When it comes to learning how to draw, there are a lot of options out there. That’s why it’s important to do your research before you commit to any one course. Proko is a popular online drawing platform, but are Proko courses worth it? Here’s what you need to know.
Proko courses are worth it if you want a premium course taught by some of the best professional artists teaching online. It’s particularly well known for the quality of its portrait and figure drawing courses, and its comprehensive ‘Anatomy of the Human Body’ Course. Prices range from $25 – $293
In this post you will learn what Proko courses have to offer, the good points and the bad, how much you can expect to pay, and how they compare with 3 major rivals.
Let’s start with the obvious question.
(I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. However, I only promote products I like and recommend)
What is Proko and is it Any Good?
Proko offers a wide range of online courses covering various topics in art and design. These courses are taught by professional artists and designers and cover everything from the basics of drawing and painting to more advanced topics such as sculpture and portraiture.
It was founded by Stan Prokopenko who, as well as teaching his own courses, hosts dozens of experienced instructors on his platform.
The courses vary in difficulty and in cost, and cover the full range of abilities, from beginners to advanced, although the bias is slightly toward the latter.
The courses are all video-based, self-paced learning, and in addition, Proko courses come with lifetime access, so you can go at your own pace and revisit the material as often as you wish.
What’s more, there is no need to worry about buying a course on trust alone. There are many free tutorials both on Youtube and on Proko.com itself. There’s ample opportunity to gauge the value of his courses. It’s clever marketing.
Proko releases useful edited lessons from his paid courses with the hope that you’ll be tempted to buy the whole package. Fair enough because some of the free stuff is very good.
Look under the ‘Lessons’ tab and you will find dozens of free lessons to whet your appetite. Or go to his Youtube channel.
I first came across Proko by watching one of his Loomis tutorials on Youtube.
His website also has a ‘Tools’ tab, where you will find useful packages, mostly selling posed models for anatomy and gesture drawing.
It’s worth noting that all the semi-naked models are young and beautiful. No fatties allowed!
Although I understand this bias, what if you are interested in light and shade? A few character references would be nice, bring on the old and wrinkly, that’s what I say.
Most Proko courses are designed to be affordable and accessible to anyone with an interest in learning how to paint or draw. In addition, Proko offers a 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with your course. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned artist, Proko has a course for you.
Who is Stan Proko?
Stan Prokopenko is a talented artist specializing in figurative realism. His style can best be described as classical realism meets Marvel comic
He has an enormous following on Youtube, 2.6 million (May 2022), and is the founder of his own teaching platform, no doubt inspired by his time at the Watts Atelier. It’s another online-based art platform that teaches classical drawing and painting classes, as well as digital art and sculpture.
Proko is a good communicator and able to explain his ideas clearly. He doesn’t lack self-confidence, as his Youtube subscribers will testify, he has a knack for self-publicity.
His personality is exuberant, and he delights in teaching through fun. As he says himself, “I try to make my lessons fun and ultra-packed with information”. That probably explains much of his Youtube success.
Some people will find his humor a delight, but not everyone. Some find his humor irritating and that’s fine when it’s free on Youtube, but not so appealing when you pay for it.
I suspect his delivery style will appeal to a younger audience who need to be entertained to pay attention. There may be a generational divide here.
The Pros of Proko Courses
Some advantages of taking Proko courses include:
- Gaining a better understanding of figure drawing,
- Learning new techniques for drawing,
- Receiving feedback from other artists,
- Full HD video lessons,
- A 3D modeling tool (Prokos own anatomy course),
- Top professional instructors,
- Most courses are very reasonably priced,
- 30-day refund policy,
- Lifetime access to your paid courses.
The Cons of Proko Courses
While the courses are generally well-reviewed, there are some drawbacks to consider before signing up:
- Some of the courses are expensive,
- They can be time-consuming,
- It can be challenging to keep up with the coursework.
- Some of the techniques taught may be too advanced for the absolute beginner,
- Some of the tutors might be annoying,
- Some equally good tuition can be found elsewhere for less or even for free.
Are Proko Courses Worth It for Beginners?
On the whole, I would characterize the courses on Proko as being more suited for intermediate and advanced users, but there are some courses that are aimed at beginners.
