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This is an updated account on how things are going years after having left art school, the effects it's had on me, and my personal thoughts on attending. My views here aren't wholly different than the few rants I've had on the subject in the past, but it's one I believe I have to continue talking about to assist others in making the right decisions for themselves and their future path. (I should also mention that this is the viewpoint of an american in America.)

It's become increasingly clear to me over the last year that out of my 25 years on this Earth, there's only one decision I ever truly regret: and that was going to art school. Now, there's a good chance that I may not be saying this had I attended a different school, but there's no way to ever know, so what I'm really saying is "I regret going to the school I chose, not school in general." I feel as though I was let down by my school. I held up my end of the bargain (some $80~$90K in tuition) and failed to get anything in return that they had promised me on my open house tour 5 years prior. "Substantial experience in the major of my choice, incredible networking both on a peer and professional level, a career I'd be passionate about!" After reviewing that checklist years later, those three boxes remain unticked. (1. My school had poor curriculum. 2. I am better friends with artists met online through DA and Tumblr than anyone I knew at my school. 3. Boston has limited opportunities.)

Now, obviously I know just throwing money at an institution wasn't going to transform me into a powerhouse artist like an upgrade in a video game. But it's not as though I didn't put my work in and really try to come out with something to show for myself. My problem is that I feel as though all of that personal growth happened entirely outside of the classroom by my own curiosity, interest, and motivation. And I feel that my growing regret toward my experience there is more my fault than theirs: but only because hindsight is 20/20. I say to myself that I should have had the intuition to recognize all of the little red flags the school was presenting me with:
- Things like mandatory useless, distracting classes that had nothing to do with my major.
- Things like an atmosphere that was too sensitive toward criticism and rewarded bad habits through luke-warm "constructive compliments." -- Instructors have gotten fired in the past for being too hard (I say motivating) on students.
- Things like a course load that only had a fraction of a handful of classes that WERE relevant to my major, and even then instructed poorly with little direction.
- Things like giving me an expensive "internship" that was more something like a personal favor for a friend and had NOTHING to do with illustration.
- Things like recent previous-year grads now teaching classes with no more than 1 year of field experience.
- Things like no one else in my entire class (not even me) being pushed to give it their all and to prepare them for a future professional career in new and exciting media opportunities.
I tell myself I should have seen all of this and run, RUN for the hills, save my money, and go my own way, but... well, like I just said. Hindsight is always 20/20.

So, it's a choice I now have to live with, probably for well over the next 15 years of my life. I have the equivalence of a mortgage with nothing to show for it, and it's not a good feeling. It feels crushing, emotionally draining. As though it's over my shoulder mocking me saying "I'M GOING TO IMPEDE YOU IN WHATEVER YOUR HOPES AND DREAMS WERE FOR LIFE. NYAHAH." (That's a bit dramatic and exaggerated, I know.) But it really goes to show you how ill-equipped many of us, (ourselves AND our parents,) were when it was time for us to go to college. You know -- as we were always told by our parents -- you HAVE to go to college. "It's the ONLY way you'll get anywhere today!" Alright, maybe if you're going into business, medicine, or law, you wear your degree and high test scores on your sleeve. But ... for art?

It's amazing how art colleges will never tell you that the BFA/MFA degree you're working toward means shit in real life. Well it's not that surprising, really. Why would you disprove your entire offered product in one sentence? Still, I'm sure you've started to hear this more and more just as I have: people who hire you for art related jobs don't care in the slightest what your degree is, what your grades were, whether you had honors, etc. They want to see the work. If the work in your portfolio looks like it's good enough to be used as legal tender, you'll go places even having never stepped foot in a college classroom. "But!" you say, "I want to go to college to learn discipline, work ethic, and be exposed to group-based peer-reviews!" -- All right! That's fine! You just don't have to go to a huge expensive 4-year University/Institute to get that! Know where you CAN get that for a fraction of the time and cost, but with way more substance? Workshops. Trade-specific schools that hone-in on exactly what it is you want to develop. You'll get more experience in places like these in 1 year than you will in 4 years elsewhere, and get a serious ass-kicking to boot. You'll never receive a degree from these schools or programs, and they're fine with telling you that. What they will tell you is that what you will walk away with is something more important: skills and knowledge. Wish I paid more attention to things like these before I put all my chips on University. (By the way, if the school name has "Institute" or "University" in the name, you will be expected to take high-school level general education classes such as science, math, and history along with your art classes. DOESN'T THAT SOUND LIKE FUN AND A TOTAL APPROPRIATE USE OF YOUR TIME?!?!? At a college/university you usually attend a class once or twice a week for an average of 3 hours each session IF the instructor didn't randomly decide to cancel the class that day for no reason. At a specialized school, some as if it's a full time job -- one class, 5 times a week for over 6 hours a day. Now which sounds better?)

