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Art Archive The *OFFICIAL* Fan-To-Pro Thread

Discussion in 'Fan Art' started by Otis_Frampton, Jun 2, 2002.

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  1. Otis_Frampton LFL Artist, Moderator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 7, 2001
    star 4
    This will be a place to discuss moving from amateur to professional, for those who have the desire. Some of us have experience in that area that would be useful for those who are, unfortunately, still just wannabes. :D

    Happy learning!

    -Otis
  2. TheBalinakaBaroness Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 14, 2002
    star 4
    You should copy my big cranky portfolio lecture into here! ;)

    ~Baroness
  3. ArtyEwok LFL Artist

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 1999
    star 4
    Yes! Big cranky lectures!

    :D

    They can be fun!

  4. TheBalinakaBaroness Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 14, 2002
    star 4
    Be warned - here it is!

    So this was originally over in the Social Thread, cause Otis wanted to know about my "experiences." And here's a little more background so you know where I'm coming from: I've worked the past 8 years in the multimedia biz, as an Animator, Illustrator, Graphic Designer, Concept Artist, Lead Artist, you name it. I've done a lot of crap. These days, I'm SO unemployed! :D Actually, I'm pursuing the life of the Freelance Illustrator. It's interesting so far....

    Anyway. The story: A couple years ago I had to go on a recruiting trip to CalArts, the big animation school down in LA. I had a couple hours to go through several hundred portfolios, make a list of about a dozen people, and then interview them that same afternoon. An intense day. I learned a big lesson that day about portfolios, being on the "other" side.

    Since there were just so many portfolios and reels to look at, I had to flip through them quickly. If something stood out, if they had a strong presentation, or a stand out blockbuster piece that caught my eye, I would slow down and take a little more care to look through their work. Otherwise, the pace was Turn page... turn page... turn page. And it killed me, cause having been an art student I could imagine all the time, blood sweat and tears that went into those portfolios, and here I was barely giving them the time of day.

    So the moral of the story is, Art Directors are busy. They are inundated with samples all demanding their attention. For everyone great portfolio there are twenty crappy ones to muddle through. Therefore, you need a gimmick. You need a something to catch their eye. And I don't mean cheesy gimmicks. I mean, immaculate clever presentation. Strong bold pieces that catch the eye. If you are on the fence over putting a certain drawing in - don't put it in. One bad piece really spoils the book. More is not better. Quality over quantity is the definite motto to live by when putting together a portfolio.

    So there ya go, the Baroness' cranky Portfolio lecture! Hey, wake up! ;)
    ~Baroness
  5. ArtyEwok LFL Artist

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 1999
    star 4
    Yes, baronness, great advice.

    When I applied for art school, i had a total of 12 pieces that I could include, so I had to pick and choose from over 500 pieces I have kicking around, when i narrowed it down to my recent and life art, I still had a good 50 or 60 to rifle though.

    The result is here in a web version I made of it (Sans the sketch book..)

    Folio

    I've got a 20 pound bag of life art I need to archive digitally sometime, I have to get my hands on a digital camera.




  6. Jabachile Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2001
    star 4
  7. TheBalinakaBaroness Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 14, 2002
    star 4
    Holy Banthas, Arty Ewok! That is a TON of work. I was wandering about your site a little more, and I can't believe how much artwork you've done! Much less 20 lbs of life drawings. Oi. Very nice. I like how your online portfolio turned out. Is this the one that got you into school, and the scholarship?
    ~Baroness, feeling small and insignificant with her whole THREE pieces of fan art.... ;)
  8. ArtyEwok LFL Artist

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 1999
    star 4
    I need to prune some of my old work off of my site... aigh! I have too much :D

    The stuff that got me into school was the online portfolio witht he dead bird, the one with 12 pieces. For the scholarship I had a display of the graphic design stuff i did at school this year.

    One pearl of wisdom: You can get pro work without schooling <-- points to self, but it's harder to do so.. it takes a great combination of skill and luck. Graphid design is even helping my illustration by giving me better insight into colour and space usage and the like.

    Even if you do some life drawings at a small, private class.. it's worth it.

    Do it for yourself :D
  9. Jedi Girl of Corellia Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 23, 2000
    star 6
    I'm trying to get a scholorship to an art school, and of course I need to submit my portfolio. But I'm having a bit of trouble deciding what to put in it. Should I focus in one medim, put in a variety of mediums (since I seem to be decent at most of them), and should I put in stuff that is kinda experimental (things that show how I draw, partially finished sketches etc...)

    I've talked to my art instructor on this, but I just want to hear a second opinion...
  10. TheBalinakaBaroness Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 14, 2002
    star 4
    Hey Jedi Girl! I don't want to come off sounding as the "Voice of Knowledge" - but I'm happy to offer my opinion!

