PK 111: Making The Most of Your Time in Art School – Interview With Concept Artist, Cathleen McAllister

In this interview, artist Cathleen McAllister reveals why making the most of your time in art school is so important for a successful career in the creative industry

Subscribe to the Pencil Kings Podcast: | iTunes | Stitcher

You don鈥檛 really need one cohesive story with a million characters and stuff. You just need compelling images.

~ Cathleen McAllister

Making the most of your time in art school might seem like an obvious thing to do, but you鈥檇 be surprised at how many students finish their studies without the right skills to pursue a creative career.

In this week鈥檚 podcast, we speak to visual development and concept artist, Cathleen McAllister. Despite only finishing art school this year, she鈥檚 already landed herself a job at Reel FX.

So how did she do it? Well, like anything worth doing in life, there was plenty of hard work involved. But it鈥檚 not just about the hours you put in – it鈥檚 about what you actually do with those hours.

And, in this week鈥檚 interview, you鈥檒l find out exactly how Cathleen improved her art skills and landed her dream creative career.

Cathleen McAllister on Making The Most of Your Time in聽Art School

Cathleen McAllister went to college right after high school, graduated in May this year (2016), and is now a visual development artist at Reel FX.

However, although her path to success might seem clear now, it wasn鈥檛 always this way. After being the token 鈥榓rty鈥 kid at high school in Seattle, she suddenly discovered things were very different when she started at Otis College of Art and Design in LA.

She laughs: 鈥淭here weren鈥檛 a lot of artists at my high school, so people would always compliment me on my work. So I thought I was good! But when I got to Otis, it was like everyone was better than me, so that was quite the learning curve!

鈥淎ny my portfolio was so bad! I had no knowledge of anatomy or color, and my early digital paintings were really basic.鈥滭/p>

So her first year was pretty challenging. Cathleen says it was really hard for her to learn anatomy and gesture, and the workload was tough.

However, by the end of freshman year, she鈥檇 gone from being a novice artist to being somewhere in the middle with her ability.

She says: 鈥淢aking friends with the right people is super-important and having friends that do a similar thing to you is super-important too.

“My friends and I weren鈥檛 into partying – we were more into having Google Hangouts and keeping each other on track.

鈥淲e still had fun though. It鈥檚 just that we understood each other鈥檚 situation.鈥滭strong>Here are some of the questions we asked Cathleen聽on聽making the most of your time in art school

  1. What advice would you give to your younger self? (12:15 – 14:05)
  2. What does it really take to become an artist in your chosen field? (14:40 – 16:37)聽
  3. Should you be marketing yourself on social media? (17:41 – 19:40)
  4. What is it really like to work as a visual development artist? (23:26 – 26:47)
  5. How can you develop your career as an artist?聽(29:19 – 34:03)

We hope聽this week’s podcast interview聽gives you all the advice you need about making the most of your time in art school.

Have you got any tips yourself? Then聽why not leave us a comment below?

In the meantime, here’s to your art and your success!

People on this Episode:

Links From聽This Episode:

Subscribe via iTunes.
Listen on Stitcher Radio.
Android users can grab our RSS feed here.
Right-click and 鈥渟ave file as鈥 for direct download.

Thanks for listening to our show! We鈥檒l be back next Wednesday morning 8AM EST.

Cheers,

Mitch

PS, there is also Pencil Kings content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Leave a Reply

Thinking of joining Pencil Kings?

Answer 3 Simple Questions and Get Your Free Beginner Anatomy Course