Udemy vs Skillshare: How Do They Compare for Creatives?

Udemy vs Skillshare: how do they compare? for artists and creators

In this post, I’ll be comparing Udemy vs Skillshare, two of the most popular online course platforms, to determine which one is best for artists and designers. This is the quick answer:

Udemy offers the best deal overall. Udemy courses are sold individually, often at huge discounts, and they’re yours to keep. Skillshare has a yearly membership with access to every course. Your access ends with the subscription. The best creators appear on both platforms, on that basis, Udemy is the best.

With that in mind, it’s only my opinion, your circumstances might differ, so let’s look at the pros and cons fairly.

(I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. In this case, I have affiliate links for both Udemy and Skillshare. This is an honest comparison. I prefer Udemy even though they pay far less commission than Skillshare.)

Comparing Udemy vs Skillshare at a Glance

PricingVaries between $12.99 – $200$167.88 per year
Business ModelMainly pay-per-courseSubscription only
Refund Policy30-day refund policy on individual coursesCancel within 7 or 30-day free trial period, then no refunds
Free CoursesYesAdvertised but I’m unable to access them.
Trustpilot Rating2.5/51.8/5

An Overview of Udemy

In this first section of Udemy vs Skillshare, I detail the key points about Udemy that you must know. If you wish to more, there’s a link at the end.

What’s Udemy and Who’s it For?

Udemy is an online learning platform that offers video courses in just about any subject you can imagine, at any skill level, and allows you to learn at your own pace by purchasing each course to keep forever. They currently have 49 million students and over 185,000 courses available.

How is Udemy Priced?

Udemy is priced on a per-course basis, and the costs can vary quite a bit since instructors are able to set their own prices. The cheapest courses are around $12.99, while the most expensive ones can be as much as $200. Most courses, though, are somewhere in the middle of that range.

That said, there are frequent discounts available through Udemy of 75% off or more, so it’s very rarely necessary to pay full price for a course. You can buy discounted courses right from when you first sign up.

If you want to search out every deal possible, there are a few things you can try:

  • Sign up for their newsletter and they’ll send you offers and discounts that way
  • Search the web for third-party discount codes or coupons.
  • Use an incognito window to go to the site to make it seem like you’re a new customer.

In addition to the per-course pricing option, Udemy now offers a personal subscription plan, though it’s not available to everyone currently. This is billed on a monthly basis, at £29.99 per month here in the UK and likely to be similar in the US.

For this personal plan, Udemy curates a collection of courses for you that they feel are the best options based on what you’re looking for. You can access these courses for as long as you’re still subscribed to the plan. However, when you consider how often Udemy runs discounts on those same courses, it’s not exactly the best deal.

How to Navigate Udemy

Udemy courses are generally video-based and contain a series of lectures on specific topics. They also often contain worksheets or assignments, quizzes, and sometimes even certificates.

You can filter courses on Udemy via the search bar if you know what you’re looking for, or via the filters on the lefthand side of the screen.

The filters include:

  • Topic
  • Level
  • Language
  • Price
  • Features
  • Ratings
  • Video Duration
  • Subtitles

You can also sort by:

  • Most Relevant
  • Most Reviews
  • Highest Rated
  • Newest

You can click on courses to learn more about them, including what the course is about, the cost, information about the instructor, and reviews from previous students. If you like what you see, you can buy the course and it’ll be yours forever.

How Trustworthy Is Udemy?

On checking Trustpilot, you can see that Udemy has a very low score – 2.5 out of 5 stars. The main complaints are a lack of support, poor quality courses, and the company either not honoring refunds, or only issuing refunds in Udemy credits rather than returning the money to the original payment method. None of that is very promising.


Q: Are the teachers any good on Udemy?

A: Due to the way Udemy works, anyone can publish a course, meaning there are a lot of courses that aren’t very good quality. Udemy has stated they’re attempting to fix this issue, but aside from that, their higher-quality courses are as good as you can find anywhere else.

Q: How do I find the best quality Udemy courses?

A: One of the best ways to find quality courses is to check Udemy’s Bestseller tag. You can also check the reviews for individual instructors to see how previous students have rated them, as well as how many students have taken their courses in the past.

We all have to start somewhere and that’s why Udemy courses are popular. This class is by Brent Eviston who has the same courses on both Udemy and Skillshare.

The art and science of drawing by Brent Eviston on Udemy

Q: Can I get a refund on my purchase?

A: Yes. If you aren’t satisfied with a course, you can get a full refund up to 30 days after you purchased it. As for the personal plan, it has a 7-day free trial and you can cancel anytime.

Q: Does Udemy have any free courses?

A: Yes, Udemy has many free courses in their resource center – currently 539 of them to be exact. However, if you search the word ‘free’ on Udemy, you will get a lot more results – around 10,000, in fact. Wow.

If you want to know more go to: Is Udemy Worth it? Pros and Cons For Artists and Designers

Selliong art made simple banner

An Overview of Skillshare

In this second section of Udemy vs Skillshare, I detail the key points about Skillshare that you must know. If you wish to more, there’s a link at the end.

