The Major Art School Effect
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    The Major Art School Effect

    I typed this through once and it all looked like an advertisement,
    so just so people don't think its spam, I'll remove the name of the school and replace it with "Major Art School." This should be sufficient since my question isn't all about this particular school anyways.


    I'm wondering,
    and my head is a bit in the clouds here as I'm still a beginner,
    why is it that seemingly every majorly successful concept artist came from Major Art School? I mean, isn't it true? I'm not putting down other people's art, but I'm talking about general career success. Lots of great concept artists come from other schools, but it seems like of the ones having the most successful careers, I was looking through their alumni and almost every single artist I looked up to was on that list. Of course there are a number of other schools with similar levels of success, but still it seems a few schools do MUCH better than all of the others.

    It doesn't make any sense. It isn't as if the degree being from a certain school matters in art. I mean, could it really be the school itself? Clearly there can be good and bad art schools, but what could possibly make one or two particular art schools have such successful alumni? Surely most of the stuff to learn about art is already in books, surely they don't have some special secret to making good art that nobody else is allowed to know. Do they just hire the top employees? Surely other art schools can hire fantastic employees, they all charge a ridiculous amount. Are they just really picky and only accept portfolios of students who are already at a top level of success?

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    Keep in mind that that list of alumni is still only the top x% of the school population. Meaning that for every successful alumni you see there are tons more working service jobs and struggling under student loan bills. No school is foolproof, but I do agree that there are places that structure the curriculum in a way that makes sense and puts emphasis on the right things. For example, school A has classes in all the necessary art skills needed for success, school B weighs curriculum down with 'useless' english, math and general ed classes... which one is going to produce a better artist?

    I'm one of those people who believe that while everyone is different there IS a general formula and roadmap to success. Given the right information EVERYONE will improve in a tried and tested manner. Some schools happen to have curricula that fit that roadmap better than others. Also school connections are hugely important because it's like an upward spiral effect -- reputation for a particular school's graduates causes some companies to become more interested in that school, and that causes students to feel a (perhaps some might call it placebo) effect that they are working towards something concrete and realistic, which in turn helps them work harder, and so on and so forth. So a school's proximity to the respective industries they are in is highly important.

    At the very end of the day however, it is always up to the individual student. The good thing is like you said so much info is out there in books and on the internet, that usually the only thing lacking for most people is the structure to put it all together.

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    A LOT of artists are self taught or went to crappy schools. My favorite concept artist, Kekai Kotaki, went to AI and, even though it was a shitty school, he worked his butt off and is now really good. Its up to the student not the school. Even though the school helps a lot.

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    What major art school are you talking about by the way? PM me if you don't want to reveal it on the topic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saraiva View Post
    A LOT of artists are self taught or went to crappy schools. My favorite concept artist, Kekai Kotaki, went to AI and, even though it was a shitty school, he worked his butt off and is now really good. Its up to the student not the school. Even though the school helps a lot.
    Yeah, if you think every major concept artist comes from Art Center (I assume that's the school you're referring to), you're not paying that much attention.

    That being said, some schools certainly produce more top artists than others. Part of that is the quality of the education. A larger part is the quality of students coming into the program (a devoted artist will thrive even at a bad school, while no amount of good teaching will make up for an artist who lacks devotion). Part of it is the age of the program (for example, most every animated film director in the last twenty years has come from CalArts. This is partially because CalArts is a very good program, but it's also because, at the time the people who are directing films today were in college, it was pretty much the only place to study animation).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Meloncov View Post
    Yeah, if you think every major concept artist comes from Art Center (I assume that's the school you're referring to), you're not paying that much attention.
    You see, you knew what I was talking about.
    I mean, those guys are some of the ones I've respected the most. I don't really know a lot about the community,
    but that just shows how much they stand out.

    It is comforting to hear that many don't go to fancy art schools, as I really don't think I'll be able to afford that unless I develop a completely different career for the next five to ten years that pays a lot while also developing my art skills a substantial amounts. People say I'm not too late, but I think that short of a miracle I'm too late for getting into a good art school. I think Rigney said he never went to art school, (though it looks like it took him years and years to get into the industry, and maintaining other work. Then again, I remember somebody posting on here a story about some guy having to completely support his family, keep his job, and practice all at the same time. Talk about not having any free time. (Then again, what good really comes from "free time?") It is so easy to waste time in the age of the internet. Way too much entertainment...

