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Stuck between a rock and a hard place.

DragonKingDragonKing Member Posts: 1,476
edited May 1 in Off-Topic
I'm looking at going back to technical school but I'm.not really sure what to look for I don't want to fall into the same trap again and try to go for graphics design or web design just to end up unmarketable again. But I know something like IT or engineering while might be the best bet financially I have absolutely 0 interest in and would drive me insane. Graphic design, web design, or 3D design could, in fact, be the pushes I need to transition into the digital space and away from traditional art which is basically unmarketable in any visual entertainment field which all want digital art. But again can I put myself through all that again, going back to some institution, hoping I could get money to help pay, get out just to find out in not good enough again.

Post edited by DragonKing on
OrlonKronsteengorgonzola

Comments

  • Humanoid_TaifunHumanoid_Taifun Member Posts: 963
    If you don't know what you want to do, why don't you first get some short-term employment to try out your options and see if you like them enough to motivate yourself to get a degree?

  • ElysianEchoesElysianEchoes Member Posts: 313
    While a degree in graphic design might look good on your website, I don't feel it's worth the student debt. I also don't think a talent like you needs a degree to do freelance work. Piece together a portfolio, and let it speak for itself, I would say. A subscription to Adobe creative suite is much cheaper than a $40k-150k degree.

    But I also don't think you necessarily *have* to go digital. Have you ever tried selling merchandise on deviantArt? They can put your traditional art on t shirts, mugs, or just good, old fashioned prints.

    Commission work doesn't require a degree. Just talent and skill, the ability to meet deadlines, and some marketing know how, for which you can find endless free information about. Pinterest and LinkedIn come to mind.

    Illustration for books. Draw someone's comic. Paint pictures and take them to craft shows, flea markets, etc. Draw a decal or bumper sticker. There is nothing traditional (at least that is 2D) that a scanner can't convert to digital. There are still people interested in traditional artwork. May not be as 'easy' as a 9-5, but I daresay would be much more rewarding.

    Work for your dream, not someone else's. Learn as you go. Like the stoics say, "The obstacle is the way". I think you'll grow faster and better that way then by going back to school. Education is great and all, but eventually, it's time to live life, you know? And why live a life you don't love?

    Apologies for the verbosity lol.

    ThacoBellJuliusBorisovArdanis
  • DrHappyAngryDrHappyAngry Member Posts: 1,097
    There are certification programs that take a lot less time to get than a degree, but can still help you get your foot in the door if you don't have anything on your resume for the type of job you're looking. It may not hurt to see if the local community colleges offer any certification courses for photo shop, blender or whatever you're interested in. Back in the day I got a Linux+ cert, it didn't get me much, but it was enough to get a job, make some contacts, start building a resume and eventually work where I want.

    DreadKhan
  • DragonKingDragonKing Member Posts: 1,476
    If you don't know what you want to do, why don't you first get some short-term employment to try out your options and see if you like them enough to motivate yourself to get a degree?

    I did have some short term employment which laid me off in the beginning of this year and the only two interviews that I've gotten since then ultimately hired someone else. Only option I see before me is to get a technical skill more specialized.especially something that won't get automated out as technology because more advanced... I'm looking at you accounting and data analysis jobs, you guys are next! @Humanoid_Taifun
    While a degree in graphic design might look good on your website, I don't feel it's worth the student debt. I also don't think a talent like you needs a degree to do freelance work. Piece together a portfolio, and let it speak for itself, I would say. A subscription to Adobe creative suite is much cheaper than a $40k-150k degree.

    But I also don't think you necessarily *have* to go digital. Have you ever tried selling merchandise on deviantArt? They can put your traditional art on t shirts, mugs, or just good, old fashioned prints.

    Commission work doesn't require a degree. Just talent and skill, the ability to meet deadlines, and some marketing know how, for which you can find endless free information about. Pinterest and LinkedIn come to mind.

