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    .

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    Last edited by nauvice; May 31st, 2011 at 09:13 PM.
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    You would be in good company as there is a long list of famous, successful artists who didn't go to or finish art school.

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    You have 4 choices; get a loan with a bank for NY.

    Go freelance and maybe also do stuff you don't want to like p/t work and/or do portraits for family/neighbours (which you might not like, but might learn from).

    Defer school for a year and work like a dog to make money

    Or give up.

    Which would you prefer?

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    Are there no financial aid options at all? From the school? From your state? Anything?

    That's the only way I could go to art school at all, was by paying almost entirely through various forms of financial aid (some from my state, some from the school, some work-study aid, a smattering of scholarships...) (Of course after graduating I spent years and years paying it all back, but what can you do.)

    It is possible to make it into a successful art career without school, of course. But it helps if you have an extra dose of self-discipline and a lot of drive.

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    I, for one, am shocked.

    I just fail to understand the US schooling system. Basically, if you have money - the world is your oyster. Regardless of how hard you work/how much time you put in/talent you posess (even though I personally don`t believe in talent, but that`s a whole different discussion). I`m really sorry to hear that, Zwarrior. And by the looks of it, you seem to be pretty cool and level - headed. I would freak out. But I`m like that, so...

    Anyways, I can`t offer you any other advice but to stay stubborn when it comes to art. You may quit the school (and it seems it wouldn`t be so tragic), you may find a "regullar" job and all, but art will always stay with you b/c it is a crucial part of your wiring and who you are as a person.

    Oh, and a thank you is in order as well. Just now I realized how lucky I am. The tuition for colleges here are...1/50th of US! Sheesh! Tell you what - move here. I have a spare bunk and a big pot for coffee!

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    There are many people with more experience than me and I hope they post, but I recently graduated from a state art program, so maybe I can offer some advice.

    For me, here is what art school was: a place to work, supportive group of fellow artists, and mentors. If you can cover those three areas, then I don't think you need it.

    Also, your style is the reflection of how you like to work. If you don't know how you like to work, then you haven't worked enough. Try to work linearly, and have multiple paintings going at once. Never finish one without having started another. That will keep your rhythm going strong.

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    The unfortunate thing is that in today's society, a degree means less now than it ever did before.. it's no promise of a job. Don't get me wrong; education is very important... but you're going to be right back in this position again once you're done your education: wondering whether you're going to be successful, if you're going to make any money, if you made a mistake; etc... If anything, you might be in a better position than others since you're being forced to ask yourself these questions early on.

    Anyway this is really just my two cents, but taking some time off school to actually explore the market around you and to do some networking might be a great chance to see if you're on the right path.

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    I had to move to San Francisco and live in a closet while working at Starbucks.

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    Not having that degree, isn't an advantage though.

    The mistake waiting to be made is the belief that because you dont need a degree, having one is a disadvantage.

    Not having a degree hasn't advantaged me one bit. Having one would have cost me two years I didnt do shit in anyway, and would have been quite beneficial in retrospect.

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    It's hard to give advice considering I haven't seen any work of yours since like last December. The portraits when you first started posting are great, but I don't know if you've kept it up at all. You can lose what you had if you don't practice. If you want an art job, then now's the time to build your portfolio. Make a killer one, and raise some cash meanwhile, with a p/t job.

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    Times are really tough now. I've been hearing that there are people who don't get jobs after graduating, but I know from personal experience that there are few entry-level jobs to none, depending on where you live. New York is a world of its own though.

    Your parents are both right and wrong, doing the parent thing. Just build a really good portfolio in whatever time you have working at a part time job or not. I hope things turn out all right for you. A lot of people have had to go through the same thing.

