Atelier is the French word for "workshop", and in English is used primarily for the workshop of an artist in the fine or decorative arts, where a principal master and a number of assistants, students and apprentices worked together producing pieces that went out in the master's name. This was the standard for European artists from the Middle Ages to the 18th or 19th century, and common elsewhere in the world. In medieval Europe such a way of working was often enforced by local guild regulations, of the painters' Guild of Saint Luke if there was one, and those of other guilds for other crafts. Apprentices usually began young, about age twelve, working on simple tasks, and after some years became journeymen, before becoming a master themselves. The system was gradually replaced as the guilds declined, and the academy became considered a superior method of training, although many artists continued to use students and assistants, some paid by the artist, some paying fees to learn.

The current "Atelier method" is a form of fine art instruction modeled after the historic private art studios of Europe. An atelier consists of an artist working with a small number of students to train them in art. Atelier schools can be found around the world, particularly in North America and Western Europe.