Hey everyone. First time poster, long time lurker here.
Before I get to the point of this post I feel it important to explain my situation so, please, bear with me. Two years ago, when I was nearing the end of my community college career, I decided that the study of psychology was no longer something I wished to devote my professional life to. For a while I contemplated several prospects but, ultimately, was unable to muster anything more than tepid enthusiasm for any of them. Panic and uncertainty slowly took hold in my mind at a time when I should have already known what colleges I would be applying for. Feeling lost and frustrated I began to entertain strange and alien notions of paradigm shattering potential. Notions of things I previously thought impossible for myself. Scary notions.
For the first time in my life I began to seriously consider a career in art.
At the time I was almost 21 years old with no formal art education of note. What little practice I had was completely misguided and unfacilitated. The idea of being a professional artist excited me greatly but I felt it was too late, that I was too old. Surely all professionals practice from childhood, while possessing exceptional, natural born talent to boot. How could I possibly hope to bridge the gap? Then, a godsend, I followed a link on a GameFAQs forum, strangely enough, which took me to a little known thread by one MindCandyMan . . .
Now, two years later, I have a plan and know precisely what I want to work for. Being primarily interested in concept art I had wanted to attend the Next Gen Atelier in San Francisco. I learned of the cost of living in such a city and knew that a lower-middle class family such as my own, living in a small town in North-East Michigan, could never hope to afford even a pittance of the cost. Fortunately for me I had this site to turn to for help and found these words by Jason Manley:
" . . .you are not trapped in your situation. You can get out of any situation you want if you are willing to take the pain of doing all the things you dont want to do..the long hard way. The fruitful way."
I took this advice to heart and, after months of consideration, came up with a solution: I will be joining the U.S. Air Force for four years in order to save enough money for education. My aim is to join the Art Department program as soon as I get out, seeing as how the Atelier is becoming a part of it, or some such thing. I never saw myself joining the military as the lifestyle is not one I relish in the least, but I promised myself that I would do whatever it takes to reach my goals, and I've determined that this is my best option. Now, I could really use some advice . . .
After basic training (I leave February 23) I will be traveling to Monterey, California for training as a Cryptologic Linguist. The training for this job is very long, ranging anywhere from 57 to 85 weeks in total, depending on the language I'm assigned to study. For that time I will be very busy, but plan on investing what free time I have to art studies. For this time I'll be on my own, probably with minimal contact at best with any kind of art community. I don't forsee myself having a computer of my own either. What I will hopefully have is an assortment of books and various art supplies.
I would really appreciate suggestions on how to make the utmost best of my art studies over the course of my linguist training. I'm still quite the novice so please keep that in mind. Art books in my possession include:
Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist by Stephen Rogers Peck
Bridgeman's Complete Guide to Drawing from Life
Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters by Robert Beverly Hale
Drawing Realistic Textures In Pencil by J.D. Hillberry
Figure Drawing For All It's Worth by Andrew Loomis
Perspective Made Easy by Ernest R. Norling
Portrait Drawings: 42 Works by John Singer Sargent
The Natural Way to Draw by Kimon Nicolaides
After tech school I'll have much more time and freedom. Personal computer, Wacom tablet, Photoshop, Painter, easel and oil paints will all be acquired as soon as possible. At about the same time I plan on starting a sketchbook on this site, hopefully to show off whatever wondrous drawing skills I developed.
I want to be prepared for this, as best I can. Being on my own in regards to art studies scares me a great deal. I need to use my time efficiently and avoid developing any bad drawing habits. So whatever advice any of you can give, be it books, exercises, mediums to practice with, etc, I would love to hear it all.
Thank you, truly.