Art Steps News & Notes!

Online Program FAQ

March 25, 2020

Q: When is Art Steps reopening its doors?
A:  Our studios are now open safely! Reserve a seat today! Click here for details.

Individualized levels:
Q: My student is advanced and started with easy pictures.  How can they be challenged?
A:  Yes!!  We LIVE to challenge artists!  It took a little time, but this week, in addition to beginning and intermediate levels, we have come out with more advanced curriculum, for C level, D level, and realism students!   This requires one of two things:
1. Your student will need to have the capacity to watch a video outside for the Zoom window, OR
2. If your student is limited by technology (Chromebook, iPad, etc), you can transfer to a class for their level only, all within Zoom. We are currently still setting up these level-specific classes, so please let us know if your student has particular needs, and your teacher can contact you with an individualized plan until then.

Q: My teen student would like more specialized instruction.
A Teen and adult classes may be for you!   Based on student feedback by class, teachers have independently begun investigating still-life, landscape painting, perspective, art history and more. Subjects vary by teacher. Individualized coaching on home and portfolio projects is also possible within these sessions.  If your teen in advanced realism or oil would like to experience one of these classes, email us at, and we can transfer your student into a teen & adult level class. The older and more skilled a student is, the easier it is for us to coach them at a more advanced level. We are excited to provide level-appropriate instruction, and inspiration all around!*

*Program Details: Scroll down for more Q&A about the online program

Q: When will my online class be?
A:  For currently enrolled students, you online class is the same as your regular class day and time, unless you have heard otherwise. Note: You will still be enrolled, even if you have not attended class yet, unless we have heard from you to cancel! 

Q: As an existing student, can I experience the class for free?
A: Yes! The first class you take with Art Steps online is free! If you were already charged autopay and have questions about the online program, contact the office at 714-524-2248 or We are committed to working with everyone to ensure a perfect setup for them. 

Q: I’d like to join. Can I take a free introductory class? 
A: Our first commitment is to care for our existing families and attending to their needs. Once everyone is settled and rolling, we look forward to being able to offer introductory classes to all Orange County families!  Please contact us, and we will gladly reach out once we are ready.

Q: I live in another state, can I enroll in the online class?
A: At this time, we are busy caring for the families who depend on us. Email us your info, and we’ll let you know as soon as we can offer classes to more people!

Q: What if I normally attend class with my young child?
A: Parents of 4, 5 and some 6-year-olds need to be present to help “dot” for their children, so we can reschedule your art class for a different time. 

Online Program Requirements
Q: What device do we need?
A: Computer with sound, or an iPad. No cell phones, please. 

Q: Do we need a printer?
A: Yes, but if you can’t print, just let your teacher know or email us by Thursday before your class. We will snail mail you the printables for the picture starting next week!

Q: What if my printer broke?
A: Your student will still be able to follow along in the video without the assistance of printables. Let the teacher know, and they will take a few extra moments to check and ensure your student’s drawing starts off strong. 

Q: What can I do if my picture is printing too small?
A: Make sure you actually download the image, then print it. No need to select "landscape" orientation. The image should print normally from there.

Q: Can siblings share a computer or iPad?
A: Please try to have them on separate devices, in separate rooms, to maximize focus and minimize distraction. If you only have one device they must share, the teacher can either okay sharing or reschedule one student for another class time.

Q: What if I have a tech problem and can’t join the Zoom meeting last minute?
A: This is surprisingly rare! But if it happens, call the number on your morning email, and we will do our best to get you in, or schedule you into a later class.

Q: What if I don't have a device?
A: We regret that if you don’t have a laptop, a desktop with video and sound, or an iPad, the program will not work. However, reach out to your teacher or our office, and we’ll see if we can be of help in any way.

Q: What materials do I need?
A: You’ll need a #2 pencil, an eraser, a black or dark marker, and a piece of scratch paper to start.
Your morning email will specify any other materials needed. We'll keep it simple: usually crayons or color pencils.  We are investigating ways to loan materials for other media for advanced students.

Q: What brand of materials would be best?
A: Fancy materials are not needed for great results! Crayola products and the like are typically great. However, if you’d like to treat your young artist to some first-class materials for both class and home use, we recommend:
  • Crayons: Erasable crayons: Alex Erasable Crayons best approximate the brand of erasable crayons we use in-studio.
  • Color Pencils: Prismacolor colored pencils: Prismacolors are considered the gold standard for colored pencils. I’d use these for sure!
  • Sharpies:  Fine Point for Ages 4-6, Ultra-Fine Point for Ages 7 & up
    IMPORTANT! These are permanent markers! If your child uses these, make sure tabletops are well-protected with cardboard or several sheets of paper! Since we’re only using dry media for now, any dark or black marker will do instead of a Sharpie
  • Sketchbook: We always recommend every student keep a sketchbook. We recommend any book with blank pages, over 6x8".  Here's a brand we love.
  • Tracing Paper:  Students at D level and doing realism will need tracing paper.  While we will mail to some, it's a good idea to have this on hand anyway as they learn. 
Makeup Classes
Q: Can we use our makeup credits to pay for class?
A: Since this class replaces regular classes, we can only use makeup credits if you are using your annual prorate (partial month payment) option. If you are struggling at this time, we’d like to hear about your circumstances. We will do everything we can to be of help.