Crazy advice time:

I can't stress enough to anyone currently in high school to do your research -- ALL THE RESEARCH -- you possibly can on whatever school you're even remotely thinking of attending. It is SO easy at that age to just make a decision and roll with it without thinking twice about it. Make sure you have a direction you want to take with your art, like a career be it self or corporately employed. Time spent in school floating around not knowing what you want to do is time that could have been spent more wisely -- because remember, classes don't start the moment you figure out a plan. If you take until your final year to establish a career goal, that's three prior years you lost in school that could have been more appropriately allocated. No refunds, no free do-overs. And your college will NOT likely encourage you to make up your mind before advancing. College is NOT a requirement the year after you graduate high school. If you need time to figure things out, take it and don't feel ashamed of "taking some time for yourself." -- your future self could seriously thank you.

Research the school to its fine print. Look at every course path for your major. Ask for printouts of class sign-up sheets. Make sure the classes being offered are in the majority for what interests you. Make sure the teachers are reputable. Read public reviews for the school and even individual classes if you can find any. Find someone who has attended that school and ask their opinion, even briefly, on what it was like there. Do NOT settle. Constantly be aware of your surroundings in your classes, question whether or not the instruction you're receiving is satisfying your needs and standards, whether what you're getting is worth the money you're shelling out. If you start to see red flags in a particular class, see if the class is offered by another, more qualified teacher. Most colleges offer 2 weeks at the start of a semester to switch classes, don't take this grace period lightly. If you see red flags being set off in every class, this may be a sign that the school itself is a problem and evaluation is required IMMEDIATELY. If upon further inspection you find that you made the wrong choice to attend this school, you may still have the opportunity to leave and get a tuition refund. Worse comes to worse if you ride out the year, you'll have only one bad year instead of four. Take additional time to figure out what you want to do.

And lastly, know it IS possible to be a successful professional artist all on your own. If you take it upon yourself to be a badass indvidual, keeping inspired with a strong work ethic, you WILL do what you've always dreamed of doing in time, and for little to no cost comparatively. (Or, go to college for something COMPLETELY different to art and do art full time off to the side anyway. It's doable.) I'm not trying to instill doubt or fear if you're planning on going to school -- or indeed if you're even IN school right now. I'm not trying to tell you NOT to go. All I'm doing is trying to encourage people think more about the choices they're making, and know that they carry more weight than you might think years down the line.

Anyway, in the end, I have to live with this path I've made. I'm not stopping, no. It's tough right now but I can get through it. It bothers me that I COULD have made better choices in the past. You learn from your past mistakes. I learned from this one. It's just unfortunate that this is a mistake you don't necessarily get to repeat again in your lifetime, so it seems squandered. Thus, I offer these learned lessons to you.

That's that.
While I do want people to take my advice and experience seriously, I don't claim this to be the best advice for everyone. This is mostly me getting this pent-up rage off my chest. Take from this what you will. Current art school students and grads, your mileage will have varied from mine.
Add a Comment:
PepperSeeds Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I am still in highschool and thinking about going to an art university.My parents were strongly against it for a long time, and i never really got why. This is their side of the argument, and it's damn persuasive. But it scares me, that if by a long shot i do have the ability to go into the arts field, how do i show my credentials to possible employers without any proof of a legit education/background in arts?
Even more confused then when i started, but thank you so much for bringing up this topic.
fox-orian Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Actually I answer that concern in the post. I'm not sure if things in Canada vary much from the States, but your credentials lie ENTIRELY in your portfolio. Develop a refutably strong portfolio, and I guarantee you'll find work. Many artists in the professional fields will tell you that under no circumstance have they ever asked about your education either in a job interview or in resume. Many job applications I see for art related jobs list "BFA education or equivalent portfolio." -- basically saying if you got the skills, that's all we care about. If you're looking to go into graphic design, sometimes a degree can be a point in your favor, but if your portfolio isn't stellar, a person with a great portfolio and no education WILL get the consideration over you.

