Art Steps News & Notes!

Online Program FAQ

March 25, 2020

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!

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! 

Q: I’d like to join. Can I take a free introductory class? 

Q: I live in another state, can I enroll in the online class?
A: Yes, we look forward to meeting you!

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 I make up online class if I need to miss? How do I log an absence?
A: Please visit our absences & makeups page for all information on how to log absences and schedule makeups.

Online Class Overview
Q: Will this match my student’s level?
A: In order to customize each student's experience, our program is divided into six levels. 

Level 1: Youngest students: Simple picture with a parent’s help 
Level 2: Typically ages 7 through 9: Simple picture with no help from a parent
Level 3: Typically ages 9-15: Weekly guided drawing & critique
Level 4: Independent 4-step breakdown & critique
Level 5: Realism: Creates own 1-step breakdowns
Level 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: At first, 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. Over time we continue to develop our painting instruction seeking to match studio quality of instruction. The basis of painting, however, is observational drawing. When it comes to drawing, we believe that the online instruction is equal to or better than the studio experience. 

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: 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

We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone, to keep Art Steps Online a positive place for students and staff. 

Wishing all of our families the very best!