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    concept artist bad career choice???

    i want to become a videogame concept artist and i heard about all the salary and stuff and know some schools i'd love to apply to, however, is a videogame concept artist a good job? because my art teacher makes it seem like i'll have to work for a different company everyday and look for work constantly with little pay. is this true? if you are a concept artist please give me your first person account of how schooling and work has been and can i technically work for one company forever and still have work and a steady pay?

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    you dont need to be be a concept artist to answer this post just have a perspective of it, because, i would prefer to know what im getting into.

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    First off, let me say that I'm a bit peeved at your high school art teacher for raining down on your dream of becoming a video game artist. It's one thing to inform a student about the down side of any profession but where's the balance in speaking about the benefits of the field. It seriously sounds as though they are ill informed as to what it is we do for a career... and more importantly WHY we do this.

    People who become artists don't go into it for the money. We do this because of a passion to create. This is more than just a job; it's a calling and it's set deep within us that we want to do this. We don't just clock out at the end of the day and forget about work. I'd be drawing non-stop even if I wasn't getting paid for it. Getting a healthy paycheck is just a bonus. In essence I'm getting paid to do my hobby.

    As is with many professions, starting out you won't be making much money. You have to pay your dues in ANY profession. You have to earn the trust of the people who hired you and more importantly you have to earn the trust and respect of your team mates & peers. But with great work you'll also be rewarded handsomely as well.

    One also has to understand that our field does not and should not foster a person staying there for their entire careers. Think about the stagnation that can set in from staying at one place for too long; that's the down side of being at one place forever. One should move from place to place, not just to stay refreshed with new challenges but to expand one's knowledge of the work force. With each move should also come some monetary rewards as well; think of them as promotions.

    If you're looking for job security, it's a fallacy. You're only as secure at a job as you feel. What's more "secure"- a freelancer who never knows where they're getting work (but still gets work) or the person who works steady at a place (but could get axed at any moment)? So if you're looking for any sort of job security, you're only as secure as you want to be. Don't rely on someone else or a job to feel secure.

    For me, schooling was extremely important in the sense it gave me my chops. I learned valuable skills there. I met amazingly talented and driven people there that are now my peers and industry leaders. School gave me the opportunity to experiment, fail (without much consequence), and it gave me the confidence to succeed. Seeing other creative approaches (not just within my concentration, but with craftspeople, fine artists, industrial designers, and other artists) also influenced my approach to art and it also taught me tolerance of art that I don't necessarily like (but still respect).

    But as with school and the profession, it will always be based upon a passion and a drive to do it. It's never a job security thing nor should it ever be based solely on making a buck. It's more than just a job- it's a lifelong career, a calling and something I care deeply about. One of the things I'm often reminded of (and relate to my students now) is- how badly do you want it? If you truly and sincerely want to do this- pursue it relentlessly and passionately. Don't let some narrow minded, myopic high school instructor tell you that it's not worthwhile. For those of us that do it professionally, I can't think of any other field I'd rather be in.

    Good luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Storyboard Dave View Post
    First off, let me say that I'm a bit peeved at your high school art teacher for raining down on your dream of becoming a video game artist. It's one thing to inform a student about the down side of any profession but where's the balance in speaking about the benefits of the field. It seriously sounds as though they are ill informed as to what it is we do for a career... and more importantly WHY we do this.

    People who become artists don't go into it for the money. We do this because of a passion to create. This is more than just a job; it's a calling and it's set deep within us that we want to do this. We don't just clock out at the end of the day and forget about work. I'd be drawing non-stop even if I wasn't getting paid for it. Getting a healthy paycheck is just a bonus. In essence I'm getting paid to do my hobby.

    As is with many professions, starting out you won't be making much money. You have to pay your dues in ANY profession. You have to earn the trust of the people who hired you and more importantly you have to earn the trust and respect of your team mates & peers. But with great work you'll also be rewarded handsomely as well.

    One also has to understand that our field does not and should not foster a person staying there for their entire careers. Think about the stagnation that can set in from staying at one place for too long; that's the down side of being at one place forever. One should move from place to place, not just to stay refreshed with new challenges but to expand one's knowledge of the work force. With each move should also come some monetary rewards as well; think of them as promotions.