It's a situation you're going to have to feel out. This is why I urge that prospective students try it on their own first JUST to see how it's going. Or, seek out skill-building workshops and schools who offer certificates in particular fields. Afterall, the skills matter, not the piece of paper "degree." Spent 1/4 the money on a certificate skill-building class, get all the experience of a four year college in one, and get going faster.

Otherwise, if you're not going to school for building skills toward a career, there's no reason to go because you'd be there for "personal enrichment" purposes -- which is a bit of a scam. Why pay someone tends of thousands of dollars to "personally enrich" you? You could do that yourself and feel more confident and proud of doing so all on your own. It's the equivalent of throwing money away at a life coach, hahah.

I would say to maybe listen to your parents a little bit, and make some seriously careful decisions, because at your age decisions that sound good now could be disastrous later on. Not to scare you, I'm just encouraging to think before doing and KNOW you're making the right decision. Research.
PepperSeeds Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
i kinda get where you are coming from, and there's little to argue with the point you are making. There are other opportunities for art students in Canada, like our school boards host student only galleries for us to get discovered etc,trying those out might also help,but in the end i guess research really is key. thanks a lot, fox.
fox-orian Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
One last piece of advice then: if they have galleries and things to "get discovered," don't rely on that promise whatsoever to get anywhere in the industry. A lot of schools I know of in the states promise the same thing. Even my school had student galleries and opening nights where we displayed our work, not that it did a damn thing for any of us in the end. Job fairs can be mildly helpful if you school has them where recruiters come in from various studios in the area, especially if you're fine with taking anything, ANYTHING for a job within a remote area of your interest.

Take advantage of all the opportunities they give you, but don't be blinded by the promises from them -- your #1 ticket to success will always be your own intuition, tenacity, and determination.
PepperSeeds Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
so in the end,it's just like you put under your tutorials: "Get to work"
"your #1 ticket to success will always be your own intuition, tenacity, and determination."
i'll remember that. thanks, fox.
Steel-Avatar Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2012  Student General Artist
For the most part, I agree with you. I'm a junior year Graphic Designer and while my school has opened my mind, it hasn't taught me much if anything substantial in terms of skills. You're right - the teachers can skip out on class, and they aren't nearly as hard as they could be on students. I find that I give a better crit than my teachers do. Most if not all of my teachers are very close minded, and some teach classes that I literally have no care for.

Your advice to research research research is pretty much the same thing I would say. Since I feel obligated to go to college, if I could turn back the clock I would most likely go to school for a major that is in demand instead of design. My girlfriend is going for nursing, which is very in demand. As you said it's most likely more worthwhile to use the internet as a resource when learning art instead of school. I said this already but I'll say it again...It's fairly decent for opening your mind and a little exposure.
romansackboy Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2014
I understand your position and what is worst is that it really  terrorizes me the fact that I have to go to college, because my parents wants me to, because of the  graduation diploma that  you get on your final years, but I find it very upsetting, because I feel that I don't have the skills enough to be an artist... It is really disappointing. I only have 1 to 2 years  studying on college and I see the work of other people on the internet that are really amazing and are equally  the same age that I am.
Steel-Avatar Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2014  Student General Artist
Everyone finds their way in due time. Persistence is what counts. More likely than not, they've been practicing way harder and way longer. As a result, having amazing art skills at a young age is usually the result of trading off time that would be spent doing other things.
romansackboy Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2014
Well... maybe that would be true in a way because  I'm very creative at things  but sometimes my scientific and philosophical  views tends  to dumb down my skills and creativity(pretty much the result of a "worthy knowledge  public school system"), which unfortunately in my country gives art a really bad name, due to the simple minded idea that "art don't really sell" so.. yeah. Not to mention that the education that I received in my school wasn't the best, judging the idea that nobody in my country gives a crying importance to enhance the education of society... especially in art and creativity in general. I have been that weird obsessive nerd all my life and now that apparently is crushing me down due to the idea that my art is kinda dumb down way more than it is supposed to be. Well that's  what i think. :S
mysterycycle Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
You have my sympathies. I went to MCAD, which was a good school in my opinion - I learned a lot there - but years later I still question the wisdom of my decision to go. As neat as it was to learn the ropes of the comics world, emerging out the other side with a Bachelor's Degree in Comic Art means precisely squat in the professional world (as many of my teachers tried to warn me), and that combined with a massive student loan debt that I'll be paying off for the next 30 years...well, it doesn't contribute to my happiness, to say the least.
icthos Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012   General Artist
There's only one decision I ever truly regret: and that was going to art school.
It's amazing how art colleges will never tell you that the BFA/MFA degree you're working toward means shit in real life.
I have the equivalence of a mortgage with nothing to show for it.
People who hire you for art related jobs don't care in the slightest what your degree is, what your grades were, whether you had honors, etc. They want to see the work.

