How important is a degree, and where can a good one be found for Illustration?
I've been looking at art schools for a while now, knocking out core classes at a community college and trying to get my bearings straight. With some of the outlandish price tags, incredibly mixed reviews, and ultimately my personal requirements, I'm starting to feel really lost in shopping for an art school. First things first, though:
1. Do I really need a degree?
Art schools that are purely focused on teaching skills seem exponentially cheaper than art schools offering college degrees, but I'v been told all my life to get a college degree, so I'm feeling pretty uncertain about this question. Obviously, there are exceptions to everything, so perhaps a degree is not so important when placed next to your portfolio. However, I have heard that degrees can be very important for work overseas. I feel like it would be a terrible thing for me to limit myself to working here in America when I'm already looking at schools in other countries now.
2. If not, any suggestions on good art schools?
I always wanted to go to Florence, though I have no idea what the pricing of that kind of education is compared to SCAD or Ringling. At any rate, the options for art school selection is seemingly limitless. A program that teaches structure, proportion, anatomy, perspective, paints etc. sounds fantastic. If you know of any good ones you'd like to recommend (or any to stay away from), please do share. I particularly want to be an illustrator, and I am interested in schools outside America, as well as schools stateside.
3. If yes, any suggestions on good art colleges?
For a while I have been particularly interested in SCAD, though more recently have become interested in Ringling based on glowing student reviews here and elsewhere on the web. I've heard many horror stories about AAU and SCAD, though I have no idea how seriously to take them. The Art Institutes sound promising, although they are among the most expensive degrees I know of. Still, are they worth it? School recommendations from any part of the world are appreciated! Once again, I would like to enter into an illustration program.
Either art school or art college, suggestions can be huge or tiny, well known or unheard of, as long as they have excellent programs! Please keep in mind, I am seeking to establish a career for myself in illustration, so the programs that lend themselves to that path are most crucial.
Honestly, I feel a pretty overwhelmed. I'll be done at junior college in May and right now I have no idea what to do. I still am unsure of what my budget is, though I'm well off enough to be considering places like SCAD and Ringling without government aid (we don't qualify for federal student aid), but that's a reach. At this point I'm pretty confident in my abilities as an artist, but I'm also feeling tired and, frankly, worried. Scared. Just need to keep moving.
That last bit was mostly just me getting it off my chest, but you can pretty much disregard it
Thanks very much in advance.
"Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what no
one else has thought."
- Albert Szent-Gyorgi