Thursday, February 23, 2012

Why SCAD

I've been seeing a lot of online hostility directed to art schools in general and SCAD in particular. A fair amount of self taught artists are super quick to point out that you don't need an MFA in Sequential Art to be successful in comics. They're right. You don't.

I know I am a no-name aspiring comic artist with much to learn, but I try to share the journey as best I can through this blog.

I dont know why other comic artists in my department went to SCAD, but I know why I'm here. Two years ago, I was about to graduate from a third tier university in a program that risks losing its accredidation to this day, staffed by artists too tired to teach. I was essentially self taught in art, and had hit an improvement wall. Though I devoted about 5 hours a day to self study, my art was stagnating, and I couldn't get the guidance I needed. I hated living in New Orleans, I'd never lived more than a half hour drive from my podunk hometown, and my dad had recently died. All my female friends ditched me rather than be supportive, and I was ready to change my life.

People talk smack about SCAD, but at least it's well known. Those who've heard about UNO gave me pitying looks when I admit I graduated from there (full scholarship, 3.8 GPA). It was too late to go back in time and get a BFA in Sequential Art now that I had a BA in Digital Media under my belt, so I put in my portfolio and my application for an MFA instead, with the intention of teaching art as a career and freelancing with comics and illustration. Its a lot of money, but its my money, not a loan, and even if I never pay my bills doing comics, I wont regret my time here.

I've learned and have grown much while in Savannah. The city suits me. I'm no more popular or respected here than I was at UNO, but that doesn't matter to me.

I feel like this blog is constant proof why an MFA in SEQA is working for me. It might not be for everyone, and thats ok too. I've learned how to give, take, and use criticism, how to talk to editors, how to behave professionally, and how to be humble amongst all the art instruction, and these are lessons no book, Youtube video, Livestream channel, or DA tutorial can really teach. I am in an environment that encourages artistic growth, where I can easily request feedback from professionals. I've been given many opportunities I would never otherwise have had, and I've had the benefit of learning via the experience of others.

I don't intend to do webcomics. I want to do print children's comics, a demographic that rarely utilizes the internet. I enjoy writing and drawing for children, and have spent a lot of time volunteering at local schools. Without SCAD, I would still try to force myself into the webcomic mould, not knowing my options. SCAD isnt the only option for post-highschool comic craft education, but its the only one that offers an MFA, and the only choice to wash out the funk of UNO from my mouth.

If there's interest, I can talk about the MFA level class offerings and what I've learned in detail. I am by no means a SCAD apologist, the school itself is very flawed, and while our program has a few problems, I sincerely love it, and respect my instructors and fellow students. I'm just tired of seeing artists who've never attended the program throw it under the bus.

Thanks for reading. Check out these products.