Studying Art: Online Learning Vs Practical Workshops

Sep 28,2017

Learning - whether conscious or unintentional is something we do everyday and it’s always a step forward. During exhibitions and workshops around the UAE I have met with a number of people that want to study art but do not know how to best approach this subject

Sure they are aware of the various institutes and courses available in the UAE and are also capable of looking up instructional videos online but too much information can also be a barrier.

Both online learning and practical workshops have benefits and accessing the right amount of information at the right time can make all the difference. My intention with this article is to breakdown this process for a beginner and use my own experience to illustrate the aid both methodologies provide.


Online Search

Beginners are often hesitant to visit an art institute or attend a workshop. This is primarily because they are not sure which course is right for them and secondly courses can be expensive (landing the wrong one often leads to severe disappointment!)

However the modern era has provided artists with an efficient alternative in the form of online tutorials. Thanks to youtube and other streaming platforms a number of these tutorials are free. Here are some of my favourite youtube channels that may be a good starting point for you.

Drawing - Paul Priestley

Watercolor - The mind of watercolor 

Realistic Portraits Oil Painting - Lena Dayna

Abstarct Palette Knife Painting - Leonid Afremov 

Acrylics - Acryclic Painting Techniques


Materials and Medium

This is perhaps the bridge that best connects online learning to practical workshops. I believe watching tutorial videos provides students the perfect introduction to art. Try sketching or painting these ideas and pick a style/medium that suits you!


Courses and Institutes

Once you have developed a reasonable level of artistic knowledge it’s time to enroll at an art workshop. Workshops generally run for 2-3 hours a day. You will notice that practical learning is quite different from online tutorials. Here you can see the educator painting in real time whilst you interact with them and receive critical feedback on your own work.

If you enjoy a workshop and are comfortable with the medium its time to invest and enroll at an institute. Courses in the UAE generally provide 6-10 classes which are held weekly and last between 1-2 months.

Here are a few great courses/workshops that I know of. Although there are a lot more! (Feel free to note those in the comments for everyone to check out)

Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre (DUCTAC)

Dubai International Art Centre(DIAC)

Soul Art Centre

Palette Art Training and Consultancy


In conclusion there isn’t a right way to learning art and often combining online learning with workshops/courses is the best possible approach. The UAE has a number of annual national and international art events alongside workshops, courses, competitions and exhibitions. Art has no restrictions and all it takes is moulding a creative mind.



About the Writer

Yuvika Garg is a trained contemporary artist who has been an active participant at various exhibitions around the UAE. She also conducts diverse art workshops in galleries and schools for both children and adults. Her current workshop on Acrylic Painting is held at the Cartoon Art Gallery in Al Quoz. For more information on the artist visit