Note: This post may not reflect the views of everyone because it is written according to personal opinions.
Simply put, ‘yes’. But then how much it helps depends on different individuals. Going into art school is like an investment. It’s the same as paying and earning a degree in medical studies, where you learn some skills and apply those skills after you graduate. So the question becomes ‘Is it worth the money and effort to go into art school?’ In this post I will briefly talk about the pros and cons about going to, and not going to art school.
Personally I have never been to art school, and no one I know in my family tree draws. I mainly learn drawing by reading manga and copying whatever I liked at first, and then later I began to draw random things from my imagination. However, I will try to be as objective as possible in this post.
THE BASICS OF DRAWING – Art School: 1 vs Self-taught: 0
When we talk about the basics of drawing, such as perspectives, proportions, camera angles, shading, media application, I find it easier to learn when there is an instructor, or at least someone to guide us. Of course, that does not mean one cannot learn these things on his own, but learning by oneself may talk a long time to try out everything, while going to class and listening to an instructor may enable one to learn the basics of drawing better and faster.
FEEDBACK FOR YOUR WORK – Art School: 1 vs Self-taught: 0
Going to an art school means you can have your work looked over by professional instructors and receive quality feedback for improvement. If you are not in art school or know any of those artists, the only things you can do is to ask for feedback from family, friends or online. Sometimes you can find valuable comments from online peers, but from my personal experience, most (most, not all) people online either praise your work or trash your work all the way. I find comments which point out your mistakes and provide suggestions on how to correct the mistakes most helpful.
FREEDOM OF STYLE – Art School: 0 vs Self-taught: 1
With the trend towards digital nowadays, many schools offer more courses on digital art, and more modern artists choose to use the digital medium rather than traditional. However, I can’t help but notice that many people have a similar art “style” or the same way of colouring. Most of these people have been involved in art school in some way. This made me think that instructors in art school teach a standard method of working on a type of art, and a lot of students just blindly follow. On the other hand, if an artist is given the opportunity to explore different ways to draw, I think he is more likely to develop his own unique style. Style is a personal thing, and even if you have superb art skills you may not have your own style.
MONEY – Art School: 0 vs Self-taught: 1
Yes, money – the source of most problems and also the solution to most problems. There are more and more people who think “I learn to draw manga. I will become famous. I will earn lots of money.” I think this case only applies to a small portion of people. Going to art school is a huge investment of time and money, but after you graduate, will you be able to earn a living through art? This is a question one must carefully consider before going into art school. It may take a long time before you are able to sell your art for a stable income. Therefore, if you are not really serious in the art business, I would recommend getting a normal job with a stable income so that you can live comfortably while funding your drawing hobby.
There may be more pros and cons for art school and not going to art school, but the above are the major ones I can think of right now. The bottom line is, going to art school has its benefits, but these will only help if you are seriously getting into the art industry. For people who like to draw but are not completely devoted into drawing, it is better to take a few art courses to learn the basics, but the rest will be fine with simply exploring the art world by yourself.
Lastly, it is never too late to go into art school. It is not a must to get into art school as soon as you qualify to go into college. You can try it out, then try learning on your own and see which method you like more. Afterall going to art school is just another resource. The most important thing is to be happy drawing the things you like
Now, keep getting those manga pages out~