With all of my recent efforts to improve my skills, the thought has crossed my mind “Would it be worth it to return to college to study illustration?”
I can actually come up with a pretty quick answer to that – no.
Of course, there’s the time issue. Home, work, and kids don’t leave much time leftover for school assignments, and their short-term deadlines would never fit into my current schedule. I need a great deal of flexibility right now – if there was a class that started at 10:00 at night, then I might be able to squeeze it in.
But, that’s really only a small part of it. I’ve already gone through the Bachelor of Fine Arts program in Drawing and Painting, and I’m quite aware of where my shortcomings are as an artist. I know that I need to be observing, drawing, and studying every chance I get in order to improve. I know that I need to practice with the figure as well as various media. I don’t think I need to pay a huge amount of money for someone to tell me to keep doing those things. And no professor could wave a wand over me to make me better - only effort on my part can do that.
I’m a big fan of taking advantage of learning opportunities as they arise. I was always frustrated when I had the inspiration to work on “X” and would have REALLY gotten something out of it by seizing that moment. But if the class had to do with “Y,” then there was no time for “X.” I consider that an opportunity lost – valuable time wasted.
I’m much better suited for independent study, and I don’t see the need for a college program for that – I’m already doing it. I’m doing anatomy studies, color studies, composition studies, etc. I’m searching the net for insight and instruction on technical issues as well and tips on media, and reading interviews of people working in the field. In short, I’m creating my own assignments tailored to my specific skill needs and time constraints. The work I’m doing has great meaning and relevance to me at this time, so that makes it MUCH more enjoyable!!
Therefore, I think a mentor or a critique group would be of greater value in my continuing art education at the moment. The one thing that a college atmosphere does provide is feedback and discussion - well, sometimes. I’m happy, at least, to be able to post online and get feedback on works in progress. That will have to do for now.
(Sorry for resurrecting an old sketchbook picture, but since time seems to always be an issue anymore I thought this one was appropriate)