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Long time lurker, first time poster.
 
The reason I am posting is because I keep trying to find answers but I have so many problems and hope perhaps someone else had a similar situation or knows of something I have not tried.
 
I have a BFA with a concentration in Illustration and a minor in Graphic Design.
 
When I was in undergrad every time I went to my adviser (who also happened to be the dean of the art department) about something I did not feel I was learning their stock answer was almost always "go to grad school."
 
Me: "I need help with a website to showcase my portfolio and jobs in  graphic design seem to require web design and coding skills."
 
Answer: "Go to grad school."
 
Me: "These internships I'm applying to seem to require more life drawing classes and a better understanding of human anatomy."
 
Answer: "Go to grad school."
 
Me: "Entry level jobs require a proficiency in the Adobe Suite and I also seem to need a knowledge of 3D rendering software."
 
Answer: "Go to grad school."
 
When I tried transferring no school would accept enough credits from the university I attended for me to complete a degree before financial aid ran out. My school had no placement office, no alumni working in their field, no job board, nothing...
 
What is worse is that I am disabled. There are not many jobs I can physically do outside of my field. I have applied to over 400 jobs and only gotten two interviews over the last four years. To be clear part of the reason I initially chose the university I went to was location, which was best for my disability at that time, though I am confident I could go to a better school now.
 
My income is limited and most goes to pay for utilities and rent, the rest goes to food and prescriptions. I cannot afford things like a better computer, higher speed internet, or software updates to teach myself these skills.
 
Furthermore, I live in a rural community with no public transportation. I do not have enough money to purchase a car.
 
I spent the last year looking into graduate programs that would best fit my situation. I came up with ten schools I wanted to apply to. Of those  only two waived my application fee and a third implied they would only  charge me after making a decision. Right now it appears I did not make the cut for any schools. I have gotten two rejection letters and the third school has called other people for interviews but not me.
 
I do not have the money to go to a residency program or to earn a second bachelors degree. The community college only offers the most basic level of classes in drawing and painting, nothing involving computers. Part of the reason graduate school is appealing is my limited income would not be as big of a factor since I can still receive financial aid for a higher degree and most universities have policies that help disabled students find work they are capable of doing for extra income.
 
Even if I could find money I wonder if residency programs are required to abide by the ADA or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act? For laymen, those are the laws that say you must accommodate a disability. Residency programs don't seem to receive federal or state aid, which indicates to me they probably do not need to follow these laws. Normally I try to avoid asking for accommodations whenever possible, but just having the option in case something potentially dangerous presents itself means a lot to me. This is also my biggest fear about studying abroad, since most countries do not have an equivalent to the U.S.'s ADA.
 
Please understand I wanted to try and keep this as anonymous as possible because these are not things I try to broadcast about myself when I apply for work or schools. Because of this I would rather not share a portfolio or more specific information publicly. If you seem confident that you could help me find a solution but need to see some of my work, please send me a private message.
 
As I just said these are difficult topics for me to discuss so try to refrain from rude or condescending comments, I am trying my best to make something out of my life and frankly I am scared.

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Adobe Suite, coding skills and web design are skills you should be able to learn through your community college - I would not recommend art/design graduate schools if these are the skills you wish to acquire.  Have you looked at codeacademy.com?  There are many free resources online that allow you to learn these things from your home, often for free.  

If your primary goal is job placement, I'd put your efforts to upgrading your computer and getting software so that you can perform the work you're looking to do.  There are many opportunities for freelance graphic design and web design jobs, many of which can be done from the home.  Once you've got a little bit of experience, it will be easier to move onto bigger jobs or higher education.

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Thank you for your quick reply. Yes, I have done most of the tutorials on codecademy and it has not helped with finding employment. They are not mutually the skills I am looking for, in fact I am primarily interested in learning about animation, 3D modeling, and human anatomy for my Illustration work. My community college does not have any classes involving any Adobe programs or coding, as I already mentioned all they have is drawing and painting classes and one photography class. In regards to the Adobe suite, primarily I am interested in brushing up on Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign while learning how to use Flash.

