Should I go to art school?

How online art education used to be.

When I originally started my journey in art school some 10 years ago (has it already been that long? WOW!) the internet wasn’t what it is today, I know, that makes me sound ridiculously old. There where limits to everything and though YouTube and forums where around and popular, the content on them wasn’t what it is today. YouTube was full of people posting videos of their day-to-day life, like their kids first steps or of their friends doing something stupid. Okay, okay, it hasn’t change much in that section, but the art side of it has, YouTube is now riddled with a lot of tutorials and many of them are very high quality as well. Forums where going very strong but they were riddled with broken image links, banned hotlinking, and it was more questions and sketchbooks more that feedback. Strangely, this hasn’t changed much either but in my opinion, forums have lost a lot of the momentum they used to have, but they are still around and can be very helpful.

Go to art school

The obvious answer of “should I go to art school” is just go to art school, you have to start somewhere. There are many universities around that specialize in art and many of them are very good at what they do, but of course, many of them fall very short. If you plan to go the way of an art school, definitely research it, who are the instructors, how long have they been teaching, have they worked professionally, and so forth. The background of your art instructor is going to be the most defining aspect of them, check their resume and especially their portfolio. You’d would also be amazed how many schools will have a student graduate and they immediately hire them to teach even though that student has no field experience, this is why you want to check their resume.

Go to a local university

This section falls in line with the art schools. Local universities don’t cost as much as art schools, often they are one-forth to half the cost of an art school which is very handy to get a less expensive education. Sometimes even a PELL Grant will cover the costs of your classes in some cases, some it’s a PELL and a small loan, etc. The pitfall here is that many local universities don’t specialize in art and the education you get may not be all that great and it may not be the instructor, it may simply be a lack of good curriculum. I will tell you though, I went to a local university first and my work was terrible, it lacked proportions, perspective, craftsmanship, etc. and I was still pulling A’s from my classes. In the field, my work would have quickly been thrown out and they would pick up another artist.

Find an atelier

Now we are getting into what I’m currently looking in to. As I mentioned, you are forever a student and your learning should never stop no matter where you are at in your career. I have been looking into ateliers lately and there are a few I have in mind that stand much higher than others and I am looking to further my education by attending an atelier. Though not credited as a traditional university (you will find that doesn’t really matter) you may find some of the best education from an atelier. Many art professionals gather, teach, and network at ateliers and if you find the right ones, you may just find some of the best artists are frequently attending.

Find a mentor

Another great option would be a mentor. Mentorships used to be the way to learn in the ages of the great masters but then that time ended. Now it’s coming back in and I am very pleased to see this happening. This is another step that you will find people in the field utilizing, as each artist will teach in different methods and their personal style will show through onto their curriculum, you can often look at professional artists websites and find a mentorship option if they aren’t overloaded with work. Depending on the demand and skill of the artist, these often range from a couple hundred dollars a month on up depending on the curriculum and length of the courses or if they are just reviewing your work and coaching you on how to make a presence in the industry. If you can’t afford the course, contact the artist anyway and they might work with you on prices by supplying drip content. That is where they will send you a segment of the course per month until you have paid in full and received all the content.

Find a sketch group

Sketch groups are a great way to progress in art. Though rarely a formal classroom setting, these sketch groups are usually setup to where a group of artists will gather to draw a specific subject. You can talk and network with other artists, share sketchbooks, collaborate, and most importantly, grow your network. Having a strong network in this industry is essential. Not only do many artists refer you to clients if they are overrun with work and cannot take on another project, but it’s a good way to get free feedback on your work as well right there in person.

Learn how to draw on YouTube

If money or time is an issue in any of the scenarios above, there is always YouTube. When I originally started, YouTube wasn’t a place to learn by any means. It was a bunch of random videos of random people and nothing to take seriously. However, today you have a lot of really high quality videos on a vast array of subjects, though limited on feedback for your work which is very important, you can get a lot of the concepts you would learn in an art school from some of these tutorials. Often times, you can mix what you learn on YouTube with local sketch groups by watching the videos on YouTube, repeating the exercise you learn there and then heading to a sketch group to get the work reviewed by another artist attending.

Copyright Adam Miconi

Final thoughts

When it comes to the question of “Should I go to art school” I feel you certainly should get some kind of an education. Is art school worth it or not is a question for you to answer because you will get mixed answers whether the person you are speaking with enjoyed it or not, if their loans are manageable or overwhelming, etc. Do you have to be good at art to go to art school? No, that’s why you are going in the first place, but there are programs and scholarships you can receive if you are already good at art.

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Marketing, Design, and SEO at https://www.therebelape.com and Illustrator at https://www.adammiconi.com

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Adam Miconi

Adam Miconi

Marketing, Design, and SEO at https://www.therebelape.com and Illustrator at https://www.adammiconi.com

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