In-depth review of 'Art School for Digital Artists' online course by a recent student
With everyone starting to think about online options for studying these days, we thought it would be good to share a recent article by Willie Jimenez who went down this path back in 2017. Read on to find out about the good, the bad and if there is any ugly.
Back in 2017. I took a big chance and signed up art school for digital artist. It was new and untested. But I got to sign up for $150. I was already signed up for an account on Cubebrush for a while then and I trusted Marc (Creator of Art school) because I’ve watched a few of his past videos. I knew I was taking risk But boy did the risk pay off its now 2020. and I’m patiently waiting the last part of the final term to be released.
What was supposed to be 4h average per term (~1h per class). Was kinda bumped up along the way to 8-12 hours per term on average. Then came the addition of the forum for students. and then livestream where Marc spends 3h each weekend with students going over assignments and personal work with paint-overs, tips/tricks and overall progress guidance.
This course changed my life. Without it I wouldn’t have been able to go to brainstorm a few months later on a scholarship. Which I’ve already written about in the past. In this post I’ll write about my experience with Art school and why it’s worth giving a try.
Who is Marc Brunet? What is cubebrush?
Marc Brunet is founder of Cubebrush, online marketplace for all things CG. A platform for artists, developers, and designers in need of affordable quality digital art resources. Cubebrush is a marketplace that allows users to sell and buy digital art resources, 3D Assets, textures and more.
He is also a retired veteran of the video game industry with over 10 years of experience. Having worked 7+ years as a Senior Artist for Blizzard Entertainment. On titles such as Titan (Overwatch), Heroes of the Storm and StarCraft 2: Legacy of the Void.
The site describes Art School for Digital Artists, as your typical art school college curriculum, but with better classes. At a fraction of the cost from a regular college. I was a part of the first original group of students so I got to buy/signup upfront for a fraction of the coast. and every month or so a new term would be released. Terms were anywhere from 4-8 hours each. Now you can get all terms in one large bundle or individualy. The 10 "terms" included in the complete pack focus on digital arts in general. Giving you a great artistic base, like you would expect from any top colleges around the world. But without the irrelevant stuff and in a practical digital format you can watch on your own.
And it's all online. Which meant I didn’t have to leave the house and I can watch from anywhere. No combing trough endless videos on youtube for relevant, useful information. And the terms come in nice efficient order from beginner to more advanced subjects.
One of the big issues we all hear nowadays, is about collage and how expensive it is and is it worth it? With the wake of Art institute going bankrupt and so many students in debt because they can’t find a job. Predatory school after peoples money leaving them with skills that won’t make the cut in the real world. I was warned before I even joined the military that these type of schools existed. and that they were gonna come after me and they did. I was lucky, but many wanna be artist unfortunately fell in their trap.
Marcs along with guys like Noah Bradley have been saying, “Don’t go to art school,” don’t pay 250 thousand for a school thats over priced. So he wanted make a legit affordable option for art students everywhere.
I had the Gi bill so money wasn’t too much of concern. But I did want to spend it wisely. What I ended up doing was going to school for 3D animation. Because it was the advised as safer. But when I discovered Art school I saw it as an opportunity to do 2D art on the side at the same time. At the time I was watching youtube videos and lesson on schoolisum. I was also huge fan of CTRL+Paint as well, which got me off to a good start and covered some very basics. But Art school was on another level. It eventually helped me get a scholarship to Brainstorm and few awards here a rookie.co as well. Since the classes were self paced I paused it when I went to California. I learned a bunch at brainstorm. Then went right back to digital art school. Where I had a few new terms sitting waiting for me in my library.
The videos where dense even though some where a few hours long. they were packed with information. They require mutable viewings. But it neat because when I need to rewatch something, I know where to go. The videos are broken down into chapters. That are very easy to follow or to pick up where you left off, if you get interrupted.
What it replaces and What it doesn’t
The terms don’t cover everything. It's not gonna replaces 4 years at Art center college or Gnomon. These schools are like master course done after collage in most cases anyways. And you’d also be missing out on the experience and connections made at a brick and mortar.
This course is a perfect replacement for a normal 4 years art collage, with a basic program. Most of which concentrate around traditional fine art. this course is a better option than what I call portfolio schools. Like Art institute who promise a job in less time. It's a perfect alternative for those who can’t afford school and/or live in the middle of nowhere. Or those who have done school already and are self taught.
In comparison to Brainstorm or CGMA. it falls in-between. Let me explain these schools can also cover basic courses and cover alot of the same material. For example theres an human anatomy term and an animal anatomy term at Art school. Each a couple of hours long and very informative. But if you want that doesn’t stop you from doing a ten week course on one subject because you enjoy it. Or feel you need it and you can learn a lot more.
If one was to do Brainstorm or CGMA from basic foundations to the more advanced classes it would add up to a lot. I feel like one would be ok with Art school as foundation, while going to life drawing and reading a few books on your own. Then after this take a few concentrated specific course at CGMA or Brainstorm. On whatever specific job you are looking to get like keyframes or storyboards.
The main effectiveness of Art school for me was the order. How the curriculum took you from one skill to another and how it build on previous knowledge. In a way that made sense. Something that college is lacking. Because unless theres a prerequisite, you can pretty much take classes in whatever order. and things don’t alway gel well in the end.
The Negative side
I felt like Art school needed more assignments, but that is a personal preference. Because thats the type of learner I am. I didn’t learn it well unless I do it myself. I’m more hands on. But my personal solution to this is to be more proactive in your own learning experience. Give yourself assignments. Something Moderndayjames taught me while at brainstorm, “Don't wait to be given assignments,” if you see an opportunity to study or work on something.
To be fair I ran this by Marc and he said he is working on this.
“Yes, I completely agree with you, there needs to be more assignments and that's high on my to-do list, I've already promised more during a previous live stream,” said Marc, who also went deeper into some of his other plans. “For context I'm also still working on 2 other videos for term 10 and need to revisit and update the audio and content for the first couple terms. I feel like I got better as a teacher along the way and I want to make sure the start of the program is as solid as I end it. Once that's done, it'll be subtitle time!”
Extras-support forums and Live steams
Because of my schedule and I haven’t taken much part in some of the neat extras Art school has to offer. Theres a forum where students meet and share work. They give each other inspiration and critiques. Marc is alway on trying to give as much feedback as he can. But he also does livestreams, where he reviews peoples work, which he says is worth the price of Art school on its own. He is really dedicated to mentoring and teaching. Obviously personal sessions and one on ones with him is not possible. But he does what he can.
"We've been at it for 90 weeks so far, planning to keep going for many more as long as students have a need for it." -Marc
Currently priced at $599 or cheaper if you buy the individual terms. And you can trade them in for the whole package course if you choose to later. I mean it cost less than one ten week class at CGMA. and you will learn way more than what you’d could at some college or portfolio school. It’s a great foundation before you decide ok I want to animation, or concept art, or illustration. This is sorta like a foundation for all that. And you can take it from there. All the reviews I’ve seen are great and I personally owe a lot to this course.