Friday, March 11, 2011

CCS Appreciate/Awareness Week!

It's Center for Cartoon Studies Appreciation Week or Awareness Week, depending on who you ask, so I thought I'd post a few photos from my time as a student there, way back in the dark ages of 2005-2007.
Mini comics from the class of 2007

The real drive behind this appreciation week is to try and drum up applicants. With all the promoting that CCS does with mailers, press releases, workshops and conventions, most of the new students still hear about the school first through student/alumni blogs.

Final Critiques
Critique Day, 2005

And since the goal here is to attract applicants, I thought I'd do my part by answering some of the questions I get most often from people who are considering the school. In the first couple years after I graduated, I use to get tons of e-mails of total strangers, wanting to know if CCS was for them. A couple of them (Denis St. John leaps first to mind) went on to become students and friends.

A familiar sight
Sam Gaskin, asleep in the lab after an all-nighter, 2005

First question I usually get "Should I go to CCS"?

Maybe? Probably? Depends on what you're looking to do with your comics.

I guess that's the thing, if you're not really interested in drawing comics, then this probably isn't the program for you. While the skills you learn (writing, design, professional practices) are applicable to a lot of fields- I used them in my day-job, working at a library- you're going to be expected to draw comics. A lot of comics. Every day.
If you're comics-obsessed, love drawing and writing, and still aren't sure if this is the program for you, try a summer workshop first. That'll give you a good idea of what the program is like. If you can't make the workshops, attend a portfolio day, or write the school and ask about sitting in on an class or and internship or something. Whatever you do, I don't think it's a good idea to commit to the program sight-unseen. I mean, I did, but I learn everything the hard way. At least visit the town first, pictures don't do it justice.

End of semester party
Andrew Arnold, a Sturm child, and Josie Whitmore at a CCS party, 2005

2nd question I hear all the time- "I really want to attend, but don't know how I'm going to pay for it!"

Oof, that's a hard one. I didn't know this answer to this myself when I applied. It's a lot of money, but...not REALLY. Compared with other art school MFA programs, it's quite a deal. But, a lot of them offer financial aid. I don't know what CCS currently offers (there have been a lot of changes over the years), but when I went, there was a payment plan through the school that worked out well for me, coupled with a loan from my parents, and I am forever indebted to them, both literally and figuratively.

Some of my classmates took out personal loans, sold their cars, found grants or other funding through the state of Vermont, put everything on a credit card...there are options. And I think that it's worth it, if you finish the program. Of course not everyone from my class is making a living from comics (though a few are!), but those that I've stayed in touch with have found better jobs thanks to their MFA, and all seem to be doing pretty well right now.

Grad class of 2007
CCS Pioneer Class of 2007, graduation photo

Of course, the REAL reason to attend CCS is the people and the community. Feel like I spend a lot of time on here talking about how awesome everyone is. So instead, here's links to a bunch of the other CCS Awareness Week posts:

Happy reading!

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