Drawing Classes for Kids. Source: Istockphoto

While some people are just born with the ability to create artistic masterpieces, other people took the opportunity to improve their skills and eventually become great artists themselves.

When it comes to skills, it’s not really about who’s already great at the beginning of the race but more of who is still willing to learn and hone their skills to become even greater.

The same goes for drawing skills. Artists probably start as babies who just picked up some crayons and started drawing random objects on walls and floors. As they grew up, they surely kept practicing and practicing until they eventually became good at it.

It doesn’t really matter whether you start off as a great artist, what’s important is you just create an avenue where you can practice those skills and improve. In this light, it’s a great choice to take up drawing classes where you can truly master the necessary techniques.

There are tons of drawing classes being offered in Canada, especially in the capital city of Ottawa. We’re going to enumerate a few of them in this article and the option to hire a private drawing teacher in case you prefer taking lessons that way.

Ottawa School of Art

Created to encourage and advance fine arts in the country, the Ottawa School of Art (OSA) has gone through several name changes in the last century. Its previous names include Ottawa Art School and Municipal Art Centre.

It was in 1977 that the name of the school was finalized into its current name. OSA is a non-profit organization that’s headed by a volunteer board of directors that are put in power through an election between members.

The establishment of OSA also had initial plans of creating a National Art Association which had evolved into creating an academy where students would submit works as diplomas. These diplomas would then make their way to the national collection.

Indeed, some found their way to the National Gallery of Canada’s permanent collection.

The school offers a wide range of art courses that touch different media and techniques. There are courses for both children and teens.

Here are the drawing classes being offered by OSA:

  • Drawing 101: The Basics
  • Drawing for the Absolutely Terrified Beginner
  • ABC’s of Drawing
  • Illustration and Multimedia for Beginners
  • Classical Drawing with Pencil
  • Drawing for the Not So Terrified Beginner
  • Chalk Pastels for Beginners
  • Decorative Illustration: Beautiful and Functional
  • Life Drawing for Absolute Beginners
  • Figure Laboratory
  • Figure and Portrait in Charcoal
  • Portrait and Figure Drawing: Sketch to Detail
  • Figure Drawing and the Timeless Anatomical Principles of the Great Masters
  • Introduction to Drawing - With Mixed Media
  • Figure Drawing Intensive

These classes have varying schedules - depending on which classes you want to take and what is available for the current term.

If your schedule isn’t flexible enough to take on long-term classes, they also offer visiting artist-in-residence workshops that you can attend.

If you want to visit a different school of art, try Toronto’s School of Art.

Orange Art Academy

Specializing representational realism, the Ottawa Art Academy (OAA) helps students learn the basic skills and foundations of drawing and painting realistically.

Most of the lessons that they teach are based from nineteenth century art schools. These lessons include mixing colors, sharpening pencils, and reproducing precise drawings of plaster casts.

A good thing about these lessons is that they’ve been tried and tested by both students and artists who value classic traditions in art. It only proved that these traditions can live on through students who want to learn such techniques.

Aligned with their philosophy that anybody can become a master with enough time, they offer a wide range of classes for various skill levels and age.

As soon as the student completes a few projects, the OAA tailors what projects will be given to the student to really meet what he or she needs. In this case, each student will work on a different project that will help them work on the things they find difficult.

Drawing Techniques for Students. Source: Morguefile

If you’re looking for classes and projects which easy-to-follow step-by-step processes, OAA offers two forms of life drawing classes.

The first form is the uninstructed figure drawing/painting sessions. These classes are spanned over  6 weeks and are perfect for people who don’t want any supervision and want to take advantage of a long duration pose.

The other form is the instructed life drawing course that starts every October.

Algonquin College

Students choose Algonquin College because of the hands-on classes and career-focused direction that the school offers. Most students prefer this school because they get to learn from realistic labs and classroom environments.

According to their rates, 1,200 students improved their literacy and basic skills and 90% of their graduates get accepted into jobs within months after graduation.