    Illustration for books. Draw someone's comic. Paint pictures and take them to craft shows, flea markets, etc. Draw a decal or bumper sticker. There is nothing traditional (at least that is 2D) that a scanner can't convert to digital. There are still people interested in traditional artwork. May not be as 'easy' as a 9-5, but I daresay would be much more rewarding.

    Work for your dream, not someone else's. Learn as you go. Like the stoics say, "The obstacle is the way". I think you'll grow faster and better that way then by going back to school. Education is great and all, but eventually, it's time to live life, you know? And why live a life you don't love?

    Apologies for the verbosity lol.

    I'm looking at a technical school near me and it is saying their graphic design course is only a little over 3k...which is an astounding number compared to the 80K Im going to have to pay back come October for the Bachelors of Fine Arts studio that has done nothing for me.

    I mean everything you said was suppose to be the dream, but I've learned something, if you aren't in the top 10% (and that's bring generous) or you have been capable of building a large loyal following like Draw with Jazza, (and I have neither the talent or the following)

    I've tried a lot of places, society 6, fine art America patron, subscribestar and a few others they are all dead now ultimately. Kinda wish id stayed in can't design at least they tried to force me to learn 3-d modelling, level design (which was effing fun), and digital painting. I switched over t9 fine art and most professors didn't even care about technical ability. It was all this post modernistic crap... Any love I didn't have for postmodernism and a few other eras of art was greatly increased after I was literally forced to study them. @ElysianEchoes


    On as similar note I just took a 60 question assessment at a nearby technical school and here we're my results

    Ok so I found a technical school close to me and I've taken their online assessment questionnaire. It says the top 3 things best suited for me.

    1. Artistic 70%
    2. Investigative 47.5%
    3. Realistic 45%

    Top 5 job categories
    1. Arts, audio/video tech knowledge and communication.

    2. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics

    3. Education and training,

    4. Information technology

    5. Health sciences.

    Tip 5 career paths

    1. Landscape architect.
    2. Architect except landscape naval
    3. Craft artist
    4. Set exhibit designer
    5. Marine designer
    6. Fine artist (they can burn for this, looks at BFA)
    7. Poet, lyricist, creative writer (nope)
    8.jeweler
    9. Music director
    10. Dancer (hahahahaha)

    ThacoBellgorgonzola
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 13,129
    It's worth pointing out that I'm doing an alternative certification program, which is a short training program in lieu of a 4-year degree. I already have a bachelor's and master's degree, so the alternative certification is a viable, low-cost option. Not every job requires years of additional training beyond what you already have.

    ThacoBellDreadKhan
  • DragonKingDragonKing Member Posts: 1,476
    @DrHappyAngry & @semiticgod

    That's ultimately what I'm looking at right now. It seems regardless of whether not I hate the job I to either find something else to make it work or start applying to McDonalds and get put on a suicide watch list.

    For the most part, going to community college or technical college could be a small breath of air for me but only if something positive towards my future can come out of it. Which is why while graphics or web design under any other circumstance would be the obvious freaking choice since its dealing with a form of design I. Pseudo familiar with but never really formally studied beyond 2 classes and one being back in 2010-2011.

    I don't have the same youthful optimism I had when I was 19 years old, knew nothing and went into my first college which was a for profit school for game design.

    semiticgodDrHappyAngryArviaThacoBell
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 13,129
    "For profit" schools have preyed on a lot of folks, and game design is crazy competitive. It's understandable that it didn't work out.

    For what it's worth, @DragonKing, you're not alone in all this. A lot of people are facing these challenges, so it's not like you've screwed things up--plenty of people are in the same position. I'd actually say that despair is the hallmark of our generation. It's a factor of the hostile job market we grew up in, the weak economy in our formative years, and honestly, also some unfriendly prejudices from employers, not to mention the stagnant wage growth and weak workers' unions that date back to long before we were born.

    This isn't to diminish your struggles by painting them as ordinary. I just want you to know that the problem isn't you. These are hard times for young people in America.

