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    How important is having degree in art?

    I just have to decide how to go on, esp. how to continue in my career and really important thing for it is to seek how important is have to got a degree, for someone who want or who will try to find job in art department, just we could talk more specific- in concept art will be better.

    This question is mainly involve to situation in UK and having degree vs. get job in art section (concept art).

    So please could you tell me some opinions or in better way experiences, thanks a lot

    EDIT/ UPDATED QUESTION:

    But as I see the whole discussion is turning around only one think and that think is SCHOOL, of course:-) but you the all time mention only the ART school. That s correct I did not mean with degree only to have it and think that is will be easier way to get dream position. I know that these art schools give you strong knowledge in art give you a lot of useful connection and I am pretty sure as most of you there that is the main point of getting to ART school. And degree is only some "kind of paper" Just as you said...

    But If I can be more specific, or in better way I give you an example. Just exactly example on me, try to explain why I even started this thread.

    I am not come from england (you may probably noticed that from my english) ) but from central Europe and we ve got that very poor choice of art school as I said and get to it is very small chance it is around 10% it is almost "mission impossible" and I do not mention about protection and local connection between students and teachers, but that is turn to another discussion.

    The point is that I study on IT school, but not at ART school, my school is very general focused. Have not focused to only one department or sector and that is very big problem for me I guess. I have knew already from my young years that I will be working in ART department, started as a web designer I dare to say I have a lot of experiences esp. in graphic design, worked in a lot of graphics agency have made a lot of works, for that in my 22years I ve got lot of work to demonstrate my skills in my porfolio. But as I see my the biggest problem is education esp. maybe few last years trying to study some "it school"only from reason to get degree, the in our country it is normal progress for most of people. They get a degree from electric-science school and now they work as a financial directors... just only from reason they have degree.

    Just as I said haven t study ART School and now may be I must study it from first year (I did not pass exam from math) and this step gives me a strong punch to think about my situation, asked myself several times if I need this school, when I convinced to do in my whole life ART, really need it? wouldn t it only wasting of time? And what if I finish it after 3years, give me that something? Do not gain strong knowledge of ART which I will get on ART school, the connection between people which "walk around" art will be very poor as well, so Wouldn t be better quit this and go to abroad to find a new challenges ? Maybe after some time when I done with struggling with my English get some courses, or even school? or simply start with my portfolio working ? Wouldn t be miss it in future that I haven t got a degree? It maybe better for me. Just as I said I only afraid If I pass my school if would be mean something for me. That s the whole point which I mean "get degree"....

    Apologize for very long thread and maybe for my english, I must working on it I know it So thanks a lot...


    SIMPLY SAID:

    basically my original question is, if it have some sense to try to acomplish my current school targeting to generally IT sector (graphic, development in C++, java, digital video, editting etc, just very generally targeting school) only from reason to get degree?

    n this case I think would be better to quit my current school, and at firstly take some course in UK, if something like that exist, that should be great compromise beetween school and gain some experineces, skills and inspiration, but I am not sure If I should to try some school in UK, just in case of my english or money... But as I said I do not know situation in UK of existing some courses in concept art, digital painting etc... For that I created this thread to get some information from more experienced people

    Last edited by tr79; March 21st, 2011 at 04:51 PM.
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    Degrees are required for academic positions. For working in a production field, what you will need more is a portfolio of substantial quality.

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    Just to add to what MephistoLV has said. You go to art school to learn how to draw and paint in a professional manner if you want to work as an artist. You don't go to get a degree. The degree is a by product given in recognition of you successfully achieving your goal.

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    yes I know that. I only called it just "degree" know that behind this is a lot of knowledge, if we speak about art school and a lot of experiences to future career.

    I mean this whole discussion as a basic. I haven t go art school, because unfortunately I do not come from UK and in our country we have got very poor opportunity choice of that kind of schools.

    I only want to ask about people which haven t got these school with irelevant degree but on the other side they have worked many years in art and want to get to position like concept artist, simply if they have got some chance, or it is whole stand up only at if you have degree or not. Speak about situation in UK.

