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    career as an art tutor?

    Hey guys, first post here

    Anyways would it be possible to make a career as a art tutor specialising in teaching digital painting and art/design fundamentals? I've looked around and there are not many tutors of that kind around, would it generate interest?

    What are your opinions and thoughts?

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  3. #2
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    Mmmm, why would you want to specialize on Teaching? instead of working at some studio doing some nice stuff? there is plenty of tutorials books, and workshops online to teach fundamentals of digital painting. And by specializing on teaching, do you mean, like being like a freelance tutor? or join some sort of schooling system of some sort?

    I dont think it would be a good idea, maybe if you were like a really famous and recognized artist with kick ass art, then yea, lots of people would want to learn from you, but otherwise i dont think is a good choice for a career.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Terencepho View Post
    Hey guys, first post here

    Anyways would it be possible to make a career as a art tutor specialising in teaching digital painting and art/design fundamentals? I've looked around and there are not many tutors of that kind around, would it generate interest?

    What are your opinions and thoughts?
    Tutoring as apposed to teaching a class isn't consistent enough to maintain an hourly pay, and freelance pays 2x to 3x more than tutoring per hour.

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    Tutoring is just like anything else, the better you are, the more money you make at it. Too many people try tutoring as a substitute because they can't get a job doing the thing they are trying to tutor. Teaching is a profession and should be approached with integrity. Not every artist makes a good teacher and not all teachers are accomplished artists.

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  7. #5
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    take this with a pinch of salt, but I like a saying I once heard,
    " if they can't do, they teach, and if they can't teach, they consult. the latter making the most money and the former making the least. Strange world we live in. I would suggest becoming an accomplished artist would take priority, and use the teaching and consulting to subsidise your income while becoming established. That way once your established you can make a good living doing something you love! and it also gives you scope to pick and choose as the climate dictates.

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    "Those who can't do, teach and those who can't teach, consult"

    1) Teachers are not failures in their field of interest. This is my first problem with that statement.

    2) Teachers require training and certification.

    3) One may have the skill to "do", but cannot "do" because there's no work. Take portraiture for example: If you're great, but people aren't looking for portraits, good luck. If you're in construction - you've probably been screwed for a while.

    Sorry but that statement really pisses me off because it's not an ultimate truth, it talks down about a respected profession (or one that SHOULD be respected), and it makes it sound like people aren't doing a given profession because they aren't good enough which again is NOT always true.

    And finally, tutors aren't full time educators - they help students with individual subjects, and sometimes individual parts of that subject. Any tutors are free to correct me on this, but I'm fairly certain I'm correct on this.

    Any quesions?

    *not an attack, just discrediting a statement I believe is FILLED with ignorance*

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    *hitnrun

    Still, there is a lot of teachers that couldnt get a job doing what they wanted to do, and so they seek employment teaching while they dont really enjoy it or want to do it, cause it just wasnt what they expected to end up doing, and then they end up wasting their time, and the students time

    -We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.

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    like i said hitnrun
    "take it with a pinch of salt"
    did you read my full statement!!
    As far as im concerned there are some very good tutors out there, iv said in the past the tutors that tought me were the best apractitioners in the area/uk

    My point is if you cant cut it as an artist, dont expect to talk your way into teaching the subject!!!!!

    Drawing from life is not so much about learning to draw, as learning to see.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bing66 View Post
    like i said hitnrun
    "take it with a pinch of salt"
    did you read my full statement!!
    As far as im concerned there are some very good tutors out there, iv said in the past the tutors that tought me were the best apractitioners in the area/uk

    My point is if you cant cut it as an artist, dont expect to talk your way into teaching the subject!!!!!
    This is just not true.
    Bill Mosbey was an okay illustrator but a great teacher; he taught
    art at the American Academy of Art in Chicago
    His more famous students were Richard Schmid, Gil Elvgren, Ted Smuskiewcz, Bill Parks, Howard Terpning. All of those guys revere him.

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    This is just not true.
    Bill Mosbey was an okay illustrator but a great teacher; he taught
    art at the American Academy of Art in Chicago
    His more famous students were Richard Schmid, Gil Elvgren, Ted Smuskiewcz, Bill Parks, Howard Terpning. All of those guys revere him.
    for an 'ok' illustrator he did pretty well in the trade judging by the wiki on him,
    Im not here to slag of tutors of art My original comment was about Terencepho becoming an accomlished artist first and foremost, then he can pick and choose, but like dpaint says not all artists become good tutors, tutoring is a specialty in itself, but you cannot expect a poor artist to teach the subject well

    Drawing from life is not so much about learning to draw, as learning to see.

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    Art pedagogy in America is in a pretty dire situation. Our schools constantly produce people who believe that drawing is a skill that god ordained on the select few. It's not. Anyone who believes that it's all talent and no technique, or worse that you "can't teach people how to draw" is an idiot. Everyone who's tried drawing knows that its at least 50% technique.

