Back To School

While I was on vacation, an old friend asked me for advice about college for her soon-to-graduate aspiring-cartoonist son. Once even I finally grew bored with raging about how we shouldn't be old enough to have college-age children yet, I told her what my writing and my painting mentors once told me about specialty/trade schools: Take a look at the instructors' work, and ask yourself how much would you learn from any one of them by working as his or her [unpaid] assistant for a year or two. Then ask yourself how much time and money you're willing to pay those folks for that knowledge and experience.

There is a benefit to living in a community of fellow aspiring artists, but the odds of hitting the critical-mass-flashpoint lottery to come of age in a pre-war writer's Paris, a post-war painter's New York or a filmmaker's Vietnam-era Bay Area aren't so hot, even at the nothing-but-comics schools. They just don't make artistic/cultural hothouses like they used to, kids.

Kubert, Savannah, CCS and all the other comics schools are loaded with swell people who have made many comics we all have loved to pieces, but their students would probably be better off sinking that tuition money into a liberal-arts education, an 11x17 scanner, a long-arm stapler and a nest egg to move to a cartoonist haven like NYC or Portland once they graduate.

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