Looking into art school...

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Looking into art school...

Postby Captain Ghost » May 16th, 2012, 8:02 pm

Hello all. Not sure if this should go in general discussion or life issues or somewhere else, sorry if it's in the wrong spot S:

Every passing day, the need for me to do something with my life has been growing.
Now, if someone were to ask me exactly what, I'm not sure I could give a straightforward answer. I still don't know.
But, over the past two years, there is a thought that's constantly resurfaced: animation.

All in all, I do intend to do my research. Nonetheless, I was kind of hoping to see if anybody here had first-hand experience or knowledge-- anything that could maybe point me in the right direction, y'know?

Below is a list of the stuff I'm curious/want to know more about. Questions in bold, context in plain text.

How important is it? I see a lot of schools that are accredited, but then... I noted one and, on its own site, it did say that "although it is accredited, not all credits (if any) may be transferable to other schools." Paraphrasing, but basically it would depend on the school you'd go to thereafter.

Regardless of that, is it important that the school would be accredited if you are not intending on pursuing other education afterward? I can see how it might be a bonus ('cause you never, never know how things will end up - that's life), but... if one fully means to get a job out of this one school right here, does accreditation still matter?

-cost/student loans & foundation:
I would pretty much have to get one of these. Looking at the costs of animation-geared universities in my province alone (British Columbia), a lot of them run around 20k for a single year (sometimes a bit longer but not much). I think the student aid website is pretty self-explanatory regarding how to apply, who's eligible, etc. so no questions there. Buuuut...

... Okay. My art isn't that great right now. It's coming along. Slowly. I don't tend to progress much without guidance. . . though I will admit I could probably be doing more... sigh... Anyway. Where I'm at right now, I'm willing to bet I'd need a year of 'foundation' before most places would look at me for the actual animation program. Mind you, from what I've seen there are some places that don't require a decent portfolio, but I don't know that that's a good thing?

In any case, what I want to know most here is: should I look into some form of 'community college' or 'general arts' at some general university instead of a straight-up 'art' school? Or is it more likely that a foundation year AT an art school would better prep me for the next year? Where would I be getting better bang for my buck?

Looking at the reviews, I've learned, is not very... comforting.
But then, this is the internet. I was fully expecting to find both good and bad, which is exactly what I found. The moral of the story in most places seems to be 'you get what you put in,' which I'm perfectly fine with. Unfortunately, a lot of them reviews seem pretty old, but... anyway.

How much stock do you figure should be put in these reviews?
Should one bother looking at them at all? And Do you yourself know of places one should arguably avoid? Or perhaps that you would recommend?

Mostly just a note to self-- something I'm trying to figure out.
Do you know anybody who's gone into animation and come out with/at some point attained from it a livable salary? What are we looking at?

Is a year even reasonable? I'm expecting to have to work my butt off, but someone I know online who apparently went to Ringling said a year sounds like little time to squeeze in so much. Well, those weren't her exact words, nor do I remember the exact bout of conversation at the time, but... well, other people succeed in that program setting, so it's not impossible right?

I wish I knew more to clarify what I'm wanting to ask here. Feels like I'm missing something :/

Some schools seem to have a program longer than a year, say, nearly two, but this appears to include part of a foundation year as well as the focus at the end-- from what I've heard you can switch early in, but, to me it feels like you're kind of stuck...

Versus schools where the prerequisite to the program is a year of foundation in itself (or a kickin' portfolio), you get to sample a bunch of different stuff before you have to make up your mind.
I don't exactly KNOW for sure what I want to do, as I said above-- I just get the gut feeling it's something to do with animation, ya dig? I love story-boarding, like colouring, quite love drawing characters in general.... in any case, I know I want to have a hand in making things MOVE. Somehow.

But 3D? 2D? That, I'm not sure about.

Would I be better off going a year's foundation, or just getting into a focused program with some foundation inbuilt?...

-credit history

In some of the aforementioned reviews, some of the schools were noted as having been in and out of bankruptcy many times already. Is this a red flag? Or is it just something art schools tend to go through? (I haven't yet looked into this one much as of yet.)


I'm very sure I'm missing some things to take into consideration (location, transportation being two off the top of my head, though those I believe I can figure out). If you know of anything, please please please throw it my way.