    If you're looking for job security, it's a fallacy. You're only as secure at a job as you feel. What's more "secure"- a freelancer who never knows where they're getting work (but still gets work) or the person who works steady at a place (but could get axed at any moment)? So if you're looking for any sort of job security, you're only as secure as you want to be. Don't rely on someone else or a job to feel secure.

    For me, schooling was extremely important in the sense it gave me my chops. I learned valuable skills there. I met amazingly talented and driven people there that are now my peers and industry leaders. School gave me the opportunity to experiment, fail (without much consequence), and it gave me the confidence to succeed. Seeing other creative approaches (not just within my concentration, but with craftspeople, fine artists, industrial designers, and other artists) also influenced my approach to art and it also taught me tolerance of art that I don't necessarily like (but still respect).

    But as with school and the profession, it will always be based upon a passion and a drive to do it. It's never a job security thing nor should it ever be based solely on making a buck. It's more than just a job- it's a lifelong career, a calling and something I care deeply about. One of the things I'm often reminded of (and relate to my students now) is- how badly do you want it? If you truly and sincerely want to do this- pursue it relentlessly and passionately. Don't let some narrow minded, myopic high school instructor tell you that it's not worthwhile. For those of us that do it professionally, I can't think of any other field I'd rather be in.

    Good luck!
    thank you for the amazing reply.also thats precisely it im not in it to be rich if i get enough money to pay the bills i couldnt be happier because i love to draw to draw and knowing that i can draw and survive would be amazing. its just that the powers at hand i.e.-parents, teachers, doubt. are making me wonder if i can even do such a thing because if i have to move from company to company i raelly wouldnt mind the only issue is always having somwhere to work and something to live on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by falkyn View Post
    thank you for the amazing reply.also thats precisely it im not in it to be rich if i get enough money to pay the bills i couldnt be happier because i love to draw to draw and knowing that i can draw and survive would be amazing. its just that the powers at hand i.e.-parents, teachers, doubt. are making me wonder if i can even do such a thing because if i have to move from company to company i raelly wouldnt mind the only issue is always having somwhere to work and something to live on.
    One also has to look at jumping around from one company to another as a good thing too. You don't think that your company's competitors wouldn't mind spiriting you over to their company for a little more money too? People will pay for knowledge & skill.

    That being said, one also has to be honest with one's skills. You can work as hard as you'd like but there are only so many superstars out there that can command the top money. How many Michael Jordans of the world are out there compared to how many people can play basketball?

    i seriously think that there is something to be said for God given talent. In our field, one can learn a lot of the technical aspects but to put it all together and truly be creative & innovative is something else. I would never tell you that you couldn't be that person at this stage of your development. But as you start looking into doing this for a career, study what the industry requires of you, see the level of skill required, look at how some people have acquired the knowledge, and don't do anything short of this if you truly want to be a part of it. Immerse yourself in this and let your passion fuel it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Storyboard Dave View Post
    One also has to look at jumping around from one company to another as a good thing too. You don't think that your company's competitors wouldn't mind spiriting you over to their company for a little more money too? People will pay for knowledge & skill.

    That being said, one also has to be honest with one's skills. You can work as hard as you'd like but there are only so many superstars out there that can command the top money. How many Michael Jordans of the world are out there compared to how many people can play basketball?

    i seriously think that there is something to be said for God given talent. In our field, one can learn a lot of the technical aspects but to put it all together and truly be creative & innovative is something else. I would never tell you that you couldn't be that person at this stage of your development. But as you start looking into doing this for a career, study what the industry requires of you, see the level of skill required, look at how some people have acquired the knowledge, and don't do anything short of this if you truly want to be a part of it. Immerse yourself in this and let your passion fuel it.
    if theres one thing about drawing its skill i've been drawing since before my alphabet in fact my mom saved a picture i made of a warhorse since i was 3 and i simply cant do anything but draw and i love learning and discovering new aspects of drawing since i seem to catch them easily and i may never be the best but i'll always try. so i thank you for renewing my hope in drawing as a concept artist or at the least trying.