I cannot afford to upgrade my computer until I first find work. 90% of the freelance work I find has an end result of the client backing out of payment after I have finished the product for them. I do not have any background in writing contracts or how I would even enforce something like that.

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17 minutes ago, Xanthophobiac said:

Thank you for your quick reply. Yes, I have done most of the tutorials on codecademy and it has not helped with finding employment. They are not mutually the skills I am looking for, in fact I am primarily interested in learning about animation, 3D modeling, and human anatomy for my Illustration work. My community college does not have any classes involving any Adobe programs or coding, as I already mentioned all they have is drawing and painting classes and one photography class. In regards to the Adobe suite, primarily I am interested in brushing up on Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign while learning how to use Flash.

I cannot afford to upgrade my computer until I first find work. 90% of the freelance work I find has an end result of the client backing out of payment after I have finished the product for them. I do not have any background in writing contracts or how I would even enforce something like that.

Getting stuff in writing is key. I really dislike contract templates, but they are a step in the right direction. Just google around. Also, your state might have some kind of "lawyers for the arts" organization that can help point you in the right direction, or help you find pro bono/reduced fee representation for situations where you really need a lawyer. 

As for enforcement, I'm guessing your fees would probably be under the small claims limit in your state (but check that). Make a formal demand for payment (i.e., send a letter/email stating the facts of your agreement, the work to be performed, the sum to be paid, the relevant dates, etc. -- and the fact that the work was completed and payment not rendered). When that is ignored or refused, file suit in small claims court. If the amount in question exceeds the small claims limit, lawyer up. 

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There's a site called lynda.com that has a plethora of tutorials on it for so so many things. It does cost money, I don't think it's a lot though. However, if you have a LinkedIn profile, they send out emails all the time for a free week of Lynda access. YouTube is actually a really great resource too, people post tutorials on there all the time. There is also another similar site called Skillshare that hosts a library of videos too. For both of these sites you can find basics on all Adobe products, info about coding, flash, html, c++, etc. And there's even specialized things like hand lettering and stuff like that.

Also, if you're still trying to make a  portfolio site, there are many free ones like carbonmade or behance. You could even just make a tumblr or wordpress with your work.

And I fully agree with what Relm said about the contracts. Google is your friend, you can definitely find some contract examples there.

Good luck!

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1 minute ago, Relm said:

Getting stuff in writing is key. I really dislike contract templates, but they are a step in the right direction. Just google around. Also, your state might have some kind of "lawyers for the arts" organization that can help point you in the right direction, or help you find pro bono/reduced fee representation for situations where you really need a lawyer. 

As for enforcement, I'm guessing your fees would probably be under the small claims limit in your state (but check that). Make a formal demand for payment (i.e., send a letter/email stating the facts of your agreement, the work to be performed, the sum to be paid, the relevant dates, etc. -- and the fact that the work was completed and payment not rendered). When that is ignored or refused, file suit in small claims court. If the amount in question exceeds the small claims limit, lawyer up. 

Well, that is one way of going about things.. It has been a while since I looked into but I do not think there are any lawyers who would represent me. The closest city that might even have someone who specializes in something like that is probably 3-4 hours away in a neighboring state. If I wanted someone within my state, I would probably have to travel 16 hours by car. Which of course I do not have, which means bus tickets and other expenses I do not have, particularly to try and get less than $100 out of someone.

That is not taking into consideration I live in a town where literally everyone knows everyone else. The second I take someone to small claims court is the second I no longer get work, or my mother who financially supports me the best she can loses her job.

I have asked my states Vocational Rehabilitation program to help me find an agent to represent me in finding work or hire an attorney to help write contract templates but they basically told me my Bachelors degree automatically makes me qualified for full time (non contract) work in my field so I do not need anything else. That was two years ago, and I still have not had any luck finding work.. Heh..

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Oh, another suggestion. Why not try your hand at opening an etsy store? You can design posters and things like that and sell them there. There's a big market for things like wedding invitations, etc. It may not make you a ton of money, but it could certainly give you a little extra cash.