    But as I see mephisto answer to it already- the portfolio will be probably more important...

    And other question is about courses, do exist any art courses in UK which people can do during their work? And when finishing this courses is there also any degree or some progress which could help to get position in art department?

    And the last one to mephisto: what positions are mean with "academic"?

    Thanks a lot again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tr79 View Post

    And the last one to mephisto: what positions are mean with "academic"?
    By academic positions I am referring to being an art teacher at some level in a university or in a K-12 public or private school.

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    It's not really.

    As far as I'm aware, if you go for a job interview and another guy does the same interview; Your portfolio's are of the same standard, your attitudes are similar, you're both going for the same position, then if you have a degree and he doesn't then you'll likely get the job.

    But if someone has better work in their portfolio, has a more pleasing attitude and whatever else that makes them seem like a better candidate, then your CV is not going to mean much. Whatever shows the most evidence that you work well in a team and that you can do the job well.



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    Quote Originally Posted by damascus57 View Post

    As far as I'm aware, if you go for a job interview and another guy does the same interview; Your portfolio's are of the same standard, your attitudes are similar, you're both going for the same position, then if you have a degree and he doesn't then you'll likely get the job.
    ^^^I've heard this to be true of several places. A lot of times they'd rather have the person of close or equal skill with a degree than without. But really the portfolio is the strongest factor.

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    Look at the similar threads, the degree question gets answered a lot, the answer is always that the paper doesn't get you anywhere - unless you intend to teach, especially abroad.

    Some UK relevant answers though:
    And other question is about courses, do exist any art courses in UK which people can do during their work?
    I doubt there are big enough concept art roles here to offer training like Blizzard or other big companies, the market has been suffering and a lot of studios would rather just rotate interns or freelancers than keep concept artists on, let alone pay for training as well.

    And when finishing this courses is there also any degree or some progress which could help to get position in art department?
    We don't have any degree programmes dedicated to concept art in the UK yet (well we have one, but it's rubbish). The education here is pretty dire for accredited representational art courses, our schools are slightly better for animation and fine art really.

    The two London ateliers (these don't give degrees) would be in my opinion your best bet if you are choosing from places to study in the UK, towards an end of concept art: http://www.lavenderhillstudios.com/ http://www.drawpaintsculpt.com/

    They teach the fundamentals at least, without the fees, syllabus and red tape of our sloppy arts degree schools, but they're not specifically geared towards concept art at all - so you'd have to supplement with your own learning, and there's enough stuff online for that these days! If you are thinking about moving to the UK, the CA sketchgroup is always active and looking for new recruits </shameless plug>

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    Get a degree, even if its from a state university.

    There are some great state-funded schools out there...

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    If you want to teach art, but people just care about your art and how unique. It is, I mean, there are artists with degrees and their art is probably horrible.

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    If your going to get a degree make sure its in business, law, medicine or engineering. Look up the Avg Income for an artist and start figuring out what loans will cost and probability of landing a decent paying job that will cover your loans as well as living expenses.

    Speaking from experience...I'd highly advise against a degree in art. Your sole dedication (good portfolio) and skills alone should be enough to land you decent work. However I ENCOURAGE people to get a degree in those areas I mentioned as a plan B.

    I find that NOT enough artists properly plan out their lives due to parents not being good role models and letting starry eyed kids who know nothing about the real world steer their lives.

    This is NOT for debate and I am NOT interested in defending my opinion. I'm stating this so people see a different more logical point of view

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    Quote Originally Posted by gruve24 View Post
    If your going to get a degree make sure its in business, law, medicine or engineering. Look up the Avg Income for an artist and start figuring out what loans will cost and probability of landing a decent paying job that will cover your loans as well as living expenses.

    Speaking from experience...I'd highly advise against a degree in art. Your sole dedication (good portfolio) and skills alone should be enough to land you decent work. However I ENCOURAGE people to get a degree in those areas I mentioned as a plan B.

    I find that NOT enough artists properly plan out their lives due to parents not being good role models and letting starry eyed kids who know nothing about the real world steer their lives.

