Is it possible to get your art into professional level even if you're broke and can't go to art school

11:24 AM, Sunday February 16th 2020

I don't know if I can get to the level of Ruan Jia or WLOP just by being self-taught. I highly doubt it. I know that Drawabox will help me immensely but I don't know what will I do after that. My goal is to be able to paint like WLOP. I don't see that much people on social media who are self-taught that got into professional level that's why I think that I have to go to art school to be able to do that. I'm from a low income country so I can't really afford "cheap" art courses like Schoolism and NMA so online course isn't even an option for me. Also, I'm not planning to be a professional, I'm just a hobbyist.

Drawing has become fun for me but I still have my art goals that I wanted to achieve. I know that I shouldn't be focusing too much on the result. I'm just wondering if it is possible to achieve that kind of level.

7 users agree
4:48 PM, Sunday February 16th 2020
edited at 4:50 PM, Feb 16th 2020

Like 80% or 90% of art is doing practice, studies, experimenting. That is stuff you can do on your own (assuming you have the tools: a PC and software if working digital, and various art supplies if traditional).

The remaining 10% or 20% is the theory. There's really no deep secrets in art. Everything is available online and for free in some form or another. Commercial resources like Schoolism, while very good, won't make you a great artist on their own.

IMO, the benefit of art schools is that it will force you to do a lot of practice in a lot of different ways. It's for the people that need a course structure in order to actually do the work they need to do.. The exact same (and maybe even better) could be achieved self-taught. And there's even free resources with a course-like structure (DrawABox being one of them).

Another thing art schools give you is the reputation from coming from a certain art school. Certain companies seem to only hire people that come from certain schools (but you plan to be a hobbyist so this doen't apply).

Also art schools give you the opportunity to make contacts in the industry. So you have more leverage when trying to get a job (which again doesn't apply because you are hobby artist).

In summary: Just practice, practice A LOT. Then check a tiny bit of theory. Then do 10x more practice. Go up to absurd levels of study and practice. Always check back to the theory/books, read and re-read them. Specially the most basic stuff. Don't only aim for knowing about the theory, aim for mastery of it. If you do all that, there's no reason you can't achieve whatever artistic goal you propose yourself.

edited at 4:50 PM, Feb 16th 2020
9:11 AM, Monday February 17th 2020

Is there anything else to say? Great explication especially the 'read a bit of theory then 10x more practice', sums it up perfectly.

The only thing I think I would add is that online courses/art-schools and such offer just a shortcut but also can get in the way if they are not on the mindset of the student and the way he learns.

12:27 PM, Monday February 17th 2020

Everything is available online and for free in some form or another.

I agree that everthing is available online and we have a vast resources here. But I think that the problem is, sifting those resources. I think that's what I struggled the most. That's also the reason why I've been drawing on and off since I was in middle school. I think, it's great that right now, there are a lot of really good art resources. Though, my doubts is still there that I can't get that far. Still, I'm going to practice anyway.

I didn't think that 90% art is for that, I thought that there are some information that you can only get in art schools. I have a misconception that knowledge of theory is more important than practice which sometimes makes me frustrated. I agree that you can learn more with practice than just reading theories. Right now, I'm going to practice a lot. Also, Thanks for taking the time to answer my question.

11:36 AM, Tuesday February 18th 2020

As someone that has studied illustration at university, digital painting at a concept design school (CDA clone), as well as followed Drawabox through self-directed study, my experience is that all three offer different things. I actually wrote an article about it a while ago and whilst I speak from a position of relative privilege (low consequence university loans, high income country, etc), I do think people are often too quick to put formal education down.

Some of the things that I learned in my illustration degree that are quite a lot harder to find online (though not impossible) are how to design, generate ideas, accept critique, and how to market yourself as a freelancer. In your case, as a hobbyist, I would definitely be trying to push as far as you can with the free/cheap options available to you before worrying too much whether you'll get to some standard.

