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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Oakland, CA (currently Putney, VT)
    Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts

    Curious about a few schools...

    I am going to be applying for a bunch of different art schools for transfer in the spring, and am looking for good illustration programs. I would like to know some educated opinions for some schools I have already looked at, as well as some other suggestions.

    First off, I was originally accepted to Maryland Institute College of Art out of high school. It was the only art school I applied to and at the time it seemed like my dream school, but I decided to withdraw last minute to take care of some things. I have been at a general studies school for two years now, and am ready to get back into art school, but i am unsure where i want to go. So I guess my first question is: what are peoples opinions of MICA?

    I have also been looking at some other east coast illustration programs such as Art Institute of Boston. They seemed to offer some interesting elective courses such as Art for Sci-Fi and Fantasy. So again, any opinions are welcome.

    Last, but not least, I have been looking at Art Institute of Chicago. They seem to have a pretty interesting approach with there create your own degree type set up, but I have heard that it is pretty easy to get lost in the shuffle there. I have a current professor who used to teach there, but i would love to hear a student (former or current) or a professional's views on the program.

    I also would love to hear any other suggestions for school that i should apply for. I am origionally from the San Francisco bay area, and have been trying to get away for a bit and do stuff on the eastern side of the states, but i would not be completely against going to a California school.

    Thank you ahead of time for any suggestions or just comments in general.


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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    East Coast
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    I think I can some up a few comments for you. I haven't attended any of those schools, but I can report to you some of what I've heard about them from my own searches when I was applying to art schools.

    I actually toured MICA, not that I was planning to go there, but because they gave us a tour on the National Portfolio Day. It seems like a nice school. The campus is spread up and down a couple blocks in Baltimore. The students seem nice. I wasn't looking for illustration when I was there so I am not quite sure how good their illustration program is, though I assume it's fine. I haven't heard anything dreadful about MICA. Always a good thing.

    Time and time again I've heard rather iffy comments about any of the Art Institutes (that is what you're talking about by the Art Institute of Boston, right? It's part of the AI, Art Institute chain? If not then disregard this). I hear often that students who attend any of the Art Institutes end up with little guidance and week portfolios and skills after leaving the Institute. I actually looked at a catalogue from the Art Institute of Washington and found myself rather unimpressed with their student work. Though I suppose if you were very self motivated you could go there, use their materials, and make some good stuff. I'd probably suggest sticking with an art school. I think of the Art Institutes as more of a trade school.

    By Art Institute of Chicago, you mean the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (also known as SAIC)? Or do you mean another of the Art Institutes. By the sound of the program you described, I assume you meant SAIC (annoying how similar they sound in name isn't it?). I actually have a friend there who just 'finished' her second year. She was originally happy to go there, but over the past two years shes become uninspired and unhappy with her school experiences there. As you said, the whole free form make your own degree program can sometimes make students feel lost without direction. For some I assume that this type of program works. For my friend it did not and she is planning on taking a break in the Fall as well as transfer out of SAIC to go somewhere else.

    In terms of new suggestions for your list, have you ever heard of the Ringling College of Art and Design? Their Illustration department is rated one of the top Illustration programs. It's located in Florida. The school size is relatively small, so there should be less chance of being lost in the large crowd of students as a number. I havent attended there yet, but Im planning on going there in the Fall to study Computer Animation. Another aspect I happen to really like about Ringling is that they're very forward thinking. Not just about having a great school experience, but they also think about where you're going after college. I personally happened to like that approach very much. And they also can boast more of a campus than a lot of art schools (a lot of the art schools tend to be spread out around a city).

    I am but one person. My comments about these schools is not the end all or be all of these schools. Definately find out some other comments as well and do some of your own research . Also, as many people have said, school is about what you put into it. Really, no matter where you go, what you get out of the school is how much effort you put back in. Though I suppose its always nice if the school you're putting your effort to is worth your effort and time.

    Good luck with deciding!

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Hudson River valley, NY
    Thanked 16,690 Times in 5,022 Posts
    Art Schools with Illustration Programs That Actually Graduate Students Who Can Get Work
    (An Incomplete Geographical List)

    New England: RISD
    New York: SVA
    South: SCAD, Ringling
    MidWest: CCAD
    West: Brigham Young
    Northern California: AAU
    Southern California: Art Center

    Tristan Elwell
    **Finished Work Thread **Process Thread **Edges Tutorial

    "Work is more fun than fun."
    -John Cale

    "Art is supposed to punch you in the brain, and it's supposed to stay punched."
    -Marc Maron

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Toronto, Ontario
    Thanked 198 Times in 116 Posts
    I'm the Director of Max the Mutt in Toronto. I try to stay on top of what's going on at other schools and I truly feel that we offer an education that can stand with the best- at a much lower cost. Check out both Illustration for Sequential Arts and the new Advanced Diploma In Concept Art for Animation and Video Games (you end up advanced- you're not expected to start out advanced). As a career college, we offer diplomas, not degrees, so all our students can spend all their time working on their craft. We are located in Toronto. Check out the thread on this forum, and visit the website, As of July 4 the Ministry approved the new diploma. We are in the process of updating the website, but you can see the quality of
    student work, check out the faculty, and look at the careers page. If you want more info contact Van Olson,, 1-877-486-MUTT.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Detroit, MI
    Thanked 141 Times in 85 Posts
    I get kids hired into the biz all the time as well!

    And for a school that's been around for over 100 years now, we've got alums in every imaginable field out there.

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