Stan Prokopenko has two courses, suitable for beginners:
Both begin with the basics and progress toward more accomplished drawing skills. Being self-guided the student sets their own pace. That’s good for anyone who lacks confidence, but arguably, not so great for students who need more structure.
Stan Proko’ is able to break down complex concepts into easily understood and clearly explained lessons. His highly polished videos are a balanced mix of light audio lectures, drawing videos, and graphics.
This screenshot is how he organizes his portrait classes:
Many of Stan Prokopenkos’s drawing classes aimed at absolute beginners, are to be found on Youtube
Other courses on Proko.com that beginners will enjoy are:
- Drawing fundamentals: Accuracy, values, and light by Dorian Iten
- The Shading course: Fundamentals of realism, light, and shadow by Dorian Iten
- Drawing Exercises for Beginners by Steven Zapata
How Much Do Proko Courses Cost?
I could ramble on about prices but it’s far easier to make a chart of the courses available as I write this in May 2022. The range is from $25 – $293.25
You will have to browse the courses and see what they have to offer. Some courses are going to be of better value than others.
Now I am not going to pretend to have taken all the courses myself, and I don’t know what your finances are like, so I can’t evaluate each course, but I can make a few observations.
I can question if studying the Anatomy of the Human Body by Stan Proko warrants 362 lessons! WHAT? You gotta be kidding? Who has time for that? There are 162 lessons on the torso alone.
I doubt if anyone outside the medical profession needs to know that much.
I can only assume that students who want to work from memory might benefit. If you are drawing figures out of your head it would be handy to know anatomy and bone structure, but you know what? It’s easier to buy a plastic mannequin and use that as a reference.
Proko is good, but he’s not uniquely good, and this is way over the top. You have to understand that he has an enormous audience and he only needs a small percentage of customers to make his money.
He is charging what the market will bear, and there is nothing wrong with that, but offering more classes than anyone else and asking for a premium, is not the same as offering value.
The only other instructor I know on this list is Steven Bauman. I found him on Instagram, follow him on Youtube, and subscribed to his Patreon channel. He is an amiable, softly spoken man of intellect, and classically trained in Florence, Italy. I know you will receive amazing tuition.
Is he worth it on Proko? Yes, but he offers a potentially better deal on his Patreon channel, where you can get access to his teaching for far less money. That’s the theory, but in practice, once you join it’s difficult to leave. It feels like a betrayal to cancel and besides, you lose access to all the lessons.
If you want to own a course it’s better to get one on Proko.
That makes me question who else has the same course on offer elsewhere, for less? Some of these instructors are asking for quite a hefty fee. Proko courses are on the expensive side.
I’ll make one last point before I finish with pricing. I have noticed that Proko offers discount deals when you buy courses as part of a bundle. It ranges from an extra 5% – 20% off. Worth noting.
How Does Proko Compare to Other Online Courses, and is it Value For Money?
it’s a good idea to compare Proko to 3 of its major competitors, in this case, Domestika, Udemy, and Skillshare. I am an affiliate for all 3 sites plus Proko but I’ve tried to be as fair and balanced as I can be. I’ll tell you if something sucks.
Proko vs Domestika
Domestika offers some stiff competition when it comes to production quality, variety of courses, and price. There is only one reason I would choose Proko over Domestika and that’s the language.
Domestika started life as a Spanish teaching platform, and although that’s no longer the case, it’s California-based, there are far more Spanish courses than there are English. All courses have subtitles, but that still puts many customers off.
That’s a real pity because Domestika has some talented instructors.
If you have a yearning to draw, especially figure drawing, Proko offers excellent tuition. If the price difference is not so important, Proko courses are a good choice.
If you don’t mind subtitles or have a broader range of interests, Domestika is going to be better value.
Take a look at these courses to see what I mean. All 3 are English speaking courses
Proko has more freebies on offer. If you want to dip your toes in, without risking a pricey mistake, Proko has plenty of shortened lessons, both on Youtube and on their own website. Domestika has a Youtube presence too and produces highly polished promotional videos, but more as intros and not as lessons.
Refund policies are different. Proko prides itself in offering a no-quibbles 30-day money-back guarantee, while Domestika offers a 14-day refund policy or the option to swap to another course.
