Art Classes

  • I think everyone's experiences will be different. I went to art school for 3 years, graduated with a BFA at the top of my class, and am working a retail job while struggling to find anything in my field. I was working steadily as a freelancer for 3 years after graduation but it wasn't steady enough or lucrative enough to support my family, and when things started getting too tight, I switched to a steadier, if less enjoyable, job. But I am still working on getting back into my field.

    Most of the full-time professional artists I know have an alternative source of income. It could be art-related (a technical art skill like 3D modeling, programming, graphic design) not art-related (manager a store, waiting tables, masseuse) or somewhere in between (teaching, project manager, stage manager).

    With art, and probably most creative fields, youc an expect to work your butt off at it while also working at another job, for at least 5 years before you start to make anything close to a living off it.

    That being said, if you learn better in person then look into art classes. I wouldn't change careers entirely, though. You might have to make it a slow transition. Fortunately, there aren't really age restrictions or deadlines on becoming a professional artist. 🙂

    SVS is becoming a great tool for people like you who want to start learning but can't just put their whole life on hold for 10 years, or people like me who have official training but are struggling to beat the competition out there. You might be able to supplement the online stuff with classes at community colleges, or workshops. And going to conferences where they offer workshops can be really great too.


  • A year ago I lost my job as a welder/fabricator, after many years of struggle to succeed in a career which I had attempted to really set an honest path in. I just am not fit for such work. I wanted to go to art school after high school, but my brother convinced me that it was a waste of time, but now looking back at it, I can see that it is just his contrarian personality that led him to such advice for me. He really hates anyone rating art, and finds most artists pretentious, though his work is remarkable, he refuses to do it as a career, and would rather dig a hole than make a dollar off of art.

    Anyways, here I am about to turn 35, and last July I decided to join SVS after finding Will Terry on youtube. I have always wanted to write and illustrate children's books from a very young age, and was shcoked to find such a place as this. My work has grown so much over the course of a year, and it is due to Lee White, Will Terry and Jake Parker. I listened to their artistic advice, as well as their advice for practicing, scheduling, and overall, a realistic approach to improving my art. Here is an example of how much my art has grown since last July


    I think the hardest part of SVS vs traditional school is that you are accountable to yourself, and must be able to motivate yourself. I got rid of all distractions, such as video games, and stopped using social media as a consumer, and started using it to surround myself with likeminded artists with similar goals. All these things have been recommendations from people here on the forums, as well as the teachers. They have a ton of advice to give you, and I would suggest that if you do go the route of becoming and SVS subscriber, that you also use these forums as a replacement for the community you would have in a college setting. You must also come in with the mindset that it will take hardwork and dedication, and the ability to push through different limitations you might be faced with as you begin to challenge yourself here.

    I can't recommend signing up enough, but really want to emphasize the self discipline it requires to move forward. You can do it, and everyone on these forums are willing to help you as much as you need it. We all want each other to succeed, and so we welcome all the questions and critiques you would need to move forward with what you want to do. It is one of the best decisions I have ever made.

    Hope this helped.

    P.s the image is somewhat blury, but you can click on my SCBWI link and see what I have been able to do because of SVS.

  • Art school is a mixed bag and you have to be very careful in what program and school you select, especially with the money that's involved. I got a BFA in fine art. While a few of the teachers and classes where helpful to me personally, most of it was conceptual (not concept art), fine art based and it kind of messed with my head. I didn't leave with the drawing skills I needed, and could only draw and paint from life or by directly copying reference, and only knew about the fine art gallery scene. I didn't know how to improve and I stopped doing art for a long time! It wasn't until I started finding online resources, courses, and some select art books, that my drawing skills improved and I could start composing the images I wanted.

    I think it's a really exciting time, because the internet has made it so you can really tailor your art education to your needs and pick only the stuff that you think will serve you best and there's such a wide variety of instructors around.

    If you want to take some real life classes, I'd really tailor it to your needs. Look at the instructor and what kind of work they do. Take courses or workshops that will serve you. The courses I found most helpful at school were the courses that taught me painting techniques and figure drawing/painting/sculpture.

    Schoolism, Ctrl+paint, and Gum Road are three other online resources I'd recommend besides SVS. "Fun with a Pencil" and "Successful Drawing" by Andrew Loomis are two good books to have on hand to round out your fundamentals.