In the meantime, some more context: I live near Vancouver (or near enough to know that it supposedly has a crapton of film schools all over the place). Except... apparently it's an expensive place to live? I dunno. In any case, I'm not opposed to traveling (been to Ontario for school before, and to Alberta for work-- might be going again soon, too, if things don't shape up where I'm at).. Anyway, I just want to find the best place for me, I guess ^^; Any help is extremely appreciated.

I'm just ... so... tired of doing nothing...
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Re: Looking into art school...

Postby archia » May 17th, 2012, 11:40 pm

No first hand knowledge, but I remember when I was in the same position as you trying to figure out what I wanted to study. Although I eventually decided against art school, I found conceptart.org very helpful. They have a whole forum dicussing art education here (:

I have looked at your comics, and if you're thinking about doing animation, I suggest brushing up on the foundations of art. Good animation REQUIRES a thorough knowledge of anatomy and natural movement.

And oh my god don't do art just because you don't know what else you want to do. Art school is tough!! Apart from a lucky few, most artists do what they do for the love of the craft, rather than swimming pools of cash.
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Re: Looking into art school...

Postby Captain Ghost » May 19th, 2012, 6:03 pm

Oh! I remember stumbling across that site a few times in the past, and if I recall... those were some pretty good ventures. Thanks, I'll have myself a good look in there.

And for sure, I need to brush up. That was... part of what I rambled about above, but, yeah.
(I guess I need to work on toughening up a bit first too, because... darn, I KNOW I need to brush up, but hearing it so bluntly still burns x3;; ... Gotta get better!)

And... that last paragraph there is the reality check I was sort of looking for, I guess. I meant more that it was the only thing for the past few years now that's consistently come up as something I'd potentially like to do, but... Probably better to be sure, first, eh...

In any case, I'm still keen on the idea, but will be putting more thought (time too, I'd wager) into it. Like maybe saving up enough to go first or some such. Mm.

Thank you very very much for the answer, it's appreciated and helped to put things a bit more in perspective.

though... I'd still like to keep this topic open. If anyone happens to have a glance and has a word to say on the subject, I'd love to hear~
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Re: Looking into art school...

Postby elrotram » May 25th, 2012, 11:26 pm

I would advise you to go to a 2-year generalized school first before you decide. Notice what subjects you excel in and you enjoy and think about career fields in those. And no offense, but if you decide to take the art trek, you'll need to sit and draw almost every waking moment - from life - and neglect your social life a tad to work. We all do. Oh, and develop a thick skin. Some of the most cruel professors I've ever had have reduced me near-to-tears critiquing my artwork. I can almost guarantee I've been drawing a lot longer than you and it was tough to build a thick skin, but you have to. Of course, you may want to check my dA in my signature - different art levels have different responses in art schools, so nothing I said may have pertained to your case. If you want to really discuss this in-depth, please feel free to PM me - I'll happily lend a willing ear.
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Re: Looking into art school...

Postby Durvin » May 28th, 2012, 3:32 am

I should warn you that at the office-supply store where I work, about a third of the employees have art degrees, myself included--one animation, one illustration, two graphic design, and one "sculpture and extended media" (that would be me). If you're wanting to get work in animation, I suspect you might be better able to get ahead by producing some eye-explodingly amazing animations and posting them on DeviantArt or YouTube as appropriate, then getting them loaded up with hits until people start paying you attention. Now if your goal is to improve your animation skills...well, I'm not in the animation scene, so I won't try and give out advice on that.
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Re: Looking into art school...

Postby cheezNH » June 11th, 2012, 12:48 am

in general... school is overrated.

- from a pastry chef who went to a 4 year accredited university and then went to culinary school, only to drop out after a semester.
i'm sure there are differences between fields, but in general, in a recession ridden world, most employers value experience over classical training. i feel that you learn so much more in the field rather than in school, and that this is universal for most types of arts (culinary, visual, digital, graphic, etc).
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Re: Looking into art school...

