[UK] Art school: is it worth it?
#1
Hi

I'm from the UK, I'm 17 years old and it's time I start making the decision what I'm going to do when I leave school.
Recently I completely tipped the scales and did a giant U-turn. I decided that I wanted to drop out of being an engineer and do art. I've been told I'm having a mid life crisis at 17. I've been told I'll end up as an odd-job. I've been told I'll be stuck in my parent's house forever. I've been told I'm just a dumb edgy teen and I should shut the fuck up and stick with what I'm good at.
I used to believe them. But I'm tired of following other people's opinions just to 'fit in' when no matter what I do I don't. Art is really my life. I suck pretty hard at it. But I'll do anything to improve. Honestly it's what's helped me survive school all these years. I'm the ugly duckling and it's time to accept it. I don't care if I don't turn into a swan. I just want to fly. I'm going to make it! If my art makes one person feel better about their life out there; I succeed.
But first I need to know what I'm doing. So I'll be asking some questions.

From what I've gathered art school's effectiveness is very dependent on the type of school you choose and whether you really invest in it. Let's say you choose a good art school. As far as I know the benefits are:
  • Everything's very direct and right there. You've got the supplies, the facilities, the advice, the mentoring, the accountability etc. Saves a lot of time looking for it yourself.
  • Connections and promotion. Hard to surface when you're 20,000 leagues under the sea. People looking for raw talent will look at art school exhibitions and you can get yourself employed easier. Plus you have a bunch of buddies you can rely on.
  • You're not living with your parents anymore. You're not sitting in your goofy looking bedroom being alone and stressed and depressed. You've got some direction. You're in an art environment that will encourage you.
And of course the disadvantages:
  • Money money money. You can end up in a lot of debt. But thing is - will I even pay it off and does it really matter if I don't? I only have a percentage of money deducted off what I own over £21,000 a year. And will I even earn that much a year as an artist? I can live on that much a year right?
  • Time. I'm stuck in that place for at least 3 years. If it turns out they waste my time with boring old curriculum bullshit I'll be stuffed.
I'm looking for good illustration courses. Here are the one's I'm considering in order of priority:

  1. Cleveland college of art/ design, middlesborough
  2. Leeds art college
  3. Falmouth
  4. Plymouth art college
  5. UCA
  6. Loughborough uni
  7. Lincoln uni
  8. Norwich uni of arts
This is based off what I've seen from them so far, recommendations from other people, how close to home they are or how good the metal scene is there hehe

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#2
Here is my advice , you really have to love doing this. Like for the past 5 years I felt into many crisis , that what i started was impossible and was incredibly horrible decision idk how I pulled thought. Now things are looking better, because I got a bit more comfortable that I'll find work.
21 000 pounds a year is a ton of money(not counting expenses for food rent etc.), for less thank 6 k I think you can have way better education . 1500 pounds for a really good second hand workstation (they are PC's for work , so they last longer than the usual PC's ) In case you need feedback , 800 $ is the cost of a 8 week course with one of the best instructors in the world , you can take 2-3 max which is 2400$ and you have like 1000 $ which is all the money you need to subscribe to 1 year of schoolims and all the gumroads you can ever need. But of course that depends if your parents or whom ever would give you the time and recourses. But 60k for art education is not worth it at all, because you can find a community near. I'm willing to help you if you need as well ( I'm having better work than in my SB , which i haven't uploaded still )xD

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#3
(07-19-2017, 05:15 PM)Mariyan-Hristov Wrote: Here is my advice , you really have to love doing this. Like for the past 5 years I felt into many crisis , that what i started was impossible and was incredibly horrible decision idk how I pulled thought. Now things are looking better, because I got a bit more comfortable that I'll find work.
21 000 pounds a year is a ton of money(not counting expenses for food rent etc.),  for less thank 6 k I think you can have way better education .  1500 pounds for a really good second hand workstation (they are PC's for work , so they last longer than the usual PC's ) In case you need feedback , 800 $  is the cost of a 8 week course with one of the best instructors in the world , you can take 2-3 max which is 2400$ and you have like 1000 $ which is all the money you need to subscribe to 1 year of schoolims and all the gumroads you can ever need. But of course that depends if your parents or whom ever would give you the time and recourses. But 60k for art education is not worth it at all, because  you can find a community near. I'm willing to help you if you need as well ( I'm having better work than in my SB , which i haven't uploaded still )xD

