I have always been less impressed with technical skills. Though in its entirety it is impressive, it is also something anyone can obtain with good teaching standards. But a creative individual is exactly that. Someone who cannot be copied or replaced very easily, they are unique and this I think can make them a more valuable asset to any company. These people are usually those who are very interested in the subject to begin with, they have a passion and it is what I think gives them that little bit extra. This being said, learning the technicalities is very important and is almost like a foundation as without it, the art itself (for 3D artists at least) is nonexistent.
In a degree like mine however, I think it is very important to have a foundation in drawing. In today’s secondary schools students are not taught HOW to draw, so when students get to university they are a mix of experience from drawing their favourite cartoon characters and the life studies/artist studies they did for 2 years in A levels. Because of this lack of foundation and understanding, it becomes very difficult to become a 2D artist or concept artist and 3D art becomes a more realistic option. It is something I am considering myself though I came here with concept art in mind, which I’m sure many others did. If the funding was proper and teachers were more in number it would be brilliant to have a Perspective class, or Colour Theory class or Lighting class. That being said, it is not impossible to learn the key skills without teaching. A self taught artist is not inferior to someone that went to all the classes, in some cases the self taught artist can have a wider range of understanding as he or she is not bound by a curriculum.
Student experience is another key thing to consider, they must be motivated and inspired at all times, especially in art degrees. As a student here I can say there isn’t much to complain about, we get tons of work and if you THINK you have finished everything, there is always SOMETHING to do. >_< ! However it is commonly known that outside this small world I live in, people don’t think highly of art degrees and others even consider them ‘worthless’. This is probably because it isn’t so easy to find work and as a subject it probably does not have the best employment rates. Due to this, teaching should be very critical and target each and every attribute the industry requires; these attributes must be hard wired into the students as much and as soon as possible. I think if a degree can keep students inspired so they freely explore for themselves but at the same time, push them to their potential so they learn everything they need to know, the students will be very successful. All this being said, it must be understood that students will carry on learning in their chosen industry, kind of like passing a driving test; when you get on the road by yourself in your own car, the learning really begins.
(interesting article on art degrees and their worth)
A really good example of a 2D art school is FengZhu’s School of Design. The students are much like us in the sense that most do not have any foundation in design or drawing. They come with portfolios of amateurish work and within a year or two are producing professional concept art. They are taught perspective, colour, and lighting and are encouraged to learn and do as much as possible. Another great is Art Centre. Today’s very popular concept artists that are working on the biggest games and films obtained degrees from here, although I know little about their teaching, the institution always creeps up in my favourite artist’s bios like Neville Page and Scott Robertson. I think what students can also do whilst at a games design or game art degree is to purchase online courses and content to facilitate their learning. The Gnomon School of Design is one of many places where you can do courses online as well as buy DVD’s with tutorials straight from artists in the industry.