Six Fantastic (and Free) YouTube Art Lessons for Middle School

I have always enjoyed doing arts and crafts projects with my boys as an add-on to our homeschool curriculum. But as they’ve gotten older, I have found it a bit harder to teach them art because they have less patience with the process of art. They want to have the satisfaction of a completed project at the conclusion of an art lesson instead of working for hours upon hours or days upon days to create something to be proud of.

In desperation to find art projects they would all be willing to work on, I turned to YouTube. Success! We found plenty of  wonderful videos and have now started using them once a week as informal homeschool art classes.

I first watch each video in its entirety and gather all the needed supplies. I then sit with the boys and watch the video, pausing the recording after each step in the art process demonstrated. I model what was just shown on the screen and give help or encouragement as needed. Once everyone is ready to move on, we resume the video back, watch a bit more, and then pause again as needed. We keep moving through the lesson in small steps and re-watch any parts we need to. 

Six Fantastic (and Free) YouTube Art Lessons for Middle School Here are some of our favorite art videos thus far. 

1. One Point Perspective Drawing

This 12-minute video uses pencil and a ruler to teach one point perspective drawing of a simple road with trees and buildings lining it. 

2. Vincent Van Gogh Oil Pastel Tutorial

This 12-minute video takes the viewer step by step through the process of re-creating Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers using oil pastels. The video starts with a quick overview of what the finished project will look like and what supplies are needed.  

3. How to Draw a Night Sky with Chalk Pastels

This hour-long video could easily be broken down into mini-lessons and shows how to recreate the night sky using chalk pastels.

4. Rippling Rays Op Art Tutorial

My boys loved this simple 4-minute video that showed us how to create optical illusions with simple line drawings and colored pencils.

5. How to Draw Basic Forms with Charcoal

This 12-minute video shows how to use the illusion of light and shadow to make traditional shapes like a sphere, cone, and rectangular prisms look three dimensional when drawing with charcoal.  

6. How to Paint a Sunset with Watercolors for Beginners

Working with watercolors can be intimidating but this quick 8-minute video shows how easy watercolors can be. It illustrates how to paint two different sunsets of the sky over the ocean using different colors and similar techniques.  

Once you get started on YouTube art tutorials, you can find dozens of resources to keep you busy for months on end. I'll close with a tip: I often leave the day’s art supplies out for a couple of days after the lesson in the hopes that my boys will be encouraged to play around with the techniques and medium. Sometimes I spy them toying with the watercolors even without the direction of YouTube. That's a homeschool win!


Joanne RawsonAbout the Author

Joanne Rawson is the author of the blog Our Unschooling Journey. Known around the web as Mother of 3, Joanne began her blog when she first started homeschooling her three boys in 2012. She lives in Connecticut with her family and enjoys reading, crafting, and traveling... all of which usually ends up on her blog.

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