As I wrote in this snark fest below, I decided to take some time off and go back to art school to learn computer graphics and recharge my creative batteries.

That didn’t work out.

Here’s my rant from the old blog, which seemed to touch a chord for many of our fine readers here as the path to creative freedom is littered with the bodies of aspiring artists who paid freaking huge loads of money to go to art school and got nothing out of it but a big student loan bill.

For the record, I remain no computer graphics expert, but with some tutorials from, some very handy tutorials by Brian Haberlin, and one Photoshop seminar, after just a few weeks of study, I was able to produce the art for Tori Amos: Comic Book Tattoo, and the training for same cost a fraction of what one semester of one useless art class from my dumbass school, not to mention the fact it took a hell of a lot less time.

Tori Amos: Comic Book Tattoo was the first time I had tried to do an assignment from start to finish on the computer, and I think it turned out…not half bad. Thanks also to me pal JMS for the upgraded computer equipment which makes all things easier. Painting with a mouse is a thing of the past and I’m no longer going blind trying to see on a crappy old screen.

Click on the SHOP tab above to go to the bookstore and buy this lovely, awesome tome. And be sure to click on the Brian Haberlin link, because he’s got some free downloads there. FREE TUTORIALS! Tell him Colleen sent you!

And now, Another Reason to Ditch That Dumbass School.

About that school…

I’ve agreed to finish out this quarter, because if I do, I continue to get access to school tutors and tutorials that the school offers until April, even though my current class ends on February 15.

The school…it is not happy.

Their argument is that if I were really, really dedicated and willing to push “past my comfort zone”, I wouldn’t be scared of the big bad computer programs.

Holy fucking flaming shit, I do believe that the reason I went to the school in the first place was to learn the god damned computer programs. Instead, I spend more than half my time writing essays about color, how advertising affects us emotionally, and doing thumbnails by the dozen. After I have wasted about ten hours of my week talking about hue, tone, shade, and the color wheel, I then get a design assignment that requires I use software I’ve never opened in my life.

So quick, like a little bunny, I run off to the tutorials and try to dope my way through the assignment. I have managed to do a competent enough job to maintain an A average, even when I only got access to the tutorials just about a week ago, though I have been in the school for six months.

I made the stunningly impolitic confession in class that I was leaving the school after the quarter, and this resulted in hilariously righteous indignation from other students who wouldn’t know the Golden Mean if Pythagorus hit them over the head with it. That I was just afraid to “push the envelope”. You know. Stretch the old creative muscles.

I can’t think of a single thing less likely to push my envelope than sitting in class writing an essay about the color pink. I have been writing essays so full of sass and sarcasm I cannot fathom why I haven’t been expelled. I fully expected to be expelled out of my last class, but my teacher loved the essays and gave me an A. I can only assume the dead serious explorations from my dead earnest classmates had bored her near death herself.

My only reason for going to this school was to get software lessons. I repeatedly emphasized that I needed schooling that would give me that practical skill set. I did not really need the degree, but if the degree came along with it, then hubbah. I went over it, and over it, and over it with my advisor, with the enrollment department, with everyone who would listen…

However, no software lessons are a part of the curriculum at all. All software lessons are extracurricular and if that is the case, I have absolutely no incentive whatsoever to stay in this school. It is expensive, it is making me do essays about the color pink, and if I want to make progress with the software, I might as well get a private tutor to come in once a week like I was doing before I got talked in to going to this diploma mill.

In fact, my tutor comes back to work with me at Monday at 2 PM.

I am sure this school is great for beginners, but I am in a second year class, still not getting any direct software schooling, spending hours and hours outside of class learning the software just to do assignments, and not retaining any real skills that will help me with my work that are commensurate with the cost and time investment of the school. Basically, I am cramming to get through the assignment, and for those that know cramming, you retain almost nothing thereafter.

I suppose if I were in need of a degree, this would be the way to go, but one thing is sure, it is not what you’d call an intellectual challenge. It’s just time consuming.

I am doubly annoyed because my first option was to go to a very prestigious Old U type school and either re-enroll as a degree seeking student, or just go to the Continuing Education program. At least I would have the prestige of going to a couple of Princeton Top Ten schools. Instead I got talked into going to this other school where the credits won’t even transfer to a university of calibre, and the sole reason I went there was to get the software schooling I am not getting.

If I have to get software schooling outside of class, then there is no reason to go to class. At all.

The reasoning the school offers to encouraging me to stay in the school is that they believe integrating design with the software learning experience will make me a better artist.

Well I have a better idea.

How about I integrate software training with assignments I already do, the ones that pay the bills, and then I can get software training to go with my assignments and my schooling will pay for itself!

What a novel idea!

Actually, I now have two tutors: one a local lady who will come to my house once a week, and another on call. And now I can make my own curriculum. And the training will cost me roughly 1/3 per month what the school was costing me.

Among many other things they are not teaching in this school is the concept of time management, and prudent investment spending.

I fully expect to get a bad grade in this class for having the temerity to complain about it, but the giggle is, even if I flunk I still have a high grade point average. I was willing to humble myself, and go back to the very beginning of my training in hopes of learning something about art. Well, if I am in a second year class and already have learned nothing about art, and am not getting my software training, then screw it.

Honest to God, if writing essays about color is an “academic experience”, we’re going to have to come up with a new word for what they do at Harvard.


PS: To make matters even more amusing, offering me access to this tutorial center at was on the of things my school was offering me as a goodie.

Except the school costs $1250 per class, and these tutorials cost $25 a month.

I don’t need a degree. I already know how to do basic math.