A note to graduates, art school in particular….
It was instilled in me at an early age, never to give anything (ie art) for free, to own your own creations. Create your own properties. I just wanted to draw Batman. What the hell did I know? I was 5 or 6 at the time. It would still be cool to draw Batman, but it’d be better to own Batman. No?
I still fight this to this day but you have to constantly be aware of scammers. Sure I could lay out that brochure, or do that logo but I’m not doing it for ‘exposure’, I get paid. How else is that insane student loan you took out supposed to get paid off? You have to be bold and smart in this world of design ‘contests’ where said bar is too cheap to hire someone to design their logo. If I see any of this nonsense on message boards, or facebook, I out them. You have all the exposure in the world, it’s called the internet. Get paid or walk.
If said art school failed to drum business in your head, they should have. Mine had a cheesy business class with the same textbook I had in high school. (sigh) Whether you’re goal is fine arts or commercial, you’re basically a small business of one. (unless you’re going off to animation or an agency). It’s going to take a while to distil yourself after the art school experience. You’re going to make a lot of bad art (or design) before things settle down. It took me about five years before my work settled down into what it is today.
I wish I had more advice for you, but given that every successful artist or designer I’ve heard give a talk has a completely different ‘break-in’ story. It’s not like going into medicine or becoming an auto worker. If it was, I would have been working right out of college. You never know what you’ll be doing once you get out. I’ve had fine art friends who wound up doing web design and illustration majors go into painting. It’s good to have a little hustle, be aware of trends, keep the ‘pencil’ moving, don’t be a douchebag, finish your work (even if it ends up looking like shit), and keep playing the ‘art lottery’. If you haven’t already, you’ll find your voice and everything will fall into place. Good luck.