Adventures in Education: The Art Instruction Schools
The point and purpose of this thread is to share my thoughts and experiences during my time with the Art Instruction Schools. This is not an advertisement for the Art Instruction Schools in anyway. I'm receiving nothing, other than providing useful information as a service to potential students. What will most likely happen is that I'll end up with a cease and desist order for exposing too much information on the lessons and violating their copyright. (That's probably a worst case scenario and most likely won't happen...) I will try to be non-biased and thoughtful in all of my posts. I'll attempt to give a summary of each lesson. I will also post my progress during the roughly next three years with scans of activities and assignment, as well as assessments from my teacher(s).
I have been desiring to attend an art school with a quality illustration program that could help improve my drawing and painting skills, as well as provide me with the solid foundation that I lack. I have found a few schools that could be right up my alley, which includes SCAD in Atlanta which I've visited, but have ran into the following road blocks: money, surviving in another state with out any help, cost of living, and being in over my head in debt due to student loans. (As you can tell, money or lack thereof is the common factor.) The economy was also a factor in my decision making. I have a job here in Texas and the market here is not as bad as it could be, but would I have a job in Georgia, Florida, etc. These issues pretty much narrowed me down to only distance learning programs.
I've known about the Art Instruction Schools off and on for a few years, but I've never really taken them seriously. I've seen their print ads, website, and television commercial. About a month or two ago, I applied for a scholarship on their website and received an entry form. My thinking at the time was, "If I receive a big enough scholarship, I'll giving it a shot." (See the following post from my sketchbook: clic aqui
BTW, I still don't know how I did...
A few days later, I received a call from the school's (Texas) recruiter who wanted to interview me the next day or the day after (saturday). I picked saturday so I could have some time to gathered up some references and sketches for the interview. He came to the house and gave an exhaustive introduction (one I'm sure that the poor bastard has given a thousand times over.) as well as going through all of lesson 1. (I didn't need to bother reading the workbook afterwards.) The recruiter also mentioned that the school provides all of the materials the student need. (This is for the most part unnecessary for me since I have most everything an artist needs except for a light-box and a hot model to pose for me.) If I happen to need a pencil, brush, etc, just give the school a call and I'll receive whatever in the mail. He also showcased the artwork of numerous artists including Charles Shultz (who should need no introduction) as well as a Disney comics favorite, Floyd Gottfredson. A lot of the stuff I saw was really impressive. He also showed me a copy of the school's magazine Illustrator, dedicated to showcasing student artwork. The recruiter viewed my sketches and told me that he wasn't expecting to see anything particularly good or on my level.
After officially accepting me, he spoke about tuition. For those interested, the total tuition came down to $3,485.00. (less then one semester at the Art School of Fort Lauderdale, which was approximately $7,000+ when I first inquired and growing) I agreed to pay $130 on a monthly basis. If I were to have any issues, I should call the school and either arrange to have my payments lowered (yet extended over a longer period of time) or ask to put everything on hold until I'm able to work everything out or decide to quit. At the interview I cut him my first check for $130.
Then the formalities came along, like filling out paper work, etc. The recruiter gave me my first a package consisting of my first two lessons (workbooks), folders to protect my assignments when I send them to the school, envelopes (one postage paid), a pair of Staedtler HB (no. 2) pencils, a worthless (in my opinion, but I'm a perfectionist who has already solved that problem, that's another story) plastic T-square, a copy of Illustrator, Orientation Handbook, and a Glossary & Resource book. Roughly a week or two later I received a box consisting of a congratulatory letter, an enrollment certificate, a Student ID card good for discounts (I don't know where. I guess I should give the school a call...), and a sketchbook, and a pair of Staedtler 2B.
About the Art Instruction schools:
The Art Instruction Schools is an art school offering a home study program, the Fundamentals of Art. The program is suppose to develop the student's skills from the ground up and includes all popular art techniques. The school has been around since 1914, and was founded in Minneapolis, MN by the Bureau of Engraving, Inc to train illustrator for a growing printing industry in the Midwest. The school is accredited by the DETC (Distance EDucation and Training Council), an accrediting agency of the U.S. Department of Education. The program also has the backing of the American Council on Education (ACE), allowing for the transfer of up to 24 college credit to over 3,00 school in the U.S. (This is based on grades and proficiency show in student's portfolio...) All of the instructors at the Art Instruction Schools do have degrees, if that means anything...
I guess I've covered all of the basics and gave the CA community a proper introduction. If anyone thinks I've missed anything in this first post or has any questions, please feel free to post me. I'll try to answer them to the best of my ability.
Next time: The Gridding Fun with Lesson 1! or Divide Me a Picture in Seven Days!
Sample student artwork
1.) Cover for Illustrator magazine, "Buffalo Dancers" by Sherry Blanchard Stuart
2.) Sample art from graduate, Malone Samuels
3.) Sample art from graduate, Wayne Meineke
4.) Sample art out of Illustrator from top — down:
"Individuals" by Doris Loes
"Duke" by Michael Hartman
"Second Wave" Frank Licsko