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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

6 Tips for Applying to Art School


Lettering artwork available for purchase as a print here.

Some of you may know, my path to becoming an illustrator and designer was not direct. After high school, I went the route of a large public university because I wanted that awesome, idllyc college experience that was just like the movies (it was pretty close). I loved it. After college, not so much. After a few years of mucking around in office jobs, (thankfully!) a number of factors pushed me to pursue a second degree in illustration & design, which had always been my secret dream. I knew I had to get the technical training to push as far as I could with my career.

If you are considering applying to art school, even as your first time in college, here are six tips for applying:

1. Do your research. Find out which schools are best for what you're looking for, what your needs are. Get to know the names of your industry, especially the ones who are working now. Most of them have blogs. Couldn't hurt to contact them. Find out where they went. Figure out your priorities. I chose Art Center because it's in LA, it's one of the top design schools in the country, I could design my own illustration/design hybrid program, and the average age of students was 24. I got in contact with people I knew who were in the program - and looked at their entrance portfolios so I knew where I had to be to get in.

2. Take an extension class at the school you want to attend. Many art schools offer summer programs for high school students and extension classes for people already out of school. This is the best way to get to know the school and the people there.

3. Get in touch with an admissions counselor. What surprised me the most was how much admissions counselors will help you with your portfolio. They will be kindly honest and help shape your book. I met with mine three times, and he even looked through my sketchbooks and pointed out work that could be developed into interesting finished pieces. He made suggestions for types of pieces that would be different than the usual portfolio fare, which would then help me get more scholarship money.

4. Find a current student's blog. Then another, and another. Most art students will link to their peers on their blogs. There, you can find the types of assignments and classes that the school offers. You can find out which teachers to take for which classes. I found many blogs that had work that made my jaw drop - that made me firmly decide that Art Center was exactly where I needed to be.

5. Get academic classes out of the way at a cheaper school. These are the required classes that make your degree a degree. These classes are similar everywhere, so it'd be smart to take them at a community college while developing your portfolio, so that your very expensive time at art school is not cluttered with required academic classes. I squeezed in about 5 extra studio classes because I already had a bachelor's that covered most of my academic req's (or could have graduated early).

6. You should go when you're ready. To really succeed in the art/design world, you have to be focused like a laser on your work. Being in school is your time to explore, experiment, and really discover your voice as an artist - YES. This is true. But you do NOT get there by partying. You owe it to yourself/whoever is bankrolling your education to take it seriously. Because I promise you, there will be 25 other students in your class who can draw (or design/photograph/etc.) just as well as you, if not better, and have been doing it since they could hold a pencil.

Hope this information is helpful to all those who are finding their way. I should add, I believe it is totally achievable to become a creative professional without going to school. However, for me I knew it would take ten years to get where I'd be after three years at the right school.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Magic, art, wonder

I've been feeling really overextended, overwhelmed, exhausted by so much lately - by the same things that plague everyone in these uncertain times. And I've realized that so much of that can be so soul-crushing, spark-extinguishing.

A couple weeks ago I took a step back and made something tangible with my hands, not with a computer. I used this tutorial to make these beautiful crepe paper flowers - with no purpose really in mind. It wasn't for a client, it wasn't for our wedding, it wasn't for my portfolio, or even this blog. It was just for me, for the sake of making something nice.

Of course, "normal" life resumed and I felt quickly dried, defeated, and depressed again.

I'm changing this in my life. Normal should not be worrying my life away about the economy, about jobs, about being good enough, about future hypothetical problems, or about troubles that will always be larger than myself - about deaths, about heartbreaks, about loss.

Normal will be creating magic, art, and wonder with my life. Normal will be creating an inspirational environment, painting our bedroom and having fresh flowers around, making crepe paper flowers just because. Normal will be little pleasures, simple pleasures, mending and making do, DIY-ing with what you have, reading fiction, making meals with Ryan. On a grander scale, normal will be seeing all the possibilities and making them reality, without fear or reservations. Normal will be seeing everything in our lives moving to something greater, even if it doesn't look like it at first.

Just some thoughts for Monday, for a new season.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday Style Section: Tutus

I feel like winding down and turning inward as fall officially begins. Lots of work to make some big dreams come true ahead, and I just need to buckle down and do it. Making pretty vignettes like this one around the house will help make being home more inspiring.

Image Source

Friday, September 21, 2012

One Year

One year from today, Ryan & I get hitched. I can't wait.

Photo from our engagement shoot at the Neon Sign Museum, by Joe Lu Photography.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fashion Swap

Here's my latest contribution to Ten Paces & Draw's Fashion Swap! I received an illustration of Victorian women to bounce off of, and I got here. Practicing a Freddie Moore-influenced style; he's one of my favorite artists.

Monday, September 17, 2012

In the Details

It was so great to see all the twitter posts and instagram shots of my piece at the Expletive Poster Show at Light Grey Art Lab. Thanks to those of you who sent messages to me about it - wish I could have been there!

For those of you who also couldn't be there, here are a couple detail shots of my piece:

Hope you enjoyed seeing them. You can pick up this poster piece right here!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday Style Section: Million Dollar Mermaid

The heat in LA has been intolerable lately, making it very difficult to illustrate after hours with only a fan standing between me and heat exhaustion. Since I don't have access to a pool, maybe watching some Esther Williams films will help? I always loved the water ballet.

Stay cool, friends!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Rat Bastard!

Here's my piece for the Expletive Show at Light Grey Art Lab! If you're in Minneapolis, be sure to drop by the opening on September 14. If you're not, the awesome thing about Light Grey Art Lab is that they sell prints of all the work in the show at a super affordable price - these 13 x 19" posters are only $25!

Get this print at their shop!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bad Girls Throughout History Postcard Set!

I'm happy to share that this Bad Girls Throughout History postcard set is now available in my Etsy shop! It's been a longtime dream to branch into stationery design, and this is just dipping a toe in with a popular set of my work. It even includes a bonus illustration - the Elizabeth Taylor you see right on top.

The set also includes Josephine Baker, Marie Antoinette, Ada Lovelace, Bettie Page and Nellie Bly. Check it out here - it's perfect for sending to your own bad ass friends or as mini-prints to hang on your wall.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hand-lettered Song Lyrics

A really awesome lettering swap that I participated in just went up at Ten Paces and Draw earlier this week. This was my finish on a sketch by Shannon Snow, based on song lyrics from the song Quill by Bison.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Show Sneak Peek

Here's a sneak peek into the process of my poster piece in the upcoming Expletive Show at Light Grey Art Lab. This is one of the most detailed pieces I've done in awhile, and it took me about six 5-to-8 hour nights to make. This shot was after I had finished the drawing but once printed I had some changes to the overall composition. A good tip is to sleep on your ideas, the solutions come more easily after your subconcious works on it.

I'll be posting the whole piece tomorrow!

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