    This is NOT for debate and I am NOT interested in defending my opinion. I'm stating this so people see a different more logical point of view
    Whatever gruve 24...I'm not interested in attacking your opinion, since that is all it is. Getting a degree in any area other than art is going to take a great deal of time, effort and money which would probably be better spent applied towards one's real interest. That is the logical point of view.

    Yes, this question is asked frequently...and actually answered well right from the start byMephistoLV. Most really talented, successful artists do not have degrees - they do have training and education but it tends to be very focused. Lumisade stated quite well what can be gained from attending a good art school - education, training and connections. None of it is easy - just have to figure out how much you want it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gruve24 View Post
    If your going to get a degree make sure its in business, law, medicine or engineering. Look up the Avg Income for an artist and start figuring out what loans will cost and probability of landing a decent paying job that will cover your loans as well as living expenses.
    I'm all for having a backup plan but you are simply not going to be a doctor by day and an artist by night. Not going to happen. Planning to go into careers that are famous for being stressful and time-sucking so that you can pursue art part-time is a Bad Plan. Plus, you don't want frustrated artists poking around in your spleen or building your nuclear power plants anyway. Don't do this.

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    When I turned pc on this morning I just only said to myself vow! Thanks a lot for this huge discussion it really mean for me a lot. But as I see the whole discussion is turning around only one think and that think is SCHOOL, of course:-) but you the all time mention only the ART school. That s correct I did not mean with degree only to have it and think that is will be easier way to get dream position. I know that these art schools give you strong knowledge in art give you a lot of useful connection and I am pretty sure as most of you there that is the main point of getting to ART school. And degree is only some "kind of paper" Just as you said...

    But If I can be more specific, or in better way I give you an example. Just exactly example on me, try to explain why I even started this thread.

    I am not come from england (you may probably noticed that from my english) ) but from central Europe and we ve got that very poor choice of art school as I said and get to it is very small chance it is around 10% it is almost "mission impossible" and I do not mention about protection and local connection between students and teachers, but that is turn to another discussion.

    The point is that I study on IT school, but not at ART school, my school is very general focused. Have not focused to only one department or sector and that is very big problem for me I guess. I have knew already from my young years that I will be working in ART department, started as a web designer I dare to say I have a lot of experiences esp. in graphic design, worked in a lot of graphics agency have made a lot of works, for that in my 22years I ve got lot of work to demonstrate my skills in my porfolio. But as I see my the biggest problem is education esp. maybe few last years trying to study some "it school"only from reason to get degree, the in our country it is normal progress for most of people. They get a degree from electric-science school and now they work as a financial directors... just only from reason they have degree.

    Just as I said haven t study ART School and now may be I must study it from first year (I did not pass exam from math) and this step gives me a strong punch to think about my situation, asked myself several times if I need this school, when I convinced to do in my whole life ART, really need it? wouldn t it only wasting of time? And what if I finish it after 3years, give me that something? Do not gain strong knowledge of ART which I will get on ART school, the connection between people which "walk around" art will be very poor as well, so Wouldn t be better quit this and go to abroad to find a new challenges ? Maybe after some time when I done with struggling with my English get some courses, or even school? or simply start with my portfolio working ? Wouldn t be miss it in future that I haven t got a degree? It maybe better for me. Just as I said I only afraid If I pass my school if would be mean something for me. That s the whole point which I mean "get degree"....

    Apologize for very long thread and maybe for my english, I must working on it I know it So thanks a lot...

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    If you want to work for a company: fairly important. If you want to be an artist: completely irrelevant.

    I self-published a book on the fundamentals of drawing from life.

    http://www.amazon.com/Fundamentals-D...8951905&sr=8-1
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    I would definitely go to school. But not because of the degree but because I want to LEARN and get better at what I do. Yes you can learn a lot on your own but personally I know that going to school is the right way for me. This question gets asked soo many times on this forum...it's a bit strange to me. For me it has been so clear that I definitely want to go to an art school but I NEVER (for real!) thought that I'd do that for a degree but to learn from the professionals and to meet people who share the same interests as me. So, NO, you probably won't need a degree but a VERY NICE portfolio. Will you get that without going to school? Do what you gotta do.

