Drawing is one of the best forms of self-expression, and there is no shortage of talented South African artists who can attest to that.

Whether you're looking for a casual creative outlet or aspire to one day exhibit your work in a gallery, achieving your desired result will be a process of trial and error.

Learning to draw encourages creativity and imagination, and stimulating these right brain functions can encourage you to start thinking outside-of-the-box and following your intuition in other areas of your life.

But how should you start your creative journey and where will you find the best teacher to train you in basic drawing techniques?

girl sketching
The right art teacher can help you perfect your illustration techniques.⎢Source: Unsplash

There are many wonderful and talented teachers offering art lessons across South Africa, but it's not necessarily easy to know where to begin your search for a drawing class. We've therefore written this article to share some tips that should help you in finding a great drawing course.

Choose the Teacher Who Is Right for You

A good teacher should have extensive knowledge of the subject matter they are providing instruction in. Whether the subject is Maths, French or Art, it is vitally important for you to feel secure and confident in your teacher's abilities.

While no art teacher can be expected to possess knowledge about the full body of work of every artist in history, it is; however, required that the teacher grasps and is able to instruct you in more than one style of art.

Being an artist and having knowledge of art history does not automatically mean that someone will be a good teacher. To be effective, they would need to possess good interpersonal skills, have patience and the ability to adapt to your pace of learning, and be willing to truly listen to your ideas and concerns.

Even experienced artists, whilst being able to share insightful art tips with you, may only acquire essential teaching skills after several years of teaching practice.

sketchbook and flowers
Make sure that your teacher is experienced in your preferred drawing style. ⎢Source: Unsplash

A good teacher will provide you with regular feedback on the progress you are making and identify the areas where improvement is required. Good, constructive criticism - whether you’re learning the basics of drawing or have enrolled in an advanced art course - is crucial to help you grow and learn.

Your art teacher should support and guide you, and introduce you to different artistic styles and techniques in order to help you find your artist's voice.

In addition to lessons on two-point and three-point perspective and how to shade, your art teacher should expose you to different drawing mediums such as charcoal, chalk and watercolour pencils.

box of artists' soft pastels
Be willing to explore different styles and to use different mediums. ⎢Source: Unsplash

A skilled teacher would never compel you to work on projects that do not stimulate you, instead they will know how to choose pieces from art history for you to recreate in various artistic styles in order to test your abilities while keeping you motivated.

The teacher should be organised and prepare a course outline upfront, but be flexible enough to adapt the plan based on the rate at which you learn, and the areas that you show most interest in. With the right motivational influence, you will continue to make progress and will never feel pressured or lose your creativity.

Finally, remember that you are looking for a drawing course in order to fulfil a specific need, so you need to choose the teacher who is most likely to help you achieve your personal objective.

Why Private Tutors Are a Great Choice

Above all, art lessons should be fun, so, not only should your art teacher have the skills to teach you effectively, but they should have a personality that is complementary to your own.

A weekly art class at a studio or an immersive drawing course at an art school can be an amazing way to improve your art knowledge and discover the artistic movements that interest you, but these can be hard to fit into a busy life on top of all your other commitments.

So, why not consider using a private tutor to teach you to draw step by step instead? Someone who will take the time to get to know you on a personal level, who will share secret drawing tips with you, who will help you grow in confidence, and who will create an environment in which you feel comfortable.

With private art lessons the teacher is able to teach you how to sketch while focusing on you alone; your needs, your areas of difficulty, and your passions.

illustration and wooden artist's hand
One-on-one lessons may give you just the inspiration you need. ⎢Source: Unsplash

A tutoring platform is a great way to find art instruction from teachers across South Africa. Carefully consider what personal outcomes you wish to meet at the end of your lessons and choose the best art teacher for the job based on these objectives.

Each tutor has their own area of specialisation, so whether you prefer oil pastels over acrylics or still-life over landscapes, the right teacher for you is just a click away!

But what if your perfect teacher does not offer art lessons near you?

On the Superprof platform there are teachers who can teach you step by step drawing both face-to-face and online. Each tutor has an introduction on their page which tells you more about their experience and their artistic interests.

In addition, since each tutor sets their own rates, you are able to select your preferred teacher based on both their level of expertise and on your allocated budget. Scroll through the profiles of our tutors and look at the reviews that have been left by their current and former students to get a better idea of what you can expect a lesson with them to be like.

artist creating a drawing
Review the portfolios of different art teachers before making a decision. ⎢Source: Unsplash

Choosing a private tutor is a great way to fit your drawing lessons into your existing schedule. Instead of having to stick to a scheduled class at a particular time every week, you have the flexibility to arrange your lessons for a time and at a venue that best suits you.

Consider Being Taught by an Art Student

Art students can often make great teachers because they have an innate passion for art and are usually trained in a variety of techniques, including live model painting, sketching, and landscape drawing.

Practitioners of various professions need to know about basic drawing and art to do what they do, so the students who are able to help you learn to draw can have diverse profiles.

Some of the categories of students who could help you improve your drawing skills are the following:

  • Fine art students
  • Architecture students
  • Graphic design students
  • Art history students.

What these students have in common is an understanding of the basics, including perspective drawing, different shading techniques, and light and shadow.

Woman holding drawing of flower
An art student can offer a fresh twist on classical techniques. ⎢Source: Unsplash

Art students are taught both theory and practice, and are a great option for teaching drawing for beginners or intermediary-level students. Being learners themselves, they may be able to connect with and understand you more easily. They also have a high level of comprehension of the subjects they have recently learnt and can effectively pass this fresh knowledge on to you.

They could also expose you to artistic mediums that you may not initially have thought you were interested in. Most art students enjoy being able to share what they have learnt as the process refreshes the information for them personally. In addition, it is fun for them to teach others about something they are passionate about.

Students can help you improve your technique and their prices are often better suited to your pocket than those of your local art studio or art school.

Advertise Your Search for Drawing Lessons

It is fairly easy to find an art teacher using online platforms, but there’s nothing wrong with going old-school and placing an advert requesting lessons using traditional mediums such as classified advertisements, notices in shop windows or bulletin boards in the canteens and other common areas of art schools. Remember to state clearly what your art project is and and what your learning requirements are.

illustration and colouring pencils
Find your mentor, get your supplies ready and start sketching. ⎢Source: Unsplash

Below are some ways in which you can let others know that you are interested in taking drawing lessons:

Classified advertisement sites

You can use sites like OLX and Gumtree to find a teacher who can teach you basic drawing, by placing a free announcement under the Jobs section.

Social media

Think about posting a status on Facebook and asking your friends to recommend talented people they may know by tagging them or sharing your status. Tweet about your lesson search and ask your followers to retweet until you find the right person to teach you.

Shop windows and bulletin boards

Print an announcement and display it in the window of your local art supply store or on the notice board of an art school where both art students and teachers will be able to see it and contact you if they are interested in making some extra money by teaching beginners to learn how to draw.

Then all you need to do is pick up that sheet of paper and your art materials, and head to your first drawing lesson.

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A South African in France who loves to travel and discover new cultures, is passionate about photography, and who is happiest near the ocean.