Anonymous asked: Hi there, I love your work and would equally love some advice. I was wanting to know if you think going to school for art is worth it. I love drawing and animation, and am applying to different schools. But my family doesnt have a whole lot of money, and art schools are expensive. Is it worth doing art? Should I just go through the art program at the local university (about 1/2 the $$) or should I go to the art school and study 2-D animation and illustration? What to do?
Is art school worth the money? That’s a tough question and I’ve seen a lot of debate online lately. Here’s my two cents:
I think it’s all up to the individual. The art field is very unique because unlike almost every professional field, you do not need a degree to be a working artist. What’s ironic about art school is that, not only do you go there and receive a degree you’ll never need, you’ll also end up paying around 2-3 times what a state school will cost you. That’s a little hard to process.
That said, I went to art school (The College for Creative Studies in Detroit, MI) and benefited GREATLY from it. I learned an incredible amount and would not be where I am today had I simply tried to self-teach myself. You simply don’t know what you don’t know. However, going to art school won’t make you a professional artist. That’s up to you. You could go to the best school in the country, study under the best teachers and STILL come out drawing like a mentally challenged small dog. It is completely up to YOU when it comes to your education. The best a school can do is give you the resources to learn. That’s all.
Also, a sidenote about the money. Paying for an art school in full can leave you as a jobless graduate with $100-150k in debt. That’s criminal. That’s just absolutely insane and it makes my blood pressure rise just thinking about it. However, it’s also possible to pay it off if you land a job at a big studio that pays $80-100k/year. BUT, most graduates aren’t able to do this. Most graduates have a hard time finding ANY work (in most cases this is their own fault though). Or perhaps it’s not their goal. If you’re goal is to leave school, live in a relatively inexpensive area and make $40-50k/year (which is totally not a bad plan) starting off your career with such a large debt might not be a good thing. Again, it all comes down to your individual plan. The important part is making that plan (which is almost impossible to do when you’re 17 or 18 and yet with the looming cost of school you basically have to and ohmygod blahblahblah).
I currently work with a handful of guys who never went to art school. But every one of them received SOME sort of training: online art courses, animation courses at various small unaccredited schools, etc. I don’t think I’ve worked with anyone professionally who was completely self-taught.
If you do end up deciding you want to go to art school, try to get a scholarship. Work harder on getting a scholarship than on anything else during your senior year of high school. If you spend 10 hours writing an essay that earns you a $2000 scholarship, it’s as if you wrote an essay and earned $200/hour. That’s more than just about every art job you’ll work in the future.
Hope that helps! Don’t let the money get in the way of your education. Do what you need to do to become a great artist. And the best (and perhaps only) way to do this is to be passionate and have an awesome work-ethic. If you have those two things, you’ll do great.
Best of luck!