PK 111: Making The Most of Your Time in Art School – Interview With Concept Artist, Cathleen McAllister

In this interview, artist Cathleen McAllister reveals why making the most of your time in art school is so important for a successful career in the creative industry

Subscribe to the Pencil Kings Podcast: | iTunes | Stitcher

You don’t really need one cohesive story with a million characters and stuff. You just need compelling images.

~ Cathleen McAllister

Making the most of your time in art school might seem like an obvious thing to do, but you’d be surprised at how many students finish their studies without the right skills to pursue a creative career.

In this week’s podcast, we speak to visual development and concept artist, Cathleen McAllister. Despite only finishing art school this year, she’s already landed herself a job at Reel FX.

So how did she do it? Well, like anything worth doing in life, there was plenty of hard work involved. But it’s not just about the hours you put in – it’s about what you actually do with those hours.

And, in this week’s interview, you’ll find out exactly how Cathleen improved her art skills and landed her dream creative career.

Cathleen McAllister on Making The Most of Your Time in Art School

Cathleen McAllister went to college right after high school, graduated in May this year (2016), and is now a visual development artist at Reel FX.

However, although her path to success might seem clear now, it wasn’t always this way. After being the token ‘arty’ kid at high school in Seattle, she suddenly discovered things were very different when she started at Otis College of Art and Design in LA.

She laughs: “There weren’t a lot of artists at my high school, so people would always compliment me on my work. So I thought I was good! But when I got to Otis, it was like everyone was better than me, so that was quite the learning curve!

“Any my portfolio was so bad! I had no knowledge of anatomy or color, and my early digital paintings were really basic.”

So her first year was pretty challenging. Cathleen says it was really hard for her to learn anatomy and gesture, and the workload was tough.

However, by the end of freshman year, she’d gone from being a novice artist to being somewhere in the middle with her ability.

She says: “Making friends with the right people is super-important and having friends that do a similar thing to you is super-important too.

“My friends and I weren’t into partying – we were more into having Google Hangouts and keeping each other on track.

“We still had fun though. It’s just that we understood each other’s situation.”Here are some of the questions we asked Cathleen on making the most of your time in art school

  1. What advice would you give to your younger self? (12:15 – 14:05)
  2. What does it really take to become an artist in your chosen field? (14:40 – 16:37) 
  3. Should you be marketing yourself on social media? (17:41 – 19:40)
  4. What is it really like to work as a visual development artist? (23:26 – 26:47)
  5. How can you develop your career as an artist? (29:19 – 34:03)

We hope this week’s podcast interview gives you all the advice you need about making the most of your time in art school.

Have you got any tips yourself? Then why not leave us a comment below?

In the meantime, here’s to your art and your success!

People on this Episode:

Links From This Episode:

Subscribe via iTunes.
Listen on Stitcher Radio.
Android users can grab our RSS feed here.
Right-click and “save file as” for direct download.

Thanks for listening to our show! We’ll be back next Wednesday morning 8AM EST.

Cheers,

Mitch

PS, there is also Pencil Kings content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Leave a Reply

Is Today the Day You Get Back Into Art?