    DrHappyAngryOrlonKronsteenThacoBell
  • deltagodeltago Member Posts: 6,682
    Ok here is my advice:

    Learn how to turn your hand drawn art into digital art. I want to say this is easy, but I am also not the one to ask. I do know there are drawing tablets that take out a lot of the technical work needed to actually draw in something like Illustrator. If you don't already have one, get one.

    Create a portfolio. This is a most in any field. You need to show employers what you can do. This portfolio should be versatile. If every image looks the same, then employers will think that's the only art style you can do, which may not fit the art style they are looking for.

    Start small. Bigger companies will not hire you straight off the bat, but a person creating a mod, or something like a school or local community centre needing poster, might be able to throw you a couple of bucks to get high quality work and can be considered actual published work for your portfolio which extends much further than just a random thing you drew. It shows employers you can work with others, follow directions, and most importantly can hit a deadline. If you do get work, make sure you get testimonial from them that you can add to your portfolio. If you haven't done so, go back and read the Jacob Burgess interview Wild Surge did. It's voice acting, but the same principals he talks about applies there. (shameless plug over)

    Make Contacts You said only the top 10% get jobs. Well I disagree. The people that get jobs are the ones that actually go out and make contacts and show what they can do for others. You never know when a person is going to be looking for art, or if they are going to meet someone looking for art. You want as many people as you know to say "I know a guy." Go outside of the artistic community. Hit websites that focus on writing, but don't advertise. Instead, read, reach out to those that have great stories but maybe lacking cover art to draw readers in and offer to help. Other writers might then reach out to you where you can say "I can do it, but It'll cost you this much." Once again, anything you create can be used in this portfolio.

    Start your own Project So you want to be a game developer? Do something like a small Unity game that highlights one of your art styles and throw it up on a site like kongergate. But once again, it is much better to start very small and simple then get into something as complex as an RPG adventure. Once this small game is done, either attempt to improve on it, or create one that is a little more challenging. Create a following that way and eventually create a game that you might be able to put on Steam, or do something like a web comic.

    Finally:

    Have a job that pays the bills and set goals Turning your passion into an actual fulltime job that you can make money off of is extremely difficult and rare. Having employment that can supply your goals (even if it is just flipping burgers at McDonalds) is essential. That drawing tablet, isn't cheap. But that doesn't mean if you end up in a place like McDonalds that you have given up. Just keep setting goals that will allow you to get out of that job. It's great to say "This is what I want to do with my life," but it should always be followed with "and these are the steps I need to get there." If you don't know the steps. Research. If BioWare is your goal, find an artist that is there now and creep their LinkedIn page and actually see their resume and what it took for them to get there, and if you stumble along the way, its important to not give up.

    I do hope this helps. All I can follow up with is, don't give up. Learn and Improve. You may not reach your goals, but the journey there can just be as fulfilling.

    semiticgodArviaArdanisStummvonBordwehr
  • OrlonKronsteenOrlonKronsteen Member Posts: 679
    semiticgod wrote: »
    Modern research has found that human willpower is finite. You quite literally can't force yourself to do something that makes you miserable indefinitely; your own brain won't let you.

    This is a fascinating notion. I seem to be trying my darnedest to prove this thesis wrong. ;)

    In all seriousness, I too am in crisis. I'm pretty miserable right now - you're not alone, @DragonKing. And I fully understand the hesitancy to enroll in a new program. Several years ago, out of desperation to get out of one career I hated, I did a professional masters degree in a new discipline, only to discover after years of toil and expense that I'd bet on the wrong horse. The industry I was trying to get into started collapsing as soon as I graduated, so I've only been able to get contract work. On top of that, after an initial period of novelty, I found that I just don't enjoy the work. I can stand the initial honeymoon period of a new job, but soon after that boredom sets in (and in cases, where there's a lot of bullshit going on in the workplace, misery). The only thing I've found that helps is changing jobs - a side effect of working contracts. While on one hand this has caused financial uncertainty and despair, paradoxically my spirit has been rescued on more than one occasion by having a contract end right when I thought I couldn't take another week.

