10 Questions about DIY Art School
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    10 Questions about DIY Art School

    Hey Guys,
    Since we get a lot of questions here about art education and self-taught artists, I thought some of you might be interested by this. I interviewed Joe Wilson about his blog, DIY Art School.

    You Can read the whole article here.

    Here's a small sample to whet your appetite.
    -What was the biggest shock you got when you finished school and you tried to get work “in the real world”?

    Before art school I think I would have shocked to know that very very few people who graduate art school are anywhere near ready to be employed. By the time I graduated I think I knew I wasn’t ready. I didn’t even try to get work because I knew I still needed to build a better portfolio. Maybe I would have been shocked to learn I still needed years of maturing and improving my skills, but I don’t think even completely occurred to me. I kind of just thought I needed to keep doing portfolio pieces, not realizing that I should have continued working on fundamental skills with most of my time and effort.


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    Thanks Qitsune! I had a lot of fun answering your questions, and I think you asked me things that no one previously ever has.

    I really think that it's time for there to be a bit of a revolution in how we approach education, especially for those of us in the USA where higher education debt is increasingly crushing.

    And the great news, for artists at least, is that none of this is secret information. It's all so easy to find and do on your own if you know where to look. The internet is a great tool, and never before has it been so ridiculously easy to talk to some of the absolute top artists in the field (of which I am surely NOT one- but I'm continuing to learn and move forward like everyone else). I thought, with so much information so easily at hand, why couldn't more students simply take charge of their own higher education? All they'd need is a little guidance to help them formulate a plan, and that was the initial intention of my blog. I'm not sure exactly in which ways the idea will grow as I continue, but I hope to keep in mind the artists for whom art school may not be the easiest option, and to help them find their own way.




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    Last edited by J Wilson; March 18th, 2012 at 06:05 PM.
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    You are right Joe, it has never been easier to find information. And we are lucky in that artist is not a protected profession like lawyer or medical doctor in which case, we'd have no choice but to follow the path.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J Wilson
    "very very few people who graduate art school are anywhere near ready to be employed."

    "I still needed years of maturing and improving my skills,..."
    If no one minds my asking, how exactly are you supposed to know if you're ready to be a pro. Of course you have to actually be able to make something, but how do you differentiate between knowledge of sucking and hiding in a vortex of fear?

    Love means never having to say "you're a special snowflake."

    Take a look at my sketchbook
    And my blog
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    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleWG View Post
    If no one minds my asking, how exactly are you supposed to know if you're ready to be a pro. Of course you have to actually be able to make something, but how do you differentiate between knowledge of sucking and hiding in a vortex of fear?
    That's when you get portfolio reviews. You really need an objective opinion to tell you all the little things that you're blind to in your own work. Really though you're ready to go pro just as soon as people are willing to start paying you.

    Good interview btw. I've been flowing the DIY blog for a while. It has some interesting stuff on it.

    Last edited by Shorinji_Knight; March 26th, 2012 at 09:35 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleWG View Post
    If no one minds my asking, how exactly are you supposed to know if you're ready to be a pro. Of course you have to actually be able to make something, but how do you differentiate between knowledge of sucking and hiding in a vortex of fear?
    Show your portfolio around and see if anyone bites... If you start getting work, you're beginning to be a pro. If you mostly get rejected, you go back to the drawing board.

    It doesn't do any good to hide, though. Even if you get nothing but sporadic itty-bitty jobs, they'll give you the experience that will help you grow into better jobs. At the very least you'll start to develop the thick skin necessary in this profession.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleWG View Post
    If no one minds my asking, how exactly are you supposed to know if you're ready to be a pro. Of course you have to actually be able to make something, but how do you differentiate between knowledge of sucking and hiding in a vortex of fear?
    Well, to a degree, you can ALWAYS assume you need to get better. Get portfolio reviews from professionals, and constantly work on improving. I've been freelancing steadily for a few years, and I still will ask an artist I admire to take a look at my portfolio and give me their thoughts. When you reach a certain level a lot of the feedback will come down to personal taste, but if you hear the same remarks from a few different people you can be sure that is an area you need to work on.

    You can start trying to get work and gain experience working for some of the smaller and lower paying publishers as soon as you can do a fairly decent image, even if you still need to improve.

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