Firstly, sorry for cross-posting this topic (posted this on Sijun too), but I remembered that a number of ID people come here thesedays, and it looks like I might need to make a decision about attending an art college reasonably soon.
Just for some background info, I graduated with a degree in Computer Science (nerrrrrd) and have been working for the last year in an academic research department. I'm 22. It's kinda dawned on me that programming and usability eval... *yawn*... usability evaluation of communications interface research is not my thing.
I can, in theory, still do another undergraduate degree, but I'm not sure in which subject. I'll also be paying financially out of my own pocket for it this time.
I'd like to do Industrial Design, as, IMHO, it teaches you to draw and design better than doing an illustration or graphic design degree. As far as I know, most illustrators actually did Industrial Design (Sijun regulars like Craig Mullins, Feng Zhu, even artists like Roger Dean etc.) ... and not Illustration or Fine Art.
Though in reality, I think I'd like to go into teaching art at either secondary (High School) or lecture at a college and not, in fact, freelance work.
Since I am not an industrial designer, I feel MORE than qualified to speak. :
First, I would think that the UK would have a decent apprentice/co-op/intern system for industrial design. So I would look into that.
Second, the notion of getting another undergraduate degree is a hard one to swallow. I would suggest trying to find a graduate degree program. Many times you can get into graduate degree programs with portfolio, and relevent experience, despite not having the requisite undergraduate degree.
as far as teaching art, plan on NOT doing it. Plan on being a successful artist FIRST. Then you have some real credentials to bring to the table.
i am an industrial designer and this is an interesting question.
it is true that you can learn the rendering techniques of an indutrial designer from books. however its the classes on structure, design theory, aerodynamics, properties of materials,etc.... that give the overall knowledge of tolerances on certain material ergonomic forms and smart functionalty, that makes an industrial designer what they are.
that said, there are many aspects of illustration that i dont know. for instance i have the hardest time getting the final details out of a rendering because i am so used to concepting and moving on.