£21,000 a year? Nononononono. Here in the UK we have a system where you can take out a loan to pay for your tuition fees. The main course that I would go on if I was going to art school is £9250 a year and for 3 years so that totals to £27750 total. What I was saying is the way you pay back your loan is in deductions off your wages. If you don't earn anything over $21,000 a year for your salary, you pay nothing back. However, if you earn over £21,000 a year then money is deducted from your wage off the surplus money you earn yearly. So if I earned £21,100 a year and I had to pay back money at a rate of 20%. I earn £100 surplus so deduct 20% off 100 and you get 20. Therefore, every year, I would keep £21,080 and give the student loans company £20.
What I was asking is: can I live off £21,000 a year and will I even make that much as an artist with a day job?

My parents won't pay for anything. I'll have to do it myself. They don't really believe in my career plan plus they've already invested so much money in my education already. It's a stretch staying in their house for another year.

I take it you didn't go to art school? I know there are plenty of online resources I can use to improve my skills but being an artist is 50% marketing and 50% drawing. So I have no idea about the commercial side of things. How did you manage that part?

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#4
I see , yeah I should have known that. I was going to study in London (I'm from Bulgaria) , but i dropped off uni in the first weeks at arriving. In that case, if you don't have the support of your parents going to uni is probably the only option. However , even with this loan , this means you have to earn money for rent and food. May be its a good idea to use the uni a a means to be able to paint, until you get good enough to land a studio job and then drop off, after all you don't need the diploma.
Ok it's 50% marketing , but uni is not a place where you can market yourself , because its basically local marketing. You can have people from companies come to your grad show, but instead of waiting 3 years for that event you can just shoot 50 times more emails with your work.

My point is that, uni would give you the time to develop your skills, but in most cases you have to study at home like crazy. Because this would have more quality (in most cases) than in class work.

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#5
Went to University for film but also did some of their more art related subjects like story book illustration. From my personal experience, you can learn pretty damn good from the internet and books and communities like this. Art school wont matter if you don't go hard and maintain the drive to get better long enough.
If i were giving my younger self advice, would be do this shit now, dont worry about people saying this and that cos they will change tune when you become good at it, and you will if you put in the effort and hours.
some art schools might be great. but id say try to study online for a year, maybe do a schoolism or other online course if you want direction, theyre much cheaper so less risk and you will find out if you really got the want to do this stuff.

anyway good luck deciding, the internet and its learning resources are far more fleshed out than when i was 17.. err 12 yrs ago.. maybe i wouldnt have gone to university if i had this kind of internets...
still has to be your decision though

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#6
Cool shit guys!

I'm just finding it hard to fathom how I'm going to leave the nest. I don't want to be stuck in my parents house for another 5 years. I guess it's just a 'growing up' thing. Do you guys have day jobs you use to pay off the rent? I want to move out as soon as I can.

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#7
Quote:I'm just finding it hard to fathom how I'm going to leave the nest. I don't want to be stuck in my parents house for another 5 years. I guess it's just a 'growing up' thing. Do you guys have day jobs you use to pay off the rent? I want to move out as soon as I can.

Take my advice.. stay at home as long as you can. If you do choose to leave home and rent you're going to (most likely) end up working a full or part time job just to cover everyday living. You'll get into a cycle where money becomes more important than art, and even though you want to eventually make money off art, you wont be able to improve cause you simply wont have the time needed to buckle down. It's a shitty cycle you'll get stuck in that just keeps prolonging your art career.

I'm privileged in the fact that I still live at home, and only have to work a causal job (like 10 hours a week) so I can literally spend over 40 hours a week on improving art. 