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    I was told very similar things in high school about art. "You'll work very hard for the rest of your life and never make much money unless you're a fine artist with rich parents and connections." I eventually turned away from an art career and now I wonder what would have happened had I stuck with it.

    It's far more important to have a career that you enjoy than having a career that everyone thinks is "secure." If you love what you do, then you will have no trouble putting in the effort required to be successful. I've seen enough oddball professions in my life that I'm convinced you can make a living doing ANYTHING, so you might as well do what you like.

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    A big part of what i learned in high school was "don't listen to your teachers, they're talking out of their collective, unknowing asses" .

    Seriously though. Any teacher older then 30 years finished school & education during an economic and social climate that's vastly different compared to how it is today. The introduction of digital medias like internet has revolutionized the job market and how an artist creates, something most art teachers would know very little about - unless they're the kind of open-minded people who keep up with technological development (which no art teacher i've ever learned under has ).

    Bottom line though, don't aim to be a concept artist for the money .

    - When you cannot win a large victory, learn to settle for a small one.
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    thanks guys im going to try now to get into concept art. first ill go to a normal college for the sake of my dad but next im going into concept art school and trying my hand at the career and worst comes to worst ill have something to fall back on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sebastard View Post
    A big part of what i learned in high school was "don't listen to your teachers, they're talking out of their collective, unknowing asses" .
    if one's open to hearing wisdom, it can come from anyone. Who says the only education you're going to get is from teachers? Upon my graduation from college, my father shook my hand and informed me that my real education was about to start. I'm still learning each and every day- not just from teachers but from peers and anyone else who has insight.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sebastard View Post
    Seriously though. Any teacher older then 30 years finished school & education during an economic and social climate that's vastly different compared to how it is today. The introduction of digital medias like internet has revolutionized the job market and how an artist creates, something most art teachers would know very little about - unless they're the kind of open-minded people who keep up with technological development (which no art teacher i've ever learned under has ).
    Generalizing what age group bright people have stopped becoming relevant in their field is awfully cavalier. I know of plenty of people who are well into their forties & fifties and who are savvy enough to adapt to the times and very relevant digitally as well as within their market. I feel for you that you haven't been blessed with instructors that are up to date. I also talk with many high school instructors now that are very tech savvy and have no issues talking about it and/or bringing in examples or people to talk about what's going on in the industry today.

    Just because one can't go to one source to get information shouldn't stop anyone from seeking out the knowledge that they need in order to get into the field.

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    observation number one. your attitude is good.

    rule number two. never listen to any idiots who tell you that your dreams are not worth following.

    you know that band Jimmy Eat World? I went to high school with those guys. The guitarist..tom something or other..he sat next to me in a couple of my classes and I told him that I was going to someday have an animation studio and work on cool stuff...maybe even work for Disney. Wanna know what his response was? "Man you are never gonna do that...everyone says shit like that...you arent gonna do any of that".

    So much for his wisdom coming out of his suburban white boy dreadlocks.

    Your art teacher is where he is because he either lacked the talent to make it as a professional or lacked the information and work ethic to make it happen. Always consider the source. In my case...the foolish person telling me such garbage had no clue what he was talking about. Same goes for your teacher.


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    thats my inspiration right there i mean some of the most important people on this website have come to my aid and im set i was wondering if a drawing class a temple university would be a goos start because that seems the most likely place for me right now but im going to set up a sketch book on here and i hope you guysd can guide me to correct my errors.

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    Quote Originally Posted by falkyn View Post
    i want to become a videogame concept artist and i heard about all the salary and stuff and know some schools i'd love to apply to, however, is a videogame concept artist a good job? because my art teacher makes it seem like i'll have to work for a different company everyday and look for work constantly with little pay. is this true? if you are a concept artist please give me your first person account of how schooling and work has been and can i technically work for one company forever and still have work and a steady pay?
    If your high school art teacher knew what it takes to succeed in the art industry, he/she wouldn't be a high school art teacher. Considering the willingness to squash your hopes, I highly doubt they chose that career because they have a burning desire to inspire young artists. People who gave up on their dreams are often the first to tell other people how impossible it is to achieve them.