I empathise with and can vouch for the verisimilitude of all the above points. I finished a degree in Animation two years ago, and I am left with one burning thought: "Why oh why didnt I just work my way up the line in a field of work I am slightly interested in and get paid to learn and then diversitfy, rather than coming out the bad end of a three year period with a negative balance and a bunch of extraneous knowledge?!
Kerrigore Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Professional General Artist
Not that I went to art school but I can relate to this entire journal with my own college experience. I went into school, a private school (which I regret... should have done state school!), originally for Biology. About 2.5 years into the degree, I decided that it wasn't for me and switched to English. It took me 5 years in college (total) to get a degree and in the three years I've been out, I've only been able to find temp work to pay off the loan bills, which are pretty killer. There were some things I picked up in college that were useful, but if I had had a choice (and really, I didn't feel like I did since it was expected of me to go right into college after high school), I would have waited on college.

I do wish you the best.
El-calvin Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Student Digital Artist
thank you for your advice :_)
i was really looking for some advice like this .
OmarArRTs Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Thank you man. Inspiring stuff really!
AlluringGlow Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Professional Filmographer
I think personally Art is a difficult subject to succeed in because the number one rule is there's millions who are better then you. But That little rule only makes it harder to find jobs. It shouldn't sway your passion for art. I think if someone is determined enough, like you said they can succeed.

Art is everywhere. Its everything. Maybe you don't become a master right away. But really...No one does. Even the pros Ask any of them how long it took them to get where they are. My Teachers worked on the little mermaid and Beauty and the beast and the first thing they told us was. If you're expecting a job after college. You'd better re-evaluate your plans. But they also said that doing what you love is worth it and only those willing to go as far and further then they could imagine will make something with it.

I think they're right. When I'm done animation I'm going to apply everywhere. Pixar, Dreamworks, Nickelodeon, Disney...every video game company know to man and if I don't get in Then Ill be an art teacher and work harder to sell myself solo while working some other job until I land a spot in the media. Ehhh But...That's in 5 or 6 more years for me anyway. Gives me time to improve.

Art + Networking = Discovery
Discovery + Will(determination)= Success

Being an artist IS self promoting.

This, This is why I would like to be an Art Teacher in high school. Most children are blinded by the reality of art. They don't realize that It's something you will be learning until your last breath. They also don't realize that there are millions of jobs but also millions of better qualified and to get what you want you need to work harder then one might think. But...To see yourself improve and get better. One more step closer to the pro's...That feeling is so addicting.

Anyway, No idea why I had to say this. Maybe because after reading your post it made me think, I have the chance to change...but...I realized...I can't. I love what I do. I won't give up. I won't. And I'm not in a rush to be the best.
GreyFox123 Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012
Thanks Matt, im going through a ridicously similar situation im just a few years behind you. Unforuntately i learnt the msg of your post in my first year of university and im now in my last and think theres no point in quitting now. EVERYTHING ive learnt while at university has been self taught, i go in once a week for some half arsed crit with a tutor that knows less than me in my specialised field.

The way i see things now and wish i could tell myself is university is pretty much only there for the group pressure, if you see someone else doing a ton of work its going to motivate you to meet deadlines and do work you might not necessarily do on your own. If you want to learn something you have to take it upon yourself to research and learn that thing yourself cause Illustration at university is so broad still its practically impossible for the tutor to know everything and each individual industry. I mean my university didnt even teach.... lol Its weird to say but i mean the least would be the core fundamentals to drawing, anatomany lighting, perspective things like that would be so much more useful than once a week crit. I made a poor decision in university but from my understanding and what ive heard most univeristies are similar. I always thought the US had a slightly different approach but from your story that particular uni seems very similar. Ive even started trying to explain to people younger than me a similar thing, if its not really academic and more creative/ art side of things what matters is a strong portfolio cause i bet clients wont even ask for a piece of paper with all your grades, they dont care aslong as you can do the job they have in mind.

