Me (in white) and friends play at our graduation show- Somerset College of Art and Technology, 1989.


These thoughts came out of a conversation with friends about their kid going to school to study illustration and the prospects thereafter.

 
1. As far as prospects for illustrators: 
Visually representing original ideas will always have a place, what form that takes however... I'd hope a good art school should promote creative problem solving, timeless skills and understanding of the technologies, present and emerging.
 
2. The illustration world  that I entered; magazines, books, music etc., is still alive. The rub is, that the pay stalled many moons ago.
Much illustration is now blasted out on an iPad. I find students aren’t really aspiring to the old outlets anyway. Many teachers still think in these terms, (understandably- it’s what  they know). The landscape is being altered as I type, and the next generation will be creating in very different spheres.
  
3. The majority of students I’ve taught are more interested in gaming, film and animation. Jobs. The mainstream gaming world seems pretty rough. The indie gaming scene is much more interesting, creative and allows more err...dignity. Coders to partner with can be found in online groups. My guess is there will be a boom in VR & AR, and a lot of opportunities imminent.  Think of all the experiences that will migrate to these platforms and evolve on them. It’s going to be mind-bending. 
 
4. If this tech-ification is a turn off, making physical artwork is still important. If you know your audience, it’s now so much easier to reach them directly online. Sales platforms are a godsend (shopify etc.)
There is also the world of hosting workshop/ decompression classes to help those burnt out by life in VR helmet! 

5. My only solid “advice”- Take some business classes.
I wish they were offered at Art School.I took an entrepreneurship class at my local community college recently and it was amazing. I learned about "The Canvas" method of writing a very simple and effective business plan to a template. It's apparently what Silicon Valley uses.
I ask students to come up with creative business ideas, or products and cost them out.
Having creations that can earn money while you sleep, is, as far as I'm concerned, the way to go!  I encourage entrepreneurship from day one.
February 09, 2022 by Michael Gillette

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