    I think you'll find that once you devote some time to fundamentals in drawing like perspective and breaking down objects into simple 3d forms, your creativity will grow and grow.

    Good luck!!!

  • SVS OG

    @ambiirae I've had five years of art school and really enjoyed it but...I think if you took the SVS and Schoolism classes along with Figure drawing a couple time a week you will eventually be way ahead of the curve. You could go through self taught first and go for the feedback versions whenever you can - I learned much more from one of Will's Folio Academy videos than I did in many of my painting classes (which I was terrible at). - there was a sense in my school that the students should just paint and have no structure (instruction?) eventually stopped taking anything from the painting department because it felt like I was just buying studio space. But to answer your question I do not make a living from art - i am a welding instructor at a community college in Portland Oregon - I did learn to weld in art school though - became a sculptor's assistant to Manuel Izquierdo and worked in the welding and fabrication industry until I started teaching metal sculpture and eventually got a full time position in the welding technology program teaching most forms of industrial welding - I love my job and it is as a result of art school but it is not art - anyways....I think I got off track - ....SVS, Schoolism, Figure drawing... done deal....and it's only going to be in the 80's today 🙂

  • @kevin-longueil said in Art Classes:

    it's only going to be in the 80's today 🙂

    103 here, and I live in Socal. I need to move lol.

  • I agree with @Lee-White about the live class thing being a good idea. I think asking questions and getting feedback is important.
    Personally I was without direction and a good teacher for most of my life regarding art (and everything else I guess) and it has taken a long time to get anywhere near where I want to be with my art skills. I've only recently been learning perspective properly for instance (shocking I know).
    It was only after I went to my local art college and met like minded people for the first time (art students) that things started to pick up for me with my learning, but on the actual course we were not taught anything much and certainly none of the design foundations that SVS learn teaches or that you can watch on YouTube or get on Gumroad from many great Concept artists and Illustrators now. It was one of the students that showed me the wealth of information on YouTube there was. College served as a kick up the *** for me with my art after a long period of depression, but I've improved dramatically with learning on my own with online tutorials since I graduated in 2014 and if I hadn't had an adult learning loan to do it I wouldn't have been able to afford it- and I can't say it would have been worth the expense in all honesty.
    My sister Katherine however, went to University and studied Illustration and even went on to do a Masters degree, and she told me it was a waste of time. One of the tutors had even told her that there was no need to learn how to draw and she decided to drop out after being bullied by one of the tutors and switch to a different University... So if you go for the full education thing make sure it is the right course for you first.

  • Pro SVS OG

    It seems a lot of people have had very disappointing results with art colleges - truth be told I have met some myself who went to art school to be told to "express themselves" and given nearly no tuition or lessons but just unlimited studio time. I just wanted to make the point that not all art schools are like that - so if you are thinking about art school, you should not dismiss it on those grounds. There are absolutely excellent art schools with very dedicated teachers that teach art like a discipline to be mastered - like music, dance and all the other expressive arts that have the benefit of a formal teaching. The school I went to was like that - and though I certainly have a lot to learn still, I do not feel I have missed anything in terms of fundamentals.
    So, definitely if you are considering formal art education it can be worth it - it may just need a careful choice.

  • Attending "Art School" or "College" isn't just about what you learn in class from your instructors. It's also about gutting out the difficult classes, receiving a well rounded education and being expose to different people and beliefs.

    A matriculating "art school" will also require non-art classes in order to receive a degree and not just drawing and painting, etc.

    You can't compare the education you receive from attending a college to an online course as they are two entirely different things and they both serve a unique purpose.

    Online classes are a fantastic opportunity to obtain knowledge and skills in specific areas either to supplement your current skills and knowledge or as a first time learning experience.

    Few people will be professional illustrators. Few people have the talent at that level, receive the breaks, build the network, whatever you wish to attribute success to. Obtaining the skills and knowledge isn't always about a paycheck as very often creative people simply need to create.

  • Pro SVS OG

    @eric-castleman Your progress is outstanding!! Fantastic 😃

  • @charlie-eve-ryan thank you! Just trying to keep up with you all 😉

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