    Sorry for the rant. I hope you don't mind if I add this on here, I don't want to bother people with a whole new thread;
    Does anybody have any methods of keeping yourself practicing? I think that is one of the largest benefits of a formal art education. How do I structure without over-structuring? I mean, most goals seem to disappear once one of the variables have changed; "Oh, I couldn't do my evening practice tonight because I needed to help someone out with moving, I guess this schedule isn't working." That seems to be the inevitable result of the schedule. The inevitable result of the "just keep practicing whenever you can," is that "whenever I can" continues to get postponed for minutes and than hours by useless stuff, and I can't catch myself because it isn't as if I'm not keeping schedule. Probably going to get a Noah-esque response; "Just get to work already!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by DreamArt View Post
    "Just get to work already!"
    then why don't you. This is not a short term reward this is long term, a long time investment is required. It also helps if you have a more concrete game plan. In other words how would you get to been a working concept artist in a studio or freelance. If I wanted to be a concept artist I would need a portfolio to show to clients that are offering work. What would be inside that portfolio that would land me a job. I would show clients what they are looking for. Example Studio A will be looking for people to work in the next Movie B sequel so I would show them examples of props, creatures, vehicles, environments that fit perfectly in that movie. But before I have those super awesome concept examples that will land me a job I would first need to know how to make them. So I would need to know to draw first and foremost. Then I would need to learn to design from A-Z. Not only that I would also need to know how to work in a production environment, as in a team driven production and working so as to meet deadlines.

    If I'm not in college I would find like minded people with the same goals and work on projects that mirror a production driven project. I would get a group of concept artists wannabes and design assets. Maybe get another cg artist group that would be interested in modeling some assets and assign someone that can be the art director of the group. Eventually you have something that shows client you re the person they are looking for. Sounds cool and is doable. Put things in context and things like "what is my goal? Why em I doing this? What should I be doing?" become clear.

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    James Gurney did not graduate art school. Alex Toth did not graduate art school. Burne Hogarth did not graduate art school. Marko Djerdevic did not graduate art school.......I think its more about getting relavant information then attending a school.
    Besides 100k + tuition seems absolutely absurd and predatory at the least.

    Right now San Jose State University seems to be the least costing and most effective school for learning entertainment art and industrial design in California.

    http://www.societyillustrators.org/A...y)-Carter.aspx



    Last edited by NoSeRider; December 9th, 2012 at 11:18 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoSeRider View Post
    Burne Hogarth did not graduate art school.
    And I didn't get into art school when I was 12 years old.

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    Oh, and speaking of California,
    do you have to be in California to have a successful career in the entertainment industry?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DreamArt View Post
    Oh, and speaking of California,
    do you have to be in California to have a successful career in the entertainment industry?
    Not necesairly. The highest concentration of entertainment industry jobs is certainly in California, but there are quite a few in various other places across the country (especially New York and Austin). However, being in the entertainment means you probably won't have the luxury of being super picky about where you live; you have to be willing to move to where ever you're offered a job.

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    Yeah, if in the future I got a job that wouldn't be a problem.
    I mean is the location of your education a big deal?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DreamArt View Post
    Yeah, if in the future I got a job that wouldn't be a problem.
    I mean is the location of your education a big deal?
    It's certainly helpful to be near a lot of potential employers, but not essential. Personally, the internship I got last summer I wouldn't even have heard about if I lived outside of the Bay Area. I also know a lot of students who got internships through connections made through teachers in the industry. On the other hand, if you apply for a job, and have a strong portfolio and are willing to move, an employer isn't normally going to care where you currently live.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Meloncov View Post
    On the other hand, if you apply for a job, and have a strong portfolio and are willing to move, an employer isn't normally going to care where you currently live.
    On the other hand, he will care about whether you are eligible to work there, which is at least sideways related to where you live...

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    Quote Originally Posted by eezacque@xs4all.nl View Post
    On the other hand, he will care about whether you are eligible to work there, which is at least sideways related to where you live...
    Oh, true. I was assuming the job was within the same country. If the comapany is going to have to wrangle with immigration, that's a pretty big disincentive.

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