The best major for concept/character design at SCAD

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    Unhappy The best major for concept/character design at SCAD

    Hello. Um. ...So here's my problem.
    I am a freshman at SCAD and I want to do concept art, but specialize in characters (would be cool to work at Disney one day ^^) and I'm not sure whether I should major in Illustration or Sequential Art. 'Why sequential art?' you ask. Because it seems like there is a lot more concentration on drawing characters than in illustration. Classes like 'constructive animal anatomy for creature design', 'conceptual illustration', 'drawing hands and feet' and 'fantasy illustration.' (of course, I only get so many electives so I can't take them all...) Illustration major seems so general, but I always hear that if you got for concept artist you should get a degree in illustration.

    And I could easily solve this by getting a major and minor- but I don't want to spend 579023851309 more dollars for another 2 years. And plus, I'm eager to move on past college

    I just would like to hear everyone's opinion, advice, or just what they'd do in my situation. Thank you!

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    You seem to be a little confused. If you are aiming to be a concept artist you should be in an Illustration course, one of course that includes a strong Concept Art department. The ideal course would be where you are taught classic drawing and painting, passing then to illustration and Concept Art. At the same time, of course, you have to be taught 3D with software like 3D Max and ZBrush as well as Photoshop and Painter. Ideally you should be taught by working Professionals. Lessons on industrial design or Architectural design would also be a help for Environment Concepts where Structures are important. Anatomy, Perspective and History of Art ar always part of these courses. Photography should also be part of the course.

    If you are not happy where you are you should look around for a College that will satisfry your needs. Always look at what the students produce if it is not what you expect, look elsewhere.

    One place you should look at is "Gemini School of Visual Arts & Communication" in Texas.

    I hope that I have been of help and good luck.

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    hi, i'll reply here since i don't think oohna is really familiar with SCAD's seq art program. at all.

    stick with seq. art as a major. i've heard from various students in the major, and professors, of students being hired by animation studios over animation majors. drawing is a good foundation for concept art, and i know there are quite a few seq. art courses that go in that direction. although not enough, i do know of a couple of classes where you build maquettes (spell?) of characters (my roommate is currently doing one). what you would gain from illustration is the exploration of a more variety of material, something in my opinion, that you could probably pick up on your own. don't forget you have a couple of elective studios, and you might want to use those to take painting/illustration courses. oh, and if you can, take Drawing for Design. it's a great class and if you have Debra Malschick, she's very understanding of "concept art". you'll learn to draw in a new way, one which is more mechanically inclined (i.e. afterwards you should be able to draw a decent space ship or at least understand how to get started haha)

    i speak as a student of SCAD (industrial design, not really concept art though) who has friends and a roommate in the seq art department. hope that helps.

    p.s. there's a major's fair coming up, you might want to check that out too.

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    Oohna, I appreciate the advise you've given me, but the Illustration course at SCAD doesn't seem to have a concept art department.... Therefore, your answer scares me because that means I would have to go to a different college and I would hate to move away from Savannah :o But it does in a way answer my question because it seems Illustration majors at other colleges are completely different. No wonder that is the recommendation I usually hear.

    Moroi, I'm glad to hear from another SCAD student ^^ I wish there were a lot more free electives, there are too many comic book scripting and inking classes that could be traded for more concept art relevant classes. (Can you do that??) I'll definitely look into that Drawing for Design course too. And yes, I am definitely going to the major fair I just wanted to hear a lot of opinions because choosing a major feels like a big decision to make.

    Thanks a bunch! *happy*

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    lol, there's no 'concept art' department in any major art school. So good luck finding it.

    Illustration major means that they will teach you how to draw and paint, and if you want to apply those skills to "concept art" then that's up to you. But they are not gonna teach you how to design kewl robots, and uber gunsword at art school.

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    I think the only "major" out there particularly designed for concept art is Massive Black's Concept Art Atelier. But that's not really a major so much as a school (sans liberal art courses and degree) of intensive work that has produced amazing results.

    dguy summed it up very nicely, and I would just like to add that although SCAD's Illustration department isn't the strongest (for that I would look into SVA/Ringling/Art Center) it is the only school with a Sequential Art program. The Sequential Art department is a very good one too. As for substituting classes, I really can't say as I've never tried it. That would be something to bring up to your academic adviser though.

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    I went to the Open House for Sequential Art today and the teachers said that they are expecting to have a minor in Concept Design available next fall quarter. *cheer!* And apparently, SeqArt is sort of designed for a mixture of career paths between comic book artists, storyboard artists, and concept artists. I'm all excited about it now, hehe. So I guess SCAD doesn't exactly have a major or department for concept art, but it's good enough for me

    Take that dguy! ^^ Jk, you're probably right about the robots and gunswords... D:
    Moroi, I'm happy to hear so many people say that it's a good department. Good plan, I'll definitely set up a meeting with the academic adviser.

