almost 29 and unsure what to do...

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  1. #1
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    almost 29 and unsure what to do...

    Hello all,

    I'm new to this forum, but it's so nice to be inspired by so many talented artists! Please bear with me as I post another thread about education...

    My dilemma is that I am 28 (almost 29) and would like to work in the entertainment industry in games or film as a character artist. I am currently a full-time web/graphic designer, but my main strength has always been illustration and I've been drawing characters since I don't know when. I'm trying to make a career change, but am at a loss as to what next step I should take.

    Realistically, I know this is a long term goal - this will not happen quickly. What I am thinking of is strategizing a way to position myself to 'eventually' get to that level. I will always have to draw and take classes to improve myself, regardless of what happens. The question is what should I do to 'get my foot in the door' so I can maneuver? I would not mind 3D modeling or doing 2D Texturing - should I approach my studies in this way (of course while working my art) ? Or should I go back to school in an arts program? Should I be daunted by a 2nd B.A in illustration at my age (b/c I feel daunted)? I guess I just feel late in the game

    I am not afraid of learning on my own, but would like to hear opinions on whether going back to school (probably an art school) would be recommended. Please be as honest and realistic as you can about my situation - I would like to hear what you would do in my position.

    Thanks for reading!
    moraisins

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  3. #2
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    Do it and die trying. Quit trying to nurse your ego and self esteem and just do.

    Ignore people, a lot of them are a'holes.

    Be successful and get revenge.....without being vengeful.

    If you're married, forget what I said.

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    Arrow

    Okay my opinion - is not worth a lot - im 21 & just started to take all this art thing seriously - first of all welcome to CA.org - in my opinion I dont think you really need to go all the way back to art school - some people on here have never gone to art school or any magic further education at all - as far as I know - i.e. self-taught artists.

    You seem to already have lots of experience - so you will - I guess - have it in a way easier then you might think - in my opinion - to do this career change.

    First thing I guess is to stay here on CA because this is a very valuable site & propably perfect for what you are looking for.
    There are lots of tutorials - lots of helpful beginning & profeesional artists - with a lot of character based work .

    So do not run away

    I think that oviously to get your foot into somewhere you need to have work/a portfolio.
    But thats ovious & as you say you have been drawing characters for ages so I guess just continue with that & expand & concentrate your energy on the new things ahead.

    " I will always have to draw and take classes to improve myself, regardless of what happens."
    -> we all have to always remember to try to improve & be as good as we can be (quite hollow words from a lazy person at the moment like me ) .

    In summary it sounds that you can certainly manage this change on your own without having to go back to an art school where you will propably learn not so much more as you already have experience .

    I hope a pro can give a proper answer to your question.

    Just IMO

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    thank you poohgee for your thoughtful words. I'm at that age of transitioning a lot of things (like almost being 30!!), so I think I'm dealing with a lot of issues in general as to what I should do. I guess I don't really need to go back to school, there are so many paths to take - it's hard to figure out the best one. I should probably take some art classes tho to help refine some basic things I might be missing. Graphic Design didn't really offer that many art courses and I didn't think thoroughly enough about taking art classes in college. Drawing came very easily to me back then, but now that i'm older - I find myself lacking and you guys in this forum do such fantastic work, I really need to catch up! so, i'm just trying to figure out how to school myself.

    are a lot of people in the forums are self-taught artists? that is comforting if that's true.

    I'll def not run away thanks again!!

    ps. if there any pros out there - I would love to hear from you too!

    Last edited by moraisins; October 27th, 2005 at 06:00 PM.
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    I don't think you need to get a second degree, but you could probably take a couple of classes to sharpen your skills. If you've got your BFA and have been working in graphic design, I would imagine your skills are pretty solid. I think it would be a good idea to take a figure drawing class and maybe a class specifically geared towards what you wanna do. Like a character design class or something.

    I'm 19 so I'm not speaking from experience or anything. This is just what I would assume is a good course of action.

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    Quote Originally Posted by moraisins
    are a lot of people in the forums are self-taught artists? that is comforting if that's true.

    ps. if there any pros out there - I would love to hear from you too!
    I just emailed you but even us pros never stop learning. I still draw and push the bounds every day.

