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So, I'm going into my 3rd year at Boston University, with a graphic design major. The only other majors they offer are sculpture, art education, and painting - and although I'm an alright painter, it's not my greatest thing yet (I'm practicing like crazy).
My issue here is that, it's only been within the past semester that I realised concept art is the direction I want to go in. I had no idea that such a field existed, and had I known earlier I would have planned ahead better.
So now I'm stuck at my school, because I can't afford to switch anywhere else - and I'm going to end up with a graphic design degree. But what I'm best at is illustration + drawing, and I don't want to spend my life designing business cards.
Is there any way at all that I can make a graphic design degree work to my advantage? Is there additional schooling I should look into for after my first 4 college years? I've been trying to do as much research as possible for this field, but I'm a bit overwhelmed. Just need to know if anyone has any particular advice.
I found myself in a very similar situation during college. For me, it was a choice between switching majors and wasting two years of school or making the best of the track i was on.
I chose to finish out my major (all five years), but tried to make it work for me by injecting as much illustration and game-related design into my projects as I could. Keep in mind, that there are many different kinds of game art, which includes a variety of UI, motion, and graphic work. Game studios also like to hire people who can fill more than one role based on where the game is in production.
To supplement my art education, i took extra classes like figure drawing and industrial design (any fine arts, ID or illustration class is good) and had the good fortune to co-op at a design firm that also made Flash games. I really put myself out there to get my bosses to notice my work, but ended up creating a lot of 3D/2D painted backgrounds for them.
The route I took demanded a lot of extra effort and my grades took a hit, but ultimately the only thing that matters is your portfolio and the skills you're able to learn. I got my degree in digital design a little over a year ago and am now working at a game studio as a 2D digital artist. It's an on-going battle, because a lot of my day-to-day work involves painting icons and designing UI, but i also illustrate for casual games and paint concepts when needed. I still don't know if I took the right course, and it definitely hasn't been the path of least resistance, but it's a fun journey and I look forward to reaching my goals sooner rather than later.
Good luck finding your way and remember you aren't alone.
Degree matters nothing at all; portfolio is everything. Go ahead and finish your degree in...whatever (I didn't and I lived to regret it. I ended up with a corporate gig where credentials matter). A degree is a nice thing to have.
"Oh, hello Mister or Miss Nephredyl. You have some wonderful concept drawings here, but I see your degree is in Graphic Design. I'm afraid we're not interested."
How often does that happen? NEVER. Draw! Draw like the wind!
I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
Why not take what credits you've earned now and see if they'll transfer over to a program you'd much rather have your degree in? Once you graduate, I don't think they're transferable.
I've never understood the fear of switching over to something you really have your heart set on. Why waste the time and effort in something you really don't have any passion for any more? It's literally time and money that could be better spent on a path you really want to pursue. It's almost like staying in a horrible loveless marriage for the sake of keeping the swanky house. Remember why you chose art as a career to begin with... where's that sense of passion now?? Follow your heart.