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Submitted on
July 26, 2013


4,025 (2 today)
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Fri Jul 26, 2013, 5:56 PM



Usually I am pretty quiet when it comes to the community and its dealings with drama . But I feel like I have to write my two cents about this topic.

A lot of people have been throwing around this post around about how art schools are terrible and are not worth it ya. I am sure you can find the article somewhere if you just google it . Though everyone is entitled to their own opinion I feel that I should talk about both sides of the coin when it comes to art school.

Now I have went to art school , and have done well for myself , I have worked internationally and worked for some big companies , and currently at the moment I actually teach at an art school as well. 



What I believe is that art school is an Investment , nothing is guaranteed about art school , just because you go to the best art school in the world , that doesn't guarantee you will be successful . However , not going to school and buying dvds , watching youtube videos , doesn't guarantee you will be successful either. Both are very circumstantial . Now one is definitely a lot less expensive than the other . But I believe value is what you make of it.

I feel like most of the people that complain about art school are the ones who didn't work hard and expecting everything to be handed to them , then they graduate , cant find a job , and blame the school for all of their shortcomings. It's funny to me because I bet those people didn't do 1 thing to try to improve their school either. But are quick to complain. When I was school if we didn't have the classes or things we needed we raised hell, and the school changed to our needs . I believe school is what you make of it . Because I have seen people go to really crappy schools and become really successful , and I have seen people go to really good schools and do nothing with their lives. 

Now granted the school I went to was really expensive , was it worth it? I can't really say , would I do it all over again? Can't say either . Were there some things that happened to me while in art school that changed my life forever? DEFINITELY . Here are a few of those things

1. When I was in art school I majored in game art design. I had no idea what I wanted to do ( mostly because I was young and immature, I was a young black kid who wanted to party , dance , chase girls , and draw on the side) but I knew i wanted to do art in games . Schooled showed me animation , programming , modeling, scripting , painting everything. Art school showed me all the possible avenues in games . BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY IT SHOWED ME WHAT I DIDN'T WANT TO DO . So after my first year I realized that I didn't want to be a animator or a modeler , I wanted to be a concept artist because it was fun for me. I also sat in a lot of classes in my spare time grabbing small pieces of knowledge here and there.

2. I met some extremely important people who were very pivotal in my life . How I got into concept art was because I walked into a computer lab and I saw edgar cardona aka :icondarkartist3: painting on a wacom (something that I have never seen before)  when I saw that I was amazed and also hooked , Before you knew it I was following him around and we began to explore and paint together in computer labs everyday . Meeting Edgar led meet one of my best friends Anthony Jones aka :iconrobotpencil: . We began to draw and paint together everyday at school , created a sketch group , concept club , and met many other like minded people who loved art like we did. I got AJ his first job and he helped me get my job in Madrid and also my job at ILM . But also they were my best friends , who helped me through extremely difficult times in my life as I did for them. 

My point is I can't guarantee that I would have met these two people if it weren't for school . I also can't guarantee that we would have had a facility such as school where we could all meet up and hang out and use all the schools equipment. So was it worth the 70k ? Not sure . BUT I DO KNOW THAT I WOULD NOT BE WEHRE I AM TODAY IF IT WAS NOT FOR THEM.

3. I learned to grow up and work with others . Before art school I was a jock . I played a lot of sports hung out with the tough guys partied a lot all that stuff. I actually wanted to be a pro soccer player at one point. I went straight from high-school to art college and my personality was a little too outgoing when I entered art school. I expected everyone to be my best friend right away , joke with me and tell me all about themselves. Why ? because my previous class mates were like me , young , loud , athletic , obnoxious , arrogant , nothing held back. So with my high school friends we would joke around a lot, hit he each other , talk crap on each other , curse a lot , but it was all in good fun . Yeah we butted heads a lot but these are friends that I would trust with my life if push came to shove ( I still feel this way) . Now when I brought that personality into art school , needless to say in a room full of introverts , most people hated me immediately . I treated art like my sports , competitive , talk trash , haha but all good fun. Of course it didn't come off like that . And finally some people let me know. Of course I thought people were being too sensitive right? Well regardless of whether I was right or wrong ( probably wrong haha) I had to learn to respect others , and always realize some people may not be that comfortable to joke around with me in that sort of way. So I learned that my personality and image is very important in how others perceive me. So I learned to mature a little and be more professional in the beginning until me and that artist are more comfortable with eachother. Something I don't I think I could have learned from chilling at home drawing and only hanging out with my hs friends. Till this day I try to keep my hs friends and art friends separate only because I know those worlds don't mix that well. So I learned that not everyone needs to meet "party" kalen . And when I changed my attitude a lot of doors opened up for me

4. I also met a few instructors that changed my life . One of them being Mike Tracy. Now was this one lesson that he taught me worth 1200$ I paid for the class? Again I can't say . But I can say it was pivotal , and I am not sure I would have hit this lesson by myself.

He took my hw one day and put it on the projector and asked a student to give me a grade , the student said B ( he was being nice too) . Mr Tracy then took my picture and put it beside a Craig Mullins painting . He asked the student again to give me a grade and he said F . Standing in front of a class of 20 I felt so embarrassed and realized that if I wanted to be successful I would have to be as good as people who have been doing it for 25 years.

5. What I also learned from school is that no one is going to cry for me and sulk for my short comings . Now what people don't know about me is that among the group of my art friends when I was in school . I WAS THE WORST ONE . Not very many people took me seriously , in fact many people thought I was a fan boy following around the good artists. A lot of people thought I didn't belong even though they were my friends.