This post is kinda comforting in a way, that someone else has gone through a similar thing... is that wrong lol! But im so glad youre back on dA, your stuff always gave me a ghibli vibe, love it. Heres to making bad decisions, but im sure you will make it one day! Watched an anime recently where the guy said, "fools learn from their own mistakes but a wise man learns from history" _ are we fools? =P
CrimsonCypher Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for the advice, I had considered attending university but I wasn't sure if I wanted to waste 4 years of my life. I have heard many stories of people who have been to art school and said it taught them nothing.

I'm so glad I found FZD School of industrial design. It has a proven track record of turning amateurs into professionals. Its currently my goal and I hope to attend there some day. In the mean time, self study and various tutorials I hope will get me a little closer to my goal.

Thanks again =D
Rocklaw Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2012
I actually go to a technical University (majoring in Electronics) but I am also keeping art as a hobby and drawing when I have the time.

What always bugs me is that while I am here busting my ass with differentials and circuit structures, the students in art schools are constantly practicing, and they get more hours of practice/week in art on average than I am. Consequently, when they finish their education, they will have more practice under their belt while I will (mostly) be a Jack-of-all-trades.

However, especially in my country and in this economy, I can't say I would have had the balls to major in art, when there are much "safer" degrees out there.. Would you have done that - major in electronics (for example) and constantly try to improve your art :D ? And more importantly, do you believe you would have gotten to where you are now this way?
Miss-Heart Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
pentru nu stiu sigur ce motiv mi-am dat seama ca esti din Romania imediat ce am citit comentariul asta (probabil partea cu "especially in my country and in this economy, I can't say I would have had the balls to major in art" te-a dat de gol :lol: because those are exactly my feelings too)
personal cred ca e mult mai bine sa fii un Jack-of-all-trades.poate e o viziune imatura dar cred ca e cel mai bine in viata sa stii o varietate mare de chestii din cat mai multe domenii. poate nu te face neaparat mai bogat (chiar daca ar putea) dar sigur te face mai interesant. desi nu strica nici sa fii specialist intr-un domeniu. my 2 cents.
Ramento Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2012
First of all, you really did a critical assessment of an old problem and not a passionate out of rage random comment. Your view of the situation is sharp, universities are utopian ghost towns where nothing happens and everything seems in order and working. Reality is that there just a simulation, sometimes you wake up in a short period of time sometimes not. In my case it took me 6 years(yeah i was slow) to get the feeling of "I'm not getting anywhere with this". The last two years before "quitting" spend them reading and accessing information, which is in my opinion at what universities excel.

I have mixed feelings for leaving. From one side I would like to finish because it is important not to quit on things. From the other I don't care finishing because I had made more progress in 2 years through reading and practicing full time on my own than all the hours combined in school.

Thank you
zestlyhap Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2012
Had the same experience...*sigh*
Business math and...flower arrangement? What's that got to do with my major anyway? I quit after 2 years. I was smart enough to notice those red flags but not as fast. I'm still arguing with my self whether to find a good art school and try again or just go my own way. All those neat universities/institutes are at the main city and I'm stuck here in this small province taking care of my parent's business. *heavy sigh*
richardtorres21 Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2012  Student General Artist
Fox, i need urgent help with this topic. i was looking at a school in denver and thinking about doin a dual enrollment class for psycology so i could become a therapist sort of person, and then my other degree in illustration like how you did here. but my grades in highschool last year were a 3.0 and this year they are slipping really badly and im freaking the fuck out from stress man and you seem like the best experienced person to talk to can you help me out? and i have done alot of research into the school as well, its kendall art college and its affiliated with ferris state university in michigan, kendall is in the top 10 art colleges of the US from what they said and they want me, i forget the cost but its roughly 60 grand for 3-4 ish years. and i would take my psycology classes through ferris state. im a sophomore and started drawing last febuary, my profile icon is an example of my skill. even tho its deffinately not the best i have done but it shows my improvement over the course of 10 months. and i said that because it has a huuge part in the whole art college and career and my potentials. do u see any potential in me thats worth going to art college for if you see any doubt please man tell me so i dont fuck my self over. and its 11:19 here and for the past month or so i have been freaking out under this stress and i cant sleep cant eat right i cant even take place in normal social interaction because this stress is just so overwhelming.
fox-orian Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Hey there, hahah first things first: calm down a bit.
Am I right in understanding that you're in your second year of high school right now? If so, don't worry about that man, you have serious time to think things through. If you were in the last few weeks of your final semester as a senior, maybe you'd be right to freak out a bit -- but as of this moment, I commend you for thinking so far ahead about college already, but don't let it drive you nuts, man!

