Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 13 of 28

Thread: Quit my job & go full-time art school?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    6
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Quit my job & go full-time art school?

    I'm sure many may be in my situation, but here's me, staying up late and thinking things over for the 1000th time:

    I have always loved 2D art, especially concept art & illustration. But currently I work full-time as an engineer, pulling on avg 40-50 hour weeks. The job isn't too stressful exactly, but the annoying thing is, in order to do my job I have to put in a lot of brain power every day. The deep mental dedication required by the work does not allow me to simply pretend to enjoy the job, it requires me to actually "genuinely" enjoy the job (taking "pretending" to a whole new level), which not only further drains me, but is also basically near impossible, since like many of you here my true passion lies in art, and every moment I spend not doing art I feel is wasting my time, life, and soul.

    Basically, combined all together, my daily routine right now significantly drains me. The mental drain has overtime grown so much that it's starting to become physical also. I try my best to draw after work and on weekends, and have even tried to take community college classes, but so far it hasn't worked too well, with very slow progress, which is becoming even slower because I have even less free time now due to increasing responsibilities at work, which in turn drains my head further.

    So, recently I've started thinking about leaving my day job all together, and simply going to art school. I do not know a single artist in real life, and while the internet does have lots of information it also tends to exaggerate or understate many real life phenomenon, so I have no idea whether an article is written by someone overly-lucky & overly-optimistic, or by someone very unlucky & extremely pessimistic. So, with all this being said, I again put my trust in the heart of CA, and listen intently to what you all have to say



    - Are there a lot of people in my situation?
    - I have shown my portfolio to people, and visited some good schools, and many of them, including the instructors, tell me I should go for it. Should I take this to heart, or do most people get this kind of feedback?
    - For people who really work hard in school, spending 60 or more hours a week drawing, how is the 2D job market right now for concept art / illustration?
    - My eventual goal, dream, and definition of "making it" is to work full-time in a studio environment with other artists. Among the people who do succeed as artists, what is the ratio between full-time studio & self freelance? And what is the ratio between 2D & 3D?
    - and finally, any suggestions on what I should do? Keep my job and do art in free time, quit job and do art full time, or something else?



    I'm sure things like this are posted very often, but being the practical me, I wanted to share this bit with you and hope to hear what everyone thinks Thank you.
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote


  2. Hide this ad by registering as a member
  3. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Netherlands
    Posts
    1,868
    Thanks
    793
    Thanked 617 Times in 541 Posts
    Is there a possibility to cut down your working hours and make it into an part-time job? Then you have more time on your hands and still a steady income.
    Also, what does your artwork look like now?

    I have worked in the engineering field too, I exactly understand what you mean with taking "pretending" to a whole new level.
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Williston, Vermont
    Posts
    550
    Thanks
    38
    Thanked 156 Times in 102 Posts
    Okay, first of all, I'm definitely in a similar situation. After a full day of writing software and solving math problems, by the end of the day, my brain is pretty fried (not every day, but a lot of them... especially when product roll-out comes near). That said... I also absolutely love what I do for work. No pretending (on any levels). I like solving the logic problems, user-interaction issues, the 3D coding, etc. So, in that respect, this definitely does not sound like you.

    There are plenty of days that I would like to just sit down and watch tv.... just do nothing. However, I have my easel in my living room and deadlines for shows and store deliveries that I have to meet. So, I work on the paintings and drawings after dinner (my down-time after all of the chores are done).

    Like you, I said to myself, a number of times... this would be great... become a full-time artist. Quit work, go to school and then work full-time. Those are times when, in reality, I just want a change from my current situation (a project at work is not going too well, etc). I realized that all I was doing would be to avoid my current responsibilities for some time in the future. So, if I really was going to make it and I really loved doing artwork, I would find a way to do it with my current job situation. I have a goal to go full-time, someday. However, I also have responsibilities to my family that I must meet first.

    My wife has agreed that, if I can meet my salary for three-years in a row, then she would be fine with me going full-time as an artist. That is a goal that I'm working towards. It means a lot of work, now and a lot of time-slicing, but it also means that, when I do go full-time, I'll have a lot of experience under my belt and be much better at time-management.

    No-one can say what would be best for you. The only question that I have is... if you love artwork with your art and soul, why don't you work at it when you get home? Yes, it's extremely tough. Can you honestly say that, if you went full-time, that you would hit the ground running, working and studying a lot, etc... just not in the beginning, but after 2 or 4 or 10 years?
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote

  5. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Doug Hoppes For This Useful Post:


  6. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Boise, ID
    Posts
    1,221
    Thanks
    887
    Thanked 1,535 Times in 567 Posts
    There are plenty of people who would like to help you here but it is so difficult when everyone's situation is different. Do you have mouths to feed, people depending on you? Your personality has so much to do with this. It is a difficult field at any end. What are you making now and can you live on less? Maybe we can see some work? It's very romantic to say throw it all away and be an artist but the realities of making a living as an artist aren't so different than making a living doing other things unless you are able to just start painting for yourself. There will still be bosses and people asking for an all nighter. Are you the kind of person who can create for a living and still love it? It's easy to love something if you hardly ever do it but what if you have to do it every day all day. There are a lot of questions for which you need to dig deep to find answers.

