That’s actually an easy question to answer: If you ask it with a blank slate like a college level artist is about to enter our studio, you will be told to “learn to draw by trial and error,” which basically means learning to “think outside the box.” If you take the most popular art college (I’m not going to name names) out of the top 20 colleges in the country in terms of graduation rates – the National Fine Arts Center at the University of Pennsylvania is a pretty good example – the odds are good that you will be learning the basics of drawing.
It’s hard to beat a high school art teacher for showing you a piece of art you don’t really comprehend. When the art teacher points to a particular aspect of an artist’s art and asks which aspect you get your ideas coming from, you’ll be able to think “Oh, that’s really neat! I get all of mine from that angle.”
However, I don’t believe that it is necessary to take a college art class to get great art. All that a college art instructor would have to do is show you the basics of drawing – let yourself just think for a bit and have some fun! Even if it takes your whole life to get there; even if your art teacher is good; even if your professors are wonderful; even if your art is great – even if you’re the only one who knows what you’re doing. But, if you’re really good at drawing and you see a piece of art that you like, even a college art class won’t take away the spark that has always been there within you.
One thing an art teacher might want to do in this situation – and it happens all the time – is to try to explain all these things to the student with no intention of offering any guidance at all. Some art teachers may be very willing to give you guidance – to show you the proper way to draw. I would not recommend that because the best art teachers don’t want to do that at all and want you to just draw without thinking about any of it. That’s where the student will be confused, and they’ll have that spark in their eyes.
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
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