As a child, I was always at the top of my class. I was a great student and loved learning. Therefore, when I was able to decide, no one understood that I wanted study to become an artist (‘but if you have such good grades, you can enter any career!’). However, in my head there was no room for doubt: I would rather have a difficult path in a job that I like than spend all day doing something that bores me, even if that something is better considered and paid.
To this day, and despite all the difficulties that it has brought me, I do not regret my decision, although I would have liked to have more options and information regarding art schools.
And that’s what I wanted to talk about today, what to study to become an illustrator. Something that I have learned by talking to my colleagues is that there is no direct path to illustration. Each person has their journey, and it usually begins by loving creative stuff from a very young age.
When the time comes to decide what we want to study, we tend to be in doubt. It is very possible that our family and teachers pressure us to look for more “useful”, careers, that are “well paid” or “with more opportunities”. And it is normal, studying is very expensive and we all want to be able to earn a decent living in the future, but that does not mean that you cannot do it by working on what you like.
For example, I studied Fine Arts at university and later did a higher degree in illustration, in addition to training on my own in graphic design online. Thus, I have found a middle ground between what I really like (drawing) and a field that is very close and in demand (graphic design). I have asked my peers and they have studied things as different as fashion design, science, graphic design, animation, comics…
Anna Mimó tells us:
After studying Graphic Design and dedicating myself professionally to it for a while, I came to the conclusion that it was not creative enough for me, so I turned to illustration looking for a better means through which to express my ideas and feelings.
Another thing we have in common is that we constantly train and practice. There are as many different ways of drawing techniques as there are people, and one of the things I love about this profession is that we tend to share them with each other, so there are always new things to learn and perfect after finishing school.
Marc Escachx says:
Of course! I dedicate my free time to a large extent to training online or with mentoring from other artists. At the moment I am in a mentorship to improve my skills with the design of 3D characters.
When it comes to schools, it depends a lot on where you live and what options you have available. Fortunately, there are more and more schools that teach illustration and there are many online resources, both free and paid. I recommend to seek information and ask for opinions before enrolling to decide what best suits you.
Marcos Cabrera‘s advice:
I think it would be good enrolling in artistic studies if you know from a young age and then some school with a good basis for illustration, perhaps then practice a lot the technique in which you are most comfortable, be it digital or analog.
Aitana Giráldez has a similar experience to mine:
When I started high school, I had no references for illustrators, I saw it as a very distant profession, something impossible for me. I saw that the only job I could do related to art was to be an art teacher, that’s why I did Fine Arts. You need a university degree to be a teacher in Spain. I never really liked the college curriculum. Now I see the world of illustration in a different way, but I will always have that option of being a teacher. I would not dislike being one, I would obviously prefer to be an illustrator. Or perhaps a bit of both.
When asked what would they advise a person who is looking to study illustration,
Laura Endy says:
Get a LOT of information, ask people who have studied there, and try to find a school that really fits. Run away from places where they want you to be a “genius artist” without teaching you absolutely anything.
I would tell you that it is not necessary to do a university degree. You need to draw a lot, study some specific training that you like and prepare a good portfolio. Also the part of social media, which unfortunately we cannot neglect today and is very present. And have a lot of patience hahaha That is a difficult road but, but aren’t they all? ❤️
And you? What did you study? Were you satisfied with it? Share your impressions on Instagram and LinkedIn !✨