    If you're applying to Art School, I think you should definitely include all the things you mentioned. At this point, the more skill and versatility you can show, I think the better off you are. I'm not sure what you mean by experimental, but if you have studies, or sketches, especially figure studies, by all means include them. Showing that you are skilled in many different media is a big bonus as well. I would only hesitate to throw in "everything" you've ever done. Still be selective, but show that you are already bringing a lot of skills with you. How many times have I said "skills"? [face_laugh]

    Good Luck getting into Art School. Keep us updated!
    ~Baroness
  11. Trev-Solo Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 22, 2001
    star 1
    Awesome thread. I haven't visited in ages. Glad to see a different direction being taken.

    I honestly feel I can't live a life without my art. I went through a kind of emotional trip a while back, unsure of my decisions and what I had done so far. I then looked in the mirror and saw that I was 15. ;) I didn't need that sort of thing, not yet.

    I now take things in strides. I feel I'll be taken in the right directions, and that confidence and trust in myself has proven to be the right move. I'm now more inspired and appreciative of more than just films, which I suppose I always was, I just needed to see it in myself. I can't wait to paint and draw those feelings.

    I look forward to senior year in highschool when I can put together a portfolio of my work in AP art.

    My question is this. What do art school look for? I honestly want to attend art school, but I feel I need to start planning now at the latest. What should I be preparing for? I do well with my studies in school, and I'm always accumulating more skills and morals through art. Money is obviously an option. What kinds of scholarships can a student get? I don't come from a particularly wealthy family, so I don't know what I can expect for quality in schools.

    Very appreciative to those who can help. I live in Southern California, so if anyone else went to school here, or is trying to get into a college, please give me your personal experiences. Thanks!

    Trev


  12. JoraDyn Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    Trev-Solo... I'm a student at the Maryland Institute College of Art. I had doubts on going to art school due to the cost, and whether or not it was really necessary.

    Yet, I have made it through my freshman year and I have to say it was a blast. I mean art school is so much fun. I talk to all my high school friends who went to regular colleges and they all hate their boring courses and can't wait to graduate...And here I am wanting to take all the classes offered. Seriously, if I could I'd stay in art school for the rest of my life I would.

    Money is a big problem, but they do offer scholarships. Don't blow off your academic classes in high school though, because higher grades mean higher scholarships at most schools. And you can always take loans.. and yes that will be a huge debt to pay off, but if you are determined enough you can do it.
  13. Trev-Solo Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 22, 2001
    star 1
    thank you JoraDyn! I appriciate the feedback. I do good in my classes for that purpose alone. History and English seem to be the only things thhat interest me, but I do well forthe simple fact that I would like to attend an art school.

    again, thank you, much!

    Trev
  14. TheBalinakaBaroness Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 14, 2002
    star 4
    Pretty impressive Trev, that you are so on top of figuring out what you want to do already. I vaguely always knew I wanted to be an artist, but never did the leg work to actually figure it out until much later. I didn't even take any art classes until my second year of college. Everything worked out ok (so I guess there's a moral there - it's never too late! ;) ).

    I went to a liberal arts college with an excellent Visual Arts department. I got in on an academic sholarship, and once in the Design program qualified for Art scholarships as well. So you can still get scholarships, even after you've started. I was incredibly lucky and squeaked though without having to take out any student loans.

    Since I didn't go to an Art School, I don't really have a frame of reference to compare, but I did enjoy going to a college where I had to take other types of courses - they all had an impact on my art. I took things like Latin, Classical Studies, Humanities, Astronomy, Music, Religion, plus some fluff classes like Bookbinding, Calligraphy and Stained Glass Windows! I could have maybe done without the Biology (ugh) but I enjoyed the well rounded approach to my education. For instance, I've found I love Astronomy and Mythology, and therefore use that knowledge in my painting. I've been painting this series of the Constellations and the Zodiac. Fun Stuff.

    I visited CalArts once, and after spending the day there, and talking to lots of the students, I was really impressed with the school. It is insanely expensive, however. It seems most people don't graduate because by their third year they can usually get an internship or something, and continue learning that way rather than paying more money. I come from the Illustration world rather than Fine Arts, and some of the top schools for that are:
    School of Visual Arts, Pratt Institute, Parsons - all in New York, and Art Center College of Design is down by you in Pasadena. I've also heard good things about Rhode Island school of Design. While getting into a good college in great, I don't think it will make or break your career as an artist. It's just one avenue to pursue, and there is, of course, always more than one path to reach your goal.

    Good Luck! And holy cow - don't think about this stuff for another year or so! ;)
    ~Baroness
  15. chucks888 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 1, 2002
    Neat thread!

    I'm no pro by any stretch of the imagination so I'm afraid I can't add to 'that side' of the conversation. However I'm preparing my portfolio for the fabled Art Center which Baroness has just mentioned. Their intense program will no doubt force much improvement in my work.

    Some great advice on this thread!

    -Chuck
  16. Trev-Solo Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 22, 2001
    star 1
    Thanks Baroness. I'm very serious about my future in art. As I've said, it's something that completes me, so it is my planned career. The only school I have considered is Art Center in Pasadena, surprisingly. I would love to attend. I feel with my good grades and possible recomendations, (It happened with a local artist from my home town- of course I don't know if I'll have the knowledge of that person) that I might qualify for scholorships. I know my family can't pay for a "great" school. What I should do is start saving up commission money. Every bit would help.

