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  • Entering Art School

    [11.30.06]
    - Samuel Crowe

  •  Why Go to School?

    This is also a huge question that comes up in most conversations. Why go to a school and pay all that money when you can just buy the books or DVD's?

    If you break it down, it's going to cost a little less if you do that, but it will still be expensive. You need hardware, software, supplies, space to work, paper to print on, or paint on... the list goes on.

    The most important difference between a "traditional" education and "self education" is environment. In a classroom, you will be exposed to others art as well as their way of thinking and working. You will get critiques from instructors and other students. The sharing of ideas in real time between other artists will go a long way in helping you to become a better artist.

    Another reason is exposure, and no, not the exposure of the nude for figure drawing, the exposure to different areas of study. You may have decided to go to school to become an illustrator, but then decide that you like animation or photography more.

    Self education is very hard and very daunting in the beginning. It is up to you individually to keep up to date with what is going on in your specific area of study as well as being able to produce competitive or better art. You must constantly challenge yourself and rely on close family or friends for educated and constructive criticism. You must rely on your own will power to study and complete assignments with in a set amount of time. Otherwise you could spend months on a single image and only learn a few things, where as you could have learned those same things in a few days with proper time management. At some point you must build a network of other artists to discuss techniques and ideas.

    If you truly want to be the best artist you can possibly be, do both. Be an overachiever in school and work your butt off out of school doing things that interest you and experimenting with various media. Bounce ideas off your fellow students then work on those in your own time.

    Your ultimate goal is to become the best you can be at what you enjoy doing. This also includes graduating as fast as you can. Going to school is much like the scene from an Indiana Jones movie... You are working your way out with your prized object in your hands, all the time being chased by this huge rolling ball of death that will crush you at any time. Maybe a bit over-dramatic for an analogy, but it fits.

    The longer you stay in school, the more debt you gather. So stay focused, work hard and pay attention. At some point in your life, you may want to buy a house-living in dorms and apartments with paper thin walls gets old very fast.

    Software and Hardware

    This is my favorite part, but I'll keep it simple...

    No tool on earth is going to make you a better artist. There is no magic wand that will allow you to create amazing artwork.

    Many of the very successful and acclaimed digital artist living today have backgrounds in fine art and first learned how to create their art with out ever touching a computer.


    Show a range or waste away.

    The computer and the software on it are only tools. The sooner you realize that, the better off you will be.

    Avoid taking classes that are geared toward specific software applications in your early years or semesters at school. Software changes rapidly and what you learn this semester could be vastly different 3 to 4 years when you do graduate.

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