Q: Can we take care of the makeup classes in our account as online classes?
A: Since this format is new, we need a week or two to bring you an answer. Currently, we can only offer one class a week, but we’d love to see students get to use this time for that purpose. We want to be as helpful as possible, so we’ll keep you posted!

Q: Can I make up online class if I need to miss? How do I log an absence?
A: We are still working on how to address this. We appreciate your making every effort to attend regularly to try to keep things simple for now.

Q: When can I do my regular studio makeups?
A: We have relaxed our policies in order for makeups to be as easy as possible for you. All makeups, even makeups expiring soon, were given a 6-month extension as of March 16, 2020. If those expire, we will extend them for another 6 months. Once our studio reopens, we will provide extra class times to accommodate makeups. If you like, our office can pre-schedule your student to come in multiple times per week. 

Q: If I attend the online class, can I still get a makeup to use when the studio reopens? 
A: Online classes act as a substitute for in-person classes, so no makeup classes will be issued. Any normal, in-studio makeup credits in your account will still be honored as usual, except that you will have a full year or more to take care of those in-studio. 

Online Class Overview
Q: Will this match my student’s level?
A: The initial rollout of this program is roughly divided into roughly 6 levels at this time. All levels are meant to emulate and correspond with your regular Art Steps program. We are erring on the side of simplicity to start, and calibrating each week from there.
  1. Youngest students: Simple picture with a parent’s help 
  2. B&C level younger students: Simple picture with no help from a parent 
  3. B&C level ages 7 & up: Weekly guided drawing & critique
  4. D-level books: independent 4-step breakdown & critique
  5. D-level and realism: Creates own 1-step breakdown*
  6. Advanced realism and oil painting: Home studio independent mentoring 
*Student may choose weekly independent drawing instead, if desired

Q: Is an online class as good as a studio class?
A: As recently as March 15th, we couldn’t imagine how we could possibly provide a high level of quality, one-on-one instruction with caring instructors like our award-winning classes, but we daresay... we found a way to truly teach online. In some ways, the level of observational drawing instruction is very high, if not higher, than class. Quite frankly, we are astonished!!  Students are experiencing incredible results drawing with more independence than in class, because this method guides so methodically, and instruction comes directly from our founder and owner of 20 years. Students get to practice all of the most effective drawing techniques, every time. Critique & coaching sessions are substantial, and all students learn from one another’s progress. It’s not exactly the same format as a studio class, but the fundamental principles are all there. Advanced students may find things simple at first. We see great value in deep-diving into basics for a time, and as we acclimate to distance learning, we will increase their level of challenge on an individualized basis over time.

Q: What if I don’t want a mess due to painting in my home?
A: Our curriculum’s founder, Ed Warren, always says, “Painting is drawing with a brush”. We are focusing primarily in this program on the foundational skills we always focus on first: drawing. More than anything, this skill must be practiced and practiced for years for any artist to become highly skilled.  

Q: What if my older student wants to paint, not just draw?
A: We cannot promise, but we hope, that we can develop a painting option in the weeks to come. If so, painting will always be optional; we can teach to a very, very high level of skill with dry media.

Q: Is this appropriate for my teen?
A: The older students get, the easier it is to mentor them online! In fact, there are portfolio prep programs for teens out there that are online only! We are starting off simple but will adjust as the days and weeks progress. We are surprised and delighted that we can absolutely work with your teen, providing familiarity, accountability, helpful links, beginning, intermediate or advanced skills, and totally individualized attention if needed. 

Q: Why did you charge the autopay when I didn't authorize it for an online class? 
A: We will gladly credit or refund any unwanted payments. With over 1,000 students and a very small staff, it was impossible for us to reach everybody personally outside of sending each parent an email. We understand that with so very much to read in recent days, not everyone understood. This is a difficult time for so many. Teachers have been personally calling as many families as they can day-by-day to reach out and check on how you are. Please let your teacher know if you’d like to hold off paying or need a credit. Thank you for being patient with us, as we dearly want clarity, outstanding communication, and a personal connection with every single one of our families. 

Q: My family is struggling financially now, but my child loves classes. What can I do?
A: We care deeply for every one of our families, and sincerely want to help.  We are pleased to be able to offer all current students one free live class with their teacher! Let your teacher or our office know your circumstances. Please see our website for free online resources. We have a limited number of scholarships to give.  We will assess over time to see what resources of ours remain so that we can hopefully help more students in some way. Please reach out, and we’ll do what we can.

Still have questions?

Call us at 714-524-2248, or email

Wishing all of our families the very best during this most unusual time!