Academy of Art Illustration Program Reviews

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Thread: Academy of Art Illustration Program Reviews

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    Academy of Art Illustration Program Reviews

    Hello everyone, I am new to this site so I hope I am in the right place to ask this. I was wondering if anyone went to the Academy of Art and did their Illustration program? I'm interested in their comic courses and can't seem to find any reviews. Any info would be a great help, thanks!

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    I myself am currently an illustration student there, and although I couldn't tell you anything yet about the comic courses as that is more junior/senior stuff, I can give you a bit of a review thus far assuming you would be an incoming freshman much the way I was.(they usually pump their illustration students with two years of foundations more or less).

    For starters I would say I'm overall quite happy with the experience, as SF is a fun city to be in with stuff always going on, be it the city itself, or just at any of the dorms (the commodore is the best freshman dorm imho). Anyway, more importantly though, it seems this school has it's "rockstar" teachers, that people in the know strive to get, which can make things a bit challenging, as some of the teachers I've had have ranged from completely inept, to godlike. If your really considering this place, make sure you talk to students that are ahead of you and ask for WHO IS GOOD, otherwise you may risk throwing your cash down the toilet. My initial figure drawing teacher was a soft spoken odd ball, that stood far too close to what he was working on during demo's for anyone to really see, and really was of no help in drawing the "human figure". It was more of sit in a warehouse and draw naked people for five hours straight and for me was rather hit or miss. Not to mention he had no clear outlines for what he was looking for, I remember always trying to go as realistically as possible, and then after getting frustrated with him, took the largest piece of vine I could, and simply loosely almost attacking the paper blocked in the portrait of the model as quickly as I could and he couldn't have been happier with it, (apparently it was very painterly). It's times like this I throw my hands up in the air at the academy. From there though, I had an epic sculpting teacher, amazing anatomy teacher (Valerie Winslow), and an astounding Intermediate Figure teacher (Chris Newhard)((even though he can be very uptight)).
    Basically the moral of all of that, is if the teacher doesn't click within the first two classes, GET OUT, the advisors really also often don't have a clue of the classes, or the rigors of them (not that I really blame them), there job is just to fill the classes. So go in there and fight for the teacher that you want. Also, while I'm rambling at 3 AM, I'm going to mention that various teachers for the same course can have quite different approaches and curriculum/homework outlines. For Intermediate Figure, my teacher was obsessed with self portraits, drawing our hands and feet from life in as much agonizing detail as we could manage, etc, (for homework), while other teachers would have their kids get sketchbooks, find fifty or so faces, and draw them, and would be fine with students working from a 2D source. Anyway, once again, if you attend, keep your ear out, network, and find out who is doing what and how (and if possible, why).

    Btw, for basic figure drawing 101/analysis of form which you would be taking 1st semester as an illustration student, keep an eye out for Larry Zimou, and David Lee, these two fall under the "rockstar" teacher list, and if you can switch into one's class, go for it. Btw, Kaoru Bullard for AOF is also a great teacher with infinite patience it seems. Although when she sits down for demos can tend to move at blur pace, so if you need anything clarified feel free to ask her without embarrassment.

    I'm tired so I'm gonna wander off an faceplant my bed now, but if you have any more questions, ask away.

    ((pardon any grammatical errors/typos too, I'm quite gone atm))

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    Thanks Ex3.beatnik, I am really considering going back to school for illustration specifically for comics or concept art. I'm considering AAU because there one of the schools that offers classes for both. Any info on the school or courses is appreciated.

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    Hi,

    I wholeheartedly recommend the academy. IF you can afford it.

    and as was mentioned before, definitely take a class with David Choong Lee for Figure Drawing or analysis of form. He is true master, and one of the nicest artists or people I'e ever met. I'm glad to call him my personal friend.

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    Thanks Urban-Muse, I really can't afford it but I guess that's what student loans are for. Any info on the comic on concept art classes?

