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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    Question Career Dilemma/Crossroads?

    Ever since I was a senior in high school, this was the stuff I've wanted to do: Concept art, development stories, etc... The goal was always dreamworks. The goal was always Pixar, or Blue get the picture. I wanted to be at some awesome studio creating art for games or movies.
    Im not sure how many people have heard of this place called "Concept Design Academy", but I was referred to that school by a current Visual Development Artist at Dreamworks...

    Fast forward to now, Im 24 and have been a graphic designer for the last 2 years. Made a fairly good name for myself and work is great. Now its time to sign up for spring classes at CDA and I am hesitant because thats another about 3-5 years of school. My drawing skills are pretty bad lol, and my digital painting isnt too bad, but I find myself being very hesitant with going back to school and taking all these weekday/weekend classes. I want to have my life started by then, and not be back in school until im close to 30. And i see the competition out there and the amazing work so many of you post, its like how the damn hell am i gonna get THAT good, and then compete with that same person with years of experience on me for the same job? Im not quite sure what it is I am currently feeling to be honest, but I wanted to know if any artists here have felt the same way before? Maybe discouraged about your work? Afraid maybe? Ay yai yai.
    Have you ever felt hesitant about pursuing your dreams because of the time and sacrifices you'd have to make? (sounds like a stupid question right? but its an honest one); after being fairly established, would you go back for a few years to pursue a different side of your craft?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Thanked 6,738 Times in 4,642 Posts

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Halifax, Canada
    Thanked 15 Times in 8 Posts
    You're treating CDA like a normal 4 year college, which it really isn't. Different students who attend the school plan for entirely different durations. I went for two terms, one friend went for only one, another attended for a full year. It really depends heavily on you, what exactly you want to get out of it and how much effort you are willing to put in.

    I was in much the same position as you. Well, sort of. I graduated with a degree in Interactive Multimedia Design at 22, worked for a year as a game programmer in a small company for a little more than a year. I decided that I wanted to go into art not long after graduating, but took the time to save up. Around the time I turned 24, I had gotten all my things in order, and I took off to LA.

    I wasn't confident in my work, and I was right not to be. Like the vast majority of self-taught artists, my foundational skills were weak, and I had learned a lot of things incorrectly. My first term was spent grinding those misconceptions out and rebuilding my fundamentals with Dynamic Sketching and Analytical Figure Drawing. I highly recommend those classes. I jumped back into digital illustration and concept design stuff in the second term, with Environment Design and Intro to Form Language.

    Unfortunately, I could not stay any longer due to visa restrictions. That said, while I probably would have stayed for another term if I could, I'm not overly regretful about not being able to. I hit what I felt were the most important classes offered, and I learned a *lot* from it.

    There are a lot of classes at CDA, but that doesn't necessarily mean they are all equal in value. Some are awful, others are amazing. Some should be taken multiple times, just for the sake of drilling those concepts into one's head. But there's no way in hell you're looking at 3-5 more years, unless you end up being really lazy about it, which I seriously doubt will be the case.

    I don't regret my decision at all. I'm certainly not a stunning artist now, able to compete with the big names you are no doubt seeing all over the place. The fact of the matter is that you don't have to compete with them. It's far more likely that you'll be competing with a thousand other copies of yourself, all vying for junior artist positions at indie studios. You'll be spending your first few years doing relatively tedious work - tight drawings of props and such, most likely.

    On top of that, it's from working that you're probably going to learn the most. CDA will definitely help you become more attractive in the eyes of those potential employers though, so I strongly recommend it as a school. Research the courses you want to take, though, don't just throw money and time at the problem.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts
    Simple question:
    why is this your dream if your drawing sucks?

    I'm NOT ragging on you, but honestly, you're 24, at this age you should be at least proficient at drawing to even be considering
    concept art as a career.
    Remember, you will be doing drawing ALL day EVERY day for DECADES of your life.

    It is really easy to dream about things that seem big and impressive. ie: pixar, dreamworks, ilm job, etc.
    But that's not even reality really.
    Most concept artists work at lesser known studios that no one has ever heard of. OR they work for themselves doing random freelance jobs for random clients.

    You should want to do this because you love the work.

    The lure of the big fancy company is just that A LURE.
    don't be LURED by it. Honestly it's kind of bullsh#t.
    Drawing is about drawing. Not about the building you're working in.

    P.S. the other exception I would say, is that it's DEFINITELY ok to suck if you LOVE drawing. If you just can't get enough.
    You want to draw all the time, but for some weird reason your skills don't improve.
    Then yeah i'd say definitely go for it. Find good teachers, schooling. You'll get better eventually and get a good job.
    But if you don't have the base skill, or the base love. FORGET IT.
    Seriously. Don't waste your time. you could be spending that precious time doing finding something way better for you to do (or at least
    waste your time socializing with real people and having FUN FUN FUN)

    Ok good luck.

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