Am I too old for artschool?

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  1. #1
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    Am I too old for artschool?

    Hello

    Before I ask the question I would like to talk about myself a little bit. It may be a little bit long so I will be glad if you can bare with me.

    Like almost everyone else who has fallen in love with drawing, I was very good at drawing when I was very little but of course this was compared to other children. Between the ages 4 and 12 I kept drawing but it was nothing serious. Never took any kinds of lessons and my parents were not encouraging me. I don't know why but after the age 12 I stopped drawing. At age 18 I started drawing again and realised how much I love it. I found myself enjoying it a lot. I was feeling a passion even when drawing just a single line. However, in my country being an artist basically means being unemployed 99 percent of the time. Afraid of studying art I got discouraged again and just to be able to find a job in the future I got into a university to study statistics. During those four years I studied statistics, my love to drawing never ended. However I was not drawing much either. I spended those years following and admiring other artist's works by heart but not drawing anything. Suprisingly, I fooled myself that I like statistics. During my university years, I realised that I have good teaching skills when working as a guitar and piano instructor (I may be called a professional musician but its actually nothing too serious) . Because I had teaching skills, I thought ''why not become an academician on statistics? '' (now I can see the weird logic I made). So I started an MSc at Statistics in UK. After 1 month of studying, I realised what a big mistake I made. I regretted all those years that I haven't draw anything. I regretted not going to artschool after highschool. I regretted studying statistics and even doing a masters on it. But thinking about the past was pointless and these things( eg. studying stats) are not a total waste. However, I knew that I should'nt look back anymore. So I started drawing again after all those years.

    Here I am, 26 years old, four months away from my graduation at MSc Statistics in UK. I have started drawing again and this time I am not just scribling, I am studying and practicing the art of drawing as much as I can do when I am not studying for my MSc on Stats. For the last few months, I am really confident on what I want to do for the rest of my life. I am planning to get into an artschool and study entertainment design probably in US or any other country that I can get a good education on entertainment design. However, let alone the preparations for a good portfolio such as figure drawing and life drawing studies, painting, perspective, color theory which will take me many years to improve , I also need to save some money to be able to pay the tuition fees (I am guessing I can't get a scholarship because of my age) . So I am planning to work as a statistician for 2-3 years to save the money for artschool. I can also improve my skills, take nightime figure drawing and classes like that during this time. The only problem is I am going to be 30 when I apply to artschools. Now I can ask the question:

    Is age 30 too late for artschool? Do artschools, especially the really good ones care about the age? I am guessing that my age will be a problem when applying for a scholarship. But if I can save the money while working as a statistician (something I have no passion at all) , and if I can improve my drawing skills during this time, do I have a chance to study entertainment design in one of the respected artschools?

    Thank you very much for reading this. I would really apreciate any answers and I am really looking forward for your advice regarding my question. Thank you very much.

    Last edited by pipboy; April 21st, 2012 at 01:03 PM.
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  4. #2
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    This is such a good question. I am 28 and I fell in love with drawing at 26. I am basically in the same situation as you. Right now I am doing the same thing you mentioned. I am working at a dead end job and taking art classes at night. Because my ultimate goal is Gnomon School of VIsual Effects. I am improving a lot each time I take a figure drawing class but sometimes I wonder if I am too late for a job in the entertainment industry since individuals start working at the age of 24-26. I would love to hear other people's thoughts about this and I'd like to hear true stories of artists starting their careers "late". So far I have found nothing. Sorry I am not much help, but you are not the only one in that situation. The only thing I can tell you though is that DO take life drawing classes while you work and save money for art school. It is working for me. Gosh my figures look so much better now.

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  5. #3
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    I was asking myself the same question a year or two back. It's just a form of procrastination. It's never too late, the longer you leave it, the longer you ask the question and the harder it will get.

    I enrolled in an Atelier last year at the age of 31. I would love to get a job in the entertainment/animation industry, and I believe it will come to pass. If a studio thinks I'm too old, I will go freelance, but it's been a dream of mine and with hard work and belief - it will happen!! It's difficult at times because I have a family now plus my full time job and my time isn't always my own, but I try and stay as focused as I possibly can, working on my art when I can and drawing during my lunch breaks. I wasn't born with pencil in hand, like many artists , so I try get as much practice in when I can.

