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Unlocking the World of Art: A Guide to Where and How to Learn


Welcome to the Nisei Gallery art blog. The purpose of this blog is to become a place for art to be accessible for all. Our focus is to provide actionable advice to those who want to learn. Art is intimidating! Most of these blog posts will be coming from the perspective of artist Nick Riley and his experience in learning the never ending possibilities that art has to offer.

This is a beginners guide that goes over who, what, where, when, and how to start your journey into making art.

a person chiseling a relief carving out of stone

Unlocking the World of Art: A Guide to Where and How to Learn

Are you ready to dive into the rich and diverse world of art? Whether you're a seasoned artist looking to refine your skills or a curious beginner eager to explore, there are countless resources available to fuel your artistic journey. It can be intimidating to try and get started when it seems like everyone and their dog can paint and they all have their own tutorials and books dedicated to their process.

Let's explore some avenues where you can learn about art and expand your creative horizons. This is a broad spectrum list that I will go into more detail in their own posts down the road.

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” – Scott Adams

1. Online Courses and Platforms:

online courses and platforms

Coursera: LINK

Coursera offers a plethora of art-related courses from top universities and institutions around the world. From art history to practical skills like drawing and painting, you can find courses suitable for all levels.

Skillshare: LINK

Skillshare is a fantastic platform for creative individuals. Dive into a sea of classes on drawing, digital art, photography, and more. The interactive format allows you to learn by doing, making it an engaging experience.

Udemy: LINK

Udemy provides a vast range of affordable art courses. Whether you're interested in traditional painting techniques, digital artistry, or graphic design, you'll find courses taught by industry professionals.

Youtube: LINK

Youtube is a double edged sword where you can find the most informative videos filled with incredible artists and creatives. It is also full of very fun and entertaining videos that can easily distract you for hours on end.


  • Excellent for people who need structure in their learning environment. 

  • Can help create a good set of fundamental skills 

  • Great first step into art


  • Typically cost money (although if you are in school, see if your school has any programs that let you learn for free, most do)

  • Harder to stick with if you are easily distracted

These types of courses are really helpful for those who have trouble learning without a structure. Most of these classes follow an overarching set of videos with small projects that you can consider as homework. If you are more spontaneous with your learning you may find yourself buying a course, watching a few videos and then moving on to the next thing without ever finishing the course.

2. Museums and Galleries:

person in museum

Local Museums:

Visit your local museums to immerse yourself in the world of art. Many museums offer workshops, guided tours, and exhibitions that can deepen your understanding of different art movements and styles.

Virtual Museum Tours:

Explore renowned museums worldwide without leaving your home. Many museums now offer virtual tours, allowing you to wander through their galleries and discover masterpieces from the comfort of your own space.

How Does This Help?

Make a list of artists you enjoy and start saving works that you find interesting and cool. Then search for works that have a technique that you like or is exciting to you. Doing master studies can help you break into new techniques. More information on Master Studies in a future blog post.

3. Art Schools and Workshops:

art classroom

Art Schools:

Consider enrolling in art classes at a local art school or community college. Many institutions offer courses for beginners and advanced artists, covering everything from drawing and painting to sculpture and photography.

Workshops and Retreats:

Participate in art workshops and retreats to surround yourself with a creative community. These events often feature expert instructors and provide a unique opportunity to learn new techniques while networking with fellow art enthusiasts.

Gallery Events

Do some googling and find some local galleries or art associations in your area. Most are incredibly active and have events every month. This is a great way to get out there and meet people who may be in the same boat you are. Having a group of people who are all learning is incredibly helpful in keeping up with your goals.

The importance here is to find a community of creative people with whom you can interact and learn from.

Click HERE to see what Classes and Workshops are being held at Nisei Gallery

4. Books and Literature:

a bunch of different books

Art History Books:

Delve into art history books to gain insights into the evolution of art. Start with classics like "The Story of Art" by E.H. Gombrich or explore more specialized topics based on your interests.

Technique and Tutorial Books:

Build your practical skills with instructional books. From anatomy guides for figure drawing to books on mastering specific art mediums, there's a wealth of literature to guide your hands and mind.

This goes into the same vein as the Museums and Galleries Section. The important thing is to find artists that capture your attention and make you excited to try and draw/paint in their style.

The Nisei Gallery will be providing a Library list full of incredibly useful and helpful books very soon!

5. Social Media and Online Communities:

phones showing an app

Instagram and Pinterest:

Follow artists and art communities on Instagram for a daily dose of inspiration. Pinterest is an excellent platform for creating mood boards and discovering new artists and art styles.

Online Forums and Groups:

Join art forums and communities like DeviantArt, Reddit's r/Art, WetCanvas, or even Discord. You can find local art groups easily on Facebook or through your local art council. These platforms offer a space to share your work, receive feedback, and connect with artists from around the globe.

WARNING: Social media is an excellent source for gathering reference and inspiration but it can become a very slippery slope! Speaking from experience you can spend more time “Looking for inspiration”  instead of practicing your skills!

Be Stubborn!

Three stacks of different books

Remember, this is your journey and you need to curate these processes to fit how you learn best. The important thing is to enjoy the process of learning art and not to focus on the end goal. As soon as you lose interest, make the effort to learn something new or try something different! Fill up sketchbook after sketchbook and you will see progress.

-Nick Riley

Curator, Nisei Gallery

Is there anything you think that helped you in starting your art journey? Are you stuck in an art related rut and need some advice? Comment below!

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16. feb.

Visiting museums has been a huge source of inspiration for me. I take tours every chance I get down at the National Gallery of Art in DC. I once saw a blue sky in a painting by the Dutch artist Cuyp that struck me so much I never forgot it. Many years later I asked an artist to recreate that "butter blue sky" in my dining room mural of family history!!!

16. feb.

It is such an excellent and irreplaceable experience to see the work of masters in person. It's like time traveling to see the brushstrokes that they made years and years ago!

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