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    I'm just wondering what you all expect ART school to teach you that you wouldn't be able to learn on your own ??

    Adding to my post...
    I taught myself graphic design, illustration, anatomy, painting technique, color theory, how to run a business, how to become a fitness coach and I became a certified nutritionist.

    NEVER ONCE in my life did I feel any of my NON art endeavors detract from my development as an artist. In fact it gave me wider scope on life and I was able to use information from my different accomplishments and apply them to my art.

    A couple of years ago someone said..."DON'T get a job in something NON art related because it will take away from your growth as an artist".

    It sounded good at the time when I was younger but as I grew older and wiser I realized the sheer stupidity in that kind of thinking.

    MANY if not all of the well paid commercial artists have many different skills across many different fields. MOST companies PREFER if you have a wide range of skills besides painting and drawing.

    I want people to realize that just because you want to be an artist DOESN'T mean you should not build a plan B that relies on a different set of skills. I don't want people to feel like if you study to become a doctor you can NEVER become an artist.

    THAT IS NOT TRUE !! Life does not end with ONE sole choice. You can be an accountant in your 40's and decide to become a professional artist.

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    A biologist can read biology books from a bookstore but that doesnt make him equal to a person with a degree in biology.

    A degree means that you have an institution and mentors that are willing to put their name on your credibility as you start your career.

    i dont think one needs a degree. But i think that EVERYONE should aim to receive some sort of formal education or apprenticeship.

    "Some" people make it without education. But dont mistake this for "All".

    You do not need to go to a big school to get a good education.

    Art education not only results in a piece of paper, but mentorship, internships, letters of recommendations from respected teachers in your feild, and a portfolio that is guided by people who are dedicated to your development and success....

    I do believe that art is a feild that you can learn on your own, but why try to reinvent the wheel.... i say that if you have the opportunity to ride on the backs of giants you should.... So if you arnt going to college then you should put alot of thought into seriously considering finding a mentor.

    Unfortunately concept art is a very small, and saturated industry. So you should have a back-up plan. i dont care what people say about having no plan b.... because they arnt the ones who are going to pay your bills, feed you, or give you a place to stay IF you have a hard time.

    Not everyone is cut out for this business. And unfortunately art related careers are a luxury commodity to society and are usually the biggest suffering fields when the economy experiences fluxes. You should go out and talk to real artists who have been doing this for 20, 30, or 40 years. And hear what they have to say about the dynamics of visual art as a career.

    I worked at target with a guy who was in his 60's. A brilliant architectural illustrator for 20 years. But when i met him he was packing dairy products 40hrs a week at target. The market for art in dallas had shifted and he lost his client base because of budget cut backs. here was a guy who had to get a job as a milk packer because he needed the income and couldnt do any other job because he had no degree. he had a killer portfolio and a VERY long history of excellent work....

    Long story short, having a degree is no guarantee. But having a killer portfolio is just as unsure. Because there are alot of GREAT artist who are still jobless, or have to find other means to make a living.

    I would like to point out that so many people who teach at TAD, Illustration Academy, or make all your favorite demos almost all have Degrees, and a large chunk of them teach at the very schools they are suggesting you not attend... why? that to me seems silly. Because if they didnt have those degrees they sure as hell wouldnt be living comfortably. They would be working their asses off as someone's pencil bitch or breaking their necks to pull it all together.

    Im not trying to discourage anyone. All im saying is that these decisions are personal and they need to be made with lots of considerations of how life may unfold in the future. Always strive for your dreams and goals, but set your self up for success by giving yourself safety nets. Unfortunately life is never as we plan, and there will always be set backs on any journey. This is a reality and we cant make the mistake of living in some romanticized notion.

    All the people who made it say they didnt need college... and all the people who failed either wish they had a degree or (if they got a degree) are happy they can have the flexibility to teach or take alternative jobs to support themselves...