One day an employer came to school and wanted to look at student work . Naturally the employer loved all of my friends work , and didn't give me the time of day . I CAN SAY FIRST HAND THAT THIS IS ONE OF THE WORST FEELINGS IN WORLD . to feel like you don't belong . Being a minority I have always felt like an outsider and to have this feeling in my art was unbearable. To add insult to injury our Academic director arranged a tour at a big studio for some of the concept art students , there they would meet a famous art director and get critiqued. I asked pleaded that I be allowed to go with my friends , but she said my work wasn't good enough. I felt left out and alone. They were my friends , but when it came to art it was like we were on a different planet. I was angry , mad , sad you name it.

But why were they so much better than me? They had the same resources I did , same classes , but yet they were so much better.  Granted I had to keep a full time job while working and I didn't have as much money. But I realized NO CARES WHAT YOU HAVE FOR EXCUSES , IF THEY ARE BETTER THEY ARE BETTER. AND IF I WANTED TO BE TAKING SERIOUSLY I WOULD HAVE TO WORK TWICE AS HARD TO CATCH UP. 

eventually I caught up. ( though I am still catching up to those guys everyday , and thank god they are my friends so they gave me great advice)

but without school , I am not sure I would have learned that lesson either.

Also its important to remember that america has a lot more opportunities in this business than other places. For example my friend Frank who I went to school with was from taiwan. and was going to school here. Now I know for a fact if he had not gone to school here , he would not be at naughty dog. the people and things he experienced here definitely influenced him for the better.

So though it is a much cheaper route to just buy dvd's and books , watch youtube etc etc . I am quite confident I would have missed out on all of those experiences that have influenced my life in a positive manner.

I think school has a recipe to put like minded people together and things happen , I cant always say this will happen at every school  , but it did for me.

And now that I teach , I hope I can be that person for 1 student out of 20 that makes their 70k tuition worth while as well. So if you are in school and you feel like you are getting what you want , then talk to the directors , start a group , complain and raise hell . And if it doesn't work then simply leave.

So my conclusion is to simply do your research about school and know there are many different routes to being an artist , school is just one of em , and just because someone takes it , it doesn't mean they are dumb , nor does it mean that someone who doesn't is so much better and smarter. Anything in this life is what you make of it.

Because I guarantee if you work your ass off it doesn't matter what route you will take , you will be successful

keep pushing forward



This journal was coded by LineBirgitte - graphics by xyphid
  • Listening to: eebsofresh
  • Reading: peaceful warrior
  • Watching: southpark
  • Playing: black ops
  • Eating: chipotle
  • Drinking: agua
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Matoki Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2014
Have you ever thought of doing an improvement meme? I don't know if you already have though XD…
k04sk Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
I think did one but I was only 3 years into it , I can probably do it again though . Here is the one I did awhile back…
Matoki Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2014
It's great! I'd love it if you did another though =)
k04sk Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
ill try to do one in the next week or so for you!
Matoki Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2014
rectumery Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2013
Hi. I go to an early college high school as a sophomore and I'd just like to thank you so much for writing this. For a very long time I wanted to go to art school and become some kind of successful artist. My parents have always been hard on me when it comes to school and accepted nothing less than A's. They stressed school, emphasizing that as a mix of three major minorities (black, asian, and hispanic) that the only way I could make it in world was by getting into a good college. After prodding and creating a detailed life plan of colleges I was considering and career options my parents finally accepted my dreams. With that, they told me that it meant I would have to work even harder and I did. I competed with 340 other students to get into the high school I'm attending. I was elated getting in, but I go to school with some pretty amazing people. I'm surrounded with future doctors, engineers, and probably a president or two. I often feel intimidated and lie about what I want to be as an adult. I've been lying so often that I started wondering if I really should consider a different career. I have to pick a major by the end of this year. I've been stressing out this past month and even got sent to a career counselor. He didn't really help me and in fact made me more worried. This was really encouraging. It just reminded me of what made excited about going to college in the first place which was to experience new things and meet new people while learning how to do the thing I love. I love art. Thank you!
k04sk Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Well it seems like you have some very unique opportunities ahead of you , just remember that art isn't going anywhere . Unfortunately it doesn't pay as some people would hope , ( unless you are really really really good ) so having a back up career isn't necessarily a bad thing . I know lots of people who love art but chose a more stable career , and then did art on the side for their own enjoyment . Or even switch careers later on . Again it's different for everyone . As much as I say follow your heart , it's also important to think everything through 

Unfortunately I was not as smart as you in high school , I was a jock who liked art , so for me if I didn't make it in art I was probably going to be screwed lol . You are surrounded by future successful . People , a lot of people don't have that opportunity. So just take your time with all of this and I'm sure the right decision will present itself 
RAVNXI Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wonderful advice, thank you! I was a lot like you, in high school I was friends with two upperclassmen who were naturally very good at drawing, and though I loved drawing as a kid, I was the worst out of all my friends. So I worked hard on my weaknesses and never just drew what I was good at. Eventually I got to their level, and now (according to them) I've exceeded them by miles. Though I'm not a professional artist, nor do I plan to pursue art as anything more than a hobby, I could really relate to your story. It goes to show that hard work is paramount when it comes to being a successful artist. Thanks for sharing!
xLacie Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013  Student
Thank you so much  for writing this journal. Right now I'm exactly choosing whether or not to go to an art uni and where and your journal really helped me out.
phizzle12 Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2013
Thanks. This is very encouraging for me.
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