    Go for it pipboy, live without regrets and all that. Don't look back 10 years from now and say - I could have, should have, would have.

    Good luck and God bless.

    Psalm 32:8
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  6. #4
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    Is age 30 too late for artschool? Do artschools, especially the really good ones care about the age? I am guessing that my age will be a problem when applying for a scholarship. But if I can save the money while working as a statistician (something I hate) , and if I can improve my drawing skills during this time, do I have a chance to study entertainment design in one of the respected artschools?
    What do you have to lose? If you truly have no chance, they'll tell you. But I can't imagine that.

    I have no idea if your chosen art school will prefer younger students, but at the two art schools I've attended so far, there were several students over 60. The oldest student at my first school (Angel Academy of Art) was 70 years old. At my current school the oldest student is around 50.

    30? You're a young whippersnapper! Go ahead and apply. Good luck!

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    It is NEVER too late. The real question you have to be asking yourself is: "Will the lifestyle of a starting freelance concept artist be attractive for ME at age 34+?". by then, you might have a wife or even kids. The industry is non existent anywhere outside of California or new york. It's even hard for people inside the US to freelance long distance without traveling. Not to mention your starting salary will reflect your level of experience. Again, are YOU going to feel your age is a hinderance?

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  8. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Holydivered7 View Post
    The industry is non existent anywhere outside of California or new york.
    While the advice by Holydivered is relevant and important, I have to point out that the quote above is false- I know many concept artists that are doing well freelancing from many different places in the US, as well as outside the US.
    While the industry is centered around L.A., New York, Vancouver etc its not extremely difficult to find good jobs outside of those areas. Now, if you are motivated enough to put yourself out there, thats another question. There are always jobs if you look hard enough.

    I would definitely encourage you to follow your plans with art school!

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  9. #7
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    Drawing is not like a dancing career where it's pretty much over by the time you're 30. The awesome thing about art is that it's something you can do your entire life, even in retirement. It's never too late to learn and it's certainly never too late to make art!

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    Thank you very much for all your answers. To be honest I am even more confident of my decision about art school thanks to you. I am 26 now and it will take me 3-4 years to save the money and also improve my art at the same time. If everything goes well I will graduate at age 33-34. And I was wondering, when you(finnianm and Holydivered7) say freelance artist, does that mean that it will be hard for someone to get a full time job at a company(eg. dreamworks) when you are a newly graduate at the age 34 no matter how good you are? Or am I confusing freelancing with something else?

    Dont get me wrong I am definetely not after the money when planning to be a concept artist instead of being a statistician. Being able to pay my rent and bills is more than enough for me. However. like many concept artists, I also would very much like to work full time at a company if I can become a concept artist and I just wanted to know if thats possible after the age 34 when you just graduated from art school.