    Last edited by JakehC; March 16th, 2011 at 12:04 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aryeh View Post
    Art education not only results in a piece of paper, but mentorship, internships, letters of recommendations from respected teachers in your feild, and a portfolio that is guided by people who are dedicated to your development and success....
    I'm not sure who you're replying to as I was the main guy arguing against getting a degree in favour of self study and ateliers, but I specifically mentioned this was UK-relative both times, because outside of the US the pickings for art degrees that successfully teach the fundamentals is bad.

    Without kicking up too much of a shitstorm here, I just want to make clear you're aware of the availability, quality and relative cheapness of non-accredited education, whether that's ateliers or online options, as you are saying art education = a slip of paper a whole lot there.
    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=102315 is the goto thread with discussions about this.

    The simple argument against degree programmes is that those schools can cost $100,000+ in the US, whereas there exist cheaper ateliers with just as accomplished teachers, who being unnacredited are able to structure their courses better without the pressure and bureaucracy of a degree programme - or options like TAD, CGM workshops, many other online schools and available paths to enhance self study now. Tthe education market in the 70's is just ridiculous to compare to what is available now. In the words of Jeff Watts,
    There is an ever-increasing opinion that large institutions and universities, burdened by bureaucratic red tape, large overhead, and inconsistent artistic direction, are ill equipped to lead a student through the perils of becoming a traditional representational artist. I may be biased, but I have experienced first hand the superior education I received at an Atelier, at a fraction of the cost. This of course is a matter of opinion but I stand by it confidently.
    I'm not trying to say there is no reason to take a degree programme, but the way you wrote that posts kinda reads that you aren't so aware at what great alternatives there are compared to when those TAD teachers were first starting out, the art education system is experience a wonderful renaissance and you cannot make decisions based on the learning options 30, 40 years ago. And regarding getting experience in the industry through internships and letters of recommendation, due to the bad market you'll find plenty of studios just rotate interns instead of hiring full time concept artists, there's plenty of intern opportunities out there to start the ladder of experience.


    Quote Originally Posted by Aryeh View Post
    Because if... ...people who teach at TAD, Illustration Academy, or make all your favorite demos... ....didnt have those degrees they sure as hell wouldnt be living comfortably. They would be working their asses off as someone's pencil bitch or breaking their necks to pull it all together.
    I'm sorry but this is rubbish, Jason of all people wouldn't employ those guys if they didn't have slips of paper, as well as all the other clients they worked for? I find that hard to believe. If someone has a strong portfolio and experience in the industry, they are not going to be denied a job because of that. Art school teaches the fundamentals. Those guys are succesful because they worked their asses off in training themselves in and out of school, and still do, not having a piece of paper doesn't make that all void.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aryeh View Post
    Long story short, having a degree is no guarantee. But having a killer portfolio is just as unsure. Because there are alot of GREAT artist who are still jobless, or have to find other means to make a living.

    I would like to point out that so many people who teach at TAD, Illustration Academy, or make all your favorite demos almost all have Degrees, and a large chunk of them teach at the very schools they are suggesting you not attend... why? that to me seems silly. Because if they didnt have those degrees they sure as hell wouldnt be living comfortably. They would be working their asses off as someone's pencil bitch or breaking their necks to pull it all together.

    [/B]
    Spoken like someone who doesn't actually make their living as an artist. Or work in the industry in any great capacity. There is so much ignorant BS in these statements it is pathetic. I know James Guirney, guess what no degree, oh and he teaches at TAD. I'll go out on a limb here and say he's more successful than anyone else on TAD. Try limiting your input to things you actually know about.

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  31. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    Spoken like someone who doesn't actually make their living as an artist. Or work in the industry in any great capacity. There is so much ignorant BS in these statements it is pathetic. I know James Guirney, guess what no degree, oh and he teaches at TAD. I'll go out on a limb here and say he's more successful than anyone else on TAD. Try limiting your input to things you actually know about.
    Spoken like someone who is a pompous ass.

    Anyways. School is a mixed bag.

    If you have a terrible program, at best you're buying yourself some time to build up your skill. Should you find yourself in this situation, stack up on life drawing classes, as the model time will help you a great deal, and you'll be getting it relatively cheap.