Postby Lerapishet » June 23rd, 2012, 12:57 pm

With first-hand experience, I'd say YES! :)
Obviously it all depends on the person but art school is the best for not just showcasing your creativity but also developing your skills and broadening the horizons. Honestly, the competition within the art school exposes you to all sorts of other artists, and makes you motivated. The frequent critiques from experts are invaluable. Which reminds me -- it's one of the best places to start making connections, if you're serious about becoming a professional artist.
And as for the cost....everything nowadays is expensive. But a lot of art colleges offer great scholarships. I think it's definitely worth the try and the investment.
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Re: Looking into art school...

Postby Snuffan » June 29th, 2012, 6:05 am

Captain Ghost wrote:... Okay. My art isn't that great right now. It's coming along. Slowly. I don't tend to progress much without guidance. . . though I will admit I could probably be doing more... sigh...

This is why you need an education. You will get guidance, and motivation to do more. You'll learn to work regularly with your art. Not only will you improve more than you would without guidance, but the frequency of the work will also help you improve *loads*.

I don't know how education works where you are, but education is very important if you plan on actually working with art. It also helps you with networking, and learning how to collaborate, and most often people find a lot of inspiration in working in a creative enviroment.

If you have the possibility to go for an education in art without killing yourself over it, I say you should go for it. It would most likely help you grow a lot.
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Re: Looking into art school...

Postby Ronin356 » July 3rd, 2012, 12:08 am

RISD is pretty awesome. If you have the money, go to RISD.

Rhode Island School of Design.

Very nice.
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Re: Looking into art school...

Postby uglyfun » July 6th, 2012, 2:10 am

Last edited by uglyfun on May 4th, 2017, 1:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Looking into art school...

Postby Falconer » July 6th, 2012, 10:01 am

I went to Ringling and had a great experience. I learned a lot and the atmosphere at art school I found to be both really challenging and very motivating. The environment gives you opportunities for a lot of growth and insight that would be difficult to learn on your own. But, I was in illustration. The animation major is very...hardcore. (Well, every major is pretty tough, but that one is notorious for making people cry) Not everyone makes it through, and if you do persevere, prepare to work a lot of long nights working in a dark lab where you'll be very, very stressed. But, obviously since I wasn't this major I can't tell you specifically about it, but I can direct you to others to talk to if you want.

But it's very possible to get a job with that major. A few people are in the training programs with big companies, which is what most people want so of course its hard to get, but even if you don't make it in right away you should still have solid skills that will allow you to get a job elsewhere or freelance. It'll be difficult for sure, especially at first, but it's not impossible.
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Re: Looking into art school...

Postby pinkylillix » July 19th, 2012, 10:41 am

I'm going to SCAD-Atlanta right now for Sequential Art, I know it's not the same as Animation, but I think some of it applies; for one thing, art school (especially a GOOD art school) is definitely great for improving as an an artist (the catch is that you actually have to be willing to put forth the effort, I unfortunately know a lot of students who half-ass their work and never get anywhere). It's good for preparing you in honing your skill, and letting you know what to expect when you get out into the industry. In my school anyway, all the professors have professional experience in the fields they're teaching. So that's good.

That being said, it's not necessary to go to school in order to get a job in the art world; I've been told by a bunch of people in my major that (for comics anyway) you need at least two of these three things to make it: awesome art, awesome personality and/or good time management. In the end, I don't think many places look to see if you have a bachelors in animation of something. So long as you know what you're doing, and you keep going for it, you will most likely find a job. Also, a lot of art schools are RIDICULOUSLY ridiculous about their tuition. I will be probably paying my student loans until I'm 85 or something (though SCAD is particularly ridiculous, I'm sure there are cheaper schools out there).

Of course, if you aren't feeling confident in your own artistic abilities, then take classes, there's no shame in it! Also, art school is really good for social networking, which is really essential in the art world. And in SCAD's case, there are actually good resources at the school (like weekly life drawing sessions, cintiqs, stuff like that). I can't speak for other schools, as I've never been.

Hope some of this helped, I feel like I'm jumping all over the place.
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Re: Looking into art school...

Postby Captain Ghost » July 19th, 2012, 11:32 am

Thanks for all of your answers, everyone.
(Still interested in hearing more if anyone has anything to share, but I'm glad about the turnout so far~)

There's definitely a lot to consider!
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