Sunday, November 06, 2016

Should I apply to SCAD?

Should I apply to SCAD?

I can really only answer this question for the SEQA department, and only for graduate school. Please keep in mind that a lot has changed since I graduated.  I've attempted to answer this question in the past, but it's always worth revisiting as things change and time progresses.

Why I Chose SCAD
Why SCAD
SCAD Advice for Matriculating Undergrads
A Year at the Savannah College of Art and Design Part 1
Our Visit to SCAD Atlanta
Things I've Learned from Art School

Since I'll hit my fourth year since graduation next March, I thought it'd be nice to distill everything down to the most essential questions.

What it really depends on is "What do you want out of SCAD"

If you want to improve your artistic abilities quickly, and use what you've learned to propel your growth into the future:  Yes.  Although I was a self motivated student, I needed guidance and peers who were interested in my field.  UNO did not provide sufficient guidance in my field of study, and self education, while quite useful, was not enough to bridge the gap. 

If you want to learn how to work in your industry:  From my experience, the answer was no.

If you want to make contacts that can help you find work:  The answer definitely varies with who you have classes with.  If you get along well with your classmates and have a good bunch, you'll definitely have a great network.  Although I'm still friends with a few people I met while I attended SCAD, I've definitely made better industry contacts outside of SCAD by participating in comic discussions on Twitter.

Can I rely on SCAD as a continuing resource: Officially, they claim you can, but your mileage may vary.  As a comics person, they had very little directly in my field, but a lot of opportunities for advertising.

Gradschool is a huge investment, but it is a huge investment in YOU.  If you believe you have what it takes- be it determination, motivation, willpower, drawing ability, or drive, it may be worth the gamble. 

If you do decide that pursuing higher art education is important to you, owning your investment is important.  In an industry that idealizes the myth of the 'self taught artist', art school is seen as an unnecessary luxury- you had to pay for your skills.  Over the years, I've minimalized the value of having an MFA in an attempt to be polite to other artists- I've downplayed the virtues of attending a dedicated, accredited art institution, putting my time in, and earning a terminal degree in order to not appear conceited.  This has been a mistake on my part.  Although I do not believe art school is mandatory for a career in comics, I do believe it was something worthwhile, money fairly well spent, and something I needed to do for me.  The education I received was not only valid, it was exceptional, and many of my professors had worked in the industry I wished to enter.  I learned solid skills while at SCAD, from perspective to human anatomy, to handlettering to digital coloring.  I learned how to give and receive critique, how to use that to propel my work to another level, how to construct an engaging story, and perhaps the most important thing of all, I learned how to take what I needed and how to throw the rest away.


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