    From what I can see, you have everything it takes to succeed. You're passionate about it, you know that it takes work, and you're young on top of that. Discovering your passion at a young age is a phenomenal blessing. I went to a "parent approved" college for 4 years and got a degree in Biochemistry before really discovering my passion for art. When I told my adviser that I was rejecting my medical school acceptance to pursue art school, he actually laughed and told me that I "might as well be chasing the wind." In about a month I'll be attending the school of my dreams to pursue concept art as a career - he is still sitting there telling college students what they can and can't do, and likely will be for the rest of his life.

    Point is; fuck the doubters, fuck the naysayers, and fuck anyone who tells you that you can't do it. What matters is what you think. How hard are you willing to work to make your dream come true? Cole Eastburn lived out of his car while trying to make his dream happen, and now he's working at Blizzard. A lot of successful concept artists have a story about the shit they endured to get where they are, because those are the people who never gave up.

    If you are going to go to school for a few years just to make your father happy, at least make use of that time:

    1. Section off some time for art; you can improve a hell of a lot in 4 years just working a few hours a day between classes and schoolwork. Don't let yourself stagnate just because you can't devote all of your time to it.

    2. Don't consider whatever degree you get there a fallback. You will likely face a lot of obstacles and rejection on the way to becoming a concept artist; almost everyone does. If you have it in your head that you have a "safety" option, it's going to be that much easier to give up when things feel hopeless. Todd McFarlane (creator of Spawn) got around 700 rejection letters before making his dream a reality. Unless you think you can endure that much opposition without being tempted to fall back on the safety-career, then try not to think of it as an option. Use it as a dayjob if you have to, but never, ever, ever consider it a suitable replacement for your dream.

    3. Start talking to people. Comment in other people's sketchbooks, go to workshops if you can. Being immersed in an artistic environment, be it online or in real life, will help you immensely.

    4. Start a sketchbook here and get to posting in it. Even if you don't get a lot of comments at first, people notice hard work and progress. If you put in the time, people will take notice and they will take the time to post comments and help you.

    If you can take a drawing class, great. However, you don't need to in order to succeed. Start with the Loomis books that are available for free online; they'll give you an excellent starting point.

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    Hi im new at posting here but been around the forums for some time and i can tell you this!
    If you love doing something then do it
    this acidemic year just past i did my first year at collage studying automotive design which just like this industry is based on skill and stepping stones to work your way up to a high level within industry.
    However i hated it honestly i had one of the most narrow minded lecturers ive ever met and this pretty much made me realise what i loved to do which is illustration which now i am doing at collage.
    But im saying this to you becuase i dont want you to do something get into more debt (im talking from a uk perspective) than you need to, becuase at the end of the day it will be you sitting at that drawing board or desk for the rest or however long it may be adulthood. I wish you good luck and i hope you stick with something you love and not something you feel isnt a safe lifestyle.

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    all of you guys have been so inspirational and i've received more posts than i could imagine in fact i feel one day when im down on my luck i'll get an employment email from one of you guys and i promise i wont ever let you down thank you and i've decided at this moment to start my sketchbook.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jhofferle View Post
    I was told very similar things in high school about art. "You'll work very hard for the rest of your life and never make much money unless you're a fine artist with rich parents and connections." I eventually turned away from an art career and now I wonder what would have happened had I stuck with it.

    It's far more important to have a career that you enjoy than having a career that everyone thinks is "secure." If you love what you do, then you will have no trouble putting in the effort required to be successful. I've seen enough oddball professions in my life that I'm convinced you can make a living doing ANYTHING, so you might as well do what you like.
    These words are true....and sound very much like my story. Now, I'm using this as fuel. Once I'm done with school, and am established a bit more...I'm finding that teacher, and I'm going to tell hm a thing or two about his "teaching" style, if you could call it that. But, I guess I can't be too bitter about it now...Oh yes, I can. LOL

    Falkyn...if there is ONE thing that I have learned in 38 years on this rock...it's this:

    Never let anyone tell you that you can't do something. Anyone who tells you that can't do it themselves, and misery loves company.

