*remembers to flip-check an illustration halfway through inking*
*watches the world burn*
*remembers to flip-check an illustration halfway through inking*
*watches the world burn*
Why did you chose to go to SCAD? Did you apply to other schools?
Sadly, I initially chose SCAD due to a lack of education on what’s out there and what was the best fit for my artistic focus. I came from a very small town, and my guidance counselor had never had a single student come through saying, “I want to go to art college.” He was clueless, and I wasn’t much more informed, myself. I applied to SCAD, Pratt, Academy of Art, Ringling, and CalArts, and was rejected by only one (surprisingly not the one I thought I would be) when I was a high school senior. I did research online, tried to discern what school was best for my interests (2D animation and visual development), factored in the cost of living, relative distance to my family (I’m from TN), and SCAD seemed like the right decision. So when I was finished with taking my foundations at the state university, I only re-applied to SCAD.
Am I saying I made the wrong choice? Not exactly. I just wish I had been better informed about my options at the time. I do sometimes wonder what my graduating portfolio would’ve been like at some of the other schools.
Was money a concern when looking at schools? How is SCAD with financial aid?
Money has always been a concern for me throughout my lifetime. SCAD has many available scholarships, but like most art colleges, they don’t seem to make a considerable dent in their costly tuition. My last year of tuition was paid entirely on scholarships, financial aid, and private loans, while I used my income to focus on living expenses and supplies.
Would you recommend the school to others? On a semi different note, was the decision to attend an art school and not a liberal arts school a difficult one for you? I find that the closer I get to graduation, the more I can’t help thinking that I’m making a dumb rash decision.
I would, with a caveat. The animation professors I had were amazing individuals, but they’re not miracle workers. You’re going to get out of it what you put in. This is true of any art school. The degree doesn’t guarantee you the job, nor does the lack of one exclude you from industry positions. I currently have co-workers that hold no art degrees, as well as ones that came from colleges 99% of you have never even heard of or have poor reputations. You have to work harder and smarter than your peers, and you have to really learn how to play the game. Your career can rise and fall based on your ability to network.
And don’t stop your education at the classroom. Self-educate. Never stop. If you’re not constantly salivating at the mere mention of new animation technology, if you’re not anxious to learn new techniques to hone your craft, if you’re not well informed and current about the amazing and horrible things happening in your industry, - then you’re already lagging behind.
There was no question for me. I had other interests, but I couldn’t see myself in any other career. Yes, I worry about the future- my ability to support myself, the duration my job will last, the fragility of the industry- but then I come into work and get to do the thing I love, with the people I’ve come to equally love, and all those uncertainties disappear for a time.
Oh, hey! If you want some other inspiring anecdotes from hard-working individuals on your own turf, I recommend speaking to professors Claire Almon (animation) and Goni Montes (illustration). Claire is a fellow (amazing) character designer here at FCP, and she did her graduate studies at SCAD. Goni is a monster in the freelance field and one of my personal art idols. I consider them both very successful artists, and I’m sure they know the ups and downs this industry has to offer.
I have mixed feelings about the school as a means for art education. It’s important to distinguish the difference between the staff and the administration. The professors are lovely, talented people, whose friendships and knowledge I will always treasure. The actual school and their curriculum/regulations/practices… well that’s an entirely different, problematic entity.
I think my answers will make more sense continuity-wise if I respond to your questions bottom to top.
I still regret that and wonder if I’m too old now to go, even though I still wouldn’t be able to afford it.
Let me tell you, I was no spring chicken when I started at SCAD. Straight out of high school, I was accepted to 3 other top-ranking art colleges in the US (why I chose SCAD is another messy story altogether), and although they all gave me excellent scholarships for my test scores/portfolios, none of them were enough to bridge the huge gap between what I had and what I needed. So I found myself taking a smattering of foundation classes at a much cheaper state college and doing freelance on the side (this has drawbacks, you’ll see). I saved, and penny-pinched, and did some things I’m pretty sure are frowned upon by polite society. It took years, but I never gave up.