What’s Skillshare and Who’s it For?

Skillshare is an online platform with courses that mainly focus on creative and entrepreneurial skills. However, there are many other subjects offered as well. Skillshare has courses available for all skill levels, and most are video-based.

Most of Skillshare’s classes are under 60 minutes, but some are longer and have much more content and features, even including the ability to collaborate on projects and get feedback from the instructors. Not all of the courses on Skillshare are the best quality, though, so it’s important to make sure you research the ones you’re interested in before you sign up.

How is Skillshare Priced?

Skillshare works on a subscription model. They do offer a 7-day free trial on their website, but if you look around you can often find a 30-day free trial on offer. It’s worth noting that they’ll ask for your payment details before the free trial begins.

Currently, the main subscription option available is a yearly premium plan that costs $167.88 a year as of 2022. This plan is auto-renewed, so make sure you take note of that and read through the terms and conditions carefully before you buy. Set a reminder on your calendar before the renewal date.

Skillshare also offers a team plan with no free trial. This is priced at $159 per year, per person. It doesn’t offer access to every class on the website – only 35,000! To be fair, that’s enough.

There’s also an ‘Enterprise’ plan and a ‘Revive’ plan, but you’ll have to contact Skillshare directly for pricing information about those.

Aside from all that, Skillshare also offers four week-long classes with small groups and top teachers, priced at $499 each. These are called Chromacourses. I can’t see the added benefit warrants the extra money.

How to Navigate Skillshare

Skillshare allows you to search by keyword to filter courses. There’s also a panel on the left that you can use to filter by:

  • Class Type: All / Original / Staff Pick
  • Level: Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced
  • Created Within: All Time / Month / Week / Day / Year
  • Class Length: < 15 min / 15-30 min / 30-60 min / > 60 min

You can also choose to browse through a list of categories available. For each category, you can then choose to search by featured, popular, or trending courses.

Additionally, Skillshare offers you the option to look through a curated ‘Staff Picks’ category, which has a minimum quality standard they have to meet to be featured. There is also an ‘Originals’ category, which consists of courses directly produced by Skillshare in-house.

How Trustworthy is Skillshare?

Unfortunately, Skillshare has a very low rating on Trustpilot — a 1.8 out of 5 stars. The biggest complaint seems to be that customers were charged for a year’s membership even after canceling the free trial. Poor customer service and class quality are also common complaints.

On the other side of things, a Skillshare instructor posted a Youtube review of the website stating that he had never gotten his royalty payment for his course. Several other teachers in the comments said they had the same problem as well.

To be fair, there are a decent amount of good reviews as well, enough to determine that it’s not a scam. However, the risk is still there.


Q: Are the teachers any good on Skillshare?

A: Just about anyone can post a course on Skillshare, and unfortunately, this leads to a lot of low-quality courses. That said, Skillshare does work hard to promote its top instructors, and they do have quality courses available.

Q: How do I find the best quality Skillshare courses?

A: To find the best Skillshare courses, you can search filter for the most popular classes and top teachers. You can also check the reviews other students have left, and look at the instructor’s profile to see their credentials and experience. There’s also a rating system for how well the class met expectations — the best will fall under ‘Exceeds Expectations’.

Q: Can I get a refund on my purchase?

A: Skillshare offers a free trial, and you can cancel at any time, but they do not offer refunds once a payment has gone through.

Q: Does Skillshare have any free courses?

A: In theory they do but I can’t access any free classes without signing up for a free trial. Maybe you can somehow, but my trust isn’t there.

If you want to know more go to: Is Skillshare Worth It? The Pros and Cons for Artists and Designers

Udemy vs Skillshare – Final Thoughts

On the face of it, the most striking things about the two platforms are their similarities. They both have a low barrier of entry for course creators, have huge course libraries, and the best teachers often appear on both platforms.

They are both easy to navigate, but given that Skillshare is more focused on the arts, and the interface is cleaner, they win on that score.

Sadly they also share a poor rating on Trustpilot.

You will find valuable courses on both sites so how do you choose the best?

It all comes down to the basics. What do I stand to lose if things go wrong? 

In the case of Skillshare, I might lose $168 because their refund policy is open to question. If I have issues with Udemy, I stand to lose about $20, if I buy a course at a discount. That’s quite a difference.

Then there is the business model. Why would I join a membership scheme? I don’t get it. If I want to learn to draw, I need a drawing course, nothing else, and besides, how many skills can you learn in a year, realistically? 

When I pay money, I want to keep what I have paid for, to hell with recurring subscriptions and renting access.

For that reason, I have to conclude that Udemy is better than Skillshare for most artists. It is for me.

If you want to know how I manage to make a living selling my art you should take a look

Selling art made simple digital guide for starting a small art business

If You Want to Sell Your Art

Check this out!

Psst…it’s only $12.99!

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