2 users agree
1:34 AM, Tuesday February 18th 2020

I personally believe it's possible. Though I think Art school/college in general might teach you things that you won't find for cheap/free, I still feel like the potential to become an amazing artist through practice and good resources is there. As someone who is also quite financially strapped at the moment, I've almost made it something of a goal to become a great artist as cheaply/freely as possible (everytime I think of Rock Lee saying "I can become a splendid ninja as well!").

I can't guarantee it'll help, as I myself haven't really tried it, but I know a lot of artist will "copy" another artists work as a means of learning some tricks and/or picking up their style. You may not end up drawing exactly like them, but I'm pretty sure you'll glean something you can use in your own work.

Ultimately, even if you don't end up drawing like the artists you admire, I still can't imagine putting a great deal of time, research, and effort into a craft for it not to become something amazing. Something that motivates me more than drawing like the artists I love is not drawing like them. I wonder what kind of artist I'll become, and what kind of work I will create; On the same level as them, but in a different way, in my own respect.

I hope you can find all the resources you need to achieve your dreams, or pass them, someday soon:)

Best of luck too you!

3:53 PM, Thursday February 20th 2020

And the way Rock Lee got to achieve it was via sheer hard work, even insane amounts of hard work, far more than any of his peers. Never forget that.

1 users agree
4:20 AM, Tuesday February 18th 2020
edited at 5:08 AM, Feb 18th 2020

You can 100%! Not a doubt in my mind! School will not help at all if you aren’t committed to the goal of being a good artist.

I went to an art school for 3-4 years and still haven’t gotten where I want to be (Plus a lot of loans I have to pay back). And that lies fully on my shoulders. When I went to an art college I lacked the commitment and discipline to develop the skills and cultivate a network of artist friends to learn and grow alongside each other. I was a very anxious, awkward and negative person (still am but less than I used to be) and doubted myself heavily throughout my entire time at school. That made it hard to connect with the professors and my fellow peers’, thus making feedback hard to receive and implement. Plus I was honestly lazy and undedicated although I really did want to be a professional artist. I lacked that self-motivated spark that makes people really good artists.

I believe you can supplement all those things that school gives you online. You can build a community that is working towards the same goal. You can get the feedback of peers and professional. And you can get some structure online, such as this website. Only thing that cannot be supplemented online is your attitude and belief that you can accomplish what you want to do. Being positive and a can-do attitude will get you further than any college or degree saying “I leart skillz”.

edited at 5:08 AM, Feb 18th 2020
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8:02 AM, Monday March 1st 2021
edited at 8:14 AM, Mar 1st 2021

I know this reply is too late.

The answer is Yes!

Understand the fundamentals properly and clearly.

Do "perfect practice" with a lot of patience.

I am a self taught hobbyist artist and i am very comfortable in painting stuff like this now



I know they are not great but i feel they are decent,

Once things start happening you will feel like you can achieve anything , but you will need a lot patience.

edited at 8:14 AM, Mar 1st 2021
1 users agree
5:01 PM, Sunday November 6th 2022

It's good to still have art goals that you want to achieve.

0 users agree
7:46 AM, Sunday February 23rd 2020

I'll give you a quick view on things. It's all about your attitude towards the resources you already have. It's all in your disposition to create and take on opportunities you, and the key is to keep moving foward, because after a while, you will get a chance to work on something new which can lead you to other and "bigger" things.

It's okay, you are broke now and you can't afford formal education. It's really ok. I'm at the same spot you are today. Just keeping working with what you have, and you do that by always reviewing and revisiting your motivation about what you're doing, the answer to why you are learning to draw.

Do you know Johnatan Hardesty? He's started out by himself. Eventually he got formal instruction, etc, but I think what got him to even get there at that point was his will always practice everyday no matter what. So give your best today, when you get a chance to be in a proper school, go for it, but don't let this hinder you from what you are trying to achieve, which is bigger than traditional learning.

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