    If you're in an average to decent program, you'll get some support to help guide and motivate you, though if you're looking for someone else to motivate you you might be in the wrong line of work. However, even your average program won't exactly prepare you for the business of Art, which along with a good portfolio determines whether you sink or swim.

    At a great program, which I haven't yet encountered on my own, I suspect you'll be thoroughly prepped on both a technical and personal level, with exposure to the business of art well before you head out the door.

    That aside, you can do all of this on your own, even teach. It takes a supreme amount of discipline and critical self evaluation to make it on your own, but it is far from impossible.

    All that being said, I enjoyed my college years for so many different reasons, Political Philosophy, Latin, Greek, Art History, and even the social life that comes with it. Life has a lot to offer, don't let someone box you in one way or another.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    I know James Guirney, guess what no degree, oh and he teaches at TAD. I'll go out on a limb here and say he's more successful than anyone else on TAD. Try limiting your input to things you actually know about.
    Lmfao

    JAMES GURNEY
    Born in 1958 in Glendale, California. Raised in Palo Alto, the youngest of five children of Joanna and Robert Gurney (a mechanical engineer). Earned a B.A. in Archaeology in 1979 with Phi Beta Kappa honors at the University of California at Berkeley. Studied painting at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena
    Taken directly from the TAD website

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldritch View Post
    Lmfao



    Taken directly from the TAD website
    Ooh,
    At least you can read.
    Ask James, he went for a year, dropped out, didn't get a degree. Again, stick to things you know about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    Spoken like someone who doesn't actually make their living as an artist. Or work in the industry in any great capacity. There is so much ignorant BS in these statements it is pathetic. I know James Guirney, guess what no degree, oh and he teaches at TAD. I'll go out on a limb here and say he's more successful than anyone else on TAD. Try limiting your input to things you actually know about.
    And you didn't choose to quote my anecdotal story... i wonder why?

    I believe its a gross mistake to believe that everyone will make it, or that the creative industry can support the level of saturation we are looking at given the economic climate we live in.

    Art is a luxury commodity. And thats a reality. There are plenty of GREAT artist who are jobless.

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  37. #25
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    OK! Just ONE quick question...are you a PROFESSIONAL artist?

    What would Caravaggio do?
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    Gruve, I like what you are saying.
    It seems like a more safe road. I am biased though because I am finishing a degree in marketing instead of having gone to art school.
    And while it may be true that I would of been a better artist having gone to art school.
    But I would be missing the security I feel the business degree gives me along with the versatility.
    Everything is a business, including art, and getting a handle on the business mechanic and issues of it gives me a competitive advantage I believe.

    It allows me to not have put all my eggs in the same basket.

    And it doesn't deprive me of the absolute pleasure of challenging myself to try to learn art independently.

    But I'm young and have not been on the really job market yet, so maybe these are all things I'm telling myself to have defended my choices I already made.

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  41. #27
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    Actually, we DO have more than one college offering courses related to concept art http://www.dundee.ac.uk/undergraduat.../animation.htm The games industry in Dundee went into a dip at the start of the recession, but it seems to be recovering...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aryeh View Post
    Get a degree, even if its from a state university.

    There are some great state-funded schools out there...
    For sure man, but I must clarify he was asking about UK ones, and we don't have so good a selection of accredited programmes sadly, self study/ateliers are a more appropriate option in my mind if you live here and want to make it in concept art.

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    I'm currently in my 3rd year of my 4 year course and don't regret it at all. I worked for a couple years for a kids tv show as an animator after high school, and had enough time and experience in the industry to know I wanted to take it further.

    Since starting university I've learned some great tips and techniques that I don't feel I would have learned elsewhere, and a lot of things that, yes, you can teach yourself outside of uni, but more importantly (at least i personally think it is) is that I've met some incredible people with similar interests that I hang out and draw with often. And have had my tutors help me network with some fantastic opportunities.

    You get the piece of paper at the end which can give you a BIT of an edge, but it's not the only reason to go.

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    i saw that a B.A. was a requirement for getting a job at insomiac games.. look around at jobs where you would like to work at and see what their requirements say.. the direct source is a better source than just asking people in the lounge.

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