    But, do this for yourself. Remember the words. Write them down, and use them wisely...as 89 octane fuel for your passion and career. You'd be surprised at how far you can get when you use your internal love of art and that added kick of throwing the universe back into your teacher's face someday.

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    Quote Originally Posted by darkwolf29a View Post
    These words are true....and sound very much like my story. Now, I'm using this as fuel. Once I'm done with school, and am established a bit more...I'm finding that teacher, and I'm going to tell hm a thing or two about his "teaching" style, if you could call it that. But, I guess I can't be too bitter about it now...Oh yes, I can. LOL

    Falkyn...if there is ONE thing that I have learned in 38 years on this rock...it's this:

    Never let anyone tell you that you can't do something. Anyone who tells you that can't do it themselves, and misery loves company.

    But, do this for yourself. Remember the words. Write them down, and use them wisely...as 89 octane fuel for your passion and career. You'd be surprised at how far you can get when you use your internal love of art and that added kick of throwing the universe back into your teacher's face someday.
    "Never let anyone tell you that you can't do something. Anyone who tells you that can't do it themselves, and misery loves company. " damn thats a badass line and you know what who are they to tell me my own limitations like bruce lee said "use no limitation as a limitation" o and i set up a sketch book so help me out with some tips!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Storyboard Dave View Post
    if one's open to hearing wisdom, it can come from anyone. Who says the only education you're going to get is from teachers? Upon my graduation from college, my father shook my hand and informed me that my real education was about to start. I'm still learning each and every day- not just from teachers but from peers and anyone else who has insight.
    Absolutely. Part of why i am here is because there are incredible individuals here, people i would like to learn from. But when a high school student looks for wisdom for his choice of career, alot of times he'll look to his teachers or parents for advice.


    Generalizing what age group bright people have stopped becoming relevant in their field is awfully cavalier. I know of plenty of people who are well into their forties & fifties and who are savvy enough to adapt to the times and very relevant digitally as well as within their market. I feel for you that you haven't been blessed with instructors that are up to date. I also talk with many high school instructors now that are very tech savvy and have no issues talking about it and/or bringing in examples or people to talk about what's going on in the industry today.
    Well, i think what i said was truth - people who are that age simply entered the employment market during a different social era. Then there's the difference of how these people adapt to these changes, aye. My own father who's 61 is very good at computers and digital media, probably plays as much games as the average teenager. All i did was reiterate what i learned from the total of three art teachers that instructed me through junior high and high school. All of them were - if you pardon the expression - incredibly backward. This was 5-6 years ago and they treated digital art and instruction for it as a Hinduist would a big cheeseburger. So you're right, i definitely didn't have the best art teachers in that regard, since i didn't want to work with only pastels, graphite and oil.

    I hope that the school today is a bit different. I suppose what i wanted to say has already been said in better words then i have - consider the source of the information. You can do what you want to do, given that you have the right mindset and the discipline to see it through. I myself intend to become a living, breathing testament of this - eventually.

    - When you cannot win a large victory, learn to settle for a small one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sebastard View Post
    I myself intend to become a living, breathing testament of this - eventually.
    Amen, brother!!! I'm with you there.

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    I'm not a concept artist but I just wanted to say, my 6th grade teacher told me to not be an artist because they don't make enough money and said I should be a nurse or something, sounds like these two should meet and talk about being angry.

    Screw snotty teachers and do what makes you happy.

    You can unequip that attitude.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sebastard View Post
    Absolutely. Part of why i am here is because there are incredible individuals here, people i would like to learn from. But when a high school student looks for wisdom for his choice of career, alot of times he'll look to his teachers or parents for advice.




    Well, i think what i said was truth - people who are that age simply entered the employment market during a different social era. Then there's the difference of how these people adapt to these changes, aye. My own father who's 61 is very good at computers and digital media, probably plays as much games as the average teenager. All i did was reiterate what i learned from the total of three art teachers that instructed me through junior high and high school. All of them were - if you pardon the expression - incredibly backward. This was 5-6 years ago and they treated digital art and instruction for it as a Hinduist would a big cheeseburger. So you're right, i definitely didn't have the best art teachers in that regard, since i didn't want to work with only pastels, graphite and oil.

