Art School vs. State College
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    Art School vs. State College

    I'm researching art education for my son. He'd like to go into illustration.

    He's planning to apply for scholarships to some art colleges (specifically Columbus College of Art and Design), but if he doesn't get any scholarships then we're going to need a more economical alternative.

    Are there any other colleges, particularly in Ohio, that have an art program that would be a good alternative? Kent? Ohio University? BGSU?

    Also, what would we need to take into consideration if he ends up attending a state school at least to start, and then potentially transferring to CCAD?

    Thanks in advance for any words of wisdom!

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    Quote from Jason Manley: "Where you choose to go to art school is less important than bringing an attitude of "doing whatever it takes" to learn about art to where you are studying."

    That isn't to say that who you learn from isn't important, but some people get that mentality of "I can't be a good artist if I don't go to a good school." Which is absolutely untrue. So don't let him fret if he does end up attending a state school. There is an abundance of information here on CA.org especially that can help him improve independently to supplement what he learns in school

    I would suggest having him start out doing a lot of the general education/core classes like his English, Art history, etc courses that most schools require out of the way at a state school if CCAD is too expensive at first. He can check with a CCAD advisor to get a list of courses at a state school that would transfer to CCAD. Doing that will also give him a year or two to polish his portfolio, get a high GPA, and he'll be in a better position to receive both academic and artistic scholarships.

    There's also the FAFSA. The Pell Grant can provide around $4,000 a year that you don't have to pay back, and the Stafford Loan (if you opt to take it since it has a fixed low interest rate) is better than any sort of private loan you could get. It's also deferred for a few months after graduation in order to give him time to get a job and save some money.

    Also, have him sign up at www.fastweb.com. It's a site that has a big collection of independent scholarships and he can type in his intended major, background info, etc and they will bring up a list of scholarships he is eligible for. A lot of them are essay competitions, art contests, etc, but it can't hurt to see what they offer. I got about 1/3 of my scholarship money via essay contests from that site.

    Just have him keep in mind that no matter where he goes, it's what he does outside of class that will make or break his ability to succeed in the art field.

    Best of luck!

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    That's funny, because I'm moving back to Ohio and I'm asking pretty much the same questions. I'm going for animation, but the fundamentals of art are important in any art-related major/occupation. Which should be obvious, but to some people is not. Anyways, I'm an Iraq War Veteran and just recently was told that the state of Ohio(my homestate) is allowing all veterans to have free tuition at any state school. And so far from the research I've been doing, BGSU and OSU look to have the best art programs to me personally. Now that doesn't necessarily mean anything for your son, since everyone is different. I'd say take him to several different schools, let him check it out, see what he thinks of the equipment, professors, student artwork. Just get a general feel of the place, but make sure you're getting quality too.

    Something else someone suggested to me, is that sometimes places like CCAD and College for Creative Studies in Detroit have agreements with local community colleges for people to start their general studies and basic art classes there and for those credits to be transfered to their institution. This will help cut the extreme costs of private art schools. Have him check out Cleveland Institute of Art as well.


    Hope this helps!


    Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
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    We're already signed up at fastweb, but so far I've mostly been using it to narrow down colleges themselves. I'll have to start investigating the scholarships more. (Between band, school and work he's not had much time to do research himself so I've been narrowing stuff down with lots of input from him. Don't want you to get the impression that he's not involved!)

    We've both read the thread on the realities of going to art school that's stickied here which was a great resource!

    I was just wondering if there were any non-art schools that had a better reputation for art than others.

    Thanks for the input!

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    Quote Originally Posted by WickedEdges View Post
    Something else someone suggested to me, is that sometimes places like CCAD and College for Creative Studies in Detroit have agreements with local community colleges for people to start their general studies and basic art classes there and for those credits to be transfered to their institution. This will help cut the extreme costs of private art schools. Have him check out Cleveland Institute of Art as well.


    Hope this helps!
    I was about to suggest the same thing, I'm currently going to CSCC (columbus state community college) and am studying graphic design but I'm looking at transferring to CCAD. I know for a fact that CSCC does transfer credits to both OSU and CCAD. Though, CSCC is pretty lacking in terms of art classes, I dunno if it was this quarter that was lacking but the art section was bare. On the plus side, Gene, one of my Graphic Design teachers started some beginner courses for Painter (he got the department to buy 27 Intuos3 6x8's and 27 licenses of Painter X) , and he is looking to expand it to more advanced classes as well.

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    I learned on this site last night that CIA is more oriented to Industrial Design and not so great for illustration. Still might visit there though, especially if anyone has a dissenting opinion on the weakness of the illustration program there!