    This belief comes from the fact that we have art education in our public school systems, in my opinion. I know it's a weird stance, but hear me out. I'm sure you've all read about the progression of the symbol system and how kids start out drawing the most important parts of the human figure, then lose that ability and start obsessing over realism and very low-brow subjects. Generally speaking, you (hopefully) did a lot of drawing stuff from about the ages 6-10 or so in the public school system. That's about when drawing education moves to being entirely elective in the American school system.

    This sucks, because it means that basically kids get nourished up until their mental crunch when obsession over realism and detail takes precedence over creativity or even having fun. And this is where the majority of adults stop drawing, which is the low point of their artistic development: Race cars and slimeballs with swords. =P So they go on thinking that art is all about the frustration of not being able to draw realistically, despite never actually learning how to do the coveted task. Sure, they received plenty of art education when they were creative and easier to teach, but now the kids are left high and dry. From this point on, "art" becomes all about crafts. You make shoebox dioramas and infographic presentations. It's a failure of our school systems to produce generation after generation of people who are practically afraid of drawing and don't understand it.

    I also understand that teaching art during the time period of the mental crunch is insanely difficult. The kids place themselves (and each other) under extreme duress and tough criticism. I wish I had more to say about that, but I don't. Middle School (Grades 6-9 for our non-Americans) is already torture and hard enough to teach, so I can see how adding to that would be very difficult for a teacher to do.

    So you want to be an art tutor? First off, it's a given that you'd better be able to draw like an angel. Second, everything that I said above you'd better be prepared for. 90% of adults in society have negative connotations about art stemming from their own experiences, and will not understand what you're trying to do if you emphasize drawing. They want to see arts and crafts (not technical exercises) because this is "normal." If you want to avoid the school system and manage a private studio, good luck to you. You'd better be incredible, because the studio system isn't something you can fake or hack your way through.

    And if you, or anyone thinks "Drawing itself is too hard, but it's fun. I'll just teach" you're in for a bumpy ride.

    In response to a lot of the criticism of teachers in this thread: Art pedagogy/education is really one of the most under-respected and unsupported fields of study that I can think of. I wish there were a lot more studies done on good teaching methods for children, but I don't think that enough is being done to fix what to me looks like a glaring problem with my society.

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    hi strato
    you raise some interesting points

    Art pedagogy in America is in a pretty dire situation. Our schools constantly produce people who believe that drawing is a skill that god ordained on the select few. It's not. Anyone who believes that it's all talent and no technique, or worse that you "can't teach people how to draw" is an idiot. Everyone who's tried drawing knows that its at least 50% technique.
    Its pretty much the same in the schools (5 years old to 16) here in the uk, and only better in some higher educational places, One thing I reckon thats important and that was tought to me was rather than learning techniques, althought this is important, was to re-learn the art of 'seeing' which is, I think what your saying in your second paragraph, so many younger children in our primary schools are tought to draw the 'expected' vision of things around them, simply because the teachers although mostly good are generalists in education, so instead of creativity being allowed to develop, followed up later with some fundamental instruction, its stifled. Have you ever looked at inuit drawings of the early 20 C and early mans cave drawings, no one tought them technique then, but then no one told them that ' this is how it should look' they did that for themselves

    In response to a lot of the criticism of teachers in this thread: Art pedagogy/education is really one of the most under-respected and unsupported fields of study that I can think of. I wish there were a lot more studies done on good teaching methods for children, but I don't think that enough is being done to fix what to me looks like a glaring problem with my society.
    my original quote about " if you can't do teach..... was not supposed to be a slur on art teachers, and i apologise if it was taken in that way to anyone who reads or takes part in this thread, it was meant to be a tongue in cheek way of saying its a cop out for some one-a-be artists, The art world is a very tough world to make ends meat, teaching can certainly help to subsidise your income, I have done it for a short while, but as you can tell by my input here Im not the best at explaining myself through words,

    My intention was to point out to Terencepho was to develop and progress as an artist, then maybe, he will find that he has an ability to be good at passing his knowledge on as a teacher, I have seen very good artists who teach art, but my blood boils when i see very poor artists who teach art. They have usually gained that position simple because they say the right things to the right people

    Drawing from life is not so much about learning to draw, as learning to see.

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  18. #13
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    @ Bing - Yea, I actually did and I understand my post sounded a tad aggressive. I didn't catch the "tongue in cheek" thing, and I think I get what you're saying now. My bad?
    P.S. the "Not an attack" thing was my attempt at signaling I did read your post, I guess it failed :|

    @ Strato - Education in general, at least in PA, is in a rocky state. I know a few young people like myself who will soon be graduating with a degree in Education, and it doesn't look promising. Then again I don't think it looks promising for any career right now.