    So, the only things I can think of are: a) find something bearable, and that there's a market for, and consider changing jobs every couple of years to keep things fresh, or b) follow your bliss, as Joseph Campbell would say, and be an artist. Option b) can be financially suicidal, of course, and this is no joke. But just about every successful artist took a risk at some point.

  • ArviaArvia Member Posts: 611
    edited May 1
    @DragonKing, let me just add one slight practical advice to what @deltago said. Those drawing tablets might not be a good solution if you'd like to go digital with your art. Indirect work ( drawing on the tablet and seeing it on your PC) takes getting used to and is not for everybody. My husband is a self-employed artist who draws illustrations and caricatures (his degree is in food technology engineering or something, and he hated it), and we got one of those when he had to go digital. It was complicated, we sold it after a year, and others with more experience recommended drawing directly on a tablet ( the one with the fruit, I don't know if writing the name violates the forum rules) with a pressure sensitive drawing pen, and the results are amazing. It feels much more natural when you're just changing from paper to screen.
    Also, there is excellent drawing software out there that costs very little.
    If you'd like to know details, just ask.

    deltagoThacoBell
  • DragonKingDragonKing Member Posts: 1,476
    edited May 2
    @deltago @Arvia
    I know what a tablet is, I have owned a bamboo for years and an early gen Cintiq for months, my issue with digital was making the transition from pencil and paper in the construction and sketching phase to doing it a digital. That and getting us to understanding how the program works compared to understand how pigment work. That's part of the reason why I'm debating whether or not to go into a graphics design or web design at a technical school. I'm not foreign to photoshop, illustrator, maybe a little more so to InDesign and Dreamweaver(its been years) but due to overlapping things like design, color theory, composition and so on, I could focus more on the technical side of those programs so I can start applying to graphic design jobs.

    My portfolio is old and dead at this point

    I said the top 10% who through drawing along survive solely on the things EE said and I also said, "or" you build a big enough and dedicated enough following.hence why I mentioned jazza, he isn't in the top 10% but he does have a massive following that he spent nearly a decade maybe 2 decades. That 10% is a relative number of skill not the total number of artist as a whole and yes there are outliers. Can contacts get you work, yes but not all the time. At best contacts did for me was get me in pointless gallery shows. Shows that studio and sequential art ultimately don't care about nor did they increase my following. Heck I remember the story of one female artist who due to where she lived and how low on funds she was, her "contacts" just started ignoring her because she couldn't even get up and go to California on a whim. They even went as far as told her they can't use her.

    One thing ive come to learn about the animation and comic industry it is very incestuous.

    Only thing I can think of right now is I need to start making power moves.

    Need to get my permit so I can finally get a licence.

    Try to get into a technical school for a more marketable certificate.

    Stop going to hospitals, its not worth it.

  • ArdanisArdanis Member Posts: 1,578
    edited May 2
    Hm, I'm also trying to get into digital arts as of now. A couple years ago I took a look at how much freelance artists charged for their work and was like, okay, maybe I'll save more money by doing the stuff myself. Besides, doing your own art for your own project is a lure. Procrastination is a sin, though... Still, one thing I never ever considered was taking paid courses.

    Fingers crossed for you, mate.
    Arvia wrote: »
    Those drawing tablets might not be a good solution if you'd like to go digital with your art. Indirect work ( drawing on the tablet and seeing it on your PC) takes getting used to and is not for everybody.
    I concur. Tried drawing on Wacom Intuos several times, and gave up very quick after each attempt. Bought instead XP-Pen Artist tablet with sensor display few months ago.

  • GallengerGallenger Member Posts: 392
    edited May 5
    If graphics design/art is your thing, this is kind of the avenue I've seen work in person.