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2 minutes ago, nikcav said:

There's a site called lynda.com that has a plethora of tutorials on it for so so many things. It does cost money, I don't think it's a lot though. However, if you have a LinkedIn profile, they send out emails all the time for a free week of Lynda access. YouTube is actually a really great resource too, people post tutorials on there all the time. There is also another similar site called Skillshare that hosts a library of videos too. For both of these sites you can find basics on all Adobe products, info about coding, flash, html, c++, etc. And there's even specialized things like hand lettering and stuff like that.

Also, if you're still trying to make a  portfolio site, there are many free ones like carbonmade or behance. You could even just make a tumblr or wordpress with your work.

And I fully agree with what Relm said about the contracts. Google is your friend, you can definitely find some contract examples there.

Good luck!

Yeah, I used Lynda.com when I was at a community college an hour or so away from here. It was extremely helpful, and I asked my Vocational Rehabiliation Program about getting a subscription and a higher speed internet connection so I could stream the videos and load the software simultaneously. They have refused to that. As far as I can tell online resources will not work until I have funding from somewhere or am able to relocate (which of course costs money if you aren't accepted into a program with financial aid).

As for a portfolio, I have a number of free online options that I have been using. Maybe it is just me but I do not think those look as professional and are perhaps a turn off to employers? Maybe it is that they don't have enough options for separating media so things are not presented coherently or as easy to access? Maybe it is just that I do not have a strong enough portfolio. I really do not know. It is frustrating because I know far more about the topic than anyone locally, so I cannot ask for help. However I do not have all of the information or even someone to reach out to about putting together my strongest pieces or pieces that relate to what people are currently looking for.

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3 minutes ago, Xanthophobiac said:

Yeah, I used Lynda.com when I was at a community college an hour or so away from here. It was extremely helpful, and I asked my Vocational Rehabiliation Program about getting a subscription and a higher speed internet connection so I could stream the videos and load the software simultaneously. They have refused to that. As far as I can tell online resources will not work until I have funding from somewhere or am able to relocate (which of course costs money if you aren't accepted into a program with financial aid).

As for a portfolio, I have a number of free online options that I have been using. Maybe it is just me but I do not think those look as professional and are perhaps a turn off to employers? Maybe it is that they don't have enough options for separating media so things are not presented coherently or as easy to access? Maybe it is just that I do not have a strong enough portfolio. I really do not know. It is frustrating because I know far more about the topic than anyone locally, so I cannot ask for help. However I do not have all of the information or even someone to reach out to about putting together my strongest pieces or pieces that relate to what people are currently looking for.

Have you thought about using a crowdfunding website like indiegogo or kickstarter? If a guy can raise $55,000 to make potato salad, I'm sure you can use it. Just share your story and show some of your work, you never know what might happen.

Also, have you looked into joining AIGA. I'm sure they have a lot of resources for graphic designers there.

In regards to the portfolio site, I think the free ones shouldn't really be a turn off to employers as long as the work on them is good.

Can I ask where this tiny place you live is?

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7 minutes ago, Xanthophobiac said:

Yeah, I used Lynda.com when I was at a community college an hour or so away from here. It was extremely helpful, and I asked my Vocational Rehabiliation Program about getting a subscription and a higher speed internet connection so I could stream the videos and load the software simultaneously. They have refused to that. As far as I can tell online resources will not work until I have funding from somewhere or am able to relocate (which of course costs money if you aren't accepted into a program with financial aid).

As for a portfolio, I have a number of free online options that I have been using. Maybe it is just me but I do not think those look as professional and are perhaps a turn off to employers? Maybe it is that they don't have enough options for separating media so things are not presented coherently or as easy to access? Maybe it is just that I do not have a strong enough portfolio. I really do not know. It is frustrating because I know far more about the topic than anyone locally, so I cannot ask for help. However I do not have all of the information or even someone to reach out to about putting together my strongest pieces or pieces that relate to what people are currently looking for.

