Anime has greatly influenced many people around the world, and almost everyone has had that special moment of simply being in awe of the unique, pretty, or even edgy art. (Studio Ghibli or Makoto Shinkai movies, for example! Chills, right?). In fact, many of us at some point may even have been inspired by a passion or hobby related to it. With the advent of the digital age, information is available as long as you are connected to the web and YouTube is now our greatest teacher – whether learning how to make a simple omelette or origami the more complex, or even a foreign language! Learning has never been so easy and that also applies to art. In the field of digital art, the limits of creativity have widened considerably. This means that if you are looking for a sign to learn to draw or to improve your skills, there is no better time than now!
That said, I had the opportunity to enroll in an art course on the online learning platform, CLASS101. The course I took is given by the illustrator Kamochiruu and is called “From Daydream to Masterpiece: Create Your Own Anime-Inspired Artwork.” As a struggling anime/manga fan and aspiring illustrator, this was very exciting for me! I will also share my own review on CLASS101.
What is CLASS101?
Before diving into my personal CLASS101 experience and review, introductions must be made first. You may have heard of online learning platforms like Skillshare, Udemy, Domestika and many more. CLASS101 is also one of them. CLASS101 is a South Korean learning platform that offers a wide variety of courses taught by top industry professionals discussing music, animation, photography, dance, fitness and more. ‘others. You can also watch their short intro video below:
According to the website, their mission is simple – to build a world where everyone “lives doing what they love.“Whether it’s enabling creators to monetize their passions by offering courses or helping budding creators explore different hobbies outside of their day job. CLASS101 has over a thousand classes and a community from 119 countries. Finally, they also offer class kit delivery worldwide.
My first impressions of CLASS101
My experience with CLASS101 is overall very positive. When I first landed on their site, I was overwhelmed with excitement at all the amazing art, as well as the idea that I could learn from these amazing creators. It’s very inspiring, especially with all the interesting thumbnails and titles. There are a lot of anime-inspired courses that anime/manga fans will surely love. There is also a version of the website for South Korea and Japan, so I guess the catalog is unique to each.
One of the things I like about the website is its simplicity. Classes have been categorized by digital art, fine art, lifestyle, and craft. There are no filters other than “popular” and “recent”, which is why navigation is very simple. In addition, the courses are well organized and detailed in what they offer. It lists what the course is about, what you’ll learn, what you’ll need, and even a preview video presentation from your instructor. The configuration has this “friendly-and-not-at-all-intimidating” the energy, which I really like. CLASS101 also provides reviews and comments from the creators to help you decide if the course is right for you. So far, so good!
As an aspiring (struggling) artist, I really want to learn how to overcome my art block and blank page anxiety. With that in mind, I turned to Kamochiruu’s course titled “From Daydream to Masterpiece: Create Your Own Anime-Inspired Artwork.” Its relatable introduction sold me, and before I knew it, I was already on my way to my own creative milestone.
The digital art class experience
As soon as I registered for the course, I quickly received my course code. All courses at CLASS101 are pre-recorded so that learning begins right away. Setup is again very simple – video on the left, program details on the right and comments below. It was quite organized. I liked the handy option of having a speed function and an AB stitch loop button. Especially the Powerful Summoning, resizing and dragging around a floating window of the video is super awesome.
I also forgot to mention that there are also foreign language courses and CLASS101 provides translations for these. In my case, the language of my course was already English so I had no problem with that. I also have a preference for subtitles, so I really appreciate the captioning feature.
My experience with Kamo’s lessons is overall fun, informative, and very helpful. His lessons were very constructive – from learning basic anatomy to the most particular way of line drawing and improving the colors of your illustration. It’s learning from observation and imitation, then absorbing that knowledge in your own style. I had a total of 8 chapters, subdivided into 31 lessons. Each video featured a very clear demonstration of his artistic process, along with the free lecture notes for you to download!
I’m not going to lie, I had a hard time understanding the lessons. I’ve been doing digital art for a while, but never really learned the right color theories, line art weights, or even blending modes! It feels like such an eye-opener, and learning the right process seems like a tough thing to get used to, but it’s definitely worth it in the long run.
One of the main selling points of CLASS101 is an opportunity to receive feedback from your instructor. Homework or not, students are free to share their work in the comments section. Personally, I had a great time browsing and reading everyone’s comments. This sense of community was so inspiring, and Kamo herself even took the effort to respond with picture notes to the students. Unfortunately, I was unable to receive any comments at the time of this writing. I feel a bit underwhelmed about this, but the feeling of completing a mission (which I struggled a lot in) from start to finish, with no shortcuts, is quite fulfilling for me.
Finally, I also had a positive experience with CLASS101’s customer service! They were very quick and friendly in responding to my emails.
Course prices and access duration
One thing I have mixed feelings about CLASS101 examination is their price. The classes are more or less priced at around 150 USD, which isn’t exactly a student-friendly value where I’m from. I guess other countries would find it cheaper than me, but if you think about formal education in comparison, the price range of CLASS101 is actually quite reasonable. Especially when it offers convenience, in-depth learning, and the artists’ personal guidance and process.
There’s also the part where I can’t keep the class in my account forever. The platform only allows limited access for a few months with the feeling that “deadlines encourage students to progress”. Seems like a comfortable time to learn, but personally I like the option to come back for refreshments. I guess like all other (Asian) things, I really get what I pay for.
Another thing to add to this CLASS101 review is that I noticed there was no option to watch the lessons offline. Naturally this is to protect copyright and all, but when I had a rainy afternoon the constant pausing/playing/buffering was quite annoying. (In the end, I poured my productive energies into a good nap.) Also, I haven’t had a chance to use the app version because it seems to only be available in South Korea.
Final thoughts: Is CLASS101 worth it?
Personally, I believe that investing in yourself is never a waste of time and resources! If you have the funds and want to work on your hobby and get your money’s worth (which means allocating time and resources), then yes, I think CLASS101 worth it. However, it’s up to you to choose a good course that’s right for you – one that matches your current level of ability, your preferred instructor, your artistic style, and most importantly, one that really interests you.
To see it all again, CLASS101 provided me with a fun, easy going, simple and informative experience. It’s definitely a great place to boost your hobby skills and knowledge, whether it’s something to do on the side or to make a career out of it.
I struggle with a lot with my art, but Kamo’s online course was very encouraging and relevant, and kind of a comfort to trust my own process. I also like being able to learn at my own pace. I guess the encouraging delay worked effectively in the end since I also finished in a week and a half. (A few hours every night, including free drawing.) I could have taken it easy but I was really having fun. It’s amazing to think what you can do when you put your mind to it! I would really like to take another class in the future!
With that, I bring my CLASS101 review at its end, I hope I have been helpful to anyone interested in learning new skills and hobbies. It’s wonderful how art can bring so many stories to life, isn’t it? I think we can say that is one of the things to love about anime. In case you missed it, you can also read about animation directors and their roles in making anime.
Another special thanks to the nice people of CLASS101!
Anime Corner got access to Class101 in exchange for an honest review.