Transferring to an Art School for Illustration
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    Transferring to an Art School for Illustration

    So I've browsed around for information regarding art schools in the past, and now that I have a pretty big question to face, I figured this would be one of the best places to get some serious and helpful input.

    So here's the case. I'm currently a second year art student at the University of Georgia. I have a few scholarships and pay very little to attend, which is great. However, I've recently come to the realization that I don't think being a Drawing & Painting major here will get me where I want to go, skill or career wise. I want to be an illustrator and hope to work for a big name studio one day as a concept artist, i.e. Pixar, Dreamworks, Universal, etc.. I know that can be a long road, but I'm more than willing to work to get there. Frankly, I've never been very impressed with the quality of work coming out of the Lamar Dodd School of Art. It's well known for its graphic design and printmaking programs, but I'm not doing either of those, so yeah. I've noticed that student work tends to lean more towards abstract, definitely not my interest. And since UGA isn't just an art school, I've encountered very few people take art as seriously as I do- Georgia is a pretty big party school, and only the grad students are in the school studios as often as I. I am talented in drawing, but studio classes here haven't posed a single bit of challenge, so I'm pretty much where I was two years ago (I know that this is in part my fault, but being surrounded by actual competition is a pretty big drive to improve, but here, I can't say I have much). I don't feel like I have or will experience much growth as an artist here.
    You may ask why I did not just start out at an art school- one, money; and two, I started out as a biology major. I changed my major about three times in the first year, but I have decided on becoming an illustrator.

    So right now I'm pretty sure I'm not on the right path to get me where I want to go. The scholarships are great, and its practically a free ride-I'd graduate with no debt. But if I'm not building towards my goal like I'd like to, finishing the next two years here might not be in my best interest. Upside, I have a lot of foundation courses out of the way that would most likely transfer (like sciences, maths, and literature-studio classes are another case altogether). Now I'm considering to transfer to an art school. My main concerns are cost, quality of illustration programs, and success of students after graduating (placement into big studios). My current schools of interest are SCAD, SVA, and CalArts. My parents live about 45mins from SCAD Atlanta, so the big draw there is that I would be able to commute. But I'm pretty sure most of my studio class credits would not transfer. For SVA, I have family in Queens, so commuting there would also be a possibility. It seems like CalArts has a solid illustration program, and from their website, it seems like most of my credits including those for studios would transfer.

    I know that if I scour the internet long enough and apply to enough, I can get a decent bit of help from outside scholarships.

    I would appreciate any and all advice on what choice I should make here, especially on quality of programs and what might work best for my situation. Thanks in advance!

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    If you have a place to live in NY, that cuts out a HUGE amount of the cost SVA would otherwise have. (Although Queens is big, and some parts aren't well served by public transportation, so don't underestimate the kind of commute you may be dealing with.) Also, because there's less entertainment industry on the east coast, SVA doesn't focus as much on concept art as some west coast schools. That said, of the schools in the northeast, I think it's the strongest for that kind of work.
    What you should be doing is contacting the admissions offices of the schools you're interested in and getting as much direct info as you can.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Squidee View Post
    It seems like CalArts has a solid illustration program, and from their website,

    If CalArts has a program in narrative illustration I can't find it. Here's what they say about their Art program: "A forum for the sustained exploration of possibilities in cultural production, the Program in Art pushes students to question conventional ideas about contemporary art."

    Are you sure this would be an appropriate school for what you want to do?

    p.s. I heard that for their artistic internships for vis dev, Pixar likes to see traditional work - not just digital.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alice Herring View Post
    If CalArts has a program in narrative illustration I can't find it. Here's what they say about their Art program: "A forum for the sustained exploration of possibilities in cultural production, the Program in Art pushes students to question conventional ideas about contemporary art."

    Are you sure this would be an appropriate school for what you want to do?

    p.s. I heard that for their artistic internships for vis dev, Pixar likes to see traditional work - not just digital.
    Whoops. I just check that and you're right. I'm not sure if I lost my mind or what, but I could have sworn I was looking at an illustration page for them earlier. Then again, I've had so many tabs open for illustration programs at different schools, I might have mistaken it for another school. Regardless, I had sort of crossed it off my list since the tuition is about 10k more than SCAD or SVA. Still, now I feel silly for making a mistake like that, apologies! What the heck was I looking at then...

    And on your p.s., that's good to know, I definitely lean more towards traditional work than digital. I do recall looking at job/internship applications on their website once a while back ago, and they definitely stressed traditional work in portfolios, particularly figure work, if I recall correctly.

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    To Alice:
    Whoops. I just check that and you're right. I'm not sure if I lost my mind or what, but I could have sworn I was looking at an illustration page for them earlier. Then again, I've had so many tabs open for illustration programs at different schools, I might have mistaken it for another school. Regardless, I had sort of crossed it off my list since the tuition is about 10k more than SCAD or SVA. Still, now I feel silly for making a mistake like that, apologies! What the heck was I looking at then...

    And on your p.s., that's good to know, I definitely lean more towards traditional work than digital. I do recall looking at job/internship applications on their website once a while back ago, and they definitely stressed traditional work in portfolios, particularly figure work, if I recall correctly.

    Last edited by Squidee; November 25th, 2012 at 05:20 PM.
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    To Elwell:
    Thanks for the info! I spoke to family, and it seems like housing with family might only be a slim chance, since they're not as close as I thought, so housing is definitely still a factor. But on tuition, both SVA and SCAD are about the same per semester, and being in-state, HOPE scholarship would chip in to help with SCAD a bit. Honestly though, I'm leaning more towards SVA.
    And yeah, I really just came to this decision within this last week, and I'm definiately going to call the admissions office starting tomorrow, I've just had to wait since most schools have been off this week. I know I have to get on this quick now because if there are other classes I can transfer, I might try to finish off art history classes while I'm still at UGA this coming semester. For next semester, my main goal will be to put a killer portfolio together that will get me a decent bit of scholarship money.

    Last edited by Squidee; November 25th, 2012 at 05:25 PM.
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