This may be your biggest problem - are you in touch with anyone that can give you advice on your resume and portfolio?  These are the most important things when trying to get employment.  Maybe your Vocational program can put you in touch with a mentor who could give you advice over the internet/phone.  Once you are hired, even at a position that isn't totally right for you, it's easier (and cheaper) to learn skills on the job that you can use to apply for a better position.

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29 minutes ago, onetwothreefour said:

This may be your biggest problem - are you in touch with anyone that can give you advice on your resume and portfolio?  These are the most important things when trying to get employment.  Maybe your Vocational program can put you in touch with a mentor who could give you advice over the internet/phone.  Once you are hired, even at a position that isn't totally right for you, it's easier (and cheaper) to learn skills on the job that you can use to apply for a better position.


Resources for me are limited in this regard. Like I said, I tried my best, I reached out to former professors and got a thumbs up and thumbs down on certain pieces. Same goes for my resume. However, I have no way of knowing or not if that was worthwhile advice. I purposefully picked the professors I knew were the best qualified but even then they are mostly teachers first and artists/designers second.

As for my VR program helping me get in touch with someone.. I'll share a story about that. They have sent me to four different people over the years. The first told me flat out they could not help me, they had no background in this field, I appreciated them the most. The others have all candidly told me (without me even prompting them) that they exclusively help one of two people, post adolescents who are on the low functioning spectrum, and displaced workers who do not have a high school degree. One of them even told me that the only help they could give me was to travel to every business in my immediate area, tell everyone who I am by name, and tell them how "special" I am (with extra emphasis on the word special) and how hiring a "special" person helps the community because everyone feels better. I honestly believe that a cat could run across my keyboard and create a better resume than any of the people they have sent me to over the years ever could.

31 minutes ago, nikcav said:

Have you thought about using a crowdfunding website like indiegogo or kickstarter? If a guy can raise $55,000 to make potato salad, I'm sure you can use it. Just share your story and show some of your work, you never know what might happen.

Also, have you looked into joining AIGA. I'm sure they have a lot of resources for graphic designers there.

In regards to the portfolio site, I think the free ones shouldn't really be a turn off to employers as long as the work on them is good.

Can I ask where this tiny place you live is?

Well, I have thought about this, for precisely the reason you suggested. The thing is, I don't know what the best way to go about doing this is. My rational is that my disabilities are typically pretty easy to hide, especially to someone during an initial interview or whatnot. I try my best to get along during a class or the few unpaid jobs I have had without bringing attention to it until it is absolutely necessary. My reasoning behind this is pretty much, like clockwork, the second I explain that I have limitations or a disability, is the second I get treated differently. I cannot even begin to describe the stigma that is involved and how much worse it is to acknowledge this than not come out with it. If I post a kickstarter, I need help from someone who knows what they are doing and can use just the right phrases and marketing that I won't label myself online publicly so everyone who does a google of my name automatically shreds my application because I am "special". Of course I could forego the mentioning of a disability altogether, but that looses the sympathetic factor and possibly makes people question why I have not just "pulled myself up from my own bootstraps" uprooted my life and moved to a major metropolitan area to get things started on my own.

If you want specific information on where I live, you can PM me. I have already probably given out more information than I should on a public forum for as critical as I have been.. Haha.

Edited by Xanthophobiac

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20 minutes ago, Xanthophobiac said:

Resources for me are limited in this regard. Like I said, I tried my best, I reached out to former professors and got a thumbs up and thumbs down on certain pieces. Same goes for my resume. However, I have no way of knowing or not if that was worthwhile advice. I purposefully picked the professors I knew were the best qualified but even then they are mostly teachers first and artists/designers second.

If you are skeptical of the advice you have been given, try getting anonymous help over the internet.  https://www.reddit.com/r/resumes might help, though there are few people in art related fields there.  Still, you might benefit from hearing from others who are struggling to make themselves marketable.  Things like formatting and word choice are more important than you might think - it never hurts to have as many people as possible give your resume a look-over.

