Art classes

Seattle Art classes: Nils Osmar, instructor

My upcoming Seattle drawing classes, painting classes and cartooning classes are listed below.  They are co-sponsored by the University of Washington’s Experimental College and my own school,  If you’d like more information, click the course title or click here.


I started teaching over thirty years ago, with the philosophy that anyone could learn to draw or paint, with a little help and guidance.  

In those days it was partly a philosophy, and partly a hope.  I wasn’t sure at that point how to help people get there, but it seemed like it must be true that anyone can learn.

As the years passed, I moved from teaching (only) drawing classes to offering painting classes, cartooning classes, and other classes and workshops in the Seattle area.  Most of them met on the University of Washington campus (the Seattle branch mainly), and were sponsored by an innovative program called the Experimental College, run by the student government at the U.W.  I also taught classes for a while through Shoreline Community College and some other programs.

It turned out to be fun.  The classes worked out well, and students seemed to like them.  I still offer some Seattle art classes through the EC, more than thirty years later.  

My first drawing class at the Experimental College was called “Anyone Can Draw.” Later I changed the title to “Drawing for Absolute Beginners.”  Same class, different title, and the same idea: drawing is a basic human ability, and anyone should be able to learn. 

At that point I was new to teaching.  I’d offered a few classes and workshops through Antioch University’s teacher training programs, but was still figuring out what worked to help students actually make progress in their artwork. I noticed that some students caught on rapidly, yet others had difficulty. It took me a few quarters to sort out an approach that would be most helpful to different types of students in the classes, who did not necessarily have the same needs.

One thing I realized was that the notion of “talent” was misleading. If an instructor’s method fits the needs of the students in his or her classes, a sudden explosion of “talent” can amaze everyone in the class.

I realized at some point that an approach, a series of guided exercises, were like a key – they either fit the lock, and connect the student with the mean to ignite his or her creativity, or they are not right for that particular student at that moment. (In which case, another approach may help.)  Instruction that’s tailored to move students forward in a step by step way can help solve problems early in the process and make learning thereafter easier.   (You can take ten years to learn to draw, or learn the key basics in a few short hours if the instructor’s approach is right for you.)

I also felt, and still feel, that the arts aren’t really separate, they’re all related.  Drawing classes introduce students to the basics of learning how to the three dimensional forms around them, in shading and sketching on different paper surfaces.  Painting classes provide students with an opportunity to learn about color, texture, dark and light, form and space, and more.  Drawing, painting and working in other media are fun and can be life changing. Finding ways to express ourselves creatively can help us live better and more connected lives.  Many students show up at my classes and tell me they’re there because they feel a need to do something creative in their lives, to connect with that part of being a human being in a meaningful way.

For those who would like some help along the way, my Seattle art classes (including drawing classes, painting classes, and cartooning) are a good place to start. They’re offered every quarter, on the University of Washington campus in Seattle.  Most of them are co-sponsored by the University of Washington’s ASUW Experimental College and They really will help. You don’t have to be on your own in learning.  Things other artists and teachers have figured out over the years can make it all easier.

If you’d like to learn more about my Seattle art classes, including the dates, times and the approach I take as an instructor, feel free to either click the links below or visit  You’ll also find some students’ comments about my previous workshops there.  My classes can be found at this link. 

– Nils Osmar, Instructor

 Note: I’m also working on developing a new class called Painting Science Fiction and Fantasy Imagery. Stay tuned! 

P.S.  I actually teach a range of different subjects, related to the work I’ve done in the visual, written and performing arts. (For example, I’ve done acting and filmmaking, and teach acting and filmmaking classes.)  If you’d like more information, please click the links above.  Have fun with your own artwork, and thanks for reading!