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    The artists I know that have made it "big" without art school had a hell of a lot of drive. Not desire, but drive. Action. I think of people like Rick Berry. Great artist who worked very hard to develop his own style without art school. When I decided to go to art school I went to work in the oil field on North Dakota for two years. It was like a really good paying prison job. The work was hard and dangerous but I made enough to go to art school and pay room and board. You can make it without school, but I personally wouldn't give up the experience of art school. I learned so much. No one goes to artschool for the degree, you go to learn to produce a great portfolio. Dont limit yourself. NY isnt the be all end all of art. And especially not their art schools. Start looking into scholarships. Really looking. I once got a partial scholarship for being part Italian. Go figure. BTW, there is an artschool in SAvannah, GA that I have recently heard a lot of good things about.
    Good luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sanya View Post
    The unfortunate thing is that in today's society, a degree means less now than it ever did before..
    I'd have to disagree with that. In this job market, as competitive as things are, i'd argue that a degree is even more important. Sure, an art degree doesn't have as much weight as a great portfolio, but it definitely does have some weight and doesn't hurt one bit.

    "I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."
    --- Frank Herbert, Dune - Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArtZealot View Post
    I'd have to disagree with that. In this job market, as competitive as things are, i'd argue that a degree is even more important. Sure, an art degree doesn't have as much weight as a great portfolio, but it definitely does have some weight and doesn't hurt one bit.
    What I was trying to say was that, relatively speaking, a degree won't get you as far as it would have, let's say, 10 years ago... but you make a very important point... any edge is an edge!

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    You don't have to be in art school to be drawing. You'll be better off taking timeaway, getting some perspective and making good choices as opposed to making the bad choices that can put you in a hole. You're young, you don't need to be the King Of The World by 24 to have a great life, you have plenty of time. This is an exceptionally difficult time that won't last forever. Keep your chin up and keep your options open.

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    Wow...sorry to hear that zwarrior. Putting aside the issues of whether you need art school or not, the biggest question is probably making sure you're in a venue where you are able to pursue the type of art you want to do (an aspect that many traditional schools still fail to grasp). For production based-art, I've actually found apprenticing one self to an established illustrator or artist is rather ideal though this should be done only after you've gained a firm grasp on the foundations (which it sounds like you do). Not only do you have someone to help guide you on the execution of art, you also have someone that can teach you about the practical considerations of being a professional artist. I think one of the best examples of this is Kristina Carroll and Donatos. Granted, this is sounds like a one in a million happenstance, but considering how open, receptive, and helpful so many illustrators and concept artists are, it's not as daunting as it may seem. You just have to take the chance and contact them.

    I hope this helps, and seriously, good luck!

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    mmm, don't concentrate on getting a style, concentrate on getting good work.

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    Z,


    You are far beyond where I was at 20 or even 22 years old. However, you must study your foundations and get them to the point where you do not even think about what color things are, or how anatomy or drapery or light works. You have some studies ahead of you but you show that interest and spirit which is the root of art.

    DO not let anyone tell you that you cannot do it. You can find affordable ways to go to school or learn. Find a local painter and apprentice under them. Get the downloads or the various dvd's on the market around the net. PUT IN 12 HOURS A DAY if you can. Every spare moment needs to be dedicated to art. You could be working professionally within 3 years if you do. And you could make more money than your parents do if you really buckle down and focus solely on your work. If you love what you do..and by love i mean put in the painful long hours and commitment...then the money will come.

    I was told by my own birth father whom I met when I was 21 that I should do something practical like construction. That would have killed me. I went on to found this site, massive black, and the art department. Had I listened to someone telling me garbage like that, you would not even be posting here.

    Follow your dreams. Fight for them. Work later in the day so your hours can be spent and your energies given to the art. Give the remaining drops of what is left to some job. Study every spare moment. You will have anything you want in life if you follow those rules. Just keep your eyes open for the butterfly that might someday land in the window..as they said in the road less traveled. the artist path is life long. do it if that is what you want and do not let anyone tell you otherwise.


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  28. #19
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    ^Excellent advice so far!

    I can only add my two cents which is I went to university to study HND Illustration and the course was uninspiring and I spent the remaining 2 years not in a good head space because of all the debt I was accumulating and I had little emotional support from my parents (they were at least begrudgingly willing to pay my rent) and I when I failed for not producing enough work I rang my dad to tell him he said "Great! Now you can come home and get a proper job! (my dad was in the RAF, he wanted me to join up too!)

