In the latest feature for Gamasutra sister educational site Game Career Guide
, Vicarious Visions game artist Samuel Crowe outlines school options for artists trying to get into game industry and what it takes to get the education needed.
In this excerpt, Crowe answers the oft-asked question of whether school is necessary at all, when so much of artistry can be self-taught with the aid of a few books and easily acquired tools:
"This is also a huge question that comes up in most conversations. Why go to a school and pay all that money when you can just buy the books or DVD's?
If you break it down, it's going to cost a little less if you do that, but it will still be expensive. You need hardware, software, supplies, space to work, paper to print on, or paint on... the list goes on.
The most important difference between a "traditional" education and "self education" is environment. In a classroom, you will be exposed to others art as well as their way of thinking and working. You will get critiques from instructors and other students. The sharing of ideas in real time between other artists will go a long way in helping you to become a better artist.
Another reason is exposure, and no, not the exposure of the nude for figure drawing, the exposure to different areas of study. You may have decided to go to school to become an illustrator, but then decide that you like animation or photography more.
Self education is very hard and very daunting in the beginning. It is up to you individually to keep up to date with what is going on in your specific area of study as well as being able to produce competitive or better art. You must constantly challenge yourself and rely on close family or friends for educated and constructive criticism. You must rely on your own will power to study and complete assignments with in a set amount of time. Otherwise you could spend months on a single image and only learn a few things, where as you could have learned those same things in a few days with proper time management. At some point you must build a network of other artists to discuss techniques and ideas."
You can now read the full Game Career Guide feature
to learn more about the different types of schools and programs within them, and how to choose the one that's right for you (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).