Is mentoring dead?
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    Unhappy Is mentoring dead?

    So, I have been monitoring CA.org for a while now (I'm guessing 2-3 years on and off) and I noticed that the mentoring has really decreased.
    I was wondering why this is?

    Are the talented too stuck up, or are the students a hopeless case in their eyes?

    What do you think?

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    I know of a fairly new trend where people pay to be mentored. SmArt School does that and people like Noah Bradley and Marc Scheff. And seriously, why not? I have tried helping some kids around here and most of the time they flake out. If you have a paying mentorship program, you weed out the flakes upfront and even if they do flake out, at least you don't feel like you wasted your time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpectreX View Post
    I was wondering why this is?

    Are the talented too stuck up, or are the students a hopeless case in their eyes?

    What do you think?
    False dichotomy.

    Ever consider students are too scared to muster up courage to ask, or that the talented are just too busy in this current economy? There's tons of possible reasons.

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    Perhaps the mentors figured that "mentoring" - for free - implies an advance commitment whose worth is impossible to estimate.
    Only afterward, after years of practice, we can tell if someone has benefited from mentoring. And how are you going to know in the beginning if someone is actually going to get better, and not waste your time?
    For that reason I have never considered mentoring nor asked someone to be my mentor.
    It makes perfect sense to me that the skilled folks take money for their teaching.

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    @Qitsune: Yes, I can see how that can discourage people to start mentoring. And though paying is truly a good solution, not everyone can afford some classes as they can be fairly high priced.

    @Psychotime: They were just two examples, maybe I stated it wrong. Didn't mean to offend anyone

    @Maidith: I see, interesting perspective of things


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    Being to stuck up is probably the last reason that I can think of for someone not wanting to be a mentor.

    There will always be more people wanting and needing help than people with the ability, time and inclination to offer it.
    People in general are busy and has many responsibilities. Even though it might not actually be so time consuming, I'm sure that many would feel that taking on a student would be just another obligation that they can do without. Most people prefer to help out on their own time with no strings attached.

    There are probably a whole lot of people who might be knowledgeable enough but not confident enough to think that they have anything to offer as a teacher.

    Having the ability to produce great art is also not a guarantee that you have any idea how to forward that knowledge to a student. I'm sure that everyone have had a teacher that was absolutely brilliant in their chosen field but terrible at actually teaching it.

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    I've been around this forum for a long long time and I've been working in the game industry for even longer. Trust me, my lack of putting out as a mentor does not stem from my being stuck up. When the mentorship forum was very active, I've been asked by a few people to act as their mentor.

    What I discovered quickly is that people want to feel special, if I didn't spend ages coming up with very specific things for them to do, they wouldn't do it, even if they were at a level that did not warrant very complicated assignements. They gave up quickly and stopped contacting me.

    Now, I have worked very hard to learn what I know and I have paid for my art education. I went to a private video game school and I still attend workshops which I pay for. Some people on CA have helped me a lot, whether they know about it or not (because sometimes they had even left CA before I'd found their threads) and I know the power of spreading one's knowledge. I'm glad to help out people for free, but I don't want to waste my time on lazy kids who want to be pampered and catered to. So I help out people I already know to be worth helping. People I met at workshops or people I've known online for a long time, and I write about what I do on my own blog and on a community blog I'm a member of. I hang out with gatherings of artists and I help people there who ask me.

    I might pick up the mentorship-for-hire thing one day, if only because people are less likely to give up if they paid you. There's this thing where people don't feel like what they get for free is worth as much as what they pay for. I don't want to work my ass off to teach someone and be taken for granted.

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    I've mentored for pay off-site, and it is time-consuming. I'm not sure I'd want to commit to that kind of time and effort for free unless it was with a student that I thought had major potential and dedication...

    I'm all in favor of answering questions and giving advice freely (when I have anything useful to say,) but mentoring is a lot more involved. Even with paid mentoring, I'd hesitate to take on an unknown and would prefer kids who I know are likely to do their homework.

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    When the mentoring section at CA was originally set up, it was a natural outgrowth of the community, built on already established relationships. What it basically did, at its most successful, was formalize and give structure to something that had already been going on. Since that time, most of the original participants have moved on, and it's very hard to recapture that dynamic. Now it's mostly new people showing up, expecting somebody to instantly appear and hand over the secrets of the universe to them, and leaving or complaining when that doesn't happen. I say shut it down and move the still-active threads somewhere else.

    Last edited by Elwell; February 6th, 2013 at 02:14 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpectreX View Post
    Maybe I stated it wrong. Didn't mean to offend anyone
    Yes, I think so, since both your examples assume that the problem is due to the professional artist's attitude. You are writing from the point of view of the person who expects to get knowledge for nothing rather than the person who has to put in a lot of time and effort to teach their knowledge.

    Maybe the mentors would like to spend their evenings with their children now instead of writing lessons for you. Are you seriously complaining that another human being might want to spend their night with their friends or their wife or husband, or relaxing after a hard day of work rather than sitting on the internet trying to make you a success? And that this is wrong? The way that you worded this is incredibly selfish.

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    Quite a few have PM'd me from time to time.

    If their post is well worded and considered, I'll take the time to respond.

