I've now been continually taking classes for 2 years straight. When I started going to CDA, I wrote down the classes I wanted to take on a post-it note, stuck it on my computer monitor, and have been crossing them off one by one as I go. 'Character Design' was the final class, and I had a real sense of accomplishment when I recently crossed it off, and was left with a 2-year-old post-it note full of dark lines.
I've decided for the first time in two years to not take another class at CDA this upcoming winter semester. My reasoning for the break is twofold: firstly, I'm not gonna lie, I'm a bit burnt out. Character Design was the 8th class I've taken. The classes themselves are only 3-4 hours a week, but combined with driving and homework, it's been a huge time commitment for the past 2 years on top of already having a 50+ hr/week job. And secondly, I'm preparing my portfolio for CTNx this year and I need all the art-time I can get to go towards that effort.
Unfortunately this also means I won't be taking a class again for at least a year, which is strange to think about - CDA feels like a permanent part of my life at this point. But next spring we're doing a fair amount of traveling, and next summer I will be swamped in wedding planning hell, drowning in tulle and sparkles (there are worse ways to go). In the meantime though, I'm planning on taking advantage of the many online learning options that are available in this golden age of internet education, particularly Chris Oatley's self-paced Magic Box course.
At the end of the day, all I really have to say is this: I don't kid myself about the reasoning behind why I've improved so much as an artist over the past 2 years. I've worked hard. But the only reason I've gotten to where I am is because I've benefited from quality education. My unparalleled teachers and incredible fellow students have given me invaluable feedback and pushed me in ways that I never thought possible. If it weren't for them and for CDA, I'd still be buying new pens thinking *this* is the one that will make me a good artist, and doodling dejectedly in spiral bound sketchbooks for 15 minutes before giving up. I'm no Rembrant. But I have more confidence in myself as an artist with each passing day, and that growing confidence has been a really great joy in my life.
© Gina Florio 2014