    We've visited several places already, but really only CCAD for art. (The other visits were to Shawnee State and Ohio University, but were scheduled primarily for his brother for digital simulation and video game design. Even the art guy at Shawnee State said that they weren't the place for a 'serious' artist and we simply ran out of time while at OU and didn't make it to the art department. I may schedule a visit specifically to the art department at OU, just so we can make an informed decision about it.)

    Columbus State Community College DOES have an agreement with CCAD for those who are attending CCAD. I still need to check out that relationship from the CSCC side of things as that's also another potential school for his brother as well. (I'm having to do the college search x2 if you hadn't picked up on that!) I did learn that CSCC and CCAD are on different academic systems (one has quarters, the other semesters...can't remember which has which) and our guide wasn't sure how all that worked out given that fact! Something else I need to research further.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vato Loco! View Post
    I was about to suggest the same thing, I'm currently going to CSCC (columbus state community college) and am studying graphic design but I'm looking at transferring to CCAD. I know for a fact that CSCC does transfer credits to both OSU and CCAD. Though, CSCC is pretty lacking in terms of art classes, I dunno if it was this quarter that was lacking but the art section was bare. On the plus side, Gene, one of my Graphic Design teachers started some beginner courses for Painter (he got the department to buy 27 Intuos3 6x8's and 27 licenses of Painter X) , and he is looking to expand it to more advanced classes as well.
    That answers the question of which school does quarters!!

    That is good info to have about CSCC art department. Do you know anything about their video game design program?

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    Mary Mary, just keep in mind that game design and concept art are not the same thing! One of your posts seemed to indicate that your son is most interested in game design. Is that right?

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    To clarify I have TWO sons. Twins. One wants to do game design and the other wants illustration/concept art.

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    I think it's great what you're doing for your children, it's more than my parents did for me x10!! They both seem to want to have exciting careers in the art/gaming industries and your involvment in that will help a ton. Both ARE serious careers with a potential for great success, they just have to push themselves. But yes, concept art and illustration and gaming are all separate careers.


    Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
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    I'd just like to applaud you for being so involved and supportive of your sons' career choices. Not many parents are enthusiastic when they realize their child wants to "make games" for a living. I find it difficult to hold an educated conversation with my family about my plans for the future, which I'm hoping will involve concept art for the entertainment industry. Anyway good luck on the college search, I hope everything works out.

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    Post stealer.


    Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
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    Yeah, I don't remember my parents getting too involved with my education other than to gripe about how much college might cost. Partly as a result of that I never have worked in the field I have my degree in. I don't recall ever really being asked what I wanted to do...just being told what would be a good field to go into.

    With my boys I've asked them extensive questions about what they want to do...but also assured them that if they find themselves wanting to do something different later then that's fine too. I just don't want them to be the kids who, upon graduating from high school, 'think' they'd like 'to do something with their art'...but don't have any sort of plan. So many of their friends don't seem to have much family support or encouragement.

    I've also seen a nephew enroll at a high dollar school, only to run out of money before graduation and now isn't attending anywhere. I WANT to believe that we'll find the money somehow, but also want to make the finances as low-impact as possible, especially since there are two of them starting college at the same time!

    I worry sometimes that I'm doing too much of the 'search' for them, but really, sorting through all this has been information overload for ME. Even though they're fairly mature and capable I think it would be just too much for them to make sense of all by themselves at this stage of their lives.

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    Oh, and I've had a few raised eyebrows when I mention that my one son wants to do game development. I point out that there is hardly a major news story these days that don't have some sort of computer generated recreation of events or graphic of some sort. Land on Mars? There's simulated footage of the landing. Natural disaster? Simulated footage of the sequence of events. Documentary on fireworks? Simulated footage of how a firework explodes.

    Granted, most of my examples are more animation, but those are just the most visible examples. More and more training stuff is interactive simulations. The guy at Ohio University was telling how they were developing interactive software for junior high kids to do virtual science experiments. The sorts of things that there's just going to be more of, not less.

    Most of the time I don't even let people get as far as questioning my sons desire to develop games. I explain why it's a good field and leave it at that!

    Plus I made my son promise that he'd develop some games geared towards people like his little sisters.

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    The Game Design program is actually pretty good from what I hear. Though I haven't taken any classes in it myself, they have classes for the big 3D gen. software such as maya and all those. I went to a seminar last year and there were a number of game design schools that were going to be allowing for CSCC credits to be transferring to them and that were putting stock in general into CSCC. It's a good stepping stone to get your son's abilities honed in that respect.