    So I went back to my parents with my tail between my legs and proceeded to get any crap job going until I decided I had to get out of that town and moved to Sheffield which is a city with 2 universities and alot of creative history and I met people, got a job in a creative business centre on the main reception and proceeded to learn how to schmoose with the big-wigs, volunteered with local festivals, found some life-drawing classes etc etc. Now it seems I'm garnering a small reputation with my caricatures amongst friends, colleagues and word is spreading throughout my workplace (where I'm doing some caricatures for our works newsletter) so I'm excited for the future, I feel like I finally can see my place in it.

    Don't give up, if you manage to get a loan that's great, don't waste it but if you don't get it, it's not the end of the world!

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    It seems like you've learned the basics, which means you've learned how to teach yourself. You know what resources are at your disposal. Hell this is a good opportunity to explore your creativity too. Plenty of teachers out there hold students back.

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    @zwarrior: You have grown wise as an artist and as a person. Your skillz are undoubtedly mad, as is your flava.

    Enough! Snatch the pebble from my hand, and complete your training, Grasshopper...



    On the whole, human beings want to be good, but not too good, and not quite all the time.
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    By all means let's be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.
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    Here's another thought... Maybe you could try to wrangle an internship somewhere? That way you could get some of the mentor experience, contacts, and practical hands-on discipline you'd get at art school, and those are really some of the most useful things art schools offer. If you're trying to get into animation, some on-the-job learning experience would be especially useful.

    (You might need to go to Canada though... These days it seems like all the animation studios are in Canada.) (Or India.)

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    Whatever you decide on your schooling, just remember that learning is never over. That diploma is just a step forward, just as learning on your own is a step forward. There is no light at the end of the tunnel, only the tunnel.

    And please don't let anyone convince you to just get a "real job" or settle on something else. You'll regret it. People can give you all the advice in the world, but in the end they aren't you. Only you knows what's best for you. Years ago I let a "teacher" convince me that I was worthless and that cartoons and comics will get me nowhere. I didn't pick up a pencil for 3 years. Worst years of my life. Fed up with my job and still thinking I can't draw, I went into a graphic design program at my local community college. It wasn't cartooning but it was art at least. A couple months before I graduated I found CA. That changed everything. I realized that maybe I wasn't so stupid for wanting to draw for a living and that maybe I could "make it" or at least be happy making the art that I wanted. Seemed like a lot of people on here were in the same boat and I didn't feel so alone. CA has been the best learning experience I've ever had for art and I'm grateful that this place exists. Cut to today: I've been a working graphic designer for 6 years (in the animation industry) and although I haven't "made it" as far as drawing for a living yet, everyday is a step forward and that makes me happy. (Hah! Just read what I typed. I hope that wasn't too anticlimactic. I wish I could tell you I was the second coming of Jack Kirby. I'm not. Not yet anyway.)

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    I didn't read the posts, although I should probably do so, just for my own insight.

    However, I had the same financial problem at first when I was accepted to SCAD. I couldn't get loans, no matter who the co-signer was. Now, I get them directly from the government. I'm not sure what the difference is, but I've been able to get enough to pay for everything and still get $1700+ per quarter for supplies and living. I'd contact your financial aid advisor and see what suggestions they may have. I was told that I had two options when I couldn't get loans, unfortunately, I forgot the other.

    Or, have you tried getting a job and still doing school? Even if you have to go to school part-time, or online if available, you're still making progress with your degree.

    Good luck!

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    I think the most valuable commodity for getting to the point where art is your career is....time.

    Whatever gets you the most amount of time that you can concentrate on drawing and improving, the faster you will reach your goal and start a career in art.

    For a lot of people, that means school (because they will be on loans or their parents dime allowing them to not worry about work and just give the vast majority of time to art). But, it can also mean no school (if you have a little bit of money saved up that lets you, again, not worry about work). Or maybe it is working at a job that gives you downtime to draw often.

    Basically, learning art is a full time job. It's not like becoming an accountant where you can put in a couple hours and be on track for your degree. That is why "getting a real job and doing art on the side" is just a very slow path compared to the other options. A lot of people (parents) feel that all you need to become an artist is an hour or two of practice a night... from my experience so far, an hour or two a day would take you a VERY long time to reach a level where you can do art for a living.