    This stuff has chosen me and would never let go. I always wonder if it did loosen its grip a little could I eve do anything else.
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote

  7. The Following User Says Thank You to bcarman For This Useful Post:


  8. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    4,999
    Thanks
    2,841
    Thanked 6,099 Times in 2,486 Posts
    First don't believe anybody unless they are willing to give you money for your art. There is no job security as an artist. It is important that you become the best artist you can be before trying to get a job as one. The more ability you have, the more money you will make and the more creative your job offers will be. Most people do the opposite and try and find a job as soon as they start drawing and end up getting low paying jobs making crap for the rest of their lives.
    If you want to make a living as an artist, either as a freelancer or in-house artist, you will be lucky to go ten years without changing jobs or being pushed out of the industry you've chosen. So if you decide to become an artist you had better be smart about what your goals are and how hard you will have to work. You have to improve even after you start working always learning new software and techniques staying current with market trends.
    2d art and 3d art are similar skill sets, they each have assets and deficits as jobs and they pay is about the same for the different levels of ability.
    The best thing to do is be an above average generalist in 2d and 3d. Someone who can do a lot of things better than most other people. Even if you can accomplish that, the pay for artists is dropping. I was just at Illuxcon where top industry guys like Todd Lockwood and others were complaining about how the pay hasn't changed or is dropping for the last 20 years. This is across all disciplines- publishing, movie, tv, games and gallery work, with most artists depending on another person to live a middle class lifestyle. By middle class I mean buy a house have a car maybe marry and raise a family.
    Working in house you will constantly be pressured into management jobs if you show any ability where you no longer do art or do very little. Most in house jobs are cookie cutter positions that are easily filled and not very creative. Freelancing you will have times where you won't work for months or take jobs that are not very creative too. You will have to learn to be a good business person and save your money for the slow times. if you don't think you can handle all of those things then art isn't for you.
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote

  9. The Following 10 Users Say Thank You to dpaint For This Useful Post:


  10. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario
    Posts
    1,674
    Thanks
    30
    Thanked 566 Times in 409 Posts
    Schools will generally tell you to go back to school: it's their job. Start your research somewhere near the end of the pipeline, and ask prospective employers for their opinion: from what schools do they hire graduates? Are there schools they ignore? Ask the studios, don't ask the schools about the studios. From there, work back: do you like these schools, did graduates like it, ... , how do you get in?
    Grinnikend door het leven...
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote

  11. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    London
    Posts
    408
    Thanks
    26
    Thanked 133 Times in 131 Posts
    Totally agree with Doug Hoppes. It all boils down to choices. Its a double edged sword. Having a regular jobs gives you a certain level of security and the ability to explore your talents further and get as good as you can get before looking for work. However it means sacrifices along the way. Since I got back into drawing I have hardly watched TV ect. But I don't miss it. If I have spare time I would rather use that for improving my art. It also makes my day make sense.

    Sometimes I wish I could turn the clock back and be at the stage where I could just sit and draw at home all day with no financial pressure or obligations. However, conversely I think a lot of new graduates from art school feel pressure to start making money from their art as soon as possible, as they have invested so much time and money into it before there work is at its best. As Dpaint quite rightly points out the temptation is to start taking lower paying jobs because you are not technically ready to get the jobs you really want or that will pay well.

    As an artist the quality of your work must alway be at the forefront of your mind. Even if that means its a slow process getting to the point where your work is of the right quality and you have to sacrifice things along the way like free time ect. If getting payed for your art asap is the only end goal, then the temptation will be to take shortcuts to get there as soon as possible before your ready and it will show in your work.

    We all develop at our own pace and need to embrace the journey as a life time pursuit, not a few years of study to break in as soon as possible then the best work will start flooding the market. Its not easy coming home from work and having to sit down and draw and create when your tired (well it can be if you really love it enough) or want to just watch a movie or go out and see friends. But if the love of your art is strong enough then you will make those sacrifices and choices to allow yourself to keep getting better. I can't comment on what it must be like to wok professionally, it sounds like it can be a rough ride. But if you have taken the time to bring your best quality work to the table when you do, then you give yourself the best fighting chance to carve out a career for yourself and see where that takes you. Thats how I see it.

    So no one should throw away a full time income easily but try and maximise every spare moment outside of work to work away at improving. I am far from perfect in this regard but as my passion for my art grows the sacrifices are easier to make and I don't even see them as sacrifices any more its just the only way to live life.
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote

  12. The Following User Says Thank You to ja1307 For This Useful Post:


  13. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    144
    Thanks
    32
    Thanked 43 Times in 33 Posts
    I agree with the above, keep your job and maybe your artwork will develop a little slower but it's better Than working on your artwork full time living in a homeless shelter.
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote

  14. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    71
    Thanks
    171
    Thanked 8 Times in 8 Posts
    dpaint really hit the nose on the head with this.