    And my thoughts regarding your age are that it really never matters. As long as you have that inner desire, you'll do fine. Life's too short to be working at just a job. What we do in this artistic field is more of a career.

    I thoroughly enjoy my job. I can't imagine that I get paid for doing what I do and I can honestly say that I'm NOT counting down my days to retirement. This is what I plan on doing as long as I can. it's more about being passionate and love with this field.

    For you, I think I think it's going to be some courtship with it but it's never too late to dive into the field. Your happiness is worth it.

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    29 is very young--not daunting at all. Let's all hope we want to change what we do at 60 and 80 and beyond.

    As long as you know how to create, or study creation methods on your own for the industries you want to break into, you shouldn't have to go back to school. Build a portfolio, then start sending it. Get feedback, work some more, send it again.

    Not that school is a bad thing--it can be a refresher--but it isn't necessary id you have a strong drive and portfolio.

    G'Luck

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    Hello, Moraisins. I know how you feel. I'm almost 26 and I feel old as well! And here I am... trying to start a new career as a graphics designer / web designer. I'm trying to apply to Cali schools and take a second course (which is far from my previous one - Architecture). I guess you're just never too old to change course. That's what everyone keeps on telling me... well, not everyone.

    But IMO, it all comes down to the money. Can you afford to change your profession? If you can, then go for it! Nothing else matters except your happiness. I can't believe I just said that... I should apply that to myself!!!


    Johann Pascual

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    Quote Originally Posted by YOHAN14344
    Hello, Moraisins. I know how you feel. I'm almost 26 and I feel old as well! And here I am... trying to start a new career as a graphics designer / web designer. I'm trying to apply to Cali schools and take a second course (which is far from my previous one - Architecture). I guess you're just never too old to change course. That's what everyone keeps on telling me... well, not everyone.

    But IMO, it all comes down to the money. Can you afford to change your profession? If you can, then go for it! Nothing else matters except your happiness. I can't believe I just said that... I should apply that to myself!!!

    That's it! Between you two, I need to stress that it's never too late to start in on your happiness. If you truly believe that your happiness lies in an alternate career, go for it. Life is too short to be stuck with a job that you dread going to.

    And while it's been awhile since I've had to pull an all-nighter as a student, I still pull many an all-nighter for my work. I laugh at it now because I'm still loving what I'm doing. Now if it was just drudgery, there is no way I'd be staying up as late as I do now for it. It's just not worth it!

    Go and pursue your happiness.

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    Thanks everyone for your thoughts! All of you have provided great advice and I will take it all to heart. I don't know why I feel like I'm old - I think I have expectations of where I should be at this age. I'm sure many people go thru this type of feeling - maybe it's b/c I'm almost 30, it's a milestone! eeps!

    storyboard dave - I did receive your email. thanks!! I posted one back as well

    Yohan14344 - I am actually a web/graphic designer. You can do it - all you have to do is apply standard design principles to everything you do, and a lot of it is subjective and what 'looks good'. I do freelance work on the side - you can start this way with small jobs, but be very careful. I have had 'bad' clients try to swindle me, or argue over payments - stand firm. You can even start by doing a couple pro bono (non-paid) gigs, and develop your portfolio this way. I definitely don't regret studying graphic/web design - it's something solid I can fall back on. If you think about it - almost EVERYONE wants/needs a web site, there are a lot of jobs for it. you can do it.

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    I know, morasins! I'm actually planning to study graphics design to help me with web designing! Kinda weird, eh. But they are very much connected. I just decided I like web designing 5 months ago. Got clients for logos and sites, already. Still learning, though.

    I'm having a problem with php. Do you have to learn php? I want to learn it... I don have an idea... but I don't think I have the time to learn it. Hmmm.


    Johann Pascual

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    I can't stress to the both of you how it CAN be done. Age has absolutely nothing to do with your drive to succeed in the art world. Technically I'm a graphic design grad and yet I do illustration for a living. I'd like to think that my design skills have helped with my illustrations and vice versa. It's just another little skill that I've got in my bag o' tricks. Don't ever think that just because you start out in one field, you can't make the slide over to another- and this one's easier than say if you were coming over from accounting or dentistry! Both of you guys have a solid design sense already. Whereas you were monkeying with html. and type hierarchy yesterday, now you'll be playing around with juxtaposition, light, composition, storytelling and things that go into an illustration.

