Back to school : 5 Creative tips before you start art college or university


Pretty soon many very talented young creative people will be setting out to start university or  art college. I remember back to my very first day of university studying my creative degree, I didn’t particularly know how to best prepare for my degree or what to expect and hence this meant I was a tiny bit behind when I started.

If you’re in the midst of packing for university, ready and raring to start your course but want to prepare before taking the leap here I’ve put together 5 tips to do before you begin to help give you a flying start!

Art box materials

 Art college/university is a great opportunity to really broaden your creative understanding, explore different styles and experiment with materials to really find your own creative niche. So gather together a variety of art materials from oil pastels to watercolour, acrylic paint, ink and collage. Having these materials to hand in an art box or tool box will make it easy for you to carry to and from college with ease.


 The ever faithful sketchbook is going to be your best friendfor each art project your given.  There are lots of different sketchbook types that may suit various creatives tastes, when considering size though having larger size sketchbook such as a4 and a3 will give you plenty of room to draw without limiting your ideas.


 Thirdly is your portfolio which is where you’ll store all progressive artwork for each project from start to finish. In art college we were required to use A1 size portfolios with a centre binder and plastic display pockets, however depending on your college or university this may vary. Be sure to ask your college or university what type of portfolio you might need before you start so that you can be sure to get what’s needed in advance.

Computer equipment & software

 Computer’s , scanners and other such creative gadgets are sure to be important tool to help you edit , develop and progress with your work ( many of which maybe available to use within the college / university).  However it’s handy during those dissertation projects or final deadlines to have these things to hand at home as well to prevent unnecessary stress. So using some funding available to you look into investing in both a printer, scanner and laptop to enable you to effectively complete your work as and when with ease.

Art software such as adobe creative suites are also crucial tools for many creatives from photographers to graphic designers though they can be an expensive investment to make. However if you’d like to try these software’s in particular there are various trial downloads  and student editions of adobe that you can get online or subscribe to creative cloud to give you access to the various software you may need.

Be open minded & try new things

 Now remember you are on a creative journey through your art education and now is the time to be open minded and try new things because it all plays a crucial part in your self discovery. When I started art college I was very much into the animation, at 17 it was what I was aiming to do so I drew very graphically in my work using strictly ink and markers. Although because I did this I missed out on being able to experience a wider range of art techniques like print making which in turn made my work very limiting.

So be open minded, though you may well have an aspiration to be a specific type of artist also understand that this may well change as you venture through your course. My best advice is listen to your tutors and experiment in the creative studio as much as you can and absorb all the learning.

Image by designer  Susan Estelle Kwas   you can find out more about their work here.

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Posted by Kate Leonard on 08/24/14 under artists
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