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What to Expect

Illustration students develop drawing skills that are used in things like children's books, textbooks and greeting cards.

When David Yee was growing up watching cartoons and reading comic books, he never realized that the drawings and animation that captured his imagination would lead him to a career in animation.

"I have always been interested in art," says Yee. "I grew up watching cartoons and reading comic books. Drawing has always been a favorite pastime of mine, but it wasn't until I was in college that I decided to pursue art seriously."

That pursuit led Yee to the San Jose State University school of art and design, where he took the animation program.

David Chai took the same program. He says the course load surprised him at first, but a quick lesson in time management helped make the load less overwhelming.

Chai says new students can expect a number of core classes in their first year, such as beginning drawing, figure drawing, 2D design and representation drawing. Chai adds that in addition to the classroom work, he spent about 40 hours per week doing homework.

Art students should always be on the lookout for new subjects, and always be prepared to act when that subject presents itself, says Yee.

"Drawing is something where you can only improve if you do it all of the time. Students should make it a habit to carry a sketchbook with them everywhere. If they are waiting for the bus, they should pull it out and sketch. If they're on the telephone, they should be sketching. It is important to make it a habit to draw. Only then will a student show progress."

Chai also points out that university students should approach their schooling as if it were a job. "Treat every project and deadline as a job," he says. "Never miss a deadline, arrive early and never miss a class, and always do the best you can on every project. The students who do the best in school are the ones who do the best in the professional world."


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