    You give good points, learning other courses will certainly help with art. An artist is a man of the world, a good artist anyway, IMO. I'm getting into mythology, (Clash of the Titans...ah, great film!) It's really the basis for all the epic stories that have given me so much life, and the morals present are wonderful and true.

    Thank you for passing on your experience and knowledge. I really appriciate it. I learn more from the experienced then anything else, so it's much appriciated. I hope I can return to favor by creating great work in my future.

    Thank you,
    Trevor


  17. Jedi Girl of Corellia Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 23, 2000
    star 6
    Thanks Baroness.

    I just got back from the University of Wyoming. Not my first choice, but curently the only one I can get the $$ for. I was accepted to Savannah College of Art and Design, where I really really want to go, but then there's the whole money issue :p So I'm getting stuff like english and math out of the way (while taking a couple art classes of course ;) ) before I buckle down on the art. This will also give me a chance to be a bit more relaxed. I know if I go to an art school I'll be inhaling turpentine fumes all year long. And I'll probably like it :D

    Thanks for all the good advice. And I promise to keep you all updated.
  18. Otis_Frampton LFL Artist, Moderator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 7, 2001
    star 4
    I wish I had siome experience to draw upon and share, but alas . .

    The only semi-pro exposure I've ever had was the recent issue of Yahoo Internet Life Magazine, which featured a number of the amazing artists around here.

    -Otis
  19. Otis_Frampton LFL Artist, Moderator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 7, 2001
    star 4
    So, we were talking about portfolios in the Challenge Thread . .

    Do any of you pros know of any good online resources with advice on building a comprehensive portfolio?

    Help us . .

    -Otis

  20. Trev-Solo Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 22, 2001
    star 1
    Something I've yet to research Otis, but I'm positive there are some.

    Trev
  21. TheBalinakaBaroness Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 14, 2002
    star 4
    I don't know of any sites offhand, but here - I just found this page of links:

    Illustration Portfolio Tips

    I skimmed a couple of 'em and they seem pretty straightforward - all the same stuff I've heard before. One thing I remember hearing that I didn't see, is to follow the fence post method.

    Start strong and End strong, but also anchor your portfolio all the way through. So say you have 4 really amazing pieces (A) and 10 good pieces (G) you've decided to use, then you would arrange them in this order:
    A G G G A G G G A G G G G A

    Or something like that. You get the idea, anyway - it's like Fence Posts! :D
  22. TheBalinakaBaroness Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 14, 2002
    star 4
    Oh, and another excellent resource:

    Communications Arts magazine

    If you don't get the magazine (it's expensive - but the best) there are several online articles and columns to check out.

    Here's one on what reps are looking for in Portfolios:
    What Are Reps Looking For?
  23. Darth yo moma Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 18, 1999
    star 3
    Ah, well I've known I've wanted to be a doctor since I was 11, so thats good :). However for people who are thin on money like me Cough (Trevor) Cough I suggest you do what I did, which was get a summer job. I work from seven a.m to five p.m at my highschool fixing computers. I know it blows, but it pays. I think that for star Wars artists like us, branching out and drawing from life would be the best for portfolios. Art from photos, as I learned is called a 'study' and these studies are not highly prized. Drawing from life is the most important thing. I was talking to this kid I know who is going to Savanha College of art, and he was saying that the thing they focus on is seeing that you can draw, and draw from life. Apparently drawing is the backbone of art, and the first thing they do is teach you the basics and stress that before you branch out. Even kids I know going to Columbia for stuff like digital animation have to draw and then animate on paper before they even see a computer. So, go to work and draw!
  24. padawangrasshopper Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 14, 2002
    star 1
    Truly the Baroness is as wise as she is powerful (in art, of course, don?t know about her lightsaber dueling techniqe:))! She really speaks the truth when she says getting into a good art college is great, but doesn?t think it?ll make or break your career as an artist! I graduated from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, majoring in illustration, and I can tell you that ANY college CAN?T guarantee you a stunning career in art or even making a living purely off of art. If they do, they are surely lying! Does it help to go to some place like Art Center or CalArts? Very much so, but it truly is what you make of the situation and how much initiative you take in your training. I also agree with the wise Baroness about the benefits of attending a regular college, which will give you a well rounded education. The more you know about the world and the more interests you have, the stronger an artist you definitely will become!
  25. HanSolo29 Manager Emeritus + Official Star Wars Artist

    Member Since:
    Apr 13, 2001
    star 6
    Great thread! I'll be heading into my senior year in high school and I am planning on majoring in illustration. I want to go to this art school(Pennsylvania School of Art and Design) but my parents are worried about the amount of jobs available. They're afraid that I'll spend all my money to go to an art school that will just teach me illustration and that's it...and when I go to get a job I'll have trouble...or...if I want to change my career path I won't have another major to back me up.

    So...I guess my question is...if I major in illustration will there be enough job opportunities?
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