    As far as the art section of CSCC goes, I don't want to sound negative but it is pretty lacking, in practical means especially. I mean, they have the art history classes and the beginning drawing class and a colour composition class which will be useful but that's about it. The Beginning painting class, while it's on the roster, has not been taught even once. It's not that they don't have teachers for it, because they do, or that they don't have the demand for it, because it is there; there's been numerous petitions passed around in fact, just to try to get the class actually added but CSCC just won't put it on. We're trying another petition this year to see if they'll add it to the registry so that people can sign up for it but it's doubtful at this point...

    All the credits do transfer over though, that way your sons can take care of all the filler classes required for their major and then just focus on the game design classes and art classes when they do transfer over to their respective colleges.

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    Thanks for the input on CSCC game design! I still need to schedule a visit there.

    For us there are some factors that make community college a so-so option, but that will be a decision we can firm up once we crunch all the numbers.

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    If you don't mind my asking, what part of Ohio are you from? If you feel uncomfortable telling the whole world, you can PM me as well.


    Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
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    We're in central Ohio. It takes us about 40 minutes to get to CCAD. My sons have taken Saturday Morning Art Classes there since 7th grade.

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    So is the art department at BGSU pretty well thought of?

    I have to admit that my sons biggest stumbling block at the moment is his portfolio. I didn't realize until about a year ago that he wanted to major in art in college and I had NO IDEA how important a portfolio was!

    Add in the fact that he's rarely had time in his school schedule for an art class and that equals 'not many finished pieces'. So while he sketches fairly constantly he's not so great at the moment on following through to completed drawings...he's just rarely had deadlines to meet thus far. Unless he gets cracking there is no way he's going to have an adequate portfolio by the time that scholarship deadlines roll around, hence my search for a state university with a good reputation for art to get him started at. All part of the maturing process as I see it.

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    Bgsu...

    ...is a place I myself was considering at first. I was looking into their Digital Arts program. However, after speaking with a student VERY extensively about that program, I decided against it. He had informed me that the professors were lacking to say the least. They have no industry experience. They only teach the software, which anyone can easily learn on their own. And none of them even LIKE animation. Now with a program that has an animation track, does that make any sense to you? And keep in mind, this student was one of the top graduating students who won a national animation award with two other classmates, not some disgrunted drop out. The only thing he said that helped him reach his achievements was his own personal drive. Also, if you look at the program itself it doesn't have very many traditional art classes, which is not conducive to making a good animatior or game designer.

    As for the traditional art, just take a look at the professors and students portfolios on the BGSU Art Dept's website. I personally wasn't very impressed. I'm leaning more towards the OSU side of things. We don't have very many choices in Ohio, I'm afraid.

    Goodl uck with everything though and please keep reporting back information on where you've been, good and bad.


    Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
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    super long...SORRY!
    Hi Mary Mary...another Mom here, went thru what you are dealing with last year. YOu are on a great site for info and hopefully the current students on here will be a sawesome for you as they were for us! Their insight is gold. One of the first things I would suggest is for your boys to attend a National Portfolio Day event,this is where they can show their works and get invaluable feedback from multiple colleges in one day I am in Illinois and Chicago's NPD was last weekend I believe.There are multiple locations, you may have to travel, but it is worth it. This event was awesome for my daughter as she coud ask specific questions on her major ( Computer Animation) and see if she was on the right track. We went the fall of Senior year, but if kids can go Junior year, all the better. You can show incomplete pieces, having finished works are of course going to be more influential, but these teachers/reps know exactly what to look for and can spot it instantly. Have your sons draw from direct observation as much as possible...any artisit will benefit from that, no down side at all. They can also get more info on their intended major, literature, it's also SO inspiring ot see all the incredible talent that is out there, and also one of the first looks at the competition.
    My daughter applied and got into CCAD, and was awarded a very nice scholarship based in her portfolio. The feed back she received at NPD was pretty influential in the pieces she chose to submit. It is also possible to be "pre-accepted" into a school at NPD, or least it happened for us last year. Both Ringling( if she was going to major in Illustration) and CCAD accepted her based on her portfolio, but of course, notihing was final until transcripts, essay etc were formally submitted.
    We struggled with State vs Art school to a point of such frustration that it was in effect taking a huge toll on our daughter. Even tho we have School of the Art Institute (SAIC)and Columbia College right here, neither offered a competetive Computer Animation program. Back when out daughter was a sophomore she wrote to various companies asking what colleges they recruit from or could guide her in any way during a search for a reputable school that would give her a chance to be marketable in such a competitive field.
    There were some state schools in the mix, but none were in Illinois so we were faced with out of state tuition, or private art school tuirion...both about the same insane cost. We had MANY long talks with our daughter over finances, debt etc., and her basic stance was this: I can pay about $100,000 for a general degree at a state school that will not prepare me for the competition out there ( again, she is CA )or go in another $50,000 and get the education I need. She chose the latter. She walked from a sizeable scholarship at CCAD, because while for many majors the school is really good, Illustration and ID being 2 of them....it just did not offer a CA program that was a good match for her.
    I think your sons choice of Game Design is not an "eye-brow" raiser...my daughters boyfriend is majoring in it ( also at Ringling) and it is very mainstream. You will find that MANY people still do not consider ANY form of art a REAL career. I myself majored in Illustration, attended a state school, and only AFTER graduating did I find how unprepared I was. I know individual talent and hard work is the key to being successful, but I was beat out on many a job by a candidate who had more specialized training, or came from an Art school. I learned then and there while MANY state school are doing their best and have incredible instructors, certain majors just do not offer the same program/instruction/opportunities that the Art colleges can/do. Ii literally am the product of what my daughter is trying to avoid, investing 100,000 and not be marketable, or spend the extra and at least have a fair chance. I think if your sons are interested in Art Education, writing, the Business of Art, things of that nature, state schools can be VERY competitive....but not always in something like Game Design. There are differences in Game Art and Game Design also, so again, have your sons (S) speak with the different departments to see which is the better fit.
    From what we found, BGSU was pretty decent, I would still shoot for CCAD, however, their Media Studies program was sort of too broad for our DD, not specific enough for CA. They did add a CA major this year, but since it is the 1st year for it, our daughter chose to attend Ringling ( plus, it was just a better fit for her overall, and she loves it).
    Also, of all the schools we looked at, our daughters 2nd choice was our Community College. She was almost going to attend, but once she maed it into Ringlings CA program, she was not going to risk her acceptance, and she was so excited that there was no looking back. She still says tho, that the Community collge art department was by far more impressive and current, dealing with reality than most colleges. One BIG thing I would look at is the Internship opportunities that ANY college can offer. These will be key to the future success of your son. And, to make sure they actually do want to work in what they are majoring in. Ask student s when you visit, what they think. Do they feel instructors are available to them outside of class, size of the school is important, so they get one on one feedback etc. Environment is also a biggie, I mean, if he is not going to be happy in his environment, it can hamper his success. You mention band, so a plus to state school is having band as a continueing option...many art schools do not offer the traditional college experience, but they do offer being able to take classes in your inteneded major pretty much by sophomore year, some sooner. Another thing to look at is the Gen Eds required in each major at each school, is a school a flat rate tuition or by class....it can be overwhelming, and then the competition to get in. Our daughter was fighting for one of about 100 slots for her major, so next time someone thinks that Art Schoool is not like trying to get into Harvard, well, it's all relative.
    It's expensive. VERY expensive. If your son is not pretty darn sure, I agree with the Community College approach, many class sizes are smaller and it is a great way to learn time management and how to juggle multiple projects, and get used to 2-3 hour studios classes.
    Good Luck and I hope some of this helped a little.

    Pam

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    Helped a lot Pam, thanks!!

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    Just giving a little update:

    As I mentioned before, one of the biggest stumbling blocks for my son at the moment is a lack of portfolio. He REALLY needs to get that in order because he essentially has NOTHING other than his sketch book.

    He has quite a few half-finished things, but other than that...

    I've decided (and shared with him this feeling) that until he gets a portfolio together there's no clear path.

    I hate to pay even what a state college would charge (room and board and all that) without a clear idea of which art department would be an asset. Unfortunately, none of the community colleges that are accessible to us (CSCC being one, Marion OSU and Marion Tech being others) appear to have an art department with any depth at all. One other, Clark State in Springfield seems to have a glitch with their website at the moment and I can't access it.

    In contrast, if my son moved in with my mom who lives two hours north of us (my dad died this past summer, so him living with her would mean that neither of them was living alone), there would be four options for community college. Mansfield OSU, North Central State (also in Mansfield), BGSU Firelands (in Huron...which is where I attended college), and Lorain County CC.

    The Mansfield schools are out...no discernable art department at those based on the course offerings...a few classes, but ONLY a few. Firelands has more, but Lorain CCC appears to offer the most art classes of them all. (After learning that CSCC has art classes that are listed...but not held...I HAVE emailed them asking about whether or not the classes actually happen.)

    So...unless he gets his portfolio spiffed up dramatically in the next few months then I think he's going to be spending a year with grandma (or, if they get sick of each other, his dad owns a house in the same area that's currently empty) and taking as many art classes at LCCC as he possibly can. He could probably knock out a few other basic college classes too, but truthfully, I want him to spend his time primarily on his art if it comes to that.

