What type of degree would you recommend for an argot with my style?Animation, illustration, graphic design or fine art? I'm applying now and feel confused about what is right for me. I found it interesting how you were saying you felt as though you learnt more on the job rather than through the degree. Is art school even a good thing to do?
Hmm, I publish this public because my answer got bit out of hand and some of the followers might also have something relevant to say, since this is in general super difficult question…I also recently posted some work vs. school discussions in this blog, if it’s any help.
All of those degrees are so different depending on each country, so it might be hard for me to say…for example, in Finland you can’t even study illustration separately, you’re either self-taught or take courses in graphic design because it’s useful for figuring the print process. Personally what I got best out of graphic design studies was honing my eye for details, questioning everything and conceptual thinking. Not so much of the technical art skills. Best kind of school would be where you feel like you could get as much (or more) out of your fellow students as you get from teachers. Good thing about graphic design for me was that everybody in my class was really doing their own thing and ambitious about it, I learned about motion graphics, film, fine art, photography, illustration, comics; a real mish mash of everything visual there. Although it’s really a double-edged sword, on the other hand you can develop to become really versatile, but then again I really fear sometimes I’m not good enough at anything specifically, which is what you end up doing in worklife anyway.
What I’ve learned at work is the animation art is really different from illustration and graphic design has hardly anything to do with it (well, it’s a large umbrella!). Moving images are really different from static ones and with my style it’s sometimes a struggle to be conscious where the attention should be, rather than just making everything look “interesting” which in animation means you can’t focus anywhere, even if it was a nice picture. I also paint a lot in here: sure, I have painted before, but more as a part of illustration and whenever I’ve felt like it, so I hope I’ve become better at understanding light and color here. So technically I’ve learned more about painting and animation at work, but in different aspects I did learn lot more at school.
In the countries like US, I understand the pressure what comes to picking the art schools since it sounds hella expensive. In Finland no matter what degree you take, you can deal with student loan and such quite easily compared to tens of thousands of debt. That way I didn’t feel too anxious about what to study. Then again, in which US school you’ve gone to probably matters more in CV, and the connections you make there. Connections are important everywhere.
In short what you get from art school at the best would be fellow students, trying out things you can’t do in work and getting connected somehow. What you learn at work, is probably so different for everyone, but it will be harsh reality of deadlines, solid executions and learning fast or falling behind. So maybe just for getting some base for thoughts, idealism, critique, your own expression and trying out things, school is great thing to have, before getting tangled in work. You have time to get valuable things out of both.
Maybe some followers can recommend some schools in UK? Because really I think you clearly have a knack for illustration/graphic design, but it’s all up to what you think would be most fun to learn about right now!
You have a good point…technically I’m a graphic designer (if not yet graduated, because I ran from bachelor’s thesis to get employed) but it’s super vague as profession. Like you said, in work life it becomes apparent you keep and/or leave things to narrow down the area you really want to do. Although, for me it’s not so easy, sometimes I’m overwhelmed by how different animation is from illustration.
From my experience, I think professionalism is just something I decided to be, sort of, “fake it till you make it”. Because I had no idea what it means, really. I’m still confused, often. Last year was the first time I really had more than one job to do.
And I agree, I guess it’s also the older I get, or more I have studied, more specific I need to be about what do I want to get out of education and learn.
It’s true, in Finland too…also because there aren’t that many legit animation/3D/storytelling schools in here, everybody basically goes to the same school (Metropolia, or Turku academy in animation) for those because of the basics, but get employed based on their personal works and portfolio.
I’ve been ranting about it before but I wish Finnish schools would react to the industry faster, there is ridiculously few schools that even teach animation and 3D, but big game companies and many up-and-coming game companies. Pro tip for the foreigners, there is desperate need for artists and programmers for games in here BECAUSE FINNS ARE NOT ENOUGH EDUCATED/EXPERIENCED FOR THAT STUFF
50, 000…holy shit. I feel for you, it sounds like an amount that I can’t even imagine how it’s to deal with it.
What interests me most in the US is the competition, I guess…I’d like to be in environment where I feel like I am surrounded by people way more talented than I am, maybe in illustration, character design or visual development. At work I get to be surrounded by talented people, but there is no time to trial and error and learning from others the same way as in school.
Thanks for your input, I think your message crystallizes some of the harsh truth about studies and getting employed in US.
Like in the previous ask, comparing school expenses between US and Finland, it’s near impossible to use that much money in education in here. For those who don’t know, it’s technically free to go to university in here, although students sometimes get student loan unless you want to live with porridge only (AND NO BEER). My entire loan for 4 years was mere 8000 dollars which I’ve mostly paid off already.
I agree, I’m not really up to getting in tens of thousands worth of debt. Maybe I should check into more short-term studies in US, like single courses or workshops, or if it’s even possible for foreigner to just butt in there. I also don’t know too much about scholarship system, and whether it’s same for students that come from abroad.
How much do you think your education affected in getting employed?
I’m mostly directing this question to anyone who’s been to art school(s), preferably elsewhere than Finland (since I’m very familiar with Finnish education system and know most of the art schools around here).
