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Will an art school help your creativity to grow?

I asked myself the same way ummm… almost fiteen years ago. (Gosh, I’m all grown up!) I chose a secondary school of art, to study a graphic design. Let’s summarize what I realized. I can’t guarantee everything that worked for me will work for you but I think you already know this.

Czech secondary schools usually take three or four years of your life, starting at the age of 15. I was drawing something into my exercise books all the time – Star Wars motives, random fantasy stuff, funny pictures. Everyone was telling me I’m very talented. It was a natural choice for me to go to an art school.

Alexandra's concept art

Let’s count some pros:

  • I’ve got better at drawing technically.
  • Photoshop! Corel! InDesign! Aka graphic software skills.
  • I learned (surprise!) you have to draw even if you’re lazy or sick or you’re not in the mood. No work = no income.
  • There is no muse nor the Nine – it’s your own mind where all the miracles are found. Broaden your horizons whenever you’ve got the chance.

And because no life is just “wine, (wo)men and song”, we will continue with cons:

  • There was a teacher I really hated. She’s got jammed in 80’s, was mimsy and over the top “academical” and rejected all fantasy or manga drawings as “too kitschy”. She often said: “When I was young, I was naive like you and then realized what’s all about, so trust me and do as I say.” Would you not hate it, even if the teacher was true?
  • We were taught to polish every design unless it was perfect (according to the appropriate teacher). It took a very long time which you’ll never have in practice. No real customer wants to wait for his poster or business card for two months.
  • After the first year at the high school, I stopped to draw funny pictures into my exercise book. Drawing was just a duty.

It is said that it takes twelve years to study an art, and it takes twelve years to forget everything you’ve learned. At this point, you’ll become an artist. I believe it. It took several years from the end of my high school studies until I started to draw again. As a hobby. Kitschy and non-professionally. The girl picture above is my concept art for Alexandra, my first Iplehouse BJD.

I went to the university and finished it as Master of Arts (information and library science). I am a librarian-specialist who loves art, a wantrepreneur with an idea for my own doll clothes business. Not bad at all.

When you consider applying for art studies, think of following:

  • Why do you want to study an art? Do you want to be an independent designer, graphic studio labour force or museum curator? Maybe you want to do something else after finishing your studies – will this study help you to fulfill your dreams?
  • Is art your hobby? It’s wonderful when you make a living in the field you enjoy, but some people just never mix hobbies with their job. What about you?
  • Do you think different? Do you love originality and uncommon designs? Some customers do not want anything uncommon or challenging. Some customers have a really bad taste. Would you be satisfied with your work anyway?
  • Creativity is an advantage in many branches, and you surely have some more skills and perks. What else are you good at?
  • Choose your school wisely. Do you have money to afford the best one in your country? Or elsewhere? Will they accept you as a student? How many times are you ready to try?
  • Do whatever you want. Do not take any advices (including these ones) for laws or restrictions. Art just doesn’t work like that.

So, does the art school allow your creativity to grow? It depends on you such as on the school. It was not for me, but it can be for you. The world is all yours.

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