Sometimes people make stupid life choices. Buuuuut... I can't really blame them. 

My good friend after graduating college decided his bachelors degree wasn't going to land him his dream job, so one day in utter confusion turns to me out of the blue and goes, "I think I'm gonna go try Med School." 

So a few months later there he was, studying to become a doctor at a prestigious University blasting through his life savings.

I texted him 6 months later to find out if he had figured things out. He replied "This years tuition cost me $50,000 and I'm not so sure if I want to be a doctor." 

Are you freaking kidding me dude? 

Might as well pay me 50 GRAND and I'd figure it out for him. 

You'd be surprised just how many crazy people are spending a ridiculous amount of money on education unsure what they are going to get out of it. WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD YOU DO THIS?!!

Yet I've met countless people in college who 3 years into their degree still have no clue what they want to study. So when high school or college students reach out to me and ask for advice, obviously I want to help save them potentially years of frustration. 

What advice do you have for someone in high school who wants to study animation in college? 

Make it your goal to laugh at current projects even a few months after you finish them. If you can have that attitude towards your own work, that you aren't good enough and so you're going to do something about it today (not tomorrow), then every day you'll improve. In fact, you'll get so good you'll not even want to show your old work because you can see how bad it is.

Most high school teachers come from a studio art or art education background in college, where they were only taught a lot of abstract concepts that don't jive with the business of animation. It's extremely unfortunate since a lot of students like you will be left feeling like there's so much more to art than strange theory fluff. Don't use style as an excuse for crappy art. There are great studio and gallery artists out there but this blog is not meant for that at all.

Your style will come with time, but only after years of putting in drawing and painting time. 

If you invest some money into learning the principles of design, you'll seriously improve your skills quickly. The more you invest now into great courses like these, the more you'll get back later. Think of it this way, if you invest $300 in a course now, by implementing those princicples, you'll be able to do a few freelance projects for someone and earn about $300 over the next year because of your increase in skills. If you invest $3000 I bet you'll be able to earn that much within the next year in freelance projects because of your increased skills. It works. I've seen it over and over again. 

The only time you can break that model is where you find amazing free courses like Feng Zhu. 


My friend Sarah Nightingale in high school did 50 paintings in 50 days one summer. She probably invested a few hundred dollars in oil paints, but it paid off when she sold all 50 paintings and probably made more money than all high schoolers make in a summer. When she started on day 1, she wasn't that good, but on day 50, you could tell she improved a ton. Now she's amazing.

And here's the best figure drawing book in the world. I still use this. 
Figure Drawing by Michael Hampton

Figure Drawing is more important than any other skill you could possibly work on to start out your career.

If you're more interested in CG stuff, learn some of these basics first, and then you can learn how to animate. 


Feel free to reach out to me at garretthoyos@gmail.com 

I'm happy to answer your questions.