I'm not knocking college here, but you gotta be a SERIOUS delinquent for most colleges to deny your enrollment. (Colleges aren't like government. Turning down a student who shows even the bottom-most potential is like a store denying business to its customers.) Your GPA will have more effect on scholarships or grants you get, not really whether or not you'll get accepted to the school. I graduated high school with a GPA of somewhere in between 2.8 and 3.2 or something, (pretty abysmal by MA standards) and I still managed to snag a $5000 per year scholarship.

But yeah, you got years man. Your art is going to change a LOT in those two years if you keep practicing. Whatever art you have now, I guarantee you none of it will be in the portfolio you submit for application/enrollment -- you'll have way newer and better work by then. I was 16 years old in 2003, and my work was totally at the same level of yours, and if you keep at it, you'll most likely be at the same level I was when I graduated high school.

One little word of warning: don't just pay attention to a school saying "we're the top 5, top 10, etc" in the country. That doesn't mean anything if you end up not getting a worthwhile experience there behind all the marketing. Find other students who attended that school. I'm serious when I say you can go to their offices in the school and check out class curriculum and structure. You can probably get in contact with the illustration dept head and ask to have the websites / public contact info of prior students. If anyone would give you the info they need, it'd be them.

That's really call I can say at the moment. Just don't get so stressed out. High schools and parents like to make college seem like WAY MORE of a huge "DO OR DIE" deal than it really is. If you focus more on your current studies and art now while keeping mindful of your direction in the near future (without stressing about it) you'll be a happy, productive guy in the coming years.
richardtorres21 Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2012  Student General Artist
my god that is such a relief, and what you said about colleges makes more sense, thanks man! would u mind sending me some stuff from your highschool portfolio or scraping some of it so i can sort of see where i stand and what colleges are looking for and all of that? i tried on their website and they all gave me crap and to call their reps and i called their reps and they said to look online and i just got nowhere with it...
thousandfoldart Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Wow, thanks for your candid thoughts!
I know a lot of people will be taking this to heart (Im one of them).
transatlanticalien Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Sucks to hear about your situation dude but this was a great read nonetheless, thanks for sharing
PrinceBrian Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012  Professional General Artist
I am finishing up at SCAD-ATL now but I decided to take all of my fondation classes at a state university. It definitely saved me alot in the long run... but I still feel you man :/ I'm not even out yet and already feeling like this course of action may not have been the best. Oh well right? Hang in there man, if it means anything I think you have amazing skills and my heart goes out to you. Best of luck!
GlitchTwoSix Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012   Traditional Artist
"Things like mandatory useless, distracting classes that had nothing to do with my major."

Hey, that's why I quit art school.
BurningwoodM Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012
Yeah, I hear you, but I aslo believe in the "Humanities", and that looking and learning different things can help expand your abilities. This makes a lot more sense if the schools in the US were not so over-priced.
Solvernia Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012  Student General Artist
I'm not american, but your speech could be done for my country as well (changing something here and there, maybe)... a friend of mine attended an art university and said they actually did a lot of stuff (if I understood well, YOUR universities are more like our high-schools, because you continue learning general culture... well we don't, in ours), but teachers weren't about explaining what EXACTLY was their problem at drawing. I've seen a lot of people here attending universities like that without even improving too much (with the common feature of the WHAT-THE-HECK-IS-PROPORTION), but just stressed for the amount of working (SOME OF THEM, some others didn't just worked, still because teachers and non-existent organization). Everyone said it was a waste of money and, above all, a huge waste of time. Most of them regretted their choise.

What I can't get is why you still have to learn the basic stuff in a college (we don't have something like that, as far as I know), if you still did it three times before (in the elementary, middle and high school!). It makes no sense at all to me. Not even here in Italy it works too much actually: we start doing some choises from the high-school itself. Mainly, it doesn't work because you're still too young (13-14 years old!) to decide some future, so the majority of us just randomly choose an high-school thinking like: "Ok I like math so I wanna join the scientific high-school because it's science-centered". Not cool. It's not uncommon to see people regretting.

AND STILL, I thinks it's better than continue to repeat the same old general stuff like you do on a college. Here, university is totally focused on one thing and can be quite difficult to manage. Sometimes, it becomes so difficult you end up barely remembering what the heck you learned in the previous schools XD but... at least, things comes in mind again when you need them, even if they sounds more like ethereal memories...... XD it's better to focus on something specific, then, and care about your real aspiration the more you can (I don't talk for me, I didn't attend an university :'D but for whoever told me about his/her experience).

