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Right, I wont give an epic story of my situation, but briefly:
1. Just graduated with a BA in Philosophy, I'm 22.
2. My heart is set on concept art, which is at the head of other related creative interests.
3. I am a decent traditional sketcher and drawer, and have been drawing all my life, throughout all my studies, and know the basics. All I have are these basic skills and a wealth of ideas.
1. What are the first steps I need to take towards this goal? The first step seems to be the hardest. I have no portfolio, just collections of random drawings.
2. I'm not trained in any kind of digital art, but I certainly feel this would be make more employable. I definitely want to learn these skills. Would I need to take a formal course on this or could self-teaching be possible?
3. I am willing to undertake some formal course(s) to get the skills I need and the networking that is ever crucial to success, but what kind of course would be suitable for someone like me - a graduate without an art related degree? And time - a couple of weeks? A year? A couple of years? Do I just sit down and slog it out at home? I have a belief that I can teach myself all I need to know through observation, books and the internet - but is this realistic?
I have read the thread by Jason Manley concerning art schools and it gave me some hope that I wouldn't need to do another full degree in an art subject. What I am not clear is on what are the steps if one doesn't do this a full degree?
Forgive me for any obvious questions I may have asked
Obviously if you want to apply for acceptance into an art college, you'll have to have a portfolio. Most portfolios are just a bunch of drawings. What's the level of this "random" collection of drawings you have? Talk to a few guidance counselors at the schools you have a hankering for and see what their take is on it. More than likely you'll be required to have anywhere from 10-20 drawings demonstrating your skills.
I wouldn't sweat the digital stuff just yet. Everyone starts off doing the traditional route first and starts training their eye as far as what to look for. Having taken those foundation drawing classes will prepare you to learn the digital realm. Obviously taking a formal course would be a little easier because you've got someone there demonstrating for you. There's a focused direction with proven methodology. It's not impossible for you to learn it on your own but that depends upon your discipline, comprehension and tenacity of the software.
Without looking at what you have for a portfolio, it's awfully difficult to tell. It might take a few years depending on where your portfolio is now compared to where it needs to go. One key thing you did mention though is the networking and interaction; those things are a lot tougher to get working out of the home. Sometimes being in a formal environment around like minded people helps and that's the unsaid quotient that a formal education offers. Years down the line, your peers will be the ones who climb the corporate ladder and with any luck you'll be right there with them.3. I am willing to undertake some formal course(s) to get the skills I need and the networking that is ever crucial to success, but what kind of course would be suitable for someone like me - a graduate without an art related degree? And time - a couple of weeks? A year? A couple of years? Do I just sit down and slog it out at home? I have a belief that I can teach myself all I need to know through observation, books and the internet - but is this realistic?
It's possible to do it without formal training and without a degree but again, that depends a LOT on what you are willing to put into a killer professional portfolio. Ultimately you'll be competing against professionals and if your book is a hair bit short of those standards, you won't be getting any work. It's up to you. Like I tell my students all the time...I have read the thread by Jason Manley concerning art schools and it gave me some hope that I wouldn't need to do another full degree in an art subject. What I am not clear is on what are the steps if one doesn't do this a full degree?
Forgive me for any obvious questions I may have asked
How badly do you want it??
And that's a question only you can answer.
Because I am the Director of Max the Mutt (Toronto), I am limited to suggesting that you check out our Diploma Program in Concept Art for Animation and Video Games.
Storyboard Dave is giving you good advice when he says not to "sweat the digital stuff." However, I disagree about networking. Our experience has been that there is a shortage of people with traditional art skills. Our graduates, even before we had a separate program for concept art, had no difficulty getting hired by top video game companies, and their recruiters approached us. They are actively looking for people, so why wouldn't they take you seriously if your portfolio is terrific and shows the skill base they need?
Last edited by Maxine Schacker; June 18th, 2008 at 08:01 PM.
Storyboard dave has the right of it, so I'm just adding a few bits.
1. 22 is very young, even though it probably doesn't feel like it to you, so you're starting off nice an early and should realise you need to let this developmental process take as long as it takes if you really want it.
2. Concept art covers a pretty large range of skills and functions and rubs shoulders with a wider range of knowledge and skill sets. While concept art can be just drawing and painting really well, it's more often drawing and painting really well to suit the needs of other people's jobs (3D rendering, modelling, texturing, game play, narrative, etc.). Familiarity with those needs makes you more valuable and employable.
3. I suggest you start a sketchbook thread and invite feedback. Show us your drawings, sketches, and paintings. An advanced understanding and facility with perspective, colour and anatomy is where you want to be before dealing with the practical concerns of concept art. Your definition of "decent" may be greater or worse than the other artists frequenting this forum.
1. Most schools list their portfolio requirements on their websites, so assemble a few portfolios. Doing the work to buld a portfolio can be a learning experience in and of itself. A good portfolio will show a wide range of your skills at their current level of development and may take you out of your comfort zone. The real first steps are to take advantage of the resources at hand; using this forum to share your work and obtain feedback and answers to questions, Google art schools and read their information, approach local art schools for tours and interviews, keep looking and asking questions until you feel satisfied and are ready to make plans.
2. Digital art programs are increasingly intuitive and user friendly, but are only another medium. When it's time for you to start playing with Painter and a tablet, you'll know.
3. This is a multi-part question that should be asked again after putting together your first application portfolio and sharing it.
If you're insanely talented, commited, disciplined then art school may not be the best use of your time. Career-based art schools will give you networking opportunities and not just with fellow students but with working instructors who often are more than happy to help out former students.
Drop me a line when you put your work up!