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SpecialistMichael, MS, CSCS
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My son is study Art & Design National Diploma Level 2 at South

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My son is study Art & Design National Diploma Level 2 at South Downs College.
Providing he can get enough passes or merits and go on to level 3 (two year course), what career opportunities are available for a young person with these qualifications?
He is being tempted into doing a short course at another college which I would say is more like a trade than education and is more to do with the lure of earning money now - like his friends. He has always had some natuaral talent for drawing and I just need to be able to show him what possibilities are available in the art and design sector.
Use the link below for course specs.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: General
Expert:  Cher replied 5 years ago.
Hello Nick, and welcome back to Just Answer!

My name is XXXXX XXXXX it will be my pleasure to assist you today. As an educator and the parent of a daughter with a degree in Fine Arts/Graphic Design, these are my thoughts:

A very popular occupation these days for students with a penchant for art and design is 'graphic designer'. Many companies of all different sorts, need graphic designers on their staff to create logos, design brochures/programs, etc., depending on the type of company it is, of course. If your son is also good with computer skills, he can 'marry' these two passions and become a website designer. His artistic talents will be needed by many companies who own websites (and who doesn't, nowadays?) and their websites are the 'first impression' given to the customer who looks at it to find out more about the company, so it's a very important job. The photographic element is also quite intriguing, if he has an interest in photography and digital photography and another thought is possibly 'animation art' or computer graphic art, used in movies, etc. He also might want to design and illustrate video games.

He might also consider interior design and it might be a good idea for him to take a few education courses and perhaps decide to teach art, if he has an interest in doing this.

I hope you found my suggestions helpful and I wish your son much good luck with his future educational endeavors!

Best regards,
Expert:  SpecialistMichael replied 5 years ago.
My name is XXXXX XXXXX I have a few questions for you if you would entertain them.

I actually have some friends both in arts and in arts management as well as friends that chose to forgo the fine arts for something different for a couple of reasons.

What expectations do you have for your son based on where he is in school?

What expectations does he actually have for himself based on where he is at currently? Is he using this school to build and hone for a greater goal?

What are his future plans for continuing education and realistically why is he continuing on in this field. I am not asking to question it, just curious on his total outlook.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.


I would like some more specific options. Are you based in the USA?


Expert:  SpecialistMichael replied 5 years ago.
Thank you very much for the answer reply request.

I am based in the US along with JustAnswer but general digital media as well as the tradition fine arts follow similar trend in the UK.

I can tell you immediately that through conversations with friends as I mentioned either in fine arts or arts management, that some of the work is quite limited unless you are doing production type work but again thats going to be a position that needs to be found. I had a very good friend who was a BRILLIANT artist choose chemical engineering because she actually feared not having enough work as an artist. She still does smaller pieces for sale here and there, but her suspicions were partially correct in the area she wanted.

Its very hard for some people to find regular work doing traditional media work simply because the need for artistic people is now switching into a need for the digital age, be that digital photomedia, design and drafting, CAD(which starts to bridge with engineering) as well as digital design and vector based productions.

Obviously the sky is the limit with anything art or creative design but the important point is that your son figure out what he enjoys most or what he is drawn to and better at - this would be a key point in helping him hone his skills both in classes and school as well as deciding the forward path for which to actually go on for. This also doesn't mean he couldn't fuse 2 different styles of creativity together for example, photography and digital post processing(digital retouch and color correction) go hand in hand.

For photography there are a myriad of things he can do. Portrait photography, life"style" photography and automotive media for both events as well as stock photos are HUGE today. This can be freelance as well as under contract. This isn't generally considered production type work, whereas shooting sporting events(football, rugby, hockey, curling, really anything), news and other "quick to the screen" type of media pays regularly and this could also be done under contract - typically this doesn't involve any allowable editing so it will give him a chance to practice his shot composure. The other part to this is actually the digital retouching and color correction is a separate job in itself. There are professionals hired specifically for this because it can be so time consuming and customizable. This would be photoshop and lightroom, aperture all the popular programs. The thing is big bucks are paid to transform an out of camera shot to something spectacular because it takes such a long time on some things.

As far as creative graphic design the possibilities and combinations of possibilities are HUGE. It can be as simple as clip art type of graphic design, all the way through flash programs and media. Vector based output starts getting people ready for the transition into physical media, like that on billboards, clothing, as well as any sort of "open ended" files that can be used for a myriad of different things, say for a business that needs advertising on both print and clothing. Obviously the more integrated you get to web based output the more computer training and skill building will be required but there are tons of avenues for site building media, web design is basically a language on its own. Learning HTML, CSS, Drupal, other types of webpage coding and other internet languages I don't think would be considered traditional fine arts but perhaps after an introduction to it could change around his plans - thats the beauty of it though. Once you are introduced to a certain style of creative design, you have a better understanding of all that goes into it. Simply making graphics and logos, provided he is a good at it and enjoys it is also a great way to have a regular income as well - this is going to involve learning the output programs but again these graphics and logos are always in demand.

As far as the traditional media arts, this is where, depending on his motivation it might be tough to decide. Obviously anything in traditional media will require time and motivation, its also difficult to forecast because of what his interests will be. There is obviously the traditional sculpting, pottery, glass making and other 3D media, but then you have the "commonly thought of" media like canvas, watercolor, oil paint and sketching as well as all the outlets they would provide. If you google a man named Chip Foose, he is basically one of the worlds most well known automotive designers. He always starts his concepts on paper then transforms them. If you look at a popular motorcycle building company called Orange County Chopper, they go the alternative route of having their designer come up with things in a 3d vector program that can immmediately be transfered in vector output to CNC machines that actually bring some of the pieces to life. So while everything is now in the digital age, there are tons and tons of outlets. There are even people, albeit a limited amount, doing murals and other large forms of street art. Unfortunately its widely documented that things like large billboard, once hand drawn media is being replaced by digital billboards and large print companies.

The other outlet he might have is through actual art education - teaching people how to build and develope their own skills, or perhaps something like arts management. I have a good friend involved in making large marketing decisions for my city's restructuring program for the waterfront. I believe her formal MS. degree is in some type of arts managment. Before she got this job she had basically resigned herself to being strapped for income, thinking she would have a tough time - but she loved it and decided to go on with it. Then this opportunity came up for her that really surprised her. She loves it. While there it's not exactly what she went to school for, she is basically using her past academia to forward the city's revitalization of this particular part of town - and shes in charge because she actually has NO marketing experience, whereas a majority of the people there have marketing experience but no training in the arts. So she had the advantage.

I would strongly suggest to you and your son would be interning or apprenticing in some places where he can actually work the jobs he thinks he would be interested in. This way he can get a solid real-life hands on experience, talk to his superiors about the numbers of finding a position in the forum he likes as well as see if its something he would really want to do. Thats really the only way for him to hone and decide - as well as giving him an actual chance to experience it.

Does that help and clear some things up for some of his possibilities? I know its a ton of information but its important for the both of you to realize, the digital age is here in demand, but with the right type of specialization he can still do traditional media types and flourish in his trade - whatever that ends up being.
SpecialistMichael, MS, CSCS
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 508
Experience: Senior Information Specialist
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