Have you looked into http://everyoneon.org/ to try to get subsidized high-speed internet?  It sounds like you've exhausted the resources that are available in your immediate community, and could benefit more from remote resources.

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Sorry that you are not catching a break.  Can't add much, but felt compelled to respond with the intention to encourage.  Hope that something works out soon.  

 

Edited by paint_and_destroy

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Hey some advice

 

Ive been doing web/app development for about a decade professionally, a lot of which was freelance/contract work. 

NEVER do work without any form of payment up front, that is a big no no, because clients never pay you if they don't get what they see in their head, the problem is 9 times out of 10 what they see in their head is crap, and want a way out of the contract if they dont get 100% what they want on first pass.

I always ask for 50% up front, and 50% before delivery of final product.  This ensures there is a business agreement and that neither person's time is wasted.  If they have a problem with that arrangement then they're not looking to do serious business. If the client doesnt like the work, it should be that they provide feedback and get another round of changes based on what terms you establish regarding rounds of changes, instead of just backing out and not paying.  That's just shady.

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2 hours ago, Xanthophobiac said:

Well, that is one way of going about things.. It has been a while since I looked into but I do not think there are any lawyers who would represent me. The closest city that might even have someone who specializes in something like that is probably 3-4 hours away in a neighboring state. If I wanted someone within my state, I would probably have to travel 16 hours by car. Which of course I do not have, which means bus tickets and other expenses I do not have, particularly to try and get less than $100 out of someone.

That is not taking into consideration I live in a town where literally everyone knows everyone else. The second I take someone to small claims court is the second I no longer get work, or my mother who financially supports me the best she can loses her job.

I have asked my states Vocational Rehabilitation program to help me find an agent to represent me in finding work or hire an attorney to help write contract templates but they basically told me my Bachelors degree automatically makes me qualified for full time (non contract) work in my field so I do not need anything else. That was two years ago, and I still have not had any luck finding work.. Heh..

Sorry to hear that. I've never lived in a small town and can't really appreciate the social difficulties it must pose. I'm kind of floored that those people (who also know everyone else) would think it's perfectly OK to fleece you like that. Can't agree with BICEO enough about requiring partial payment up front for any future freelance work.

If you can't find good contract templates online, see if your closest library has (or can get through interlibrary loan) any relevant Nolo books, which are fairly well written legal guides for non-lawyers. You don't necessarily need one that's written specifically for artists/designers, but one about basics to include in contracts is a good place to start. And again, see if there's a nonprofit or organization in your state for lawyers doing volunteer work for the arts. There absolutely are resources out there, law-wise; finding them can be tricky, but they're there.

Sending you good thoughts and encouragement!

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Thanks, for the encouragement from everyone, it means a lot. I have attempted posting pieces of my story to relevant forums for the last few years and people are not always so kind or thoughtful. I say this with the utmost sincerity, you guys have delivered by far the best responses. Even if I have not gotten a complete answer to my problems I at least know I am on the same page as far as what I should be looking at.

2 hours ago, Relm said:

Sorry to hear that. I've never lived in a small town and can't really appreciate the social difficulties it must pose. I'm kind of floored that those people (who also know everyone else) would think it's perfectly OK to fleece you like that. Can't agree with BICEO enough about requiring partial payment up front for any future freelance work.

If you can't find good contract templates online, see if your closest library has (or can get through interlibrary loan) any relevant Nolo books, which are fairly well written legal guides for non-lawyers. You don't necessarily need one that's written specifically for artists/designers, but one about basics to include in contracts is a good place to start. And again, see if there's a nonprofit or organization in your state for lawyers doing volunteer work for the arts. There absolutely are resources out there, law-wise; finding them can be tricky, but they're there.

Sending you good thoughts and encouragement!

To be fair, it is all about framing. People do not look at art as something someone put time into, they look at it as a picture they can get at Walmart for $5. If you point out that those types of things are mass produced and are not the same as individual commission and that they would not accept $0.05 an hour for work that they do.. You can usually convince them the person who fleeced you was the jerk in the situation. However if you are not there to defend yourself, it goes the other way quickly.