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    style is like knowing how you like your hamburgers or what looks best on you. It becomes a mixture of the art vibes you like, and the rest is like your handwriting...it just is. Do not worry about that. Style comes from studying art history from studying all kinds of art and film and fashion and...the works...you will start to gravitate toward certain things and it will just come out.

    Skip Liepke once told me to take my favorite things about my five fave artists from art history...like composition from degas, color from wyeth, brushstrokes from sargent, etc..etc...and then tell your own story.

    Your point of view will come with experiences though so live a rich life of interesting experiences. But the key is, even if you are doing biz...draw every single day. You need to put four to eight hours in a day minimum even with biz class. Any less and well...yeah. Tshirt company here you come. So work hard. That is the secret.

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    I think there's a lot of good advice in this thread, but I also think it's unrealistic and dissuading to say that you can't ever do anything or be successful unless you can dedicate 4-8 hours every day to art or make learning art full-time.

    Some of us work full-time (overtime... ) at regular jobs, where there isn't 4-8 hours outside of work left in the day to begin with if you want a good night's sleep! And not everyone is in a financial position where they can afford to be in school or working only part-time (or not at all) to dedicate all of their time to art. I think it would be great if this were possible for everyone, but not everybody is in a financial position to make it happen, and I think it's bad to say that you can't make any worthwhile progress unless you have the money to spend all day doing art.


    I know that money counts for everything in this world, but I'd like to believe that trying the best in whatever circumstances you're stuck in counts for something. I am dedicating all the time I can to art (even if I don't have the entire day for it), until I can get to a point where I can make things happen financially for learning art to be something I can make full-time for me. I don't think it's good to say that it's worthless to do anything in the meantime if I (and others in similar positions) can't spend *all my time* on art because I believe that even the little steps will add up, and maybe the "tshirt company" level of work I get to without an infinite supply of free time will be the level I need to get to to get a scholarship for art school so I CAN spend all my time on big improvement!


    I think it's important to differentiate between an ideal situation and reality. Ideal situation: can spend all day drawing. Reality: people have bills to pay, and being homeless so you can spend all day on art doesn't work for everybody! Obviously the more time you can spend on art the better, but I think it's disingenuous to suggest that it's just worthless if you don't have infinite time for art. Doing what you can is a step in the right direction--not everybody can start off in the ideal circumstances, and getting there slowly is better than never getting anywhere.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zwarrior View Post
    My teacher once told me the same thing, that style will come eventually on its own. I'm not seeing it yet though. Im 21 but I've seen artists so much younger that already have their signature style, Im kind of envious that I still don't know what I want. The number one criticism I hear the most is there's no consistency in my portfolio, and the number one advice is "stick to one thing". But I'll do my best not to worry about it then
    If you're doing animation, an ability to work in multiple styles can actually be a plus.

    Some of my teachers used to harp at me about coming up with one uniform style, too. I never really did (my graduate portfolio was aaaallll over the place.) But I actually landed my first major job BECAUSE I was multi-style - the client wanted a bunch of character designs in as wide a range of styles as possible, so it was right up my alley. And then they kept me on because I was a convenient one-stop shop, any style they wanted, I could do. Being multi-style is still an asset to me, a lot of my work involves either matching an existing style (like when I have to adapt a TV show to a Flash game,) or coming up with custom styles to suit specific projects.

    The only problem is assembling a coherent portfolio - usually I end up with multiple sub-portfolios, or else I'll mix-and-match custom portfolios depending on the client.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zwarrior View Post
    I've been on a leave of absence for a year now, which means I havent been in the school I used to go to last year though I attended the year before, I didn't drop out yet. Im a sophomore at an Art school in New York city, though I live in Florida, and I really cant afford it anymore. I've been denied a private loan for next year's tuition, by two banks now, Im still trying with other banks.
    How much progress have you made as a self-taught artist during this past year? YOu can use that as an indication of how well you can learn solo.

