Education

So you really want to peruse a career in Digital Art. Seriously? Are you sure? I’M SO HAPPY!!! Going to art-school is a great idea to discipline yourself and make killer art projects to go into a portfolio. 

Here are some helpful tips to get you on a healthy path to your dream job!

Do I HAVE to go to school to get a digital art and design job?

No and yes. Many people make it to where they wanna go by just building up their portfolio and not even having a degree. Portfolio, portfolio, portfolio. Make awesome pieces, add it to your portfolio, beautify your portfolio website, and share it. However, going to a school gives you the opportunity to execute intense art projects that you can potentially add to your portfolio. Your art teachers’ goal is to make you into a successful and strong artist who can make a successful and strong piece for your collection to show to jobs. Adding schools onto your resume also looks very neat, showing you are a dedicated learner and if you were involved more in your institution. Some animation studios do require a college degree, so its good to have in your pocket so you can really get to your dream job.

Going to school also helps make connections with classmates and your instructors, who most likely have professional experience in studios. Learn from them, save their contact information, and ask your instructors for letters of recommendation when you do apply to those dream jobs! 

Dear High-School Students…

Is your high-school giving art electives? Is there a tech school program? Clubs? Summer programs? Take ’em! It’ll make going to college a little easier since you will have some skills already. You can also use those projects into your portfolio; one of the best things ever for a digital artist is to see how their art improve over the years!

Community College

You want to get away from home I get it. Don’t rush though. Debt isn’t fun! Community college is a great start to get your art degree! Many community colleges have an art program… take it! Your major will include general education as well so you are getting those out of the way while tackling the main curriculum. If you can handle it, be a full time student and graduate sooner. You will get a degree called an Associates in just two-years in the area of study as a full-timer along with more scholarship opportunities to help pay for school.

Universities are expensive dude… staying local, living with the parents, saving money, a little part time job, getting scholarships, trust me, it will help out a lot. Try not to rush into moving to a whole other state or even country for your dream school. Your art department in community college will help you build up basic skills and your portfolio for this one goal: to TRANSFER to your dream school. When you get your associate’s degree, those credits will be transferred into that university you want to go to, and boom, you just saved two years of attending an expensive but awesome school!

Four-Year College

Congrats! You transferred! Or are you a freshman? Either way, you are getting a great education! Study hard, practice, build up your portfolio, focus in class, listen to your instructors, work above and beyond expectations, and connect with your classmates. When you are in a four-year college, especially one that is art-focused, you will be surrounded by so many artists than you would in community college. Also be sure to keep an eye on scholarship opportunities to help pay for your education! Again, work hard, schools will notice your skills and you can win a few rewards, scholarships, and maybe a referral to an internship.

Tip: Keep track on your school expenses for your taxes! This can include books, laptops, art supplies… just in case! You might get that money back…

Full-Time vs Part-Time Student

A semester is about four-five months in the beginning or end of the year. You need to complete credit-hours for your degree.

Being part time means you are taking six to eleven credits, so about two to three classes a semester. Part time students will graduate much later, so in about four years for associates degrees and six to eight for a bachelors.

Being full-time means you are making a minimum of twelve credits, so you take four to five classes a semester. Full timers will be done much sooner.

It came to my attention that there are better scholarship opportunities for full-time students than part-time. The catch is… say maybe you are so burned out you want to take a semester off… be careful. Some scholarships require you to go to school semester by semester so you can keep that amount to help pay for school. Being a full-time student is a commitment yes, but getting your degree sooner will open a lot of doors. So eat and sleep well, and drink some coffee! 

Internships

Internships are fun! They are basically the inside scoop of what you will be doing after getting your degree, except, you won’t be getting paid… or would you? Still, find the experience rewarding. You are working in a department with professionals, building up a portfolio, and learning from artists who went through a similar journey to get where they are at. Plus, it makes a killer addition to your resume.

How do you get an internship? Talk to your art-department! Your instructors will be willing to help their students get to success. Keep up with newsletters, updates, billboards, everything. Take as many opportunities as you can! You can also check on job search websites like Indeed for internships.

You could be an intern at places like Disney, Blizzard Entertainment, Cartoon Network, or a new developing company! And if they love you, they will keep you, how exciting! 

I’m currently in my final year of art-school. Yep, the final year! Its 2021, I started community college in 2017. Holy cow! It feels really relieving to have stayed home, be local, and have a great art program at my community college. I worked hard, attending full-time 2 years straight and even having two part time jobs near the end. My scholarships from community college basically almost gave me a free-ride for the whole 2 years. Not bragging… just saying.

Look y’all, I really want to help out because again, debt isn’t fun. Yes, I did have to take out two years worth of loans for my four year art school, but I also got some scholarships that helped payed the majority! After I got my Associates, I took a whole semester break at home to work part-time, save money, make art, and research art-schools. It really helped me out with rent since I moved out of state. Be cool, play it smart, know your limits, but also push yourself. You will find time to rest.