Just thought I would tell an anecdotal story about just how bad it is in this community. There is a business in town (which has actually done so well it expanded into a second location two counties over) that does "art lessons" with wine and snacks. They finish up these "paintings" in about two hours, which basically amount to something like paint with colors only worse. What's worse is they get high school students or kids from the community college to do these "lessons" for free. Each class is somewhere between $45-$150 an hour and *does not* include supplies, normally about 10-25 people go to these classes but sometimes it is over 50.

I despise this business. Not only does it convince naive people that art is a talent and not a skill, because they come out with bad paintings, it promotes not paying artists and minimizes the role of teaching. Yet anytime I bring up the fact that I despise this business, I get attacked. The only way I can ever get people to see my line of thinking is to ask them how they would feel if a similar business model was put forth in their field.

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Here is another resource to learn animation skills. There is a monthly charge for this.

http://www.digitaltutors.com/11/index.php

Another one that is more expensive.

http://www.thegnomonworkshop.com/

You can download free educational versions of Autodesk software if you are taking a course at an educational institution. I don't know if you have to be a full time student or not but I think you have to have a student email.

All the best to you.

Edited by ideaperson

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3 hours ago, Xanthophobiac said:

Just thought I would tell an anecdotal story about just how bad it is in this community. There is a business in town (which has actually done so well it expanded into a second location two counties over) that does "art lessons" with wine and snacks. They finish up these "paintings" in about two hours, which basically amount to something like paint with colors only worse. What's worse is they get high school students or kids from the community college to do these "lessons" for free. Each class is somewhere between $45-$150 an hour and *does not* include supplies, normally about 10-25 people go to these classes but sometimes it is over 50.

I despise this business. Not only does it convince naive people that art is a talent and not a skill, because they come out with bad paintings, it promotes not paying artists and minimizes the role of teaching. Yet anytime I bring up the fact that I despise this business, I get attacked. The only way I can ever get people to see my line of thinking is to ask them how they would feel if a similar business model was put forth in their field.

Those are actually pretty common. We have at least three of them where I live, and I actually worked at one for a while, along with three other people with art degree/getting their degree. We never tried to pass them off as actual painting lessons though, more of a fun girls night out activity where you learn how to paint something you didn't think you could while drinking. It was a pretty fun job and I got paid really well too. We were a franchise though, so we actually did supply them with canvases and paint and stuff, then would guide them step by step through the painting.

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19 hours ago, ideaperson said:

Here is another resource to learn animation skills. There is a monthly charge for this.

http://www.digitaltutors.com/11/index.php

Another one that is more expensive.

http://www.thegnomonworkshop.com/

You can download free educational versions of Autodesk software if you are taking a course at an educational institution. I don't know if you have to be a full time student or not but I think you have to have a student email.

All the best to you.

Thanks, I downloaded Blender and SketchUp a while back. My computer doesn't load either of them particularly well and crashes if I try to do anything else while Blender is on.

16 hours ago, nikcav said:

Those are actually pretty common. We have at least three of them where I live, and I actually worked at one for a while, along with three other people with art degree/getting their degree. We never tried to pass them off as actual painting lessons though, more of a fun girls night out activity where you learn how to paint something you didn't think you could while drinking. It was a pretty fun job and I got paid really well too. We were a franchise though, so we actually did supply them with canvases and paint and stuff, then would guide them step by step through the painting.

Yes, I am aware that these types of businesses are popping up all over the country. My point is they do not provide (or even sell) supplies, do pass it off as an actual class, do not pay the teacher, and for a while they didn't even pay rent for a building because they did in a public hall. It is basically a business where the person putting it together buys a cheap box of wine, some cheese, and crackers, and walks away with a couple thousand dollars (if not more) for having someone else teach because "it looks good on their resume."