Domestika has auto-generated subtitles translated into 8 languages:
Proko courses are all in English, with Premium courses having Spanish and Chinese translations. They also offer transcripts with their courses, the idea being that students can use them with Google translate. Nice idea, but I wonder how many people actually do that?
Both platforms give you lifetime access to their paid courses. Domestika retains them in your account or permits you to download them to their app. Proko courses are simply downloaded to your computer.
Domestika courses are cheaper than Proko. I would not expect to pay a listed price on Domestika. Their courses are always on some kind of offer. Think in terms of paying about $20 per course as a guideline.
If you want a cheaper deal you can buy a course bundle or buy a subscription. At the time of writing, you can buy a yearly subscription plan for $83.88 that gives you 12 credits (courses). It works out at $6.99 each. Alternatively, you can opt for a rolling monthly plan for $9.99 per course.
Extra credits can be purchased.
The monthly plan gives you one credit per month, in other words, instead of buying a course for $20, you are better off joining a monthly plan, buying a course for $9.99, and canceling your subscription.
Membership on either plan permits an additional 20% off bundles, and as far as I’m aware you can also apply coupon codes. Mine is WILDLIFEART-10. If you want to use it.
It’s too complicated but still very cheap for what you get.
The cheapest course on Proko, by contrast, is $25.
If you want to know more, read this: Is Domestika Worth It? The Pros and Cons for Artists and Designers
Proko vs Udemy
Proko.com is a website that offers online courses on drawing, painting, and digital art. Udemy.com is a website that offers online courses on a variety of topics.
Proko offers courses that are taught by instructors with a lot of experience in their respective fields, while Udemy has a generalist pick and mix approach. Some Udemy instructors are as good as any you’ll find elsewhere, while others shouldn’t be teaching at all.
Proko courses are targeted at creative visual arts, Udemy courses, by contrast, cover a wide spectrum of interests and art is but a small section.
Like Proko, Udemy membership is free, and you only pay for what you want.
Again like Proko, Udemy courses are yours to keep and you have access to them in your account. Alternatively, you can download your courses to the Udemy app and view them on your mobile phone.
Many of the best courses on Udemy are good value for money. You can sort the wheat from the chaff easily. You can filter them by bestsellers, star ratings, and numbers of students enrolled.
Udemy also offers auto-generated translation services in several languages.
As for the cost of a course on Udemy? Who knows? They offer so many discounts that paying the full price seems foolhardy. Even stating the real full price is tricky because that depends on where you live. I’m in the UK and I know I will be charged more.
It’s safe to say that their prices range from $12.99 for the cheapest course, to about $200. It’s also safe to say that if you are new to Udemy, you will be offered the best prices as an enticement to sign up and buy a course.
You can also subscribe to their newsletter and receive their endless promos. Why not? You can unsubscribe when you are done.
We all have to start somewhere and that’s why Udemy courses are popular. This class is by Brent Eviston, and he has many more. You can see how many people have taken his classes
Udemy is trying to move away from its reputation for hosting poor-quality courses, it’s got some way to go. Anyone can teach a course and at 183,000 and growing, it’s quantity over quality.
They have restricted the availability of FREE COURSES to about 600. They are restricted to 2 hours in length, and many of these are teaser lessons for paid courses.
They also have a ‘Personal Plan’ that curiously is not open to everyone. How you can tell if you qualify, I’m yet to discover. According to their website, they offer curated course collections for a monthly subscription.
In the UK they want to charge me £29.99 per month for that forgettable offer. I suspect that might be $29.99 in the States.
As far as I can tell, they send you the best content they have for your chosen subject. They are yours to watch for the duration of your plan. In effect, they rent them to you.
That says two things to me, firstly, they have so much garbage on their own platform they can offer a paid curation service as a bonus, and secondly, you can purchase and keep 2 discounted courses for the same money it costs to rent them.
If you intend to watch more than two courses and never intended to try and get them discounted, a personal plan is worth it. If you are like me, however, and would never pay full price when I know I could get it for a fraction of the price, it’s not so attractive.
The refund policy is the same as Proko, it’s a 30-day money-back guarantee. The monthly Personal Plan has 7-day free trial and you can cancel anytime within the month and not pay the renewal.