    Quote Originally Posted by zwarrior View Post
    But I'm asking myself do I even need to go to school. I've been told before that my skills are good enough to start as a pro,
    I looked at your sketchbook, and I would argue otherwise. It's harsh, but I'm being truthful. You're good, but so are a lot of other people. You aren't "pro." Sorry. However, that doesn't mean you don't have the talent or potential. Everyone has to start somewhere, and you're definately better than me when I initially decided to become an artist. It wasn't easy, because I decided to ditch the concept-artist route and go for 3D art. Not what I wanted to do, but I seemed to learn it faster than I did concepting. You, however, might want to just stick to 2D / Concepting, and that's totally fine. You have to work really hard and know that it's not going to just drop from the sky and in to your lap.

    Quote Originally Posted by zwarrior View Post
    but I don't think I know what I'm doing. I still don't know what my style is, my mind goes blank if I have to do a work on my own
    That's not a big deal.

    Quote Originally Posted by zwarrior View Post
    , Im much better at having a specific assignment to do, so I doubt that I'm ready. Which is the main reason I wanted to stay in school, so I can learn and experiment with different art mediums as possible, and find my niche.
    Those are rational reasons to always keep learning. You don't necessarily need to stay in school, however, to explore those other art mediums. If you find that sculpture or gouche is interesting, you can purchase those items and try it out. You don't have to go to school to do that, and you won't have to pay unreasonably high tuition costs either. School doesn't garuntee anything, and most of the artists I know are art school drop outs.

    Quote Originally Posted by zwarrior View Post
    However I cant sit around dreaming about school when reality so far is telling me that's not gonna happen.
    Give your financial situation and loan denials, that's probably accurate.

    Quote Originally Posted by zwarrior View Post
    the federal school near me does not have a profound art program.
    You can get a lot out of any school, even if the curriculum isn't that great, if you're willing to put a lot in to. The school doesn't make you a good artist, it's you who does.

    Quote Originally Posted by zwarrior View Post
    So I have to think of an alternative besides schooling. My parents have tried to be supportive; they suggest I get a "real" job, and do art as a hobby because I am "never going to make enough money" off of it.
    You may not be able to make a stable income from art at the moment, but their assessment isn't true 2 or 5 years from now, because by then you probably would have made tremendous strides in your ability and might be able to sustain yourself on art by then. Your parents are concerned that you're wasting away your time and talent on something that they don't see happening, but they simply don't see the long-term picture. Your parents want the best for you, but it's in your blood to be an artist, so stay focused on it. They will change their minds soon enough.


    Quote Originally Posted by zwarrior View Post
    My plan so far is go back to NY and find an art-related job even if Im not going to school. There aren't a lot of job opportunities in my current city for artists, or it pales in comparison to the opportunities in NY.

    This is a step in the right direction. Get out of your parents house and strike it out on your own. You're probably good enough to get a job teaching art classes to younger kids. I have a friend who does that. The money isn't that great, but he can pay his bills and continue to practice his skills. NY isn't a great place to start though, because the high cost of living... but, it's up to you.

    Quote Originally Posted by zwarrior View Post
    point of this thread is... well, your opinion and/or what did you have to do or what are you going through right now?
    I don't normally post in the lounge, but your situation is somewhat similar to what I experienced myself a long time ago. What I did was drop out of school, got a "regular" job (I hated every moment of it, but kept a positive attitude since there was no other options), and taught myself 3D related art during my nights and weekends. It was a time full of self-doubt, but I stuck with it for about 4 years and made a portfolio that got me in the game industry. It took me 4 years of constant dissapointment and self-doubt, working at a crappy job, and living in a closet. But I did it... and so will anyone else who can overcome those obstacles. I've been laid-off from two jobs over the past 4 years (Activision shutting down studios every other day)... game industry guys have it rough too. Life is not easy, but you've got no choice but to face it. Don't disregard my words just because I'm not up there with Manley or Marko, you don't have to be have to be an awesome artist to give out common-sense. If I could have any job, it would still be a concept artist, but right now 3D is what is paying my bills. You should stick to what you want to do, and focus in on it like a laser beam. Every waking moment should be dedicated to that. Good luck zwarrior.

    Last edited by SlowDaddie; June 30th, 2010 at 04:17 PM.
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