Last Wednesday my friends Darrin and Jessica and I packed a week’s worth of gear into a borrowed car and set off to Dallas, Georgia to see our dear friend Ariel for a long-overdue reunion. Thirteen hours and about 730 miles later our GPS navigated journey deposited us on her doorstep, and much joyous (and drunken) celebration has been had ever since.
Actually, as I’m writing this, we’re soberly cruising on our way back to Michigan with Ariel in tow so she can have a chance to visit everyone else back in MI for a few days, but while we were in Georgia I had a great, serendipitous opportunity to visit SCAD—The Savannah College of Art & Design. SCAD has a branch located in Atlanta—about a half-hour from where Ariel is living—meaning I could finally get to visit and learn more about their sequential art program.
Those of you who’ve followed my work all these years may recall that despite my nearly-unbelievably good fortune to have had LCC (Lansing Community College) offer an associates in sequential art just as I needed it, I’m aware of only two schools in the entire U.S. that offer actual bachelors or masters degrees for this form of art—SCAD and the Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont, which I’ve also been looking into.
*NOTE: The Joe Kubert School of Cartoon & Graphic Art offers accredited learning, but I’m not aware if this results in a degree or some other certification.
Anyhow, I was able to visit the SCAD campus on Friday and Monday, taking a tour of the school, getting some feedback on my portfolio and meeting with some of the faculty and students from the sequential art program. The Atlanta branch is a lot tinier than the main campus in Savannah, but besides the fact that this typically results in smaller class sizes—meaning more personal attention from instructors—Atlanta also happens to have far more immediate work/internship opportunities for artists in general, and specifically several for sequential artists like myself.
As a whole the school was very inviting and inspiring. Right off-the-bat, the admissions advisor I met with had some very promising comments based off of my cumulative GPA from LCC…
…see, when I noted here in my blog a few weeks ago that I’d finally graduated from LCC with my long-overdue associates, I was completely oblivious to the fact that I graduated SUMMA CUM LAUDE, “with highest honor.”
I noticed this fact just before embarking on this road trip, so I mentioned it to the advisor when she inquired about my GPA, then I checked my transcript to confirm that my cumulative GPA was 3.816. Hearing all this she was pleasantly taken aback and informed me that as a result I’d already passed one of the main hurdles involved in being potentially eligible for a full-ride scholarship, since such things are only ever awarded to students with a 3.75 GPA or higher.
This, naturally, is just what I wanted to hear.
Now it’s basically up to me to deliver a portfolio that’s so kick-ass that they can’t help but want to give me a full scholarship. Luckily I got some good feedback from the faculty while I was there, but I have some work to do before it’s anywhere near ready. Further fortune shined on me, though, when the faculty told me to send them previews of my finished portfolio before officially sending it to admissions so that they could help me polish that baby up as best as possible, which was nice.
They’re extremely cool folks, geared to help guide their students in highly personalized instruction to achieve each student’s specific goals…with a curriculum that caters to individuals like myself who’re driven to produce solo, independent works based on our own intellectual property. Not only that, but these instructors also work in the industry, creating and publishing their own books and helping students get freelance work on comics with various publishers, until the students are ready to work on their own, full-length projects as graduate students. So, reading between the lines, these instructors aren’t folks who teach because they can’t do—quite the opposite; they have true creative spirits, solid industry connections and use that to further the future careers of their students. ROCK!
What I’ve been lacking ever since the collapse of LC4 & VPI is a real community of peers, vocationally. I don’t know that I ever really had it, actually, even during the best of LCC/LC4, given that few of the other students I was with shared my particular ambitions and my passions for the medium…
…so the possibility of finding such community at SCAD and potentially being eligible for a free-ride scholarship is extremely exciting.
Anyway, that’s about it on that subject for the moment. I’ll keep you all abreast of any further scholastic developments as they arise.