When I started at SCAD, I had just turned 24, and although that sounds young to me now, at the time it made me feel positively ancient in comparison to the 18-19 yr old freshmen. However, no one ever treated me like the crusted-up old fogie I felt I was. I made lots of younger friends, and after I finished what few classes put me in with the younger crowd, I met plenty of folks in my senior classes that were my age or older. The age-population is very diverse, especially with all the grad students that stream in and out.
I had already sent in my application and everything but I knew I could never afford to go to an art college, much less SCAD.
Here’s where things get nasty. Even with all the money I had saved, and the time I spent doing things like retail and customer service, rather than doing what I loved, I still hadn’t saved enough. My savings were dwindling before the first year was up. So not only did I have to pick up more freelance on the side, but I also found myself serving 30-35 hours a week in local tourist trap restaurants. Now, compound that with the fact that I had already taken/CLEP all my “easy” classes at the previous college (here comes the drawbacks), I had to take 3 studios a quarter… every. single. quarter. Tell SCAD students this and they will either laugh insanely at you or clutch your body to the safe haven of their bosom. Even the professors asked me if I was a masochist.
Was SCAD overwhelmingly expensive?
Ugh, my financial relationship with SCAD has been designated “it’s complicated” for years now. There’s no all-purpose answer to this one. It’s important to note I only spent 2 years there and did not take summers off. I don’t owe as much as other alumni I’ve come across, but I do owe a substantial amount more than the average $30,000 most college grads rack up at universities for other professions.
Money is a constant concern for me, but do I regret it? That’s very hard to say. I’m very content with where I work and what I do, and I really feel that I wouldn’t be here without taking the route I had. There’s no way for me to say whether an alternative road would’ve taken me to a better or worse place, so I can only measure my satisfaction with the experience based on where I’m at now in life. So for me, it was worth it.
There were times I wanted to give up and even making it through the day seemed impossible. All I can say is that if you want something bad enough, you’ll find a way no matter how long it takes. It’s a cliche, but that doesn’t negate the truth of the message.
That would depend on several things, all of which I would prefer to discuss off anon. However, it’s not totally out of the realm of possibilities!
I hope you don’t mind if I answer this publicly, but I get this type of question pretty often so it’s good to refresh it for newer followers periodically.
There’s no 100% accurate way to answer this, really. Every recruiting situation is different from studio to studio- based on time, resources, department, etc. It’s always been my experience (both in hiring and getting hired) that you will be googled, at the very least. You would benefit from reading my 6 things (most) recruiters want artists to know about the hiring process post, in which I cover some of these concerns, as well as this previous ask.
As a general rule, I’ve told people in the past, “don’t be an asshole.” In the entire history of my career, I can’t think of one single example of the studios I’ve worked with hiring someone who’s obviously a massive jerk, just because this anthropomorphic phallus could draw amazingly. There’s someone out there that can usually match your skill line for line, and doesn’t come with all the extra attitude-baggage.
We see blogs/tumblrs/facebooks/etc as our safe zones, despite being public forums, and intrinsically places where we feel like we can be ourselves, uncensored and unedited. However, the reality is different. If you’re worried about employers, I think a safe rule of thumb is don’t blog anything you don’t feel comfortable being shoved in your face at a future date. You should always be prepared to stand by, and perhaps justify, your online persona. The line will be different for everyone, so just don’t cross your own personal boundary.
Thank you. I actually don’t work traditionally, like at all, these days. It’s not a great habit, since it caused me to not draw outside of studio/freelance work for the last 2-3 years. I’ve been pretty burned out.
But! Lately I’m pushing myself to draw for fun again, so that eventually I can build up more design work for my portfolio that isn’t Floyd County exclusive. For now, I’m just brushing up my chops in my own personal style.
When I did work traditionally, I did the minimum clean-up post scanning. I usually liked the rough, free look, and just tried to strengthen the contrast with a little hue/saturation adjustment in PS.