Eliott discusses what it takes to getting your foot in the door as a self-taught concept artist.
Q My name is Carl and I’m a senior illustration major at a loss for how to get a foot in the door. I am not sure how to start taking the next step into the field, and I have no experience networking. I would like to continue pursuing a professional education (ideally in a trade school as you said), but I don’t think I can make that happen financially right now. I’ve been exploring my other options – largely online courses from independent artists like Chris Oatley or CubeBrush. Would you say this route is viable in your personal opinion, or at the very least a good practice to use in the meantime while saving up for a more advanced education? Do you also think it’s possible to catch up with those who have been working towards this for much longer?
A The short answer is: Until you have mastered your craft and your artwork is on the same quality as professionals, you will have a hard time “getting your foot in the door.” Your competition are professionals currently working in the industry (not your peers in school). So, what do you do? I wrote an article on CGChannel.com, discussing some of this, and it might be a good read for you. Check out: 10-questions-to-ask-
And, yes, get your education however you can and soak it all up. There are tons of free resources you can start with (see the resources page) and paid ones that will take you even further. These will hold you over for a while, but at some point you will likely need more structure and direct guidance.
At that time, it’s worth reevaluating your finances to see what’s possible. If going to a trade school is still out of the picture, then consider mentorships where you can get direct feedback on your work from working professionals.
Best of luck
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