solaronmars
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to those that have been to university to study a subject in art and design would you say that is has helped you improve your skills much and do you know whether it has increased your job prospects <3 tysm
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Plymouth College Of Art
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(Original post by solaronmars)
to those that have been to university to study a subject in art and design would you say that is has helped you improve your skills much and do you know whether it has increased your job prospects <3 tysm
Hey there!

My name is Jess, and I'm studying my MA in Illustration at Plymouth College of Art. Hopefully the fact I'm pursuing my MA already sets the tone of my post!
I studied Illustration at undergraduate level at PCA just so you know I'm what lens I'm talking through. I couldn't recommend pursuing an Arts Degree enough! I came onto the course with the odd hobbyist drawing, and I've left with a profound knowledge of ceramics, comics, make-to-sell products/merchandise (like badges and stickers), storytelling, toy design, animation, prints etc. as well as running my own illustration business. Now I'm not making a living off my business, but it's growing each month, and possibly one day, I'll be sustaining myself solely from that!

I launched a kickstarter in my third year, that was successful in reaching the amount I needed to produce a collaborative publication (which is going to print literally this week!)
I gained vast industry knowledge through visiting/guest speakers who dabble in illustration and other forms of art.
I had opportunities through PCA where I got paid commissions whilst I was studying (such as painting an electrical box to brighten up the city of Plymouth).
I also had opportunities to network and gain skills, such as being selected to go to the Toy and Game Design Event Challenge in London with fellow illustration students, where we entered the challenge, and won, with no prior knowledge in the toy industry. We now have the opportunity to pitch our toy ideas to industry, off the back of that win, and that has since opened up a path to us where we may dabble in toy design alongside what it is we want to do on a daily basis.

I went into college wanting to draw, and I have come out with my own franchise, with a growing instagram audience, with an Etsy shop that sells well monthly, with people who will get excited by my work when I table at illustration fairs, with experience in all aspects of illustration, with skills that I could teach others with, with a genuine passion for what I do, with people wanting to commission me, with the academic level to progress into an MA. I'll be leaving with endless possibilities, and plenty of job prospects. Like most people who take up an Arts Degree, I would love to be self-sustaining from my practice one day - and in the meantime, I'm happy to grow that, to keep refining my skills, to keep learning, and keep doing what I love.

One of my friends from the cohort is already self-sustained off her illustration work, straight out of the degree - with many from my cohort in design jobs, or art teaching jobs already!
For me, and countless others, it is absolutely worth it, and really does pay off. I love telling people about what I do, and I've never been so excited for my future!

Let me know if you have any questions! Otherwise, best of luck deciding what's right for you!
Jess
Student Ambassador and MA Illustration Student
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(Original post by solaronmars)
to those that have been to university to study a subject in art and design would you say that is has helped you improve your skills much and do you know whether it has increased your job prospects <3 tysm
Hi solaronmars!

My name is Rohnak, and I am on my Second Year of BA/MArt The Art of Computer Animation. I'd be happy to share my university experience with you! I was someone who applied to university without much formal art and design education - my portfolio was almost entirely self-started projects - and I didn't have nearly as much knowledge of the fundamentals of design as I do now. In my opinion, there were two main aspects of university that made it feel so worthwhile to me.

The first of these is simply: being in a university environment. Due to current world events the majority of my first year was remote learning, but even so, I still felt surrounded by tutors that had expertise to impart on us, and encouraged us to do our best. I was also surrounded by like-minded and driven students. Both of these groups of people were motivators to me, and a steady stream of work with deadlines meant that I was simply working with a lot more frequency and dedication than I would have without the course, and as such, my skills increased noticeably. I can look through my sketches and renders and see the improvement over time, and that makes me feel really happy and fulfilled!

The second reason is the connections. This is something that I simply would not have if I did not attend university. Since joining Escape Studios and sharing my work on my portfolio and social media, I have found many opportunities to work on student-led short films. It was the people and organizations that I met through university that allowed me to receive my first film credit and first award! Many universities will actively try to set up such opportunities for their students.

So, to answer your question, both my skills and job opportunities have definitely increased from being at university. I am so pleased that I can work at the level that I currently am. I never thought that I would be able to, but this environment that focused me and offered me opportunities to further myself made it so.

-Rohnak
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