    I am an outsider looking in but quit your full time job? As an engineer? What field of
    engineering are you in? I've thought about this myself, but reality is that I my family
    depends on my income. So I would only think about this if I was only the person
    that I was responsible for. So if I was single and had 2 years worth of salary saved up
    and expenses to cover schooling...maybe....
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote

  15. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Sussex
    Posts
    2,597
    Thanks
    106
    Thanked 1,497 Times in 746 Posts
    Sometimes it's a shame to take the thing you love and do it for a living. It changes everything. Because once it's your job (especially if you're working in a studio with others), big chunks of it are like every other job you've ever had. There's deadline pressure and paperwork and taking orders and assignments you don't like and sucking up to people you don't think much of and meetings and performance evaluations and that person in the cubicle next to you with the awful smoker's cough and your 401K and all that stuff that you wouldn't put up with if you weren't getting paid. Doing art for a living doesn't transport you to a magical land of creativity, unsullied by the grubbier bits of making a living.
    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote

  16. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    4,999
    Thanks
    2,841
    Thanked 6,099 Times in 2,486 Posts
    If you really want to be an artist for a living, I would try it for a few years before starting a family or anything else because its really hard to do it after you start a family or have other commitments and responsibilities, so much so that I don't know anyone in the thousand or so people I know who are artists that have done it that way. At least none who were the primary bread winners. You could work 20 or 30 years and retire or go part time and then paint after you've set up financially, which a lot of people do.
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote

  17. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    5,234
    Thanks
    3,512
    Thanked 4,906 Times in 2,547 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Agro View Post
    - Are there a lot of people in my situation?
    - I have shown my portfolio to people, and visited some good schools, and many of them, including the instructors, tell me I should go for it. Should I take this to heart, or do most people get this kind of feedback?
    - For people who really work hard in school, spending 60 or more hours a week drawing, how is the 2D job market right now for concept art / illustration?
    - My eventual goal, dream, and definition of "making it" is to work full-time in a studio environment with other artists. Among the people who do succeed as artists, what is the ratio between full-time studio & self freelance? And what is the ratio between 2D & 3D?
    - and finally, any suggestions on what I should do? Keep my job and do art in free time, quit job and do art full time, or something else?
    I really think Bills questions/considerations are appropriate in this case - very hard to answer without knowing more background. But I'll share my thoughts anyway...

    I don't think there are a LOT of people with solid careers that are willing to sacrifice them to chase a different dream. Or hell, maybe there are but circumstances and personality prevent them from doing so. Either way it doesn't matter too much - it is common enough that you aren't alone...for whatever that's worth.

    On the portfolio thing...yep, people will blow smoke up your ass all day long if they think you'll pay them...others just want to be nice and supportive. Real feedback will only come from objective professionals in the field you are interested in pursuing. About the best way to gain access to them is through workshops, things like Spectrum Live, animation conventions, etc. where portfolio reviews are offered.

    Job market in illustration and concept art is highly competitive...and illustration earnings have been stagnant for 25 years. It's like a massive pyramid missing most of the blocks below the pinnacle - a few at the top then lots at the base struggling to climb...but with no blocks to climb on.

    On the ratio question it's just too specific to say...and it changes constantly...and at the same time it is different in each case. Definitely no hard data there to rely on.

    If it was me (and it has been), I would keep my job and work my ass off developing myself as an artist in my spare time. I would cut out everything non essential (obviously not family or loved ones/companionship) and stop being tired at night (which for me meant cranking up AC/DC while painting). I would spend my money on good books, DVD training and especially traveling to well respected teachers offering workshops. You can learn more in two weeks from a good teacher at an intensive workshop than you ever will in a few years of school (depending of course).

    Anyway, just my two cents.
    What would Caravaggio do?
    _________________________

    Portfolio
    Plein Air
    Digital
    Still Life
    Sight Measuring
    Fundamentals
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote

  18. The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to JeffX99 For This Useful Post:


  19. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Williston, Vermont
    Posts
    550
    Thanks
    38
    Thanked 156 Times in 102 Posts
    As Jeff mentioned, I've found the best route to be taking workshops, watching DVD's, and spending most of my free-time painting and drawing (after making time for my wife and the dogs). I'm one of those that'll be retiring in 20 years, so working hard to have a full customer list by then. That way, when I do go full-time, I've already got a base set of customers and an income flow established.
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Character artist looking for Commission/Part-time/Full-time
    By CasondraLogan in forum ARTISTS LOOKING FOR WORK!
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: March 6th, 2011, 02:34 PM
  2. Illustrator Looking for Work (Freelance, Part Time, or Full Time)
    By Inkmo in forum ARTISTS LOOKING FOR WORK!
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: July 11th, 2009, 08:52 PM
  3. full time/part time/ freelance/ any time
    By ryanwh in forum ARTISTS LOOKING FOR WORK!
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: February 10th, 2009, 01:02 PM
  4. Replies: 70
    Last Post: March 7th, 2004, 10:03 AM

Members who have read this thread: 3

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
  • 424,149 Artists
  • 3,599,276 Artist Posts
  • 32,941 Sketchbooks
  • 54 New Art Jobs
Art Workshop Discount Inside

Developed Actively by vBSocial.com
SpringOfSea's Sketchbook