    I'm resigned to the fact that if he did get into an art school the following year he would probably still need to attend for the full four years, but that's fine. I'm not worried about how much might transfer to CCAD or wherever.

    Also, if he just doesn't get his portfolio spiffed up enough in a year then he's going to need to reassess exactly what direction he wants to go from there anyway. If he's simply unable to work against a deadline and get pieces finished then he's never going to make it as a professional artist anyway.

    I wish now that I'd insisted that he take art all four years in high school and had I realized that he wanted to be a professional artist I might have...it would have given him more experience getting stuff finished AND he'd have some pieces for the portfolio. As things are he's only been able to fit a couple of semesters of art into his class schedule so far.

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    Adding: The best case scenario is that he gets his act in gear (once band season is done...tomorrow is their last performance) and gets his portfolio in order in enough time to apply to CCAD for scholarships. Otherwise we're going to have to go with plan B!

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    While it's good that your involved, is their any reason your son isn't the one asking these questions?

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    He's at band...just got home from the state final marching band competition at 12:30 in the morning.

    Many evenings he works until 10:00 or 11:00pm.

    Saturday mornings and afternoons are devoted to art classes. Tomorrow evening he has what may be his LAST marching band performance ever because their HS football team made the playoffs and they're going to play at half-time. If the football team doesn't win then marching band will officially be DONE.

    He's not really had the time to even get online for weeks now. When he is home he spends much of his time sketching.

    Meanwhile, I'm trying to get some college visits lined up while I have some time in my schedule and am trying to pin down where to schedule visits at. (We've been to CCAD already and a couple of state universities, although those were mostly for his brother.) I was seeking input on WHERE to schedule some other college visits at...if there were state universities that were more desirable than others in the art department.

    Next week his schedule will be free of twice a week after school band practices, Friday night football games, and Saturday band contests. He really enjoys marching band, but it does take huge chunks of time. Several times he's been late to band on a Saturday so he could get his full art time in, and has also skipped some other activities he was looking forward to also to devote time to art.

    But online time? Just hasn't happened lately except in very small increments! I've been learning all I can online and as soon as he comes in the door I pounce on him and tell him everything I've learned and ask for his input, etc.

    Believe me...sometimes I feel like I might be doing too much of the legwork for him...but seriously, there just has not been time in his schedule up to now. Next week, and from now on, his plan is that the time previously spent in band is going to be devoted to working on his portfolio. I've even discussed whether or not he needs to quit his job to spend more time on his portfolio. And I'm the one who WANTED him to get a job!!!

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  27. #27
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    A concept artist isn't an animator. It helps to have an understanding of animation (and to that end we include one semester of classical animation). There are very few programs that teach the combination of traditional fine art, illustration and concept specific courses that he'll need. In my view he should start by getting a strong grounding in traditional fine art skills . For video games, he will be aiming for proficiency in trad representational painting.

    As far as computer skills are concerned, while he'll need to understand Maya, he will mainly use Photoshop.

    These careers, by the way, will be based on professionalism, creativity and knowledge and skill. No one will care about diplomas or degrees.

    I am the Director of an artist/animator run career college in Toronto, and protocol limits me to suggesting that you check out our website (for the son who is interested in concept design- we don't teach game design). Our tuition for US and international students is approx. $10,000 a year Canadian (around $8000 US I think- check the exchange rate). Living expenses are reasonable.

    Last edited by Maxine Schacker; November 1st, 2008 at 04:48 AM.
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    I'm ahead of you Maxine. Already checked the website and it gave me more questions to ask him!!!

    I'm hoping to get as many possibilities investigated as I can in the next week and get some visits scheduled before Thanksgiving. He's just finished up the first quarter of school so he can hopefully miss a day here and there with no ill effect. I'm just NOT willing to have him miss a Saturday at CCAD at this point. He needs that 'art exclusive' time too badly.

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    Maxine...to be honest, all else being equal and not factoring in scholarships, it would cost about as much (tuition + living expenses) for him to attend Max the Mutt as it would for him to attend CCAD and just live at home (or with his dad, who lives even closer to CCAD.)

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    The original post asked for more economic suggestions than private art schools.

    I don't think her question has been answered very well. I'm making a portfolio now, and I'm trying to find some state colleges notorious for their art programs as well...doesn't matter what state. I'm going to major in film.

    I'll pay $30k/year if I have to, so that I can attend a private college...but I'd also eat my own fingers to get a degree. For $30k/year, I basically am.

    Thanks

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