5 Tips for new art students

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I’ve been meaning to do a post about this sort of thing recently, so to anyone starting art school, take 5 things that I consider to be helpful/important during your time as a student.

1. DON’T BE LATE. EVER.

Treat school as you would a job. You wouldn’t be late to work, right? Right. Because do that enough times you’ll get fired. With school, it is disrespectful to your professor if you are late, unless you have a very good reason, like you got in an accident. If you are going to be late, let a classmate/friend know so that in case you don’t have the prof’s email (You should really try and get their email, it will make life easier if you have to miss a day, and they’ll respect you more because you clearly care.) so that they can at least let your prof know something is up. The professors will respect you more. However, being on time and showing up to every class only does so much. It’s not high school. No one cares if you have perfect attendance if you aren’t taking your classes and assignments seriously as well.

2. DON’T SAVE DRAWING FOR ASSIGNMENTS ONLY

You love to draw and paint and want to be a serious artist for a career right? If you’re serious about art as a passion, it should BE your passion outside of school. Find time every day to draw. Practice. Class assignments will only do you so much, as they are intended to teach you a lesson about something new, whether it be media used, or subject matter like magazine layout or creating an editorial illustration. If you don’t spend time on it yourself, you will not get better. I try to draw something everyday, or at the very least, keep up to date in my industry, read up on business of illustration practices, just SOMETHING each day to help my career. I have one classmate currently that blows my mind. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him NOT drawing something or working on an art project of some kind. Always experimenting. Always drawing.

3. DON’T CARRY YOUR ENTIRE SUPPLY KIT AROUND. 

At my school we were given a supply kit (Also, if your school has a starter kit they offer, see what’s in it and see what you can buy yourself. I promise you will save at least $200. I did :D) I promise you that you will not need everything in it all the time. As long as you carry a sketchbook, some pens, some markers, some pencils, notebook, pens, erasers…all of which you can fit in a backpack, as well as any folders…just come prepared. I promise you you will always need a sketchbook on the first day. Some professors will go through the syllabus, and then start you on the first project, and will require you to do thumbnail sketches.

4. MAKE FRIENDS AND CONNECTIONS

Not only will having friends in school be beneficial when it comes to needing someone to relay that you’ll be late, but friends in art school will also have potential to become valuable connections one day. They will also not be shy when it comes to critiquing your work and helping you improve, should they be serious about their career as well. Go out and socialize and do fun things with them, whether its going to a movie, shopping, or going to an art museum, or even just drinks. Just because you’re all serious about your careers, doesn’t mean it’s the only thing you and your art school friends have to have in common. I can’t tell you how great it is to have a friend or two that are as serious and passionate about art as you are. They keep you on track, they are ok sitting and listening to music or watching movies while you work on art, and will understand what you are going through with the stress that comes with being an art student, that general education or business students generally wont.

5. EXPAND YOUR HORIZONS

Don’t get to a point where you find yourself trapped in one style or way of working. It’s important to expand your horizons, look for other hobbies and subjects that inspire you. If you draw anime and manga, try drawing western styles (Marvel, DC, Disney) If you like happy subject matter, try creating something that is inspired by your sadder thoughts. If you draw? Try painting. Like acrylic painting? Try oils! Like pens? Try markers! Learn about other cultures, listen to different kinds of music, look at graphic design, look at magazines and deconstruct them in your mind and see if you can try to make something like that. Art is everywhere! Inspiration hides in everything.

I hope some of you found this to be helpful in some way or another, whether you’re in a rut, a new student, a current student, an artist that locks yourself in your room…

Most importantly, remember that you love your art, and if you’re like me, art has been there your whole life and will evolve along with you.

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