    Trust me. It can be done. I've seen it first hand with students of mine already and they're doing amazingly well.

    I always espouse that what really matters is your happiness with life. And if you think that going one direction is best for you, who are we to argue?

    Good luck to both of you guys.

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    yohan - you don't have to learn php. it's kind of neat to know (I don't know it), but it allows you to handle database information. I'm actually not that technical, which is why I'm going back to illustration. what you should get good at is CSS, some ASP (include files), and some flash. Graphic Design is pretty fundamental for web design, it'll make you a better designer overall.

    Storyboard Dave - thanks for the words of encouragement! How did you transition from graphic design to illustration? did you keep working on illustration on the side and submit your portfolio to companies every so often? Or did you go back to school to pursue illustration? I probably should have realized back in school I was more prone to illustrating - every design project I ever contained my illustrations!

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    Quote Originally Posted by moraisins
    Storyboard Dave - thanks for the words of encouragement! How did you transition from graphic design to illustration? did you keep working on illustration on the side and submit your portfolio to companies every so often? Or did you go back to school to pursue illustration? I probably should have realized back in school I was more prone to illustrating - every design project I ever contained my illustrations!
    I always did illustration with a heavy emphasis on graphics, industrial design and art direction. To me it was always seamless; it wasn't like I suddenly switched hats in midstream and became one or the other. If I was doing illustrations, I designed it out and if I was doing graphic design I always had an illustrative approach to it. All of the skills I learned come into play.

    As far as submitting portfolios to people, I always made sure I did the research on who was asking for samples. I made portfolios specifically for what the client is looking for. I did NOT have a generic portfolio that was to cater to all. As an art director over at DC Comics once told my students- be sure your portfolio is "surgical" in its precision.

    I was lucky in the sense that I was encouraged to trust my gut instincts and pursue my happiness. I still do in every walk of life that I lead. If illustration ever got boring (and I don't think it ever will for me), Id' immediately jump ship and found out what would make me happy- no matter how old I was. I've still got plenty of life to lead (God willing) and I'm gonna go on being happy about it. I hope you will do likewise.

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    hmm...that is very interesting, making specific portfolios for each company or client. I guess i have a lot of work ahead of me! makes sense tho, since companies/clients want to see a style that will match their's.

    thanks for sharing your experiences!!

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    So what have you decided on doing, Moraisins?


    Johann Pascual

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    www.fjmucomics.com
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    well, I think for now I will keep drawing during my spare time (since I work full-time) and keep building my illustration portfolio. My ultimate goal, regardless of what kind of job I want, is to work at an Entertainment company - at least I will enjoy the work more. I will try to apply for graphic design jobs at entertainment companies this year, but if it doesn't pan out - I am considering possibly quitting and going back to school or at least taking a bunch of classes. If I want to improve quickly, I should give it my all and focus as much as I can. Working full-time and trying to 'study' on the side is slow so far - I don't get to improve as quickly as I like, but I am making some progress. If anything, I will at least take individual art classes next year.we'll see - I'll be sure to keep you posted on what i end up doing

    I definitely feel better about the whole age thing - storyboard dave has helped alleviate that pressure

    how about you? are you going back to school for design?

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    moraisins, had to reply as I am in the exact same boat as you, I am currently a graphic designer at an agency, been doing this for about 3 yrs but just like you I want to take my illustration and drawing a step further and hopefully drop this graphic design business. I am 25 now, and I think i can sort of relate to how you feel. Time seems to fly...rather quickly... keep drawing though, that's what I am doing, I will be quitting my job next year, I think i am going to go for it then..

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    Quote Originally Posted by bumskee
    moraisins, had to reply as I am in the exact same boat as you, I am currently a graphic designer at an agency, been doing this for about 3 yrs but just like you I want to take my illustration and drawing a step further and hopefully drop this graphic design business. I am 25 now, and I think i can sort of relate to how you feel. Time seems to fly...rather quickly... keep drawing though, that's what I am doing, I will be quitting my job next year, I think i am going to go for it then..

    Bravo. It's never too late to change horses in midstream if you think it's what you ultimately want to do. Sure it takes some courage to do so but ultimately you'll be happier in the long run.

