Secondary Menu

Atelier Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How long does it take to get good at drawing in this style?

A: Over the past 10 years I have heard this asked by many students. Through experience I believe that you can teach someone to draw very well through constant critiques and tutelage. However, how quickly someone picks up the visual language of drawing is very individual. Just as some people have an ability to pick up Math, or English, or languages, some are very adept at picking up visual skills. An example of a student who started with little or no training can be seen by going to the progression page on the gallery menu. In my experience with students I feel have gotten what we have to offer at Watts Atelier it has been about 2 to 5 years of steady work.

Q: What is the most important class or classes to take?

A: This depends on how advanced you already are and what your long-term goals are. For example, if your goal is to move from your present job of Caricature Artist at a theme park to lead conceptual character designer at a large feature animation studio in just a few years, then I would recommend highly going full time and taking as many of the core drawing classes as possible. However if your goal is to do a portrait of your children, then maybe you’ll want to stay with portrait drawing. There are a number of classes that will be taught in the near future that would be excellent starters. For example: Introduction to Tonal Drawing or Introduction to Head and Features.

Q: My parents want me to get a degree.

A: If you feel you would like to or need to get a degree that is a decision you and only you can determine. In my personal experience in the fields of art I have worked, I have seldom if ever been asked to present a degree. This does not mean you should not get one. All I can say is I have never had one and have not needed one to work. My portfolio, which was constructed through years of study and hard work, acts as my visual degree when getting work.

Q: Should I go to a big art college or stick with an Atelier?

A: Again, this decision will ultimately rest on your shoulders. There is an ever-increasing opinion that large institutions and universities, burdened by bureaucratic red tape, large overhead, and inconsistent artistic direction, are ill equipped to lead a student through the perils of becoming a traditional representational artist. I may be biased, but I have experienced first hand the superior education I received at an Atelier, at a fraction of the cost. This of course is a matter of opinion but I stand by it confidently.

Q: How do I know if I’m in a good class where I can learn something?

A: For myself this has always been an easy decision. The first criteria would be the quality of students in the class. This is a telltale sign of how well an artist can communicate what he or she knows. You should remember that representational art is visual and not verbal. It is best communicated by example rather than just talking. Look for a teacher that will share his or her art with you and will draw in front of you and on your drawing pad constantly.

Q: People have told me that everyone at the Atelier draws in the same style. Will this hurt my creative personal style?

A: This is actually a great compliment. At Watts Atelier we strive to get the students to first learn to see and understand certain basic artistic concepts. We have learned from past Masters that emulation of other great artists that have come before us is an efficient approach to training ones eye to see correctly. Only after much hard work of disciplining can a student then move towards creatively expressing their internal vision. If your goal is to be an abstract artist or conceptual fine artist, then these classes may not be appropriate for your needs.

Q: How will I know that if I enroll at the Atelier that I will get good enough to work?

A: No institution, whether accredited or not can promise you this. In my opinion any institution of learning should be designed to spark and nurture the creative flame within a student. By teaching the student through example there is hope that at some undetermined day, they will be equipped to go forth and take upon themselves the creative regeneration of the world. Not everyone will realize this. It is our hope at the Atelier that in the process of developing your creative self that you enjoy yourself no matter what level you ultimately obtain.

Q: What, if any, financial aid is available?

A: Watts Atelier offers package discounts and financial incentives to all students, regardless of their qualifications. Click here for more details.

Q: Can I tour the school and observe instruction and if so, where is it located?

A: Visitors to Watts Atelier are always welcome. Visiting hours are during class and by appointment. Click here for contact and location information.