    Thanks again

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    Quote Originally Posted by moroi View Post
    dguy summed it up very nicely, and I would just like to add that although SCAD's Illustration department isn't the strongest (for that I would look into SVA/Ringling/Art Center) it is the only school with a Sequential Art program.
    It's the only school that calls it Sequential Art. SVA has had a cartooning department since it's inception as the Cartoonists and Illustrators School.


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    elwell- Thanks now I feel better informed, for some reason I was thinking it was a minor or something at SVA.

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    Well, I'm a SCAD student as well, and, like everybody else, want to be a concept artist, woooo! heheh.

    I understand I may never become one, but I figure, "hey, I love illustration, and I can see myself being happy doing something else in the field". I'm not sure if Sequential Art would be ideal, if you're looking at SCAD for concept art...I've also heard it's a really tough major, mostly for the workload. But! If you're sequential, chances are you can do pretty decent illustrations...where it's not always such a smooth transition the other way around...and it looks like they DO have some pretty good concept-oriented classes I didn't know about.

    Anyway! It looks like you've made your decision. Good luck to ya.

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    I apologize for bumping an old thread up, but this needs correction:
    Quote Originally Posted by dguy View Post
    lol, there's no 'concept art' department in any major art school. So good luck finding it.
    Art Center College of Design has been offering Entertainment Design for ages as a minor under Illustration, and they've recently made it its own major.

    I absolutely agree with the second part of dguy's post though; once you've got the required drawing/painting skills it's up to you how you wanna use them, be it concept art or book cover illustration. Having people like Scott Robertson and Neville Page teach you the ins and outs of the trade can't hurt, though.

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    I'm graduating tomorrow from the SCAD Sequential dept, and it was absolutely the right choice. The illustration dept. is not what concept artists are looking for. Within the sequential department, you are pretty free to substitute concept paintings for comic pages - you just have to argue your case to the professors. Also, I only needed to take three or so classes that were specifically for comic making - the rest were simply drawing classes. It's the way to go if you're self directed and are willing to learn the computer part on your own. You will leave the SCAD sequential program knowing how to do the following:
    -draw from your imagination
    -draw in perspective
    -have strong visual storytelling
    -be able to make storyboards, comic pages, illustrations, etc.
    The rest, like any sort of education, is dependent on your personal drive. If you work hard outside of class, you'll learn plenty at SCAD.

    Drawing is fun.

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    Sorry, can I ask you some more questions Vantrum? (even though I didn't start this thread) I'm a senior in highschool this coming year, and have been looking towards SCAD's sequintial art program for quite some time, I would like to know how good the profs are, do they care, or do they see you as just another brick in the wall? In general from looking back in high school, how much do you think your skills have increased?

    And this is a more general one, I've heard that their attendance policy is rough, how true is this?

    How hard is it to get scholarships from them? (I'm poor, but my family is like "If you get in then your going!")

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    Pirate Lord78: If it's one thing you should never question about the Seqa Dept at SCAD, it's whether or not the profs "care" or push you. They are flat out amazing. Really. On the one hand, it's like a big family and I walked away with profs that turned into friends that I still hang out with. On the other? I'd get called into the Chair's office every other day for him to grill me on what I was doing and how I was preparing for classes and jobs. My profs who were my friends were the first to mark me down if I gave excuses. Critiques were rough and sincere from both profs and students. They also put on so much work I've seen many kids bail in favor of the Illustration dept.

    Attendance is strict because SCAD runs on quaters which are ten weeks--or 20 total class days. If you miss more than a certain amount (4? 5? its been a while) you flat out fail, no questions asked (even the profs can't save you). The only recourse is to have a real, long term emergency...and even then you get an incomplete.

    Scholarships are relatively easy to get, but it's the amount that is tough. SCAD will give most kids a 10K per yr. I suggest going to a state uni for your first two yrs to get core classes taking care of at a better rate ($300 a class vs $2200+...who pays that for MATH at an art school??). This will also allow you more time to work on your portfolio to get a better scholarship when you transfer. After that, if your family is "poor" they should get a good deal on federal loans to make up the rest. Also, look into other scholarships outside of SCAD because you can stack those.

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    Thank you, I really appreciate this. This has been my dream since middle school, and knowing that I might be putting my faith in amazing teachers reaffirms my dreams.

    I figured that was why the attendace policy was like that, I just wanted confirmation.

    I might consider doing that, I was thinking about that road.

    Currently though, I have a fastweb account and they are wonderful, I fully support that website! They are helping my financial endeavors tremendously.