    I hope that the school today is a bit different. I suppose what i wanted to say has already been said in better words then i have - consider the source of the information. You can do what you want to do, given that you have the right mindset and the discipline to see it through. I myself intend to become a living, breathing testament of this - eventually.
    totally speakin the truth and i checked out your sketchbook and i love your painting style btw but thanks for the advice im just going to keep at it.

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    This site is the shit.

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  38. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by eddiemendoza View Post
    This site is the shit.
    haha tell me about it yo i checked your work and its real nice stuff you got there and man do i agree on your view of high school.

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  39. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by falkyn View Post
    haha tell me about it yo i checked your work and its real nice stuff you got there and man do i agree on your view of high school.
    Thanks, dude! And yeah, high school is balls.

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  40. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by falkyn View Post
    totally speakin the truth and i checked out your sketchbook and i love your painting style btw but thanks for the advice im just going to keep at it.
    That's the road to success . Don't listen to the nay-sayers, keep at it, keep improving, and above all, keep creating.

    - When you cannot win a large victory, learn to settle for a small one.
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  41. #26
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    There was a time when choosing to be an artist or an animator was a very gutsy move. It really was a very difficult path and there wasn't much work. Speaking for myself, it was still the right move because it was and is the only possible path for me.

    I would say ask yourself if you can look back when you hit 60 and live with your choices: any of the art fields have to be something you are compelled to do. At the same time, it helps to develop yourself, to have a flexible skill base.

    We all know that right now there are jobs in sequential arts for people with strong skills. It's not as much of a risk as it once was, at least not if animation or video games is where your passion is taking you.

    But how hard are you willing to work? How strong is your interest? Are you willing to work at the nuts and bolts stuff ? Do you have a realistic idea of the skills you need to develop and are you willing to do whatever it takes to develop them?

    This will have to be the top priority, and not everyone is really willing to choose working at their craft over hanging out and partying.

    In defense of teachers and parents, I would like to point out that many are well intentioned. They know artists who haven't been able to make a decent income and they also were conditioned to see these pursuits as high risk.

    Parents and teachers are fearful about what their kids are getting into. Their intentions may be excellent, even though they are built on outdated information. You may not agree with them, but many of them have very good intentions. That doesn't mean you shouldn't pursue your dream!

    Follow you heart and work very, very hard to develop yourself. Life may take turns that are unexpected, but if you have strong, decent core values and skills, in my experience you'll find your way and lead a productive life.

    Last edited by Maxine Schacker; September 17th, 2009 at 08:47 AM.
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    I think now it is better to get it into ever because while maybe the traditional "get a job" kind of employment is hard in just about any field if you wanted to turn your stuff into web applications/games there is nothing stopping you from creating your own product and site that get take off if you have someone good with the computer programming end of things...

    There's something that I wished I would have taken more seriously when I was making career choices and going into college and it was this: do what you love. If you love it, do it. If you don't love it, find what you do love. And once you're doing what you love, don't look back and don't listen to anybody else, lol.

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  43. #28
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    hey everyone, its been a while and geuss what!? my dad is 100% behind me for concept art, i took an art class in temple and it taught me alot, thanks to a great teacher, and the use of charcoal, which i hated at first, has made didgital art much easier to do, in one semester i'll be trying to go to an new york art school! thanks and expect alot of art to hit my sketchbook soon!

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    thats awesome, glad to hear! I'll be watching out for you progress, man.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alzuna View Post
    I'm not a concept artist but I just wanted to say, my 6th grade teacher told me to not be an artist because they don't make enough money and said I should be a nurse or something, sounds like these two should meet and talk about being angry.

    Screw snotty teachers and do what makes you happy.
    This is actually what my mom is saying now. She keeps pressuring me to try nursing...probably because she thinks my work is ugly because I'm a beginner. I'm trying to ignore it and stay here as long as possible to practice >_>. I hate the idea of people not making it because they don't have talent though. How am I supposed to know if I have 'talent' to succeed? Can work ethic replace that?

    BLAHBLAHBLAH
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