Hi guys, I'm sure this situation may have been posted before, but I'll go for it anyway.
Well, I went to college in a small town a few years ago, graduated and got my degree in Graphic Design, the state I'm from never offered a degree in what my true passion really is (conceptual art, Character design to be specific). So I got a job and what not after college, thinking things were all cool and have time to build up to being a concept artist, got laid off a year later which is now because of economic issues with the company, as we all know how that's going now.
And of course the job hunt isnt that great, and here i am at the fork stuck in the road. I've had time to think of what direction I want to go now, and I can kind of see this as my chance to head in the right direction were my passion is. I like design, but I don't love it. I see it as a foundation to my next level.
I guess what I'm asking you guys is some ideas, help, opinions and what not. I aspire to become a concept artist (characters, environment and what not). I know my level isn't quite at portfolio quality and schooling or something might be of help to me. I've looked in to the Art institutes and the prices are definitely out of my range. Would learning at home be a thing to do? Any other good conceptual schools out there? I just need help heading the direction.