I am actually a little shocked that no one has had the line, "Please do this for me because it looks good on your resume." Which is almost always complete bull. If you aren't a major player in the art/design world and you are asking me to put tens (sometimes even hundreds) of hours into something for free because "it will look good on my resume" you are being cheap and exploitative. In fact, in reflection that mentality is probably my biggest setback right now, I cannot afford to do things for free when I am paying for the hardware, software, paints, travel expenses, etc.

Edited by Xanthophobiac

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Hi there! I'm not sure if you're still reading this but here it goes. I'm a physically "disabled" artist. Although I live in a big city, bringing my art to a professional level has been a big struggle (I'm still not there yet.) Everything is far away and there is no parking in some areas so it is really hard for me to get there. Walking is really hard because every place here is like its own city. I love studying online, I have learned so much and feel much more connected to the art world than when I was in art school. Please consider learning online. There are many good websites with live classes (at the same time there are some bad ones that won't get you anywhere.) Search a bit more and decide which ones would be better for you. There are a lot of them so it can feel overwhelming. Mind you, the really good stuff isn't free but definitely cheaper than university or even non-credit college classes. You should look at the quality of the instructors' and the students' work. It is better to take a good class than ten bad ones. Take classes according to your level. That being said, you have to put in the effort and practice every day for a long time (a month or two won't cut it.) Consider your budget and cut spending. Save up money for when things get tough or for when a good opportunity for learning comes up. You're the only one who knows what is right for you.

Most of the professors at my undergraduate school (except two or three really great ones!) were terrible. All they wanted was sloppy work. My advisor was condescending as well. The general attitude was "You don't need to learn that" or "Stop being a jack of all trades" or "Only genius kids that have been drawing all their lives can do that." The funny thing is that most weren't specialists either and their work showed that. I didn't even want to talk to them (especially not my advisor!) but the school forced you too (they had to find a way to justify their high salaries.) <_< It was a bad, negative environment that did not encourage learning nor growth. At the "advanced" level courses you were just left on your own. The facilities were awful too. I realized early on that regular colleges were not a good place to learn what I wanted to learn so my focus became getting out as soon as possible. The quality of these professors' work was not good and none of them had experience in the industry. They even had "fights" with the good, accomplished professors and wanted to throw them out (the bad ones were at the top.) I even took a class where the professor would just talk random stuff not related to art. It was a waste of money and time! They promise you a lot but most of these promises are not true. I got out of there as soon as I could and stopped caring about what classes look good.They even discouraged us from taking the good professors. They got mad at me because I went "against" them (so childish.) In these classes I was able to bond with my professors and classmates so not all of my memories are bad but I had to search for them because the school kept them secret and isolated. At the end of the day, it is your portfolio what counts, isn't it?

I also took a web design class online at this school and it was just awful. The professor was absent for the whole course. Everything I learned was from the book. So maybe you didn't miss out on much? I have been trying to find freelancing work but no luck. I have faith that in a few years, there will be more available opportunities online. But right now I'm focusing on what I can accomplish on the present. Find out what is it that you want to learn and do so. Buy books, take online classes, or even go to an atelier. Draw in your sketchbook every day. Create your own brand.

Now, I want to get a Master's but I want to switch to something else other than art (still somewhat related.) This way, my job prospects will be better. Maybe you can find a graduate program that will give you good funding? This is the best option. Many people say that you shouldn't spend too much money (if at all) getting a Master's and I would agree. Some colleges only care about your money but there are other options out there.

Maybe I would have had better luck at a top school but I have been to one and while the professors' works were (relatively) good, they were really mean so it was not much different. My classmates were also meaner. Some people are good at art but not good at teaching. One even told me to stop being an artist, that I had no future, blah blah. Most things are over-hyped. Now I make my decisions mainly based on money. Do not get into debt.

Of course, this is all based on my experience and opinion. Good luck.