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    I just graduated from the school of Illustration, but I did not take any comic classes. They used to group comics with the sequential art as far as I know it is really growing though.
    Along the lines of the concept art classes, I believe they are starting to branch the visual development people into the Illustration school, they were previously considered animation students. There are a lot of focus visual development classes that you would end up choosing to take as a junior/senior.
    I took Creature Design For Film and I loved it, even though I was disappointed not having Terryl Whitlatch again that semester. (She also teaches Wildlife Illustration and I highly recommend her, if you don't end up going to Academy at least indulge in her Workshop DvDs)
    About the Structure at Academy:
    When you enter the school of Illustration you will start by having Foundation courses, which are meant to improve your basic skills and possibly catch any hiccups on things you need to work on. There is a lot of General Education classes now that Academy is a University, you might want to go to a Junior College and take those to transfer. As you progress with your degree you might have to take at least one basic painting class and at least one figure drawing class. (It might help you with comics to take some extra as electives since you'll do a lot of scenes with people)
    When you get about half-way through you'll do a midpoint review with the department head (Chuck Pyle) and he'll advise you and direct you which way you'd like to continue with your degree. At that point you might have wanted to take at least one basic comic class so you'll know if its the right thing for you, if not change your focus.
    I'm going to take a breather on the wall of text, you can ask me any questions you have about the program here or in a PM. I may continue writing more.

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    Great info Mauii, which General Ed classes are required for an illustration major? I was told by the Rep that not a single math, english, science, or language class was needed. Only two Art History classes were required.

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    Here is the degree breakdown
    http://academyart.edu/illustration-school/outline.html

    Depending on the degree/certificate, you can see the outlines for each one on the menu to the left. You do need to take a certain amount of credits for liberal arts classes, and it's mandatory to take at least 2 classes in Art History I agree with Mauii to try and take as many General Ed classes as possible to transfer in, since each class costs a whole lot (they raising the tuition to $740 per unit, which is $2220 per class...)

    I've only studied Illustration at AAU for 3 semesters so I can't really tell you much about the more advanced classes

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    choong lee and cynthia pettit

    Can any one at AAU give any pointers about these two teachers?

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    wait, which 2 teachers?

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    Avoid Kaoru Bullard

    Quote Originally Posted by Ex3.beatnik View Post
    . Btw, Kaoru Bullard for AOF is also a great teacher with infinite patience it seems. Although when she sits down for demos can tend to move at blur pace, so if you need anything clarified feel free to ask her without embarrassment.
    Having just completed my first semester at the Academy I have to say I disagree with this. All my teachers were great except for Kaoru. I had such a bad time in her class I considered leaving the Academy. Sometimes I would go three class sessions without her making her way to my end of the room to look at our work and provide assistance. I also saw students who had much more skill than I also struggling to understand the concepts that she just never explained. When she did make it to my end of the room her critique was never what I needed. Looking back over my work from her class there are such obvious errors that she never pointed out to me. I am sorry if this sounds harsh but I did have that bad of a time in her class.

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    sorry to hear that. I dunno, I approached that class already with a fairly strong background which probably allowed me to cope quite a bit more easily, but I will agree with you that she can confuse things needlessly on occasion. For instance when she tried to explain perspective i got so fouled up it took taking winter break off, clearing my mind, coming back and studying things just for myself to make up for the miss information.

    *sighs*

    However, she still seemed to have good patience when you did get her attention

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    Incoming large text block
    Quote Originally Posted by VNJ View Post
    Great info Mauii, which General Ed classes are required for an illustration major? I was told by the Rep that not a single math, english, science, or language class was needed. Only two Art History classes were required.
    LIES
    Please be careful when trying to transfer, there are snakes at this school.
    You can only transfer classes in your first semester at academy. You will need to consult with an admissions adviser to see if the classes you are going to take to transfer meet their requirements. They will want to see your syllibii and course description at least.

