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Full Version: Can I Work as an Freelance Artist While Doing a Blue Collar Jobs?
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Currently, while  attending an community college, I'm planning on whether to get a major in a AAS (Associates in Applied Science) in HVAC ( Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) or transferring my credits to a 4-year art school. I'm not excited to work for major animation studios like Disney, but would rather be freelance while helping out with projects for these companies or any independent businesses. Art school's are highly expensive! So, combining the trade skill's salary with some scholarships, grants and financial aid money, it might destroy or stabilize the tuition to refrain from the behemoth called debt. I might not even get this degree since I wanted to even make up my own IP's for my own independent comics and animations. I adore the sight of art schools but it would be a true investment since it cost an excessive amount of money. I would rather draw my own characters than anyone else's and I would probably need a team or just need to advertise like crazy for my characters. Would people take me serious for my projects or certification? Am I stunting or enhancing my dreams? Most importantly, are there any other freelance artist that shares this descriptions? Hopefully one of you guys can relate to my questionable path.
Hey there, sorry for the lack of response on this forum!

I worked fulltime as an IT/research analyst for many years while self-teaching. I made the transition (sort of) to fulltime freelance a year ago. It can be done.

I don't see why you can't freelance part time while working (though doing that on the side with a full time job would be hard) I guess the question you have to ask is...do you really want to do the art fulltime as a professional at some point, or just be a hobbyist / work on indie stuff while you have a main job as source of income?

Budget will be a huge thing here. If you don't want to get into debt, 4 years of art university will not be a good option. There are many atelier programs and online classes that you can do for much shorter periods that will arguably give you much better-focused skills for cheaper while you predominantly self-teach.

I think you are getting a little ahead of yourself thinking about whether you should work for others or do your own stuff. For now you have a long journey ahead just to build skills. So this idea about not wanting to draw other people's IP is fine, but the reality of freelance work, is that you ARE working for someone else all the time!! You have to get used to this fact. If you want to work as a professional illustrator or designer you WILL have to work on other people's stuff. If you really can't see yourself doing this then it sounds like perhaps you want to do the trade thing as main income and do art as a hobbyist working on personal projects.

The thing that is the same regardless, is that to get the skills you have to put in the time, so it's a question of where you focus that time in the coming years.
Dude, you totally can do both. I was working with my uncle doing timber frame construction for a few years when I was getting started as a freelancer. If anything, that shop experience got me my current job as an artist assistant making public and corporate sculptures and installations ranging in the $200-$300,000 price tag range. It was because I was familiar with power tools and a shop setting that the guy hired me. He said that all the other applicants were fresh out of art school and never touched a tool in their life. If he was making oil paintings, maybe he could have chosen somebody else, but my blue collar experience got me where I am today and I wouldn't have it any other way.  If you are serious about freelancing full time, you need to manage your time and money earned per hour very well. If you make $50 an hour doing hvac work, or are able to sell a painting for $100 and it takes you 2 hours to make, that's essentially $50/h against a potential $50/ h in the future. SO then look at any given task in your life, lets say you have an art show coming up, and it's going to take you 2 hours to put up flyers around the city for it. In that 2 hours, you could potentially make another painting or install hvac, making you far more money than the net loss of putting up flyers. SO if you pay somebody $5 to put up flyers, you are saving a potential $95 by budgeting your time and outsourcing non integral portions of your life. I started doing this via fiverr for all aspects of my art business, saving me money and giving me more time to actually paint. I wrote up a small guide about how fiver integrates with my day to day here http://obilex.com/guides-and-reviews/hir...ine-fiverr  I think theres a 20% off code somewhere in there although I'm not entirely sure if it still works.  Regardless, keep on plugging away and don't give up on art as a full time career, it doesn't happen over night!
(02-12-2016, 01:26 PM)Amit Dutta Wrote: [ -> ]Hey there, sorry for the lack of response on this forum!

I worked fulltime as an IT/research analyst for many years while self-teaching. I made the transition (sort of) to fulltime freelance a year ago.  It can be done.

