Two hugely influential companies in the digital drawing community have teamed up to create a new, entirely online experience: Drawfest. Taking place from May 21 to 23, the festival will see eight different tutorials livestreamed on YouTube, with experts giving lectures on how to tackle things like realistic lighting, color selection and creating strong characters.
Speakers include illustrators, games concept artists and animation supervisors. Most classes will consist of lectures where participants can draw along live with the expert tutor, so that they get to grips with the new techniques. Registration is completely free but spaces are limited, so head over to the pixiv (opens in new tab) site to enrol and get your name on the list.
Bear in mind that you’ll need to have downloaded some software before you take the plunge into the free online drawing classes. In addition to your drawing tablet, we recommend you have access to some of the best comic creator software (opens in new tab) or best graphic design software (opens in new tab) available to you. Some classes specify which tool you’ll need (one session focuses purely on Adobe Fresco, the free painting app for tablets) but you can use your preferred platform for most of the sessions.
If you’re a digital artist, chances are that you’ll already be familiar with Wacom, the company that regularly produces excellent drawing tablets and some of the best smartpens on the market.
The other company, pixiv, is an online community where artists can share their latest works. It’s mostly populated with anime, manga and fan art pieces, and it functions like a social media site, actively encouraging users to share their work and comment on pieces they like.
Speaking about the upcoming collaboration, Nobutaka Ide, CEO of Wacom Company Ltd, said: "By teaming with pixiv on Drawfest, we are creating a cross-boundary and cross-language platform for artists and designers to share their passion for drawing and learning from others."
Although both companies are based in Japan, online tutorials will be available in both English and Japanese. Classes are repeated at various times throughout the day, so you should be able to find a time slot to suit your schedule wherever you are in the world. Below, we've outlined a sample of the available times.
Free digital art class program
May 21, 17:00 - 18:00 PDT
How to draw realistic lighting
May 21, 19:00 - 21:00 PDT
Let's draw "Identity V" using Adobe Fresco
Speakers: Melo Kyuba & Takashi Iwamoto
May 21, 22:00 - 23:00 PDT
Paint a magical moment together
May 22, 17:00 - 21:00 PDT
Learn the easiest way to create manga through yonkoma
Speaker: Toshiya Wakabayashi
May 22, 21:30 - 23:30 PDT
Happy Birthday, Ina! Let's draw "Ninomae Ina'nis"!
Speaker: Ninomae Ina'nis
May 22, 17:00 - 18:00 PDT
How to design a character with a strong thematic and iconic elements
May 23, 19:00 - 21:00 PDT
WIT Animator Academy Online! How to draw characters presented by a chief animation supervisor
Speaker: Hirotaka Kato
May 23, 22:00 - 23:00 PDT
Going from sketch to color quickly and efficiently