I attend a comic school atm. It's a very specific school, we care EXACTLY about the narration and not too much about how good is the drawing. But we have just 2 three-hours lessons per week. I just don't know if it's enough... I'm still unsure because the school is horribly expensive. The fact that it's so expensive and that I go there so little time makes me feel confused sometimes, but I'm really learning a lot of stuff, I improved, the school is really little but really cool, colored, with every kind of comfort, a good place with (generally) nice teachers, who don't treat you like an idiot who has to be praised anytime, they're quite cruel but still friendly, we'll DO HAVE a sort of degree, they'll tell us about the publishers and everything. They obviously don't absure us that what we're doing now will make us able to find a job and live decently doing it, expecially jobs like these in times like these: once it was easier and cheaper even without a school. ANYWAY, I'm attending a good school and I'm happy with it. I'll see the rest in the future.
FcomBaT Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012  Student Filmographer
this definitely varies with major. but i get your points
WizardWannabe Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012
I sort of know all that. The uni I went to was all wrong, yet I rode it out for dumb reasons. I wish I could redo it all.
YanYu Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012
Those "things" you listed was the best part. Why wasn't that mentioned in that old post on facebook? Hahah
ObligatoryOnsen Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Bam! Beautiful journal. Maybe not directly useful to me (I've started my first year CompSci in uni after a long, long time of doubt, so art school is a bit out of the question) but a good read anyway.
I wish it was possible to just take a year off of anything, to teach yourself etc. -- not that I'd have the discipline to not slack off all day if that were the case... :/
SimTheDog Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012  Student Digital Artist
I've been told a crap load of times to look for a design job first instead of going to university before I leave college because tons of people have left university feeling disappointed with the education and not getting taught what is required from the design industry.
PhillipBA Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012
I agree 100% with you, I learned what I know by myself (shitty as it may look, I've barely drawn over the years) and I remember those terrible "art" teachers trying to take credit for MY progress. I think it's overrated and not necessary at least for art. Many teachers and schools are so pretentious, and while I agree that doing it on your own is not for everybody, I think it is for me. I've been wondering if I should go to an art school. Reading this, tipped over the balance towards making it on my own, I'll just challenge myself, look for tutorials and make assignments for myself. Thank you sincerely for this journal.
Claytorpedo Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012  Student
Yeah I took some art classes in University (didn't get into the program the first year, so I took more academic stuff/interests, then took mostly art classes second year). I was starting up for a third this fall when I realized by looking back on my work that the classes weren't getting me anywhere. The only times I improved were out-side of class, and the critiques from class just weren't useful. It was also becoming painfully clear that these students were not being made to succeed outside of school, it seemed to have a complete focus on becoming nothing more than a freelance artist, which is not at all what I was hoping for. I still went to the first art class of the year, in what I deemed the most important class for my interests. It was just more of the same.

Dropped my art courses and went into Computer Science, which should hopefully be more fun and rewarding, and I should still be able to incorporate art every now and then, even if only in personal projects. Also a bonus that I didn't just take useless courses in first year, and some of those are now ones that are required for Computer Science (have my English requirement, Calculus, and all electives accounted for), so that makes things a lot easier with less catching up to do. :)
DuneTheHutt Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012  Student Digital Artist
I think that going to an Art University makes sense, even if there's some of unnecessary classes like math (you really had this?) and not very ambitious plan of studies. When I was choosing my field of study I wasn't even interested what it was. The only thing that was important to me was wether I'm going to learn there how to draw. For the first time I had severe problems with main classes, but still I was drawing. Now I have changed my faculty and this isn't very exciting, but practical, and I can draw.
The most important thing to me while choosing the Art University was having a critique of my art work. Who cares whole the rest? And besides, I don't know how this looks like in USA, but in Poland, in case you didn't succeed in field of your branch where abilities are visible beyond the paper, if you want to work somewhere else than in supermarket, you need to have a master degree. It's not governmental requirement, but people's mentality, so it's not unusual to see a master of sports being accountant.
fox-orian Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
In the art world, or at least more specifically in Illustration, degress don't matter much. I've done MANY smaller jobs all around Boston and I've never once, NEVER, been asked to produce my degree. Never even been asked what degree I have! And this is the story I hear from countless artists.

