Way back freshman year, when my major was Sequential Art (equally as useless as illustration), I did a series of comics (6) based on my experience as a useless veterinary assistant. Inks are probably brush pen, colors are digital.
Taking illustration classes is fine. They'll teach you many ways to work with client demands, how to hone in on a succinct style, composition and all sorts of things.
What they won't teach you is how to have the inner driving spirit to, reach out to potential clients every day, how to ~want~ to publicize yourself, how to cart your portfolio around and actually get a job. That has to come from within, or maybe you learn that at business school.
If you plan on making a living out of it, you've gotta teach those skills of persistence to yourself.
Welp, I've never been to business school, but I am a concept Artist for a few chums who need it (Personal projects or their own coursework), and a part time one at a Legends of Equestria (the MLP MMO-thingy) annnd I'm about to get an apprenticeship at a local Advertising company as one of their art-designer-people. I managed that through the whole portfolio carting (which my art teach taught me to do) and actually acquiring-a-position things you just mentioned, but I haven't actually advertised myself as such.
To be honest unless you can advertise yourself en-mass, like a banner on every few websites, I really don't see much of a point to it. just seems like money down the drain that method, unless you mean other ways of which I seem to be unaware of or not taking into account. In which case thats my weak point.
I mean, I got the apprenticeship at the advert company when they saw my college work, so thats a small form of local advertisement where its useful (as they were coming over frequently to do stuff with the college) and I see a point in that, but I don't really do it yet as I've not really the free time to deal with any offers I could potentially get. But I suppose its better to have offers and not have the time to use them than leaving it all up to random chance with no clear offers.
Right now I'm stuck between choosing animation and Illustration, my art teacher told me to go for illustration (like illustrating books, comics, adverts, etc) because thats my strongest point and I seem to enjoy it. however it always seems to me that animation is the big thing these days and if you want to go out there and make a lot/enough moolah or make a name for yourself as an artist you have to go down the animation route. Like how I imagine not as many people would've heard of Pendleton Ward of Adventure time and Bravest Warriors fame if he had only ever done comic books and such and never any animated work. Animation doesn't really stand out as much to me as standard 2D stationary work does, I mean I can appreciate how brilliant it is and some of the finer points but whereas I can stay up till' 5am finishing a piece of illustration because thats my passion in art, I tend to get really bored and tired of animationary work within a hour or so. I can't stand drawing the same thing over and over again as I'm a bit of a perfectionist so if I don't get it "right" and matching between my head and the paper it frustrates the heck outta me.
Animation just isn't my thing, despite how much I love it. I just love illustration way more, but I worry it just isn't as much of a valid art-form anymore.
Sorry for the wall of text, and thanks for reading and replying by the way, its really helpful. its a big decision for me is all and I really want to get it right.
You could always major in illustration and minor in animation, then try to get in from a storyboarding angle. Not like I actually know how to do that XD
But the internship will actually put something relevant on your resume, and that's the most important part. By advertising, I basically mean maintaining a public image that entertains and involves your viewership. You have a facebook artist page that updates every so often, you have a tumblr, maybe a twitter, a website and it's all interconnected and active.
Then you need to reach out to your client base. If the previous pages are enough to draw in steady comission works from various sources, that could be it. But you might have to take an interest in, like, hanging around fanfic forums, competing in illustration contests, like pasting pinkie pies on candy stores across america and documenting it on your tumblr.
The biggest thing these days is you have to be creative with that part, insanely so. The frequency and uniqueness of your public image, as well as making sure people know they can pay you to do awesome things, is what will make it viable. I mean, you could illustrate a kids book too. There's a lot of things you can do. You just have to be able to both think of and complete them.
Yeah, I was talking to some Ex-uni students and they said the same thing about majoring in one and minoring in the other. Its a good idea that as it gives you a wide range of stuff that you can use later.
And my public image is pretty much kept to DA right now, so I'm going to have to start to open up a few more like you said. thanks for that advice, teacher keeps pestering me to make a Tumblr account and I'm feeling more inclined to start one now.
Reaching out to my client base right now is goodish, I generally try to be as 1-to-1 as possible with all my clients/artbuddies. and as time passes I'm getting myself into more contests and independant and challenging stuff like that. But when I have some more free time after college is over I'm going to have to kick it up a whole notch.
Thanks again for your time, and thanks for the watch too! you've given me some self-confidence about this and some things to mentally mull over. Much appreciated!