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    Hi bumskee,

    thank you for writing! Glad to see a fellow designer What are you trying to get into with your illustration? are you going to quit your job to go back to school or to devote more time in general to your craft? I'm debating what to do for next year as well - whether I should quit or go back to school. we'll see, I'll just keep on drawing...

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    moraisins, I won't be going to school, I am not an exactly a school type of person hehe I have been studying after work, the time isn't much but I am forcing myself to do more and traded it for my social life. well we all have to make sacrifices somewhere.

    Next year I am quitting my job, I am not too sure what I want to do yet, concept artist sounds good but not sure if my skills are up to it. or just an illustrator or even a story boarder.. so long as it's more drawing and less BSing as in graphic design. I hate that part of work.

    Would be good to see some of your work, I mean I still study heaps, but I can sort of get most of my ideas on paper now so I am more focusing on my rendering skills and putting ideas down. How do you feel about where you stand in terms of your skills?

    ALso it's about how you like to study as well, are you a school type of person? or a self teaching person, most graphic designers I know are self teaching type?

    Storyboard Dave, thanks for the encouragement, it's very competitive field isn't it? there aren't many jobs in sydney I think, i had a quick look but meh it's like there's nothing.. hehe.. well I am still going for it though, I can starve for a bit.. hopefully not too long..

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    hey bumskee,

    Yeah, I hear you. That is one thing I never liked about design - it's a lot of BS and I always feel like there isn't any meaning behind the work. There is 'function', but I really like concepts and stories behind illustrations in general.

    actually, yes, I am a self-study type of person! I never thought graphic designers were self-study kind of people, but you are right.

    mmm...in terms of school, since I am going to be 29, I can probably learn/improve at a faster pace if I went to school. I do like self-studying, but it can be slow at times. Also, I never went to an art school or fully studied art, I think I could learn a lot. We'll see, I'm still considering, but I am self-studying right now and it's going okay. As you know, it doesn't give us a lot of time after work, but I try to squeeze a good 2-4 hours everyday. Yeah, I have made sacrifices with my social life as well - but, I noticed I have much better time management, hehe!

    Right now, I'm trying to get myself up to a consistent level and am working on color and figure. I'll be trying to enter this week's CHOW: Merchant theme. So, I guess you'll see some of my meager work ;p I saw your CHOW from last week, looked great! are you going to enter this week's too?

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    hey bumskee,

    Yeah, I hear you. That is one thing I never liked about design - it's a lot of BS and I always feel like there isn't any meaning behind the work. There is 'function', but I really like concepts and stories behind illustrations in general.

    actually, yes, I am a self-study type of person! I never thought graphic designers were self-study kind of people, but you are right.

    mmm...in terms of school, since I am going to be 29, I can probably learn/improve at a faster pace if I went to school. I do like self-studying, but it can be slow at times. Also, I never went to an art school or fully studied art, I think I could learn a lot. We'll see, I'm still considering, but I am self-studying right now and it's going okay. As you know, it doesn't give us a lot of time after work, but I try to squeeze a good 2-4 hours everyday. Yeah, I have made sacrifices with my social life as well - but, I noticed I have much better time management, hehe!

    Right now, I'm trying to get myself up to a consistent level and am working on color and figure. I'll be trying to enter this week's CHOW: Merchant theme. So, I guess you'll see some of my meager work ;p I saw your CHOW from last week, looked great! are you going to enter this week's too?

    ps. storyboard dave is awesome

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    moraisins,

    Talk about BS.. often I get stuck because I have to explain every little thing I have done.. and I believe sometimes your instinct takes over without logic and can't quite explain why did stuff.. meh I hate when that happens..

    Thanks for the comp on last ChOW. yes I will be going this week as well, I haven't quite yet started it though, been doing COW and EOW.. but looking forward to getting my hands dirty with ChOW, and to your entry too.

    Well, honestly, ages shouldn't make a big difference in deciding whether you should go school or do it yourself. I attended B. contemp art for like a year, it never involved any drawing though but that's as far I went with education. I like to do things at my own pace, I guess the downfall of doing it yourself is you are often isolated and shut out from the world. Of course these days we have places like cgtalk.com and conceptart.org so you have more chance to get in touch with people. I guess it all comes down to how many hours you want to put into it.