My real life art friends on the other hand live out of home and they are struggling. One of them has to juggle multiple freelance gigs just to survive. The other works in retail and basically has to pick between; being poor and depressed but able to make art; or, being stuck at work and slightly happier cause of the money but equally depressed because of no art.

It may seem like it'll be easy being poor for a while because you get to do art. But in reality, it's pretty depressing struggling with no money. 

A lot of people would kill to be able to have stayed at home and been given a pretty sweet ride. Take advantage of it while you can.

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#8
Im gonna agree with chubbycat here. Having to pay for your own apartment, food etc is HARD and takes a lot of time that you could use to draw and study instead. 

You are still extremely young and havnt even finished school, so dont feel to much rush just yet. Maybe its possible that you could arrange some kind of "deal" with your parents where you would only be working part time during the weekends (I have been doing that for a few years, and as long as you cut out distractions such as games, stupid TV shows, facebook etc (just get rid of theese completely) you can actually do it this way). If you are earning atleast enough money to pay some of the expenses at home and buy your own stuff, then maybe they will be more tolerant and understanding? 

Not to mention, if you set up a studying schedule for yourself where you self teach, then you should start seeing improvement in your art fairly quickly, witch will also help your parents tolerate your decision.

Then, after about 2-3 years or so on this schedule, you could apply for some university. This will also give you time to really find out what kind of art you prefer to study - illustration, game art, comics, graphic design etc. And you wont have spent tens of thousands of pounds doing it! Just my opinion of course - Do what you want!

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#9
sorry i don't have specifics for the schools in the uk...this is just general stuff.

1. Build good habits now. whether you go to school, do online courses or self study totally on your own, your proficiency as an artist is probably directly linked to the amount of targeted and effective work you do. Note, effective; grinding without understanding your specific goal and reasons for studying will make things much less focused and predictable in terms of your improvement. Discipline is integral to doing anything well and if you want to freelance successfully, ever, you can forget about it without self discipline. Make this a priority now.

2. Debt can be debilitating weight that follows you around, but if it's a means to an end and you are a focused disciplined sort, it may be worth it, but much longer and harder to be free of it on the tail end. I was lucky and didn't have to pay my way fully through university (non art related) but I definitely didn't want debt hanging over me later on when I decided to art, so I self taught.

Somewhat different, is not having enough money to pay for the basics of your physical survival while trying to couple income to your art. This is the WORST situation to get into, is a constant stressor and is likely to eventually fuck up your art and desire to do it eventually. If you see yourself ever in this situation, do whatever it takes to not remain there for too long.

3. I agree with others that working a day job and paying your own way is difficult and more suited for focused stubborn people. However having done that for 3-4 years and transitioned to fulltime freelance, I see now that working and doing self study can actually also be a very effective motivator, more than if you had 18 hours free everyday to do art. But it totally depends on your personality and attitude. I self taught in the 4-6 hours I had free between being at work on weekdays. It was hard to sustain for long periods without some form of physical crash until I learned to balance this with adequate rest and fun. But overall I was MUCH more prolific when i was working a non art related job and doing art on the side, where somehow it is harder for me to get to work these days. I am a lazy ass without external time constraints placed on me.

4. Don't sweat the specifics of your path too much. Things will tend to work out if you can maintain a healthy passion and interest for what you are doing. That tends to translate directly into your work and is visible for all to see. Once you start getting too uptight and worried about what discipline to focus on, whether your stuff is good enough, whether people like your shit, whether it will get you jobs, etc etc then your work will exhibit those symptoms too.


5. On the flip side, you should determine what you might enjoy and/or have a specific proficiency for before you "get good enough". Don't wait too long to learn about the illustration process, or game production/design, or 3d, or whatever. Having some goals to help you focus can be an incredible boon, even if they change along the way. Just remember to have fun and be lighthearted!!! Explore, Learn, Play, no matter which way you go. Lose this aspect of enjoyment of the journey and you may as well give up.

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