2. Listen to your tutors and talk to them. Even the ‘boring’ stuff. They are smart and wise and good for you even if they make you cry! True story.
3. Take the work in the direction you want. Don’t be afraid to experiment and take risks with your work. Go outside your comfort zone. Use colour. Only use black ink. Only use orange ink. Try drawing with a brush. Try drawing with your toes. Do anything and everything. You’ll find something unexpected.
4. DOCUMENT. Seriously. I know it seems like a ‘lame’ thing to do- but it will help bulk out your sketchbook and prove to your tutors how your mind is working. That’s the hardest part for most people- showing people where things come from. You might have an amazing final result but if we can’t see how you got there, you’re going to get marked down. (And even if you have a rubbish result, at least you can prove that you’ve worked really hard). Don’t throw anything away! Document sources of inspiration (that means artists etc BUT it also means things you see and feel and think about). Your sketchbook is Your Sketchbook. Fill it with notes. Document your thought process in words, pictures, textures… Show how you work.
5. Do a lot of work. The benefits are for you, and only you. The more you put in, the more you will get out of it.
6. Don’t let social dynamics get in the way. Make friends with people who are similar to you in work ethic (NOT work styles!). Your friends and studiomates should inspire you to work harder, work better and encourage your personal viewpoint. Be open to discussing fine art if you’re a graphic designer and visa vera. Your best friends might not be in your class!
7. Do things outside of class. If there is something that you really want to do- DO IT! If it’s setting up an online business, selling at fairs, being an intern at a knitting shop, learning carpentry, designing websites, blogging, designing posters… Whatever inspires you- find it and do it. You’ll be happier you did. These are good skills to have. And plus, it’s a great thing to talk about.
8. Follow the briefs. It may seem laborious but all that toil now will truly pay off. Even if you don’t like the brief.
9. Not everything you do needs to be a ‘finished Illustration’ or a ‘Masterpiece’. It’s not going into the V&A. You don’t need to spend 10 hours on every drawing. 5 min might be more than enough. Draw/paint/photograph everything.
10. Be ‘Here’. Attend everything you can. Go into college on days when there isn’t much going on. Participate in Critiques even if they last all day and are ‘boring’. It’s helping someone. Help yourself- SPEAK UP! If you’ve got an opinion, say it. Tell people about your work in an honest fashion. Master any qualms you have about public speaking. Go to lectures. Go to galleries. Go to everything that is being offered. If you can’t attend something- ask people about it afterwards. Soak it up.
-- Been getting quite a bit of e-mail on the subject of putting together a portfolio and what it's like to go to art school, and is it worth it. These are 10 things that have really helped me get the most out of my course. The more you put in, the more you get out. I hope you find this useful. [: --