Bob's ART du Jour

Hi, I'm Bob Eggleton and this is my painting and "life in general blog" but mostly paintings. Usually they're for sale. Anyway, if you like something contact me at and ENJOY!!

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Location: New England, United States

I am a Hugo award-winning fantasy/SF artist who works on both publishing projects and film concept work(such as Jimmy Neutron and most recently, The Ant Bully) but I have a passion for landscape work, small paintings and exploring the properties of paint. This blog will mostly showcase my "painting-for-the-day" as kind of a personal voyage. I'll also be inserting sketches,photos and ideas of projects I am working on, that I can, when I can, so look for those every so often(usually as paint is drying!)

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Things They Don't Teach You in Art School Pt 1

"Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune" - Jim Rohn

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 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.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Bob,

Thanks for keeping a blog. I learn more here than I did in 4yrs at the U. where only one (count it...ONE) instructor had ever actually worked in the field.


12:06 PM  
Blogger Bob Eggleton (Zillabob) said...

I found college to be a total waste of time, especially then...

11:29 AM  
Blogger Chris Jouan said...

Thanks for the great post.

I was one who felt I needed the piece of paper for credibility. I didn't use the degree much. I am still using the art that I learned from some great professors who taught beyond the Graphic Design curriculum. And from a few non-design painting classes my advisors said I didn't have time for. (heh!)

Still working on the "common sense" though....

College wasn't a total waste of time for me, I just wish I got more out of it than I did.

1:54 PM  

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