    What I can't stand is:

    "wot you think of my stuff? i think your awsum. "

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    I wonder how a pro (I'm talking anyone, not even affiliated with the site or whatever) would react if some random weirdo sent them $600/month (same as Noah's monthly rate) to mentor them for a while. I'm thinking more often than not they wouldn't have the time or maybe not be as confident in their teaching abilities, regardless of how good their skills are.

    Just thinking out loud.

    Last edited by Psychotime; February 6th, 2013 at 03:17 PM.
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    most people dont even thoroughly consider the crit thats given to them in the crit section... who wants to mentor someone like that?... who wants to mentor someone like you? you got 4 sketches in your sketchbook from 2008, yet complain theres no line of people waiting to lecture you?

    im seriously sick of this attitude that everything should be free and specifically tailored to your individual needs, without even putting in the slightest sign of effort. quite often its already too much to ask them to do their google search themself. i wonder if this generation will at some point man-up and develop some survival insticts, or die within their parents basement at the age of 46, or at that very instant their parents are sick of this aswell and kick them out.

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    Oh wow, some replies were really hard

    @sone_one: I personally am not looking for a mentor. I was just wondering. (Btw the sketchbook is from 2013 not 2008 I've just been hanging around here without posting)
    Nor do I expect any free classes, or specifically tailored classes to my needs.
    I'm can understand that you're sick of this attitude, but please understand that it's not my attitude.

    I did not mean to bash or insult anyone, I was merely wondering. I just stated the question wrong and I apologize for this.

    I was only trying to find out how it came that the mentoring area had become what it is today.

    Having a wife and kid myself I can see what vineris meant. Also thank you Elwell for the explanation as to how the mentoring area came to be.

    I truly would like to apologize to anyone who feels offended. I understand that to get to the skill level, that produces those pieces that makes everyone say wow, it takes a lot of practice and time.
    I'm not saying that it is an attitude problem. Never meant it that way.

    Hope no bad feelings from anyone?

    Last edited by SpectreX; February 6th, 2013 at 02:18 PM.

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    no hard feelings at all. i just had the impression youd ask for that from your wording, but im well aware how wrong wording can come off on a forum. its just that lately i see a massive decrease in people actually investing something, but rather spend their days asking random (and quite often rather stupid) questions, hoping for some secret recipe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sone_one View Post
    no hard feelings at all. i just had the impression youd ask for that from your wording, but im well aware how wrong wording can come off on a forum. its just that lately i see a massive decrease in people actually investing something, but rather spend their days asking random (and quite often rather stupid) questions, hoping for some secret recipe.
    Ah I see, yes most people do search like a chicken without it's head (as we say here)
    But I have multiple books, it's only a matter of studying them. Yet, sometimes I also like to doodle a little (hence the kirby for example in my sketchbook)


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    I'd like to add, that to mentor someone means to add more competition for yourself.
    It's a selfish way of looking at things, but artists have already enough trouble as is, why would they want to invest their free time on someone who could potentially take away from the very meager pool of jobs.
    If opportunities were plenty I think people would be more eager to mentor, but that's not the case.

    Also it's an issue about entitlement.

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    Actually, I disagree with that. Accountants don't lack work, have you ever heard of accountants having mentors? How about shop keepers? I find commercial artists to be generally very generous with their time and knowledge despite their field being a very difficult one. But it does mean that the time they have is often used for actual work. And don't forget that traditionally, apprentices paid for their training by doing menial work. It's not that artists now are getting stringy, it's that more and more people expect stuff for free.

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    Yeah I partly agree, people expect things for free. I didn't elaborate well enough on that.
    But the apprentice model you're talking about is called being an artist's assistant and that's very different from what we mean by the mentoring that we are talking about.

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    I got a lot of emails from people and I answered questions as much as I could, but it got to the point where I just don't have the time. It's not being stuck up, I just can't sit around and invest all my time into helping other people out when I have client obligations, which pay bills.

    Another thing, at least from my experience, is that young artists often think there's some secret formula or some hidden knowledge to what we do. Every time I get "What brushes do you use?" I'm just like, that's the last thing you need to worry about. Go look into perspective and anatomy haha. There's no secret, it's just a lot of hard work, studies and research. I usually end up providing a list of books and websites where I learned a lot, I mean there's really no correct path. I dropped out of college, and Google searched books and websites and found a wealth of information. It's really easy to find the information you need without a 'mentor'.

    What I actually think the whole mentor thing is all about is connecting with a person who is doing this professionally and getting reassurance and a road plan from them, sometimes thinking they can get you "in". Let's be honest, this is a specialized field, and people in this field are really sparse. It does help once and while to talk with people who also do this just to have a fresh perspective from someone who has been there. I have no problem linking off a list of books from amazon or some websites I use to people who have questions, but a really thorough, individualized critique isn't really something I'd do for free for random people I never met.

    I have no issue with people charging for mentorships, it takes a lot of invested time and makes total sense. So is mentoring dead? No. Free mentoring is.

    Last edited by Harkins; February 6th, 2013 at 05:19 PM.
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    I just think the mentoring section here is under promoted. It's so infrequent if somebody were to offer something nobody would notice. It's also not the kind of thing you can drop in late for.

    Free mentoring isn't dead btw. Crimson Daggers seems to be buzzing with it at the moment.
    http://crimsondaggers.com/forum/forum-59.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    . I say shut it down and move the still-active threads somewhere else.
    Maybe change it to study groups. Those seem more active there now anyway =)

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