"Networking" without art school

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  1. #1
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    "Networking" without art school

    Hey guys,

    Preface
    I'm thinking about quitting my state college drawing program. I've got 2 years left, and from what I can tell it's more of the same. I'm interested in concept art and illustration, and this program is for fine art.

    I'm super committed to foundational studies, I recognize how important they are. I feel like I'd have much more time to do good work without the hassle of homework (especially hw unrelated to art). There's a ton of info in books, online, and offered by things like Massive Black to help me along. I want to spend a year drawing all day, every day and see if I can start getting small character design jobs or the like and work my way up (a la Rapoza, Janaschi, Alpenfleger, Miles). I can always go back to school after the year if it's not working out, no harm done. I've seen plenty of people do it on this board, so I'd like to give it a shot without wasting more money (lots more) at college.

    Problem
    One concern that sticks out in my mind is that I won't have an outlet to meet people. I want to continue to work on my social skills (recovering from a lifetime of social anxiety and shyness) and college is perfect for that. I'd be transferring next fall to finish the 4 year program, and I'd be surrounded by artists. I've got little interest in partying and all that, but I would definitely like to meet other artists, girls!! (artists), etc.

    Does anyone have any experience doing this without college? My area is mostly families in the suburbs, so few people from my peer group. I don't know how to hook up with people that may be like minded. Sketchgroups come to mind, but I don't know where to start. Could I go look around the college campuses anyway, even though I don't go there? Any help would be appreciated. I've worked hard to better my socialization, and I don't want to lose that aspect of my life. People are interesting and cool, and if they're artists then we could all help each other. I'm just afraid quitting school will mean a year of being locked in my room without any human contact.

    (I do have friends, some fantastic ones online and some others left from high school. I don't see the HS friends so often though because of our different lives. I'd love to meet some more artists so that the focus can be on developing that skill rather than boozing/smoking/watching sports. Nothing against any of that, in fact I can see how it's fun, but my goals are just different than those people)

    Thanks for listening, you have my eternal gratitude , I hope you all are doing well.
    eek

    PS: If this doesn't get a ton of response, should I try somewhere else, such as the lounge? This seemed like the best place for it though.

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  3. #2
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    Well here's an idea I've been playing with myself lately. You want to draw everyday for a year, which is gonna be awesome no doubt and I hope you have the dedication to really go for it. Try making a commitment to yourself to only draw in your room or your house at most 3 times a week. Every other time, bring your sketchbook with you somewhere new to draw (parks, benches, coffee shops, public places, etc.) and just chill there and draw. People are always interested in what your drawing, especially if they are an artist themselves, which would put you in contact with like minded people. It'll be great practice to since you can pick so many subjects to draw from life. I'm kinda in the same spot this summer, just sitting in my house drawing, and it is tough to pick up your shit and go somewhere else and draw, but sometimes you just gotta do it and see what happens. Good luck man!

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  5. #3
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    Hey Jasper, thanks for that. That's a pretty good idea. I can totally see how that would get you some good chances for interaction. I could specifically try to find some places with some younger people as well. Like I said, I don't mind older people (in fact love em), but there's a deficiency of people my age around here. If I do it a few times a week I could try tons of locations too, so no worries there.

    Thanks dude, that's a big help.

    (any other ideas still welcome)

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  6. #4
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    personally im terrible when it comes to managing a calendar/timetable style way of practiced drawing, making myself a good environment to work in /makes/ me want to draw and study instead, much like an art department of a studio.

    This might require a 'bit' of money depending on how far you go - a lot less than college at least - it may be worth considering the length of time you are suggesting from skipping the course, investing in a garage or spare room, or even have an opportunity to rent a loft/roomy-attic space above a shop/store that you might know the owner of or frequent to, even if you don't, try and ask anyway. If this does entice you, it'll need a lot of research, total rent/expenses of power/water usage etc, security is an important one as well, but no doubt more people here would have experience to explain further as I've never been/lived in Colorado.

    What you can do with the loft/room is invite art like-minded friends that can share in a working space for their own stuff, line the walls with cork board, buy second hand tables and easels, or (preferably) make your own out of plywood/lumber, you can go so far as to make month-long project to get your friends and yourself to set it up, BYO materials, and use it as a study/studio in your offtimes with art-friends, you'll have a remote location to study if you need it, you can use it to invite people over interested in your work (just don't invite complete strangers) to check out, in my personal opinion shows you take your line of work seriously, and still allows you to keep in personal contact with friends/guests as a point of introduction. Cost saving could include material and car-pooling (people pitch in for petrol for one driver/car etc), if you've rented a loft above a shop like a cafe for example they may be interested in 'exhibition' pieces which could lead to discounts in rent or simply paid work in general.

    Most of the stuff i have said leads toward a fine-arts oriented loft but can easily be appropriated for concept art or even if you have some 3d artists among you as well.

    food for thought.

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  8. #5
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    Thanks worxe, that's some good advice. Unfortunately, the problem is finding the people to invite over. I'm just wondering where to find the artists. I didn't really connect with the people in my drawing classes so far, and if I quit those I won't have much of a chance (which I am much better at doing now). Jasper gave some ideas for that though.

    A loft or studio would be great to invite people back that I meet out sketching though. It sounds like a really cool idea. I'll definitely consider it as I develop my plans over the next year. Thanks again, much appreciated.

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  9. #6
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    As far as networking professionally, I think your best option is to make it out to conferences. A lot of times recruiters for big studios will be there searching for new talent. It's important to get your name out there and talk to both them and other artists in the industry.

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