Last week, we posed a question about whether or not Redbubble artists attended art school and if they thought it was a valuable growing experience or if creatives were better off doing it themselves and spending all that schooling time creating instead. Since we’re thinking about Back to School so much at the RB offices these days, we wanted to share some of the great (and differing) thoughts our RB community had on the subject, so we rounded up some of our favorites.
Check them out below and share your thoughts in the comments.
"Coming to school, I think it broadened my experience. The places I was looking for inspiration. Before coming here and before high school, I was really interested in anime and manga stuff, and I was drawing a lot of not great things. And when I came to school here, eventually, I started to get more interested in design and shapes and not just focusing so much on the human figure and drawing pretty images, it’s more about images that have meaning. So now it’s just focusing on mood and atmosphere and exploring, I think I didn’t do a lot of that."
"Art school is a profound waste of money, something I realized halfway through college and promptly dropped out. Everything I know that is useful to my career was learned through personal experience. It will burden you with immense debt that is difficult to recover from, because art is not a lucrative career path in terms of wealth, save for a very tiny minority of famous artists.If you want to learn techniques and tools, take workshops/apprenticeships from artists who are good at what they do. You can also find quite a bit of incredibly useful information online for free. Beyond improving some technical skills, art school has nothing to offer artists."
"The single, best thing I 'learned' from art school was that the guidance of the professors and education you receive, in many ways has to come from within yourself. You have to go out and leverage not just your drive and passion, but every single asset your school could possibly offer you in order to get the very most for your dollar spent, be it time chatting with your professors or using the facilities on campus for work and research, or anything and everything. Make every single second there work for you so that when you graduate you will be in a far better position to not just recoup the expense of education but prime yourself for an even more enriching career."
"...my opinion on the subject of the NECESSITY of formal art training to become a successful artist --- is that OF COURSE it's not absolutely necessary. There are many great intuitive, natural, and self-trained artists making a good living. However - the experience of being exposed to artists and styles of art that you might not have otherwise explored is quite valuable! Plus - it doesn't hurt to learn technique from someone who has already worked the bugs out... and improve on it as you develop."
"In my opinion, creativity and talent alone are enough to produce great art - but not necessarily art that convinces the broad public. Art school and technical ability alone (without the creativity part) are not enough to produce good art - but they convince the broad public and can bring money.
"I took a life drawing class, acrylic painting, photoshop, & illustrator in jr. college. But I went to a school in LA that specialized in 3d & learned to build levels (backgrounds) and characters. My friends who went to school & ended up with a MFA are working desk jobs. I've heard art schools are great for contacts that will help you later, but that seems to be true for a lot of creative fields."
For the first year of my art school experience I was taught some hand skills and theory, which have proved invaluable. After that, for the remaining 3 years I wasn't directly taught any skills. At art school in the 1990s, especially in Fine Art, "skill" was a dirty word that had everything to do with craft and nothing to do with art. What I did learn about was myself, what I wanted to do, had my own ideas about skill and drawing tested very thoroughly. Ultimately that was a positive experience. With no one teaching you, and three years of studio space, you sink or swim.