    You should start up a sketchbook in the sketchbook section, just to get you started, motivated and also to get some feedback from other people.

    meh, I guess it's all about time isn't it?? Keep at it though,.. time flies.. hehe..

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    hey bumskee,

    it's true, age really shouldn't have anything to do with it. At the same time, time does sneak up on you! I don't know, maybe 30 is a scary age - you expect to be at a certain point by then in your career. That's my neuroticism talking ;p

    yeah, I am considering school b/c I like to immerse myself in things I like. we'll see - I'm going to give myself these next 4-6 months to learn 'on my own', and if it's not going as as well as I'd like - I'll prob look into some schooling, a year or two program. I'll take figure drawing classes for sure next year.

    I think I will start up that sketchbook thanks for the suggestion! This forum is a wonderful resource! I only recently stumbled across it. And, I think it's great you're learning on your own since you know that's the best way for you. Again, I'm glad you wrote in my post, it's really nice to talk with people in similar situations.

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    Hello, guys. Our club of OLDIES is slowly growing! Hahaha!

    I don't know... I am trying to get into schools... just starting. I don't have good grades and I'm from the Philippines (working in Hong Kong right now)... so I'm not sure if I'll get accepted. But I'll try anyway. I'm not a studious person either! Frankly, I can't believe I actually finished Architecture! I'm going for a BA course instead of BS... I really hate math!

    So bumskee's a graphic designer wanting to be an illustrator and moraisins is an illustrator wanting to be a graphics designer. And I'm an architect wanting to be a graphics/web designer. And Dave wants to be our father. We're so twisted! Cool!

    I need help on my portfolio! I have no idea what it should look like! Nor do I have an idea how good should it be! Help meeeeeeeeeeee!


    Johann Pascual

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    hey johann,

    haha! our club of 'oldies', funny... ;p

    actually, I am like Bumskee - we're both designers who want to be illustrators but, I think we can help you since you want to be a designer. Or at least take a look at your portfolio.

    I'm not sure which schools you are applying for, but depending on which ones, certain ones 'require' a certain level for their portfolios. The best thing for you to do is just make stuff 'for fun' like fliers, posters, brochures, websites, business cards, etc. When you're having fun, people usually make the best work I find.

    If you have any type of work you want to show me, you can send me a private message or shoot me your online portfolio so I can take a look and give you a crit.

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  29. #28
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    Yikes! That's one part of designing that I don't like... criticizing!!! I'll still gather my work. They are only a few... but I did make this website a few months ago... www.fjmucomics.com.

    Wait, question guys... when the schools says you need 20 examples of work, does that mean 20 individual works? For example, I made an ID design and then letterhead for the same company with the same theme... will those two be considered as ONE work?

    Last edited by YOHAN14344; November 4th, 2005 at 03:52 AM.

    Johann Pascual

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  30. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by YOHAN14344
    So bumskee's a graphic designer wanting to be an illustrator and moraisins is an illustrator wanting to be a graphics designer. And I'm an architect wanting to be a graphics/web designer. And Dave wants to be our father. We're so twisted! Cool!

    I need help on my portfolio! I have no idea what it should look like! Nor do I have an idea how good should it be! Help meeeeeeeeeeee!
    Whoa whoa whoa...me? A dad?? Hardly!

    I've got enough trying to keep my real life students in line and then I've got to keep my real work clients happy as well. I'm just lucky I don't need too much sleep.

    As far as picking pieces for your portfolio, that's one of the toughest things to do--you have to learn to edit. Depending on what you're applying for, think about what it is they're looking for. If you're applying for art schools, show them observational drawings. Let them know you can handle light & shadow as well as having some sense of perspective. If you're looking to shop your book to a real client, do some research about the job or the client themselves and gear a portfolio specifically for them.

    Simple?

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  31. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by YOHAN14344
    Wait, question guys... when the schools says you need 20 examples of work, does that mean 20 individual works? For example, I made an ID design and then letterhead for the same company with the same theme... will those two be considered as ONE work?
    I'd lump the corporate ID package as one piece. It's not just about the logo, letterhead and envelope...it's more about the application of that logo.

    And when schools ask for 20-- give them your best stuff. If you have one lousy piece in there, it'll drag down the other 19 hot pieces. Believe me... that crappy piece will stand out like a sore thumb too.

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