How important is having degree in art?
 
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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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  3. #2
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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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    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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    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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    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.

    "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."
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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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    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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    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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    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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    I don't know what happend to guys like you gruve24, but whatever it is, it sure has a way of destroying hearts...
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  21. #14
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    OK! Just ONE quick question...are you a PROFESSIONAL artist?

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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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    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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    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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    Quote Originally Posted by Krato View Post
    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.
    I'm not saying an education is useless, I think it's a good thing. But I think that's more a safety from complete noobs wasting there time with an awful portfolio. If you have a top notch portfolio, but no degree, your eligible if you can do the work.

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    I agree with Gruve24.
    Problem with art schools is that they don´t teach art any more, and second they don't teach surviving with this degree...so if I could choose now, I would try to be cook and hairdresser and do art in evenings

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  33. #20
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    Sen-End - Yeah - that's what I was thinking too - probably a filter requirement more than anything - although maybe that is where things are going? But yes, Krato is right - check out the requirements for a variety of studios/companies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zaza-zu View Post
    I agree with Gruve24.
    Problem with art schools is that they don´t teach art any more, and second they don't teach surviving with this degree...so if I could choose now, I would try to be cook and hairdresser and do art in evenings
    Not the major commercial art and design schools [Edit: including TAD]. They are the schools that Disney, Pixar, Lucas, Landmark, Sony, Ford, Chevy, Honda, etc. recruit from. They are also the schools that future professionals in the various industries go to and you become friends with.

    Last edited by JeffX99; March 17th, 2011 at 03:33 PM. Reason: Keep forgetting!
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  37. #22
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    I thought you weren't interested in defending your opinion Gruve24...

    Other careers don't rely upon a 'second option', why should art? Doctors don't spent X years in training and decide they'd better have 'lion tamer' as a back up plan. It's about commitment to your chosen vocation and how serious you are about it. If you are talking about 'not being good enough' at the start, well that's altogether different, you soon discover if something is not for you... And anyway, life takes many twists. You may choose something and find yourself doing something completely different later, but planning for all possible outcomes is a fantasy.

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  39. #23
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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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    Other careers don't rely upon a 'second option', why should art? Doctors don't spent X years in training and decide they'd better have 'lion tamer' as a back up plan.
    LoL Aly, what do you think the purpose of a back up plan is ??

    please read Pavel's, SenEnd's, Krato's and zaza's posts.


    but planning for all possible outcomes is a fantasy
    I agree, does that mean one shouldn't have any back up plans whatsoever ?? What happens if your Plan A doesn't begin to take flight until you hit 37 ?

    and yes Jeff I have done freelance concept work for very good pay (which is subjective, does that qualify me as professional ?).

    Last edited by gruve24; March 15th, 2011 at 08:35 PM.
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    I don't know what happend to guys like you gruve24, but whatever it is, it sure has a way of destroying hearts...
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    This Gruve24 dude's been a troll on these forums for years. Just put him on the ignore list and be done with it.

    Check out his eloquence here. Especially Elwell's bus comment.

    Last edited by That fat kid; March 15th, 2011 at 08:48 PM. Reason: Added link.
    Obvious troll is obvious
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    In my experience people with backup plans end up in them and were never serious about being successful anyway. I didn't start my career till I was 30. I didn't go to art school and I knew it would take me awhile to get to a professional level. Yet here
    I am a professional artist now for over 25 years; its my only source of income and I pay my spouse too. All from the sale of my artwork.

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    How important is having degree in art?
    Not very.

    It helps to be good at making art, though. And whichever way works best for you in particular is what you should do.

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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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  48. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by That fat kid View Post
    This Gruve24 dude's been a troll on these forums for years. Just put him on the ignore list and be done with it.

    Check out his eloquence here. Especially Elwell's bus comment.
    Ok listen. Just because you disagree with the guy doesn't mean he is an asshole.
    The thread starter asked a question. He was seeking answer to it. He was fully aware that the answers aren't the absolute truth but merely opinions of the poster. That's all an answer can ever be. It's a given.

    Forums are a way to share those opinions. It is a way to see other perspectives and view other points of view. From that we learn what we believe ourselves.

    Now what you did was different. You took what he said and saw that it disagrees with your view and the path you chose in your life. You immediately dismissed his point of view and called him a troll. Many people said an art degree isn't required, and this guy was just one of them.

    Now I understand you think an art diploma is central to an art career. I have chosen the path of business school but dream of becoming a gallery artist. Should I dismiss you and call you a troll in order to defend my choices?

    No. We don't know the future, we don't know who is right. Maybe marketing is what I need to be place in a position where I can make something of myself. Maybe I doomed myself to a life without passion. Nobody on earth can make the judgment of that at this point. We can only speculate.

    Now I think you should let him speculate. That's what's forums are for. Disagreement Is the spice of life. Calling someone a troll because they disagree on a difficult question is not mature in my opinion. Instead you should learn about your own world view from your disagreement with others.

    But then again i am sure you think I'm a troll too.
    I don't want to act as anyone's PR agent. I am not defending the specific poster, rather I am defending the beauty of disussion, debate and disagreement.

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  50. #30
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    I agree with you on the beauty of discussion, debate and even disagreement Pavel. However, gruve 24 closed his initial reply with: "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"...NOT for debate/NOT interested/I'm stating this/more logical...not exactly someone who appreciates discussion.

    Also the OP made it pretty clear he was interested in people's opinion that had years of industry experience, which is why I asked if gruve24 was a professional artist. By "professional" I meant was it his career? - should have been more clear I suppose.

    Aryeh makes some good points there, personally I believe school does have value - if it is oriented toward what you want to do. But, I think it is ludicrous to go for something "safe" if that is not your passion.

    Edit: D'oh! You beat me to the punch!

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