    I have a niece who went to school for photography - after graduation she set up a photography business as one does. The photography business has since however turned into her "side-gig" as she had a natural talent for graphic design and etc.

    Her avenue went something like this: offer graphics design services in addition to photography (so like graphics on the outside of photo albums and for "books ends" that could be attached to the album on Facebook/social media and other stuff like that). She did that a few times and ended up getting offers for graphics design from several smaller businesses around here to make advertising and branding material (logos) and started out doing so for like 25$ a pop.

    3 years later, and she rarely if ever takes a photograph and strictly does graphics design for advertising material (she has no degree relating to this) and can essentially name her price over 1/4 of the state.

    Honestly if you can use photoshop and other design suites like that with even a modicum of proficiency you could *probably* swing that into an entry level office position which may very well be disguised completely or in part by a job title akin to "office manager" granted, law offices and the like will have office managers that probably don't do any graphics design at all, but I've consulted with a TON of non-profits who have people disguised as "office managers" who are actually graphics design consultants that are permanently on staff. I know this because *I* do it at my museum too, and she doesn't have a degree of any kind (college drop out but I knew a good deal when I saw one). Yes, absolutely all of my marketing material and *any* digital graphic in the entire facility (exhibits and informational TVs, etc) are all created in house by this employee and she has since translated that into contract work after hours for other businesses.

    A certification looks nice, but if you know you can deliver just start marketing yourself and sending solicitations to small businesses and hope it turns out ok. You'll need to ask for very little/nothing at first, but if you do good work they'll tell their friends and keep coming back to you and you're set.

    Hell if you're really good at free-hand and are generally OK with talking to people, being a tatoo artist is a *very* lucrative business if you're good at it and doesn't require a ton of school lol.

    semiticgodBelgarathMTH
  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 4,397
    edited May 6
    The trouble is that if you're not a 'people person' or a good self-promoter you're pretty much screwed unless you're really good at what you do and can get hired by a top company. The trouble is there are a LOT of people who are very good at what they do but have terrible interview skills. We have a very good employee where I work that is competent and a great worker that can't get hired in my department because there's a hiring freeze (due to the 'assumption' that we were going to have a bad year that has so far been a bullshit assumption btw). He's interviewed for several jobs in our company in different departments that I know he'd excel at if given the chance but because of his personality he's not ever given that chance. Total bullshit considering our human resources department is mostly farmed out to incompetent companies that don't have a clue what a analyst or a chemist actually do. Amateur psychiatry is what they're good at which means they're easily swayed by people who have confidence whether or not they can actually back it up with real skills. Yeah, I'm a little bitter about the asinine politics...

    Edit: Should have explained that he's been a contractor for three years and doesnt get the same benefits as we 'real' employees. No vacation, no healthcare, little sick time (if any). Total b.s....

    Post edited by Balrog99 on
    semiticgod
  • JoenSoJoenSo Member Posts: 787
    I own a wacom and almost always draw digitally when I illustrate professionally. But it still feels awkward to draw with that damn thing. So I still do all my sketching and ground work by hand before I scan the drawing and basically trace over it to work with the colors and everything. A bit tedious, and isn't suitably for every style, but it's what helped me to bridge that gap between traditional and digital.

    That being said, I'm not sure if traditional art is actually that impossible to work professionally with. Depends on what field of illustration you're in of course. But for me, it's more that digital is just more convenient and less nerve-wrecking to work with. But there are still a lot of traditional illustrators out there.

    StummvonBordwehr
  • DragonKingDragonKing Member Posts: 1,476
    edited May 6
    Just left a state college while I didn't get to talk with the current chair of the graphic design program, I did talk with the old chair who was promoted to the dean. I feel more lost now then I was before. We ended up talking about everything from the certificate to diploma and degree and even talked about the original idea I had of just trying to push for my masters.

    I feel more lost than when I started. A large part of me still wants t to chase a career in art, another part of me keep a telling me I'm just not good enough, ill never be good enough.

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