    I do not want to hijack this thread but does anyone else keep seeing articles saying the same 5 careers are going to get boosted? Typically engineer, accountant, dentist, paralegal and like publicist or something are mentioned.. I'm getting somewhat tired of it.

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    "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach" - bullshit.

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    just thought i would go back to the opening thread-
    I reckon that if you gained a teaching qualification and then became a photoshop certified user, there is a market for teaching that, but not sure about a market teaching art within photoshop

    Drawing from life is not so much about learning to draw, as learning to see.

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    I guess I don't understand who sets out to be a tutor. If you want to teach then learn to be a teacher. Tutor might happen by default and necessity but go after your passion and take opportunities along the way.

    I must admit I get a little bit heated when the those who can't teach thing comes up but it was settled nicely here so no rant from me. I've had several shots at career in the arts industry over my lifetime and settled in to teaching but I could only do that because I was accomplished. Now my art career has hit a nice stride and I still love being in the classroom.

    Please don't make tutoring (teaching) a default goal. Follow your passion and make decisions along the way.

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    Would just like to weigh in here...

    I love teaching. I found a passion for it early on when I was in college and tutoring kids taking architectural drawing at my old high school. I do it now part time and have done it years privately through my studio and community art center. In my career as a lead or AD it was essentially teaching and mentoring. When I poured concrete and did construction I was usually the lead/foreman of the labor crew.

    That said, there is a reason there is the saying that "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach". It is unfortunate but I think accurate...and of course only as a generality, not a truth. I believe that is a major part of the problem Strato brings up about art education today.

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    I teach a course at an art school like what the OP is describing - digital paint/illustration using PS as the primary tool. I also have a full time job in an art-related field. The reason I'm teaching the course because I want to pass on what I know and I like helping people, not because I can't do anything else. And I've found this to be true of most of the college educators I know.

    That said - I think being a teacher is a lot more viable than being a tutor when it comes to digital art.

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    I don't know about the university system for visual artists at all. All I can say is that in Music, we have a pretty huge dichotomy between the Performance majors and the Education majors, which focus on K-12 schooling. Performance majors who teach end up doing mostly private instruction through studios and professorship. I'm assuming that the latter category of educators would fall under the label of "tutor" around here, although I prefer the term "pedagogue." Is this pretty similar to how things work on the visual arts side of the spectrum?

    Edit: Forewarning, lots of anecdotes and war stories about teachers follow. World's smallest violin, amirite? =P

    If it is similar, than I have to disagree that you shouldn't WANT to become a tutor. When I was (briefly) doing music education, I was under the impression that I could learn more about tutoring and doing a private studio. I was wrong, and people treated me like shit for not wanting to go into k-12, so I switched, but that's not important. Just bitter memories. =P But I would say that if you want to be a private instructor, tutor, coach, pedagogue, whatever than by all means do it. Glenn Vilppu is an excellent instructor and is probably very happy with his life (I'm guessing. I've never met the guy.) My private voice teacher absolutely loves teaching, even though she had the chops to probably have a pretty good career.

    However, if you go into teaching because you didn't live up to your goals and dreams, then you're doing a disservice to yourself and your students. I've never met a teacher from that kind of background who didn't leave a bad impression. That doesn't mean you can't be an effective instructor, as I learned a lot from even the crappy ones. And not the generic "I learned how NOT to be a good teachderp." I learned what I was supposed to, but the bitterness is pretty unavoidable. The teacher is either in a bad mood, or they spend half of their time giving anecdotes about their golden years. One instructor I had opened up a master class with a 15 minute monologue about why they didn't make it to the big time. Even successful people can be like this though. I had another instructor open up a master class with a 20 minute speech about how she was the Cinderella story of the opera world.

    She went on to utterly BASH everyone except for the people who were more talent than tenacity, which is really the EASY route. She said that a beginning student would have a better career as a yodeler, and one of the laziest people I know who happened to have a great voice received nothing but asspats. And we had to sit there and smile through the whole ordeal because she was the "master."

    It's hard to describe why having a self-centered attitude soils the student-teacher relationship until you've had a LOT of different teachers, both good and bad. I would say though, that effective education revolves around giving. The teachers who are bitter and broken up about their failed careers are only giving to themselves. Their instruction always comes from how they failed and gave up rather than passing on their knowledge to the students, even if they're still effective teachers. It's sad, yes, and it's a big part of the problem with art instruction. A big part. =\

    Last edited by Strato; August 3rd, 2011 at 04:08 PM.
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  27. #19
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    As much as I would love to, I don't feel like the CA forums are a place for me to really dig into this issue. I want to really dig into this and share some stuff, but.. This isn't the place.

    Doctors heal you, Artists immortalize you.

    "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach" - bullshit.

    The usual staples for anatomy:
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