I don't see why you can't freelance part time while working (though doing that on the side with a full time job would be hard) I guess the question you have to ask is...do you really want to do the art fulltime as a professional at some point, or just be a hobbyist / work on indie stuff while you have a main job as source of income?

Budget will be a huge thing here. If you don't want to get into debt, 4 years of art university will not be a good option. There are many atelier programs and online classes that you can do for much shorter periods that will arguably give you much better-focused skills for cheaper while you predominantly self-teach.

I think you are getting a little ahead of yourself thinking about whether you should work for others or do your own stuff. For now you have a long journey ahead just to build skills. So this idea about not wanting to draw other people's IP is fine, but the reality of freelance work, is that you ARE working for someone else all the time!! You have to get used to this fact. If you want to work as a professional illustrator or designer you WILL have to work on other people's stuff. If you really can't see yourself doing this then it sounds like perhaps you want to do the trade thing as main income and do art as a hobbyist working on personal projects.

The thing that is the same regardless, is that to get the skills you have to put in the time, so it's a question of where you focus that time in the coming years.
Thanks for the reply Mr. Dutta.

I do want my projects to be profitable, but I'll do as you say and train for my skills. 

I think online classes are better for how focus (and inexpensive! Thumbs_up ) they are. Here are some programs I have in mind.
http://2d.cgmasteracademy.com/
http://www.rocketsky.ca/

Hopefully you can give me your opinion.
No worries! I have done one CGMA class and it was great for me at the time. 600 is still a little on the expensive side to do lots of them, but I think they are pretty good.

I don't have any experience with rocketsky so I can't say much about that.

For fundamentals there are also many free channels on youtube such as Proko and Sycra. Proko has some premium pay lesson modules, which I haven't used, but going by his free videos they are probably high quality.
For more free basic exercises you can also check out drawabox.com
There is also Watts Online Atelier which I've heard is brilliant for an Atelier based approach to figures.
I've heard very good things about http://www.newmastersacademy.org/ as well.

Learnsquared is popular too, but it focuses more on tools and concept design.
There are also mentorships such as RobotPencil but again more focused towards concept design.
(02-20-2016, 12:40 PM)obilex Wrote: [ -> ]Dude, you totally can do both. I was working with my uncle doing timber frame construction for a few years when I was getting started as a freelancer. If anything, that shop experience got me my current job as an artist assistant making public and corporate sculptures and installations ranging in the $200-$300,000 price tag range. It was because I was familiar with power tools and a shop setting that the guy hired me. He said that all the other applicants were fresh out of art school and never touched a tool in their life. If he was making oil paintings, maybe he could have chosen somebody else, but my blue collar experience got me where I am today and I wouldn't have it any other way.  If you are serious about freelancing full time, you need to manage your time and money earned per hour very well. If you make $50 an hour doing hvac work, or are able to sell a painting for $100 and it takes you 2 hours to make, that's essentially $50/h against a potential $50/ h in the future. SO then look at any given task in your life, lets say you have an art show coming up, and it's going to take you 2 hours to put up flyers around the city for it. In that 2 hours, you could potentially make another painting or install hvac, making you far more money than the net loss of putting up flyers. SO if you pay somebody $5 to put up flyers, you are saving a potential $95 by budgeting your time and outsourcing non integral portions of your life. I started doing this via fiverr for all aspects of my art business, saving me money and giving me more time to actually paint. I wrote up a small guide about how fiver integrates with my day to day here http://obilex.com/guides-and-reviews/hir...ine-fiverr  I think theres a 20% off code somewhere in there although I'm not entirely sure if it still works.  Regardless, keep on plugging away and don't give up on art as a full time career, it doesn't happen over night!

Thanks for your reply. That's great to have someone advertise my projects for $5. I really want to create what Tim Buckley made (except better!) into a full time job. I will just keep on training and developing my portfolio until I decide. Your public art sounds really exciting. What's your opinion on art schools obilex?