How do people cope with the loan they take for art schools? How hard it is to get employed in your industry (animation, gaming, illustration)? If you have been employed, do you feel like you’ve learned more from school, or from work itself?
I have been playing with the idea of going abroad to study visual development or visual storytelling but currently all the things that should be organized, and whether it would do me any good (I have a near-completed degree in graphic design anyway) just puzzle me. To be honest, some advice from another student from abroad or professional would be super welcome…
I find myself thinking and desiring to see what I’m capable of and to learn more from other professionals and students. Not just sure if Finland is the place where I can test myself: there is not too much of professional field in animation (illustration is pretty DIY too) and things related to it.
It is a cliché and probably one that stands true too, to just do what you want to do and things will work out, but how do I know, how different it would be to study or work abroad, is it worth it, I simply don’t know.
Please do send me an ask if you have longer input, I would definitely appreciate it.
I felt like making a small list of things I consider important from the past year, maybe it’ll say something about me as a person but also, it is healthy to think for a moment where I currently am and what has been going on.
Gave a lecture on illustration and anime art at Desucon in June. Was pretty interesting experience, I feel like it was good to build my own confidence a bit! I like talking, but I’d like to learn how to talk better. Though I hate my squeaky voice.
Got employed by Rovio animation as graphic artist in the end of June.
Also gave a lecture at Fanfest together with tengufever. Like p(b)ros. We had a cool and participating audience!
Some things I feel like mentioning and having done at Rovio:
Color script for Angry Birds Toons episode Sand Castle. It was a learning experience. In the end it turned out way better than everyone was anticipating!
Painted some backgrounds and 3D props for AB GO cinematic trailer. Of course, not all of them, we have a small but smashing team of graphic artists there.
Did 12 postcard illustrations for Holiday Special.
Started working on visual development.
Professionally, last year was quite a kick-off and I think I only had cool freelance works and plenty of opportunities. But I’ve also been through many crises this year in both art and personal life.
As an artist I’ve gotten a lot faster at drawing…that is something I realized quite recently. I don’t even have to compare my sketchbook from very long ago, and I can tell the difference.
I think the digital illustration class I took at spring also made an impact. In rather short period, I did a lot of digital painting which I normally only did very occasionally. And I think those exercises and works were good to do before getting employed.
Autumn was harsh. I broke up from 7 years long relationship and moved to live on my own and started going to therapy to work out my problems and reasons. All these changes affected my drawing, and on top of all things, not-drawing felt like one-way ticket to depression.
Luckily I managed to find things I love and like to do again, so currently I feel optimistic and happy about doing my own stuff. From year 2014 I expect myself to finally graduate or stumble trying, and work more actively on my personal projects. I’d also like to keep up with getting to work on projects that I am interested in, those are the ones that make me improve the most.
I wish all the best for the year 2014 to all you followers, and whoever catches a glimpse of this post!
It keeps surprising me where do you all people come from, especially since by my own standards I haven’t been very active lately. Hope you enjoy following my stuff for a while. For anyone interested in what exactly will be uploaded here, this blog is my main art blog where I upload all things I consider worthwhile, elsewhere I have a dumb&doodle blog, inspiration blog and instagram for sketches and such. I also have facebook page where I put news, finished works and personal favorites.
As for lack of updates, I’ve been through some major life changes lately, and my daily job as graphic artist at Rovio Entertainment / animation takes rest of the cake. Things are steadily getting better though! Which also brings me to asoiaf/Beyond the Wall fanzine.
Fanzine is currently about 70% done, only lacking the cover which will be done by me, and some print adjustments. I know I failed the original deadline, but currently it looks like zine will see the daylight in January. I’ll upload some previews soon. Stay tuned.
Thank you for everyone who stopped to say hi, or bought our stuff! I had a table with Joiku and Claystorks, and Tracon was a lot of fun! There was even a Legend of Zelda piano concert, and I sat next to a bearded Finn-cosplayer and we both cried like any true dorkbutt adventurer would.
Damn, I love your traditional art stuff. How do you digitalize it, with a scanner? Camera? They look so good compared to what scanning this sort of stuff usually turns out
I scan everything, in either 300 dpi or 600 dpi. My scanner is Canon Lide, pretty basic scanner. For a good scan, big enough resolution is a must. I also use Photoshop’s photomerge tool, if the picture is too big or doesn’t scan nicely on the first try. It works so that you scan the same picture multiple times from different angles/parts and photomerge can automatically put the pieces together, seamlessly. That’s how I’ve scanned pictures as large as half meter long on paper with basic A4 scanner.
Then there’s some adjustments to do. Levels/curves tool is the key for nice contrasts and intended colors. Don’t worry about the background, just do adjustments for the picture itself, like all the textures and brush strokes you want to keep. For clean-up, I use eraser or brush and paintbucket to clean up the background (which usually is empty/white, in ones I’ve recently scanned). I just want to keep the textures for the picture, but I have no need for textured white space. With paintbucket’s “contiguous” and “all layers” options it’s easy to fill background area with white on new layer, because it recognises the lineart on the layer beneath. Just remember to toggle the tolerance for right results. That’s why most of my sketches look textured and rough, but the background area is neat and white. Hope this is any help!