Is studying illustration in college worth the cost or do you recommend an alternative?

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Is studying illustration in college worth the cost or do you recommend an alternative?


That's hard for me to answer because prior to going to college I had several opportunities to start my career immediately with some local agencies. But fate led me to South Florida on a scholarship to study graphic design. I think college can be a great foundation, depending on the school and instructors. Everybody needs to learn the basics but I think it's possible to also learn these basics in other ways through apprenticeship, practice, practice, practice and studying what you love. Also in 20+ years, no client has ever asked me what school I went to and what were my qualifications. The most important thing is to master your style, be reliable, keep your clients happy, keep getting more clients.

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Dean MacAdam

Illustrator

http://www.deanmacadam.com/

Is studying illustration in college worth the cost or do you recommend an alternative?


I was personally gratified by studying Illustration in Eina, my school in Barcelona. It gave me the chance to get in touch with different illustrators, and to learn from them. It was very enriching. In that period I discovered the way of working in which I feel comfortable. It was from there that I started my way into the world of Illustration.

As an alternative, everyone can learn from themselves, nourishing yourself with things that inspire you, looking at other artists' work, traveling... all these things can have the same value as an academic learning in a school. The contact with other illustrators is also very useful in order to learn, exchange knowledge, experiences...

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Inma Lorente

"#"photos/immalorente/

Is studying illustration in college worth the cost or do you recommend an alternative?


I attended the School of Visual Arts in NYC. I loved the program and was able to get enough financial assistance to graduate with a manageable amount of debt. I would not recommend taking on six-figures worth of debt for an art school. Even if you are wildly successful, working as an illustrator isn't the highest paying profession.

From my experience, most programs function in a way that can allow people to do the bare minimum and still get by. Those who succeed from art school are the ones who are actively pursuing every opportunity provided. For example, when I was a student I audited classes taught by illustrators I admired. I would stay after class and talk to my professors, participate actively in critiques, and ask questions to try and convey to them that I was very serious about becoming an illustrator. Some of them were kind enough to then introduce me to art directors. Another major perk of SVA is being located NYC. This gives you easy access to many art directors and great network events such as the American Illustration party. If you can actively pursue these outlets then art school can be very helpful, but taking on six-figures worth of debt isn't advisable.

An alternative that I know SVA offers is continuing education classes. These are usually around $500 and can allow you to take classes at an art school, many taught by incredible professors, for a fraction of the cost.

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Lily Padula

Illustrator

http://www.lilypadula.com/

Is studying illustration in college worth the cost or do you recommend an alternative?


This is a difficult question for me to answer because college in The Netherlands costs about 2000 dollars a year and you get tuition from the government for living costs. A little while back I was interested in graduate courses at SVA and I nearly (not kidding) fainted when I saw the cost. I figured I might as well work hard here and visit NY some other time. If you can't afford college it might be better to buy some good books, and learn by copying. Maybe we should re-introduce the apprenticeship way they used in the renaissance. Anyhow, teachers are always very important, inside or outside of college.

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Enzo

Illustrator

http://www.artofenzo.com/

Is studying illustration in college worth the cost or do you recommend an alternative?


I think it depends on what kind of person you are. If you're academic, college is great, if not, there are programs that teach in a more how-to way. If you're really self-motivated, get a few books, some art supplies,and dive in. I was a nerd all my school-life and I did well at studying, so I went to college, but I wasn't ready to pursue something definite like illustration so I did a general fine art degree. It wasn't until a few years after college that I began to put it together that I wanted to Illustrate.

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ELEANOR

Illustrator

http://justeleanor.com/

Is studying illustration in college worth the cost or do you recommend an alternative?