    Last edited by pipboy; April 20th, 2012 at 01:25 PM.
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  11. #9
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    Hi Pipboy:
    Sorry for my late reply, i've been extremely busy lately, and have not visited the site much at all. What i meant by my last post, was that NO, there is NO SUCH THING as an age limitation. In fact in some cases, a person with a background of years of experience in another field, might have a slight edge on younger bucks who have no idea on how to act in a professional environment. Art directors want to employ people with a strong knack for problem solving. Designers ARE supposed to be problem solvers. Drawing cool finished pictures is just a very small part of what the field of entertainment design is about.
    That brings me to my original point. Most younger people who are currently obsessed with the industry are actually not fit at all to be pursuing it. I've seen kids around, who just want to draw cool fan art, and think that that is actually what you do as a designer. The truth is, that if you were not focused enough to apply yourself to your traditional education in math, science, history, biology etc...You will basically be stressed the hell out and completely unprepared when you land your first design job. As you will have absolutely NOTHING to derive from when it comes to creating original visual ideas that apply to the project at hand. In your case, i commend you for your focus and perseverance in finishing your degree in statistics. I'm sure you know how to conduct proper research, how to manage your work time, how to do presentations etc... All of these being extremely crucial for a professional career as a concept designer. At the end of the day however, don't let the apparent glamour of it all blind you. It is just another job! You WILL work very long hours. Alot of the time, on projects that you don't think are cool. You might end up doing concept design for theme parks, water parks and the such. Concepting ideas for the visuals on phone apps or games; or working on nintendo DS titles that look far from cool or epic. As a professional, you will have to accept that work is work, and your family's livelyhood is at stake. Some people actually find that, they would be alot happier doing this kind of stuff on their free time and weekends, but only after they have invested tens of thounsands of dollars in their pursuit of it. Nine through five "dream" steady types of work scenarios on concept design, basically do not exist. You have to face the fact that alot of the time, you will stress over what your next project will be. Even seasoned giants like Ryan Church and Syd mead, work on a project to project basis, and lets be honest: "Art Center School of Design" graduates, have an almost TOTAL monopoly over the cool jobs in the movie industry. All of the big jobs today are carried out by those guys: Ryan Church, Syd Mead, Scott Robertson, Feng Zhu etc...(All ACSOD grads) Again, just like in a regular job, WHO you know is WAY more important than WHAT you know. Also, the industry is VERY competitive, and there are litterally thousands of people faster and better than you and me, willing to work for less money in order to be a part of a specific game or franchise. A thirty something year old man with responsibilities on his shoulders might not be willing to do that. Might not be willing to travel constantly in search of his next Job. Or you simply might not want to spend SO much time away from your future family in order to stay competitive with the younger generation. I don't mean to sound negative at all. I personally find these things to be a good personal challenge. I myself work in an industry i was not prepared for AT ALL (Biomedical Engineering), and i find that overcoming challenges is personally very rewarding. All I know is, no matter what, I WILL become the artist i set out to be. I know which type of sacrifices I'm willing to make, and which I'm not. I hope you always keep your own personal reality in mind when moving forward as well.
    Best of luck!

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  13. #10
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    Nah it's never too late. Y'all are 30 and 28? Consider the fact that Feng Zhu said that the average age of the students that enroll in his school are 26.

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    Once again thank you very much. As I mentioned in my first post I was confident on what I want to with my life in the future and I am even more confident now.

    Altough I am planning to save the full tuition fee before applying to artschools, I am also a little bit curious about scholarships.

    Do you know whether age is one of the deciding factors when giving scholarships for respected artschools or not?
    And again, thank you

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  15. #12
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    First of all very interesting post i am glad to see your love for drawing. And the main thing is that dear , there is no age limits for studies and arts , do not think about it just go ahead my best wishes are with you .

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  16. #13
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    Hello I go to the academy of art university and I'm going to be 28 this year, the majority of people in my classes are older than me, so I feel that average is about 28. You are not too old what so ever.

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    I'm 35 and yet to do an art course. Actually, here in Australia those courses are either horrible or non-existent so you have something I don't.

    Age is tricky when it comes to work. Its illegal to deny someone work based on age however many do it. Young people are looked at as having many more years to serve a company, even though its the older employees that will stick around longer due to commitments. Such is life, but don't let that scare you. At my age I'm about to start my 4th career.

    When it comes to job interviews, age doesn't really mean much. Look good and show positivity and drive and you can win big. Just remember, any art profession requires passion and effort. I remember a friend of mine who loved 3D. He did better then anyone I know in this industry and I believe its due to the amount of huge hours he spent on the computer.

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  18. #15
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    I went into art school in my early 40s: it can be done. Just realize you may not have the energy of the other students, anything motor skill will take you longer to develop, an over-critical mind may get in the way, and, depending on the school, the behaviour of your fellow students, who could be your children, can be anywhere from an enrichtment to a complete disaster. On the other hand, you may be more focussed, organized, than the younger peopsicles.

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    Nope! Absoulestly not! I'm 30 and will be turning 31 in a few weeks. I've been drawing since I was a toddler and for some reason decided to stop drawing to pursue other career opportunities at 18. That decision was one the biggest regrets I have about my life.

    At 26 I decided to go back to school part-time and test the waters. Four years later I'm freelancing now and in about two years I'll have a B.F.A.

    It can be done, don't let your age discourage you.

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  20. #17
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    don't worry,my teacher http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/costas-niarchos studied when he was 40. (He was painting since he was young and he had a lot of great teachers before. I mean he knew aldready how to draw/paint but he studied at the School of Fine Arts in athens when he reached 40) so..keep working

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