Things They Don't Teach You in Art School Pt 1
I saw the above quote and snagged it. It is so true. Alot of artists, new artists, people wanting to be and so on, ask me "How do you make it as a working artist". Okay, I'll start passing on things you will never learn in art school.
I was offered, in 1979, the chance to go to a MAJOR art school in Providence(no names but guess). The tuition was a paltry $12,000 year(then). My folks said "we'll do whatever it takes, IF you want to go". Well, two tours of this place proved me otherwise. I couldn't see it. Then, the focus of most schools was this post-modern non-representational art that, I thought kinda sucked. So, instead I went to a smaller, CHEAPER state school that had teachers from the same place. I stuck it for 18 months and realized this just...was not...me. I quit and went to work, eventually in an art supply store and, not only made contacts, but got free supplies("sales samples" I was asked to test and report back) often, and got asked to sit in for FREE at classes at that very art school that now wanted closer to $14K a year.
I realized something about college in general that misses the mark. They don't teach you plain ol' COMMON SENSE. My late Dad always talked about this, mightily saying that if nothing else, you have to have that. You can be smart, get good grades, but "common sense must prevail", to quote him.
Nobody tells you to think outside the box, or think in a business way, or think in several directions at once. They teach you one way of doing something and that has to be *the* way of doing it. And then you get after much money is spent, a piece of paper that tells people that's what you do.
And without Common Sense, it's just a "piece of paper".
The result is, you get alot of people that get out of school and have no clue how to go about the basics of anything-whether it be a drawing, or just taking care of your health. Use some common sense and try alot of different styles and ways of working-and thinking. That's what I did. There's an old addage that suggests if you do just one thing, and one thing only, you'll be the best at it. I don't agree. I get letters and people asking me "Why did you leave space art?" Well, I didn't. I still do it. But I do lots of other things and this keeps me constantly busy. I have to. That's just good business otherwise I would be in trouble. The problem with some aspects of SF and fantasy art is that people think it's some kind of religion. It's not. It's business and, the trick is always keeping yourself a little edgy and coming up with new ways of going about things. On the dinosaur book I'm working on, I had a real quandry how to make the project work. So at 6am one morning I had a brainstorm and devised, in theory, how it could work with two people doing the art end of things. How could I take, traditionally done art, and make it work, converted into photo backgrounds? Cortney Skinner provided the answer and now we have an artistic collaboration that the client is now loving what they see. I realized I didn't learn this in school, I just kind of used some common sense, and got the way to do it. It's thinking outside the box.
The other truism is that, the geeks, weirdos and non-jocks-in High School-all went out and did the cool stuff. The jocks and "play-it-safers" all got into real estate(yike!), the stock market(double yike!) or became lawyers(YIKE YIKE YIKE). It's like case after case.