Read more about Udemy here: Is Udemy Worth it? Pros and Cons For Artists and Designers
Proko vs Skillshare
There are some key differences between the two platforms. Skillshare offers a far wider range of creative courses, while Proko focuses specifically on art and design. In addition, Proko has a pay-as-you-go business model, while Skillshare is a membership site.
Membership gives you full access to all 40,000 classes on Skillshare. Sounds great until you know that Skillshare has the same non-selective, user-generated teaching policy as Udemy. There are a lot of poor and mediocre classes.
Skillshare offers curated content within the platform under the ‘Staff Picks’ tab. They also offer quality in-house productions under the ‘Originals’ tab.
Finding the best courses is pretty straightforward, you can also find the best classes by ratings and student numbers.
You will also find some of the best Udemy instructors selling their courses on Skillshare too. It figures. Both sites accept all course creators so if you have success on one platform then chances are you’ll do well on the other.
Another major difference between Proko and Skillshare is access to courses. Proko sells you a course for keeps and Skillshare allows access only with your paid membership. Now when you consider that so many of the same course creators can be found on Udemy, you’re better off buying their courses there for a discount.
Skillshare courses are usually short, which is nice, in a way. We are time-poor these days and cherry-picking only the classes you need is very handy. Some courses are far longer but on the whole, Proko courses offer more comprehensive tuition.
The value you will get from Skillshare as a member is directly linked to how you intend to use it. A yearly subscription of $167.88 is only a bargain if you intend to use the platform regularly. It’s not a good deal if you only wish to access a few classes.
And wouldn’t you know it, Brent Eviston sells the same courses on Skillshare.
Skillshare offers a 7-day free trial on their site and 1-month free trials via links and promos. After that time you will be contracted for a non-refundable yearly membership.
They do state that you can cancel at any time, but you are obliged to remain a member for the rest of your term. whereupon your auto-renewed is canceled. Otherwise, if you choose to remain, you’ll again at the end of the year.
I can’t discover if they send you a reminder or not, either way, how many times has an email been lost in the spam folder? I wouldn’t want to find out that I’ve paid again, especially with a company unlikely to refund me without a problem.
Most of the time I would be relaxed about the company rules and accept them at their word. I wouldn’t bother going through the fine print. Then I looked on Trustpilot and discovered that Skillshare has a poor rating.
30% of users have reported a bad experience in Trustpilot. To be fair, most people who are angry will leave a review, and far fewer happy customers feel the need to share their feelings. That said, it’s too many negative comments.
Many people complain bitterly that they have been cheated and charged the subscription fee after canceling within the trial period. Be warned, there are enough recent disgruntled commentators to make you feel uneasy.
I couldn’t find Proko on Trustpilot to make a direct comparison, but I found nothing online that makes me concerned.
Is Proko Worth it? Final Thoughts
There is no doubt that Proko’s courses are some of the most comprehensive and effective art instruction available online. But are they worth the money? For many students, the answer is a resounding yes!
Proko’s prices are mostly reasonable compared to other online courses, and the quality of the instruction is excellent. The bottom line is that if you are serious about learning how to draw, then Proko’s courses are definitely worth the investment.
Not only that his website offers a ton of great resources for artists and art students, including free video lessons. What’s not to like?
Proko is a marketing man, he has a huge following on Youtube, and Instagram, he sells his own courses and provides a platform for other course instructors. He does podcasts and has another website for articles and written tutorials https://stanprokopenko.com/. This guy knows how to communicate and make money.
If your budget is not a primary concern I have no problem recommending Proko courses. If however, you are budget conscious, I’d think long and hard before signing up for the most expensive courses.
If money is a factor I think you should try Domestika first. Your course might be subtitled from Spanish, but that’s the compromise.
When it comes to Proko’s Premium Anatomy course, I must be honest, I think it’s over the top. You don’t need a separate lesson for each bone and muscle in the body.
That apart, Proko is easy to watch, he makes learning the principles very easy, and his other instructors are very talented in their fields. That makes Proko courses worth it in my opinion.
I’ve been selling my art for over 20 years and make enough money to spend all winter in the tropics. Wanna know how?
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