In an Institute/University, if all you're going for is the art itself, those additional classes are a major pain in the ass. They require quite a bit of time, such as research projects and reports. This is time taking away from your main focus, projects for your art classes. When you pay as much money as you do, it's literally like throwing money out the window because of how irrelevant that time and energy is toward your major. If you don't pay attention to your classes, your grades and credits suffer. I had many friends who were put on academic probation because their distracting academic courses were weighing them down. I don't recall a SINGLE person I went to school with who approved of their academic courses intermingled with their art school courses. Tuition probably would've been a lot cheaper without them.
DuneTheHutt Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012  Student Digital Artist
I'm starting to believe I live in a mirror world. :D While looking job as a graphic designer (that's all I can achieve right now), a portfolio is asked very often. But the thing employers ask all the time is my degree. However, I suppose if the designs were good enough, lack of any kind of degree wouldn't mind. Personally, I know some computer scientists who had graduated only from high school, so it can also be done without higher education.

But back to the University - could you develop your art skills at the same high level without it? Would you have enough discipline to practice by yourself? Even though, as you say, there were lots of trash classes, there certainly also was some useful ones. And those additional classes - a university wants to earn a specified amount of money and I believe they'd put anything in the faculty plan to achieve this. But that's so common in every university/institute/academy/call-it-whatever-you-want I've heard of that I don't even care. All I need to do is doing useful things the best I can and all the rest just to pass.

Maybe in the USA is different, but I have never heard of a person who had graduated university with whole necessary knowledge. Even on the best ones, it's necessary to develop by your own interests and self-educate.
fox-orian Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
The US is very different than the european areas in the fields of Illustration and design, unfortunately (fortunately?)

It is true there were some very good classes that I had. But those few classes did not equal the cost of tuition in my opinion. I feel they were worth maybe 5% of the cost of what I paid to get them. If out of all those classes I was given, only a few were worth while, I should have gone to a school that focused more tightly on just those good subjects -- which many exist out there. I would have paid substantially less for better education without any of the fat.

It is definitely true that no one graduates from college knowing everything for the career they're entering into, but when it's all said and done, you feel as though you could have gotten the same information from a book that cost $59.95 and feedback from online forums and review groups of people doing the same.

Maybe the schools in the US are really that terrible that they can be likened in such a way...
Rogue-Knyte Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
OH, MY, GOD. I am sooooo glad you posted this!! I am actually considering going to SCAD. But I have been sooo hesitant as to whether or not I should any art university at that. I was going to maybe take my chances with the online Workshops that offer training lessons. But I thought with me having a BFA I would more or less be eligible to get my foot in the door as far as being successful. But this really has given me a whole lot more confidence to just go with the Art Shops you your self have mentioned. I'm still contemplating my options however. I want to go into this knowing I'm going to get what I'm looking to gain out of it. Thank you so, so, so much for posting this. This couldn't have come at a better time than now.
fox-orian Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I don't want to instill immediate doubt. My emotions are running high in this journal post. If you're looking at SCAD, look at it -- just carefully. Make sure it's a SURE decision. I have friends who went to SCAD. It seemed like a cool places, cooler than the one I went to. Talk with students who went there, get a feel for it! If you're going for photography/filmography, I have a friend who could probably answer some questions if you have any!
Rogue-Knyte Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well I would definitely go to that University for my training if anything if I do decide to go to Art School. They do offer Scholarships and Stack-able Scholarships at that. I'm still looking into it and doing my research. I want to make sure this is the route I want to take. After all art is all I have left as far as me being useful for anything. So I will definitely do my research. Just your post really gave me reassurance in my insecurities about what schools to attend. I really appreciate the post because it really couldn't have came at a better time for myself where I'm truly weighing my options as far as my future and my financial future goes. Lol
BurningwoodM Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012
SCAD is a great school, and I know many people who have made it in art from there. One person I met in San Fran was working for Lucas Art before the buy out as an art director related to his time there. Another great school, my school was Full Sail for my masters. However, my 4 year degree is in TESOL and I am teaching in South Korea. Still after making my own internship, I will be getting a job in LA related to both my work and Full Sail education.

My advice, I think it's better to use the internet to learn, but the right school can give someone a real good foundation for what it is they want.
Rogue-Knyte Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks a bunch for the input and advice it really does make me feel a bit more at ease knowing that the School I'm considering has good reviews from their students them self. Thanks again!
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