Anonymous asked: I would like to be better educated in illustration, but unfortunately I am unable to attend an actual university or college because of financial reasons. Do you know of any other alternative programs that would ground me better in concept, etc? Thanks.
Can we back up for just a second and realize how terrible this sentence is?
"I want to learn about art, and making art, and making my art work for a living, but I can’t afford to."
That is so frustrating. The price of higher education (in the US), especially arts education, is completely out of touch with the market. And what’s even sadder is that it’s so antithetical to the history of American Illustration education.
You guys know about Howard Pyle’s “Brandywine School” right? And Harvey Dunn’s Leonia School?
Howard Pyle built his own school in Wilmington, Delaware, and held summer classes in Chadds Ford, PA, mostly for journeyman illustrators and art students. Of note: some of his classes were nearly 50% female, which was unheard of in the early 1900s. They were completely free, save for room, board, and supplies (which were sold at cost). And his school produced a generation of illustrators that would harken in the “Golden Age” of American illustration, and influence American art and culture for over a century.
One of Pyle’s many star pupils, Harvey Dunn, would later start his own school in Leonia, NJ, much in the same model as Pyle’s school. Not only was the tuition free, but Dunn would help students find part-time work in Leonia to help pay for room, board, and supplies.
As art schools become more bloated and top-heavy, I think that you’ll see a trend towards these smaller models again, especially those which have a tighter focus on a specific industry. I know that there are online programs like TAD, Schoolism, and smART, and probably a host of others. Some of these are a mentorship-type model, and some are more like a traditional classroom.
For my money, TAD comes closest to how I envision one would “fix” arts education. They are accredited, offer physical studio sites if you can swing it, and, most importantly, have some extremely high quality instruction, both in mentorships and classes. It’s still a significant financial investment, however.
Additionally, and I’m sure you’ve done this, but you could look at in-state tuition rates for local universities, and look under every rock for scholarship opportunities. See if there are any local arts groups near you that have meetings/classes.
And, I guess: yourself. Be a library brat, visit every museum and gallery you can. Draw and paint every day. Ask questions, like you are right now.
Don’t get discouraged if you can’t get the “best” education right now. Everyone’s path is different, especially in art. And just because you don’t have some letters after your name, or some big clients under your belt, it doesn’t mean your voice is any less valid.