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12 hours ago, stressedouttt said:

Hi there! I'm not sure if you're still reading this but here it goes. I'm a physically "disabled" artist. Although I live in a big city, bringing my art to a professional level has been a big struggle (I'm still not there yet.) Everything is far away and there is no parking in some areas so it is really hard for me to get there. Walking is really hard because every place here is like its own city. I love studying online, I have learned so much and feel much more connected to the art world than when I was in art school. Please consider learning online. There are many good websites with live classes (at the same time there are some bad ones that won't get you anywhere.) Search a bit more and decide which ones would be better for you. There are a lot of them so it can feel overwhelming. Mind you, the really good stuff isn't free but definitely cheaper than university or even non-credit college classes. You should look at the quality of the instructors' and the students' work. It is better to take a good class than ten bad ones. Take classes according to your level. That being said, you have to put in the effort and practice every day for a long time (a month or two won't cut it.) Consider your budget and cut spending. Save up money for when things get tough or for when a good opportunity for learning comes up. You're the only one who knows what is right for you.

Most of the professors at my undergraduate school (except two or three really great ones!) were terrible. All they wanted was sloppy work. My advisor was condescending as well. The general attitude was "You don't need to learn that" or "Stop being a jack of all trades" or "Only genius kids that have been drawing all their lives can do that." The funny thing is that most weren't specialists either and their work showed that. I didn't even want to talk to them (especially not my advisor!) but the school forced you too (they had to find a way to justify their high salaries.) <_< It was a bad, negative environment that did not encourage learning nor growth. At the "advanced" level courses you were just left on your own. The facilities were awful too. I realized early on that regular colleges were not a good place to learn what I wanted to learn so my focus became getting out as soon as possible. The quality of these professors' work was not good and none of them had experience in the industry. They even had "fights" with the good, accomplished professors and wanted to throw them out (the bad ones were at the top.) I even took a class where the professor would just talk random stuff not related to art. It was a waste of money and time! They promise you a lot but most of these promises are not true. I got out of there as soon as I could and stopped caring about what classes look good.They even discouraged us from taking the good professors. They got mad at me because I went "against" them (so childish.) In these classes I was able to bond with my professors and classmates so not all of my memories are bad but I had to search for them because the school kept them secret and isolated. At the end of the day, it is your portfolio what counts, isn't it?

I also took a web design class online at this school and it was just awful. The professor was absent for the whole course. Everything I learned was from the book. So maybe you didn't miss out on much? I have been trying to find freelancing work but no luck. I have faith that in a few years, there will be more available opportunities online. But right now I'm focusing on what I can accomplish on the present. Find out what is it that you want to learn and do so. Buy books, take online classes, or even go to an atelier. Draw in your sketchbook every day. Create your own brand.

Now, I want to get a Master's but I want to switch to something else other than art (still somewhat related.) This way, my job prospects will be better. Maybe you can find a graduate program that will give you good funding? This is the best option. Many people say that you shouldn't spend too much money (if at all) getting a Master's and I would agree. Some colleges only care about your money but there are other options out there.

Maybe I would have had better luck at a top school but I have been to one and while the professors' works were (relatively) good, they were really mean so it was not much different. My classmates were also meaner. Some people are good at art but not good at teaching. One even told me to stop being an artist, that I had no future, blah blah. Most things are over-hyped. Now I make my decisions mainly based on money. Do not get into debt.

Of course, this is all based on my experience and opinion. Good luck.

That's all useful perspective and I can't say I disagree with it. The problem is when you are unemployed and have no resources you tend to actually have less time to study or train techniques. Particularly when you are dependent on other peoples schedules or income. Saving money is nearly impossible when your entire savings can be wiped out by something as minimal as a new prescription.

My biggest hope about going to graduate school was that I would be able to afford to live in a larger area, buy new equipment, and so on with loans or other tuition assistance. There is no federal assistance available for me to go to community college, and even if I did they won't teach me anything I don't already know. What I can learn online is limited to when I have access to a computer and a quiet learning environment, which is also limited due to my current living situation. I can't just move out on my own without some form of support.

While I agree that staying out of debt is a good thing, staying in a perpetual state of never building any skills or work experience is not. I don't see a way to do that without incurring some amount of debt. All of my research keeps bringing me back to the conclusion that the only way I can borrow enough money to even attempt a chance at life is to go to graduate school.

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