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    I suppose I might as well throw in here that SCAD is apparently opening up a Concept Art minor this fall. I'm an illustration major, but I've been filling my electives with classes that I figure will help me the most for concept art...and tackle my weaknesses, too... I figure for me, personally...if all else fails, I'd much rather do illustration than comics, so the illustration dept. was my first choice. Also, I would be very interested in the concept art minor, but...I'd rather not stay in school for an extra year. I'm relatively self-motivated, so I figure if I push myself outside the classroom (which I've been doing, it's a bit tough at times, but you've got to do it), then I'll have a solid portfolio without the extra classes. If I had the time and money, though, I would consider it, *maybe*.

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    I thought about that, but I also love to write stories, almost as much as drawing, so I thought why not meld the two together you know? So sequintial art really suites me, I think.

    Been wanting to do it since the eighth grade.

    Never looked back once.

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    As an update on my desicion: (if anyone cares )

    After I've decided to go the Sequential route and I have now taken Intro to Seq and drawing for storyboarding, I don't think I can stand drawing anymore comics. There's no color, there's a very restricted medium (just ink, not even ink washes T_T), and the elements of art are basically restricted to line and shape. Being so restricted while drawing makes it painful instead of enjoyable.

    Maybe if I wait and get further into the classes it won't be so bad, but I'm not sure if I really want to wait and find out. It'd be too late to switch at that point... so I think I'll do what Fireflights has done and go illustration major and concept art minor. Seems to me like it would be a great combination of both sides.

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    I did illustration at SCAD and I just have to warn you, the illustration department is great, but it has a primary focus on editorial illustration and many of the professors are not interested in seeing anything else. Honestly, you might want to stick it out in the sequential department. I spent the last two years wishing I had gone sequential because of what all they teach. Be prepared to come out with a portfolio that is basically useless for concept art, to struggle through while people who appear to have no basic drawing skills get A's in some classes, and to constantly get told by many of the staff that you should be in a different department. All of the majors are going to start with very basic courses and go from there.

    Maybe you should talk to the chair for the Seq. department and see how open he is to letting you substitute courses to better get what you're looking for. Illustration will cover a lot more when it comes to materials and techniques, but there is less of an emphasis on drawing skills and accuracy, focusing instead on trying to create a distinctive, unique, and edgy style for editorial markets.

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    I agree with Mae 100%. Not to say that the Illo. dept isn't worthwhile, but it's classes can be largely useless for translation into concept art (exceptions being the obvious...there is more color usage). You can do it, but mostly with your own work outside of class.

    I think you are jumping ahead of yourself and don't understand what it is to be a concept artist. They restrict your media in the low-level seqa classes so that you #1 don't burn yourself out on more than is possible to do in the time and situation allotted and #2 really focus on what you're drawing before you jump into the next thing. The focus of seqa includes environments, props, character design, sculpture, storyboarding, storytelling, workload--beyond allowing you to pursue other media and genre.

    Do talk to your profs if you don't understand how these classes fit in with your concept art ideals, b/c I guarentee they'll be able to explain to you why they do. You have some fantastic profs at your disposal right now and they love to help. To Mae's suggestion...you could talk to the Chair, but he's about tough love. He's extremely smart, but does not sugarcoat things.

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    Alright, thanks. I'll stay with Seqa for now. I just really don't want to get too deep into the major to find out I hate it. I don't have the money to make mistakes in my choice of classes... my scholarship blows

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    I've emailed admissions and asked SCAD what courses are in the Concept Art minor and they are almost all Sequential classes with some Game Design (the two intro classes are Drawing for Sequential Art and Intro to Interactive Game Design). That should go to further prove that Illustration classes are relatively useless in regards to Concept Art. The rest of the courses hadn't been set in stone when I asked (in May) but will be available to see when the catalogue is published in August.

    I think you can pretty much learn most of what you need to know otherwise from 2D Design and Color Theory (although it depends on who you took it with). You don't really need to know how to use every media on the face of the earth if you want to go into Concept Design. I do agree that it can be somewhat frustrating to take Sequential classes if you don't want to draw comics (I'm a Visual Effects major doing the Concept Art minor), but not allowing you to use shading or color forces you to draw really well to get your ideas across.

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    It might be frustrating to do Comics if you want to be a Concept Artist...if you don't realize that Comics are just utlizing and stringing together CONCEPTS. What good are designing things if you don't understand the areas (comic, game, film, animation, products...) they will be used in anyway?

    I think this might be a good post to put in a heads up to local SAV SCAD students/alum/artists that Mae has started hosting a Dr.Sketchy's and "Local CA Artist Group" thread here. It won't get much "press" in the local forum if all the SCAD-kiddos stick to this one.

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