Their campus in Ottawa offers a course on Fundamentals of Drawing which is offered in both part-time on campus or as an online program.

In this course, students will learn how to create two-dimensional images that use techniques from perspective drawing, measuring and judging proportions, use of light sources and shadows, negative spaces, etc.

Hands-on tutoring covers various principles of drawing and uses easy-to-follow steps that help them progress throughout the course.

The school has given out a supply list that the students will need to compile in order to fully maximize the lessons they will learn in this class.

Nepean Visual Arts Centre

Whether you’re an adult wanting to improve your artistic skills or a parent who wants to enrol your kid in a drawing class, the Nepean Visual Arts Centre has a wide range of classes available for both adults and children.

These classes are taught by acclaimed artists in the field of painting, pottery, illustrating, sculpting, and photography. All classes are taught studios that are accessible to all students with different levels of ability.

For those who just prefer to take short-term lessons, they also offer arts workshops, retreats, and events. If you also want to host an art workshop for your friends or family, the arts centre can easily be coordinated with to hire an arts instructor.

Students also have the chance to display their artworks that the studio’s own gallery. Aside from being an arts school, they also have arts-specific studios that focus on music, dance and visual arts studios, a black box theatre, and set construction workshop.

As of the moment, the Nepean Visual Arts Centre has four different drawing courses for Winter. Here’s a list of them:

  • Coloured Pencils - Level 1
  • Drawing - Level 1
  • Life Drawing Studio - Combo
  • Life Drawing Studio - Short Gestural Poses

Each of these courses have over 10 classes, 3 hours each - usually from 9:00AM to 12:00Noon.

Edmonton also has a similar art centre, Edmonton City Arts Centre, where you can learn similar sets of skills and techniques.

The Drawing Room Studio

Sarah Marie Lacy opened this studio because missed having access to a figure model 30 hours each week. In October 2017, the Drawing Room Studio moved into its space in Old Ottawa South.

The studio fosters a community wherein discussion and diversity is highly respected to help artists create figure drawings. What started with just seven seats to see if she can do it, then expanded to weekly classes and workshops.

Drawing Class Students. Source: Morguefile

Today, the studio’s mailing list has over 150 artists and students who have grown and are still growing with the studio. Now, each class has enough space to accommodate 12 artists at a time, with high ceilings that face windows for a truly conducive learning and drawing space.

The drawing studio hosts uninstructed long pose life drawing sessions which feature just one pose each session - short poses are not catered here. There are also classical figure drawing and painting classes being offered.

Here’s a list of classes being offered:

  • Figure Painting
  • Portrait Drawing
  • Portrait Painting

There are morning and evening classes, as well as weekend workshops where various techniques are also being taught and discussed.

If you’re looking for an opportunity to draw a live model in Montréal, just simply visit the Montréal Art Centre.

Finding a Private Drawing Teacher in Ottawa

While there are tons of arts schools and academies that offer various drawing classes to students, it might just not be your cup of tea.

Don’t worry though because there are also tons of artists and teachers willing to conduct private drawing classes that will really focus on you alone. These classes offer the advantage of having the sole attention on you and that your progress is really being considered.

Superprof helps you find a private drawing teacher without much fuss. Another key advantage is that you can see former students’ reviews and their rates which helps you decide who you want to learn how to draw with.

Just simply browse through the list and thoroughly check their profiles to see which one would best meet the needs you are looking for and who you think can really teach you the skills you want to have.


Whether you want instructed or uninstructed drawing lessons, you can find them all here in Ottawa. You also have the option to choose between long-term classes or just one-day workshops - depending on what works best with your schedule.

Don’t be shy to try out these classes and hone your skills. If you’re not really a fan of classes or workshops, just simply go to Superprof and look for a drawing teacher who can offer private classes for you.

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Mike is a freelance writer with a passion for continuous learning, self-improvement, and helping others through education.