Hi, just wondering how many members on this board have been, or already are studying at the Watts atelier in Encinitas?
I've been a part-time student at a small atelier in Indiana for the past four years and have been visiting different ateliers this summer to try and compare them all to see where I will be moving next.
I've visited the Nelson Shanks studio in Philadelphia, have had a chance to drop into one of Jeff Watts classes in Encinitas and will be heading to Minneapolis this week to check out the Lack Atelier's student show.
What do you guys think about the differences between these schools? I really like the focus on illustration and anatomy at Watts and wondered what students from there took away from the program.
Best school on the planet. I can't compare it to other ateliers cause I have never been to any, but I went to college for art, and I wish I never wasted time there. One of the great things about the school is that it is very open minded, and they have classed in different things besides life studies. Such as illustration, concept art, story boards, inking, etc. If your goal is to be just a concept artist, I would recommend like the Massive Black school or Kevin Chen's school (not that the concepting classes at Watts are bad, it would just make more sense to go to a school that is geared more for concepting if that is your main goal). But if you want to get strong drawing and painting skills, then this is the place to be. It is insane on what some of the full time students pull off in just a few years. I have been going for almost 3 years I think, only has 2 full time semesters. I plan on going for years to come and when I get more money, be a full time student. My illustration career is just starting to kick off and I owe it all to this school and all the awesome teachers. Oh ya, and its ego free, everyone is cool.
I have been at Watts for close to 3 years now working towards a career in illustration, and I simply can't say enough good things about the school. I seriously don't know where to start, so I will just leave it at that.
I have heard not so good things about Nelson Shanks school. (although I can't remember what those things were or who said them, so you should probably take that comment with a grain of salt) The only other basis of comparison I have are my experiences in community college and a 4 year university, Watts is light years ahead of them.
It would help if you could tell us what your career or educational goals are so that we could give you more specific advice or anectodes. If you have any specific questions feel free to post them here or PM me.
My goal is to eventually be a fine artist. Norman Rockwell, Dean Cornwell, Howard Pyle all the guys that were great illustrators and could paint, those are the guys whom I wouldn't mind emulating. I don't want to be a concept artist in the sense that I am working on video games or illustrating comic books, but I do want the skill to do so.
My main interest is figurative painting, portraiture, landscape and still-life. I want to be able to paint whatever I see, and also be able to do it from my own imagination. The Watts atelier is the only school I've seen thus far that really incorporates all those elements.
I've been studying part-time at the Lafayette Atelier for the last 3 1/2 years and feel like I finally have enough drawing and painting under my belt just to get started seriously.
I've been saving money like a miser and have been looking at every school I can possibly atttend trying to make the best decision. This will be a 4-5 year full-time commitment.
I appreciate all your guys comments and advice. Thanks
Watts sounds like a good fit for what you want. The thing about Watts is that, despite being called an atelier, their program has very little in common with the "Atelier Movement," and draws from a different tradition.
From what I've seen of other ateliers is a curriculum based upon Bargue copying, cast drawing and figure study. Moving into painting in the second year. The work I've seen coming out of the Angel academies and Jacob Collins' atelier have been spectacular. I've had a hard time really trying to decipher what all the different techniques of each school are compared to one another. From talking with different students and instructors from these schools there is quite a bit of difference between what the Lack Atelier in Minnesota does compared to what the Shanks studio in Philly does. The former being described as French academic and the latter Italian Baroque.
I've done quite a lot of Bargue copying and cast drawing and really want to learn how to draw quickly, and accurately. Same thing with painting. But I want to tell a story, not just copy someone's mug or naked body. Here are a few samples of things I've done thus far.
There is no Bargue drawing at watts. I think they would offer a cast drawing class if they knew enough people would sign up. At Watts you are almost always drawing from a live model. They do teach a sort of loose and practical sight-size type method. You might be interested in their quick sketch class for drawing quickly and accurately capturing the gesture of the figure.
Watts actually has a cast drawing running this quarter. It doesn't run very often but it does come around once a year or so.
I used to drive to San Diego from LA for two years just so I could attend Watts. Eventually I moved down and now I have lived in San Diego for almost another two years. If you want to learn to draw and paint from life Watts is a great place to be. If you want to become an illustrator Watts is a great place to be.
I believe we actually have one student who went to an Atelier in Minnesota, which I imagine would have been the Atelier you are visiting. He might be able to give you a broader perspective on the schools. I believe Bogus is his name on the conceptart.org forums. You might try sending him a message.
Anyways, Watts is awesome. I think you would be hard pressed to find a place with so many professionals both teaching and taking classes. The community of people here is just great.
I'm not much interested in doing Bargue copies and cast paintings anymore. Most of the work I have done here in Lafayette has been that. I prefer to move on, and the illustration backbone that Watts has it what interests me so much.
I will say that the work I saw at Watts has impressed me more that what I have seen elsewhere. When I visited I noticed charcoal copies of work ranging from Repin to Rockwell and paintings from Frazetta to Schmid.
I'll see if I can hit up Bogus for a little more info.