Anime has strongly influenced many people worldwide, and almost everybody has had that one 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, a lot of us at one point were maybe even inspired to pick up a passion or hobby relating to it. With the rise of the digital era, information is available as long as you’re connected to the web and YouTube is now our greatest teacher – from learning to make a simple omelet or the most complex origami, or even a foreign language! Learning has never been easier and this also applies to art. In the realm of digital art, the bounds of creativity have expanded a lot. This means, that if you’re looking for a sign to learn how to draw or to improve your skills at it, there’s no time like the present!
With that said, I got the opportunity to enroll in an art class on the online learning platform, CLASS101. The class I took is by the illustrator Kamochiruu and is titled “From Daydream to Masterpiece: Create your own Anime-Inspired Illustrations.” As an anime/manga fan and a struggling illustrator wannabee, this was very exciting for me! I’ll also be sharing my own review on CLASS101.
What is CLASS101?
Before we delve into my personal CLASS101 experience and review, introductions must first be done. You may have heard of online learning platforms like Skillshare, Udemy, Domestika, and a lot more. CLASS101 is also one of them. CLASS101 is a South Korean learning platform that offers a wide variety of classes from top industry professionals discussing music, animation, photography, dance, fitness, and many more. You can also watch their short introduction video below:
According to the website, their mission is simple – to build a world where everyone “lives doing what they love.” Whether it’s allowing creators to monetize their passions by offering classes or by helping aspiring creators explore different hobbies other than their day jobs. CLASS101 has over a thousand classes and a community from 119 countries. Lastly, they also offer delivery of class kits worldwide.
My First Impressions of CLASS101
My experience with CLASS101 is overall very positive. When I first landed on their site, I was actually overwhelmed with emotion with 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 classes that anime/manga fans will surely like. There’s also a South Korea and Japan version of the website so I suppose the catalog is unique to each.
One of the things I like about the website is its simplicity. The classes were categorized by Digital Art, Fine Art, Lifestyle, and Crafts. There are no other filters other than “popular” and “recent”, which is why browsing around is very straightforward. In addition, the classes are well-organized and detailed in what it offers. It lists what the class is about, what you’ll learn, what you’ll need, and even a preview video introduction to your instructor. The set-up has that “friendly-and-not-at-all-intimidating” energy, which I really like. CLASS101 also provides reviews and creators’ feedback to help you decide if the class is for you. So far, so good!
As an aspiring (struggling) artist, I really want to learn to conquer my art block and blank-page anxiety. With that in mind, I turned to Kamochiruu’s class titled “From Daydream to Masterpiece: Create your own Anime-Inspired Illustrations.” Her relatable introduction sold me, and before I realized it, I was already on my way to my very own creative milestone.
The Digital Art Class Experience
As soon as I signed up for the class, I quickly received my course code. All the classes at CLASS101 are pre-recorded so the learning began right away. The set-up again is very simple – video on the left, curriculum details on the right, and the comments below. It was fairly organized. I liked the convenient option of having a speed function and a point A-B loop button. Most of all, the power to summon, resize, and drag around a floating window of the video is super awesome.
I also forgot to mention that there are also classes in foreign languages and CLASS101 provides translations for those. In my case, the language of my course was already English so I didn’t have any problems concerning that. I also have a preference for having subtitles on, so I really appreciate the caption feature.
My experience with Kamo’s lessons is overall fun, informative, and very worthwhile. Her lessons were very constructive – from learning basic anatomy all the way to the most particular way of line art and enhancing the colors of your illustration. It’s learning from observation and imitation, then absorbing that knowledge into your own style. I had a total of 8 chapters, subdivided into 31 lessons. Each video had a very clear demonstration of her art process, as well as the free class notes that you can download!
I’m not gonna lie, I struggled a lot with wrapping my head around the lessons. I have been making digital art for some time but I never really got to learn about the proper color theories, line art weight, or even the blending modes! It feels like such an eye-opener, and learning the right process feels like a lot to get used to, but definitely worth it in the long run.
One of the main selling points of CLASS101 is the opportunity to receive feedback from your instructor. Assignment or not, students are free to share their work in the comments section. I personally had a great time scrolling through and reading everyone’s input. That sense of community felt so inspiring, and Kamo herself even took the effort of replying with illustrated notes back to the students. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to receive feedback at the time of this writing. I do feel a bit bummed about it, but the feeling of finishing an assignment (which I struggled a lot in) from start to end, no shortcuts, is fulfilling enough for me.
Lastly, I also had a positive experience with CLASS101’s customer service! They were very quick and friendly in replying to my emails.
Class Prices and Access Duration
One thing I do have mixed feelings about in this CLASS101 review is their price. The classes are more or less priced at around 150 USD, which is not exactly a student-friendly value from where I’m from. I suppose other countries would find it less expensive than I do, 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 tips and process.
There’s also the part where I don’t get to keep the class in my account forever. The platform only allows limited access for a few months with the sentiment that “deadlines encourage students to make progress.” It does seem like a comfortable amount of time to learn, but I personally like the option of coming back for refreshers. I guess like all other (Asian) things, I just really have the make the most of what I’ll pay for.
Another thing to add to this CLASS101 review is that I noticed there’s no option to watch the lessons offline. Understandably, it’s to protect copyright and all, but when I had one rainy afternoon, the constant pause/play/buffering was quite bothersome. (In the end, I gave my productive energies to a nice nap.) Additionally, I didn’t get the chance to use the app version because it seems it is only 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 for it and are keen on working on your hobby and money’s worth (which means allotting time and resources) then yes, I think CLASS101 is worth it. However, it’s up to you to pick a good class that fits right for you – one that matches your current level of ability, your preferred instructor, art style, and most importantly, one that really interests you.
To review everything, CLASS101 provided me with a fun, easy-going, simple, and informative experience. It is definitely a great place that boosts your hobby skills and knowledge, whether its something to do on the side or for making a career out of it.
I struggle with a lot of things with my art but Kamo’s online class was very encouraging and relatable, as well as a sort of comfort to trust my own process. I like that I was able to learn at my own pace too. I guess the encouraging deadline thing worked effectively in the end since I also finished within a week and a half. (A few hours every evening, including free drawing.) I could have taken it slowly but I was really enjoying myself. It’s amazing to think about what you can do when you put your mind to it! I would definitely love to take another class again in the future!
With that, I bring my CLASS101 review to an end, I hope I was helpful to anyone interested in learning new skills and hobbies. It’s wonderful how art can bring many stories to life, right? I think we can call agree that this 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 bringing anime to life.
Special thanks again to the friendly people over at CLASS101!
Anime Corner was given access to Class101 in exchange for an honest review.