    The requirements on general ed might shift around as you are a student.
    I went through a lot of changes because I had started at the school when they changed to university accreditation.
    Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Illustration
    Major Courses 78 units
    [Required Major Courses: 36 units]
    FA 213 Introduction to Anatomy
    FND 110 Analysis of Form
    FND 112 Figure Drawing
    FND 116 Perspective
    FND 125 Color & Design
    ILL 120 Clothed Figure Drawing 1
    ILL 220 Clothed Figure Drawing 2
    ILL 222 Heads & Hands 1
    ILL 232 Illustration 1
    ILL 233 Illustrative Digital Imaging
    ILL 237 Illustration 2
    ILL 310 History of American Illustration
    (20th Century)
    [Major By Advisement: 42 units]
    (Refer to the Semester Breakdowns for
    recommended courses.)
    Electives 9 units
    Libera l Arts Courses 45 units
    (see “Liberal Arts Requirements” for more
    information)
    TOTAL 132 units
    This is the basic breakdown for a whole degree (BFA Illustration)
    45 Units of Liberal Arts (LA) are required
    for BFA/ BA graduation (up to 30 may be
    transferred in)
    Each course is 3 units unless otherwise noted.

    Three English classes are Req:
    Written Communication
    BFA 3 Courses | BA 3 Courses
    You may be able to transfer all three of these classes.
    LA 108 English Composition for the Artist
    ~ required (Effective Spring 2006)
    LA 110 English Composition: Narrative
    Storytelling ~ required
    LA 202 English Composition: Creative<-- English 1A at a JC (Speech)
    Persuasion - The Art of Argument
    Four Art history classes are Req:
    You many only transfer up to two of these if you are lucky, it may be one.
    Art History & Appreciation
    BFA 4* Courses | BA 1 Course
    LA 120 Art History through the 15th
    Century ~ required
    LA 121 Art History through the 19th
    Century ~ required
    LA 222 20th Century Art
    LA 243 History of American Illustration
    Historica l Awareness BFA 1 Course | BA 1 Course
    Choose one:
    LA 171 Western Civilization
    LA 270 US History<-- very transferable
    LA 276 Seminar in Europe
    LA 359 Urban Sociology
    Quantitative Reasoning Literacy
    BFA 1 Course | BA 1 Course
    Choose one:
    LA 124 Natural Phenomenon<--Conceptual Physics
    LA 175 Astronomy Exploring the Cosmos<--Very fun
    LA 254 Introduction to Ergonomic
    LA 255 College Math<--Basic Algebra and Geometry I believe
    LA 256 Topics in Contemporary Math
    Comparative Ideas & Influences
    BFA 1 Course | BA 1 Course
    Choose one:
    LA 127 Topics in World Art
    LA 180 Geography and Museum Cultures
    LA 238 World Literature
    LA 343 Comparative Religion
    LA 359 Urban Sociology
    LA 368 Experiencing Culture: Anthropology
    LA 462 Myth and Symbol<---Humanities transferable
    Emp loyment Communications and Practices
    BFA 1 Course | BA 1 Course
    LA 291 Designing Careers ~ required<--- I have no idea this is new
    LA electives by advisement
    BFA 5 Courses | BA 7 Courses
    Choose Five~ *Any of the above listed LA
    courses in addition to those listed in the Catalog

    Here's another secret. You can transfer the foundations courses but you will need to submit a portfolio for each of the classes you are trying to transfer. You will need to fight Tooth and Nail, if you want to succeed. I only was able to transfer Color and Design.

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    Some Good Teachers to look out for: (These are studio classes mostly figure drawing and clothed figure)
    Chris Canga (C.B. Canga)
    Kazu Sano
    Chuck Pyle
    Bill Sanchez
    You will come across new teachers from time to time. A lot of them are soft spoken, so you will need to actively communicate with them if you want feedback, everyone has different expectations. You can adjust your style to meet theirs, some teachers will like you to go loose others want you to go tight.
    Not everyone will click with you like Ex.3 says. Try to approach classes with a way that will help you get the most out of every teacher.
    Maybe take workshops for the drawings classes before you enroll for that particular class. That way you can get a feel for the teacher in the workshop.( anyone can drop in on the drawing workshops as long as they are students)

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