant on Adobe software to complete vital coursework. In order to be eligible, you must attend a school or college registered as an Adobe education customer. 

Free Affinity apps from Serif

Serif is offering everyone 90-days free access to Affinity Designer, Affinity Publisher and Affinity Photo. And at the end of the trial, should you wish to purchase the software, you can do so for half the retail price. Serif has also pledged to engage 100 creatives with paid work amid the virus outbreak. Nice one, Serif. 

Get ftrack Review for free

Say goodbye to multiple emails and messages for the next few months with free access to collaborative media review and approval platform for content creators ftrack Review. The tool is free until at least 31 May 2020 (with date to be reviewed as the pandemic develops). 

Free art classes

Join Rob Biddulph every Tuesday and Thursday for DrawWithRob

Join Rob Biddulph every Tuesday and Thursday for DrawWithRob (Image credit: Rob Biddulph)

A number of artists have taken to doing regular online tutorials as a way to help creatives develop their skills and keep kids busy while they're at home. Here's a list of all the ones we've heard about so far:

Art is where the home is

Firstsite gallery in Colchester has brought together a crack team of well-known UK artists for a series of downloadable activity packs called Art is Where the Home is. Those artists include Grayson Perry, Annie Morris, Jeremy Deller and Antony Gormley, to name a few. The first pack will be available "very soon" – keep an eye on Firstsite's website for details. 

Free art lessons with Aaron Blaise

If you want to learn how to draw, you'll be hard pushed to find a better teacher than legendary Aaron Blaise. The former Disney artist has today announced he will be publishing his lessons either for free or at a huge discount. Home schooling suddenly never looked so good. 

Draw with Rob

Illustrator Rob Bidduph is sharing draw-along videos for kids every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 10AM (GMT), using the hashtag #DrawWithRob. And they've gone down a storm. Even if you don't want to join in, we urge you to take a look at the fantastic submissions so far, which are guaranteed to put a smile on your face. 

Quarantine Art Club

Award-winning American children's book illustrator and artist Carson Ellis has set up her very own Quarantine Art Club for adults and kids alike. Ellis There's a step-by-step video  and handy reference material to help you get stuck in. 

Art club with Noel Fielding

British TV presenter Noel Fielding has set up a Twitter-based online art club, which anyone can join in with. Participants are invited to submit their art to his Twitter handle – @noelfielding11 – and so far they've been glorious.

Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems

Lunch doodles with author Mo Willems, posted at 1PM (EST) every day on Twitter (and streamed after if you miss it). Visit Mo's virtual studio every day and then post your artwork online, using the hashtag #MoLunchDoodles.  

Free colouring templates

Looking for something meditative? There's nothing quite like getting lost in a session of calming colouring in. Lots of illustrators are offering free templates for printing, or even a touch of digital colouring. 

Colour for Calm

Colour for Calm

Claudine O'Sullivan's Colour for Calm (Image credit: Claudine O'Sullivan)

Glasgow-based illustrator Claudine O'Sullivan is offering a free PDF of seven different illustrators (six animals and one cityscape) which can either be printed and coloured, or used as a template for digital illustration. "Drawing has always been an incredibly calming escape for me," says O'Sullivan, "and I believe it can provide the same for others." Check out Colour for Calm here

Squidoodle's free colouring sheets

Kent-based illustrator Steve Turner (better known as Squidoodle) is offering several free colouring templates on his website, including two designed specifically for the current situation. One is a message of support for the NHS, while another carries the hopeful message "We'll get through this!" surrounded by various items including books, headphones and a video game controller. 

Audi's online colouring book

In one of the more unexpected offerings, car manufacturer Audi has posted a free colouring book PDF to its website, featuring various Audi vehicles in a number of exotic locations, from a majestic mountain range to... an Audi dealership store. Because why not?

Free read-alongs

Elsewhere, illustrators and authors are taking to Instagram Live to read their books aloud in daily story times. This is a great way for adults and kids to spend some time together, so check individual Instagram feeds for times and tune in. 

Julia Donaldson

The Gruffalo author has begun a series of weekly broadcasts on the book's official Facebook page, featuring stories, songs and poems from her books. The first broadcast features songs from 2004's A Squash and a Squeeze, and includes an appearance from illustrator Axel Scheffler.

Oliver Jeffers

Author of the popular children's books, How to Catch a Star and Lost and Found Oliver Jeffers has taken to Instagram to doing daily readings. Tune in at 2PM (ET), where posts will be available for 24 hours, and the recording then available on his website after. 

Sophie Blackall

Author and illustrator Sophie Blackall is also taking to Instagram to share artists tips and tricks, based around her favourite books, including Ivy and Bean and Hello Lighthouse. There doesn't appear to be any post schedule, but videos are popping up every other day at the moment. 

Mac Barnett

A daily book club is running from children's book author Mac Barnett, every day at 0900 (ET). Videos are available for 24 hours after posting, so you can catch up after if you miss it. 

Free books

If your stuck at home and want to get stuck in to a good book, there's plenty of free online libraries available.

  • Free ebooks for designers: hone your skills with these 22 amazing resources for both beginners and pros
  • Apple Books currently has a  ‘stay at home’ collection of free read-alongs for kids and audiobooks 

Remote working: the essentials you need

That's a long list of free resources to help keep you in all sorts of ways while stuck at home. If you need some kit to help with remote working, we've also got a number of super-helpful buying guides to help you choose the correct equipment for you. This bit isn't free, sadly, but our price comparison widget will make sure you get the best price possible.

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