Treatise on surviving art school


Making If you think art and design were easy, obviously you have never been to art school before. Having a formal art and design training of four years is a journey that takes a huge toll physically, mentally and emotionally. You have to balance between studying, getting rest, spending time with friends, making meals and having a proper diet, and even body hygiene. As a student, I seen many of my peers pulling all-nighters all frequently, one even have to resort staying in the school for 3 days straight. Isn’t crazy? So what’s wrong? Designing is a fun job, be it graphic, fashion, motion media, a career in the art and design is fun one. However the journey there is not as forgiving as you think it is. As I come close to graduating from an undergraduate program at an art school, below are some wisdom that helped me lead a slow and steady life throughout my three years of studies.

The Four Burners Theory.

This is a concept that our life can be compared to a stove with four burners on it; each represents a major family, friends, health, and work. The family part can be substituted with romantic relationships since it is college after all.Depending on how successful, you have to turn off one or two burners in order to do. Time is the most important currency we have in our lives. There is only so much we can do within a day and the Four Burners Theory.

  • James Clear offers more insights on this theory and how to get around it, check it out here.

  • The Four Burners Theory is a good framework for breaking down our lives into quadrants and see how we can dedicate time to it.

  • However we can see the Four Burner theory in a way that I developed; you can turn on all the burners but at a lower heat. You might think but then I would not be successful. It’s 2018 dude. The world works very differently these days. a slow and steady burn is better than cranking two burners to the max and burning out.

    1. What’s the worst that could happen? Not being successful but having a satisfying life?

    2. The idea of tolling it out over a long period of time is outdated, we should focus on consistency rather intensity.

    3. What I am saying is listen to your body,

  1. Sleep

    1. optimal length, timing and effect of naps.

  2. The Devincent’s law

    1. Ever heard of the Murphy’s Law, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”? Let me introduce to you The Devincent’s law which defines as “everything will go wrong”.

  3. Parkinson’s Law

    1. I have seen many peers and myself falling prey to the Parkinson’s law which goes by the adage that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion".

    2. When we receive an assignment and we want to make it a really great piece, we tend to overthink what is the “perfect” solution to the assignment or trying to get one part of a design perfectlyThis often results in many hours spent thinking about concepts, frustrated about not having an idea ultimately you get stressed and sad. If I were to scale down the duration of the project to in two days, you will have no choice to think of a “perfect” solution but just do the project as soon as you can to fit the deadline. With that unfiltered thinking, you producing for the sake of producing; some worked out, some may not but you are definitely in a better plan than just overthinking the past few days

  4. Detach yourself from your gradiose expectations of become a great artist or designer

    1. The videos that we

  5. Time

  6. Fear of not getting a job

    1. My friend once told me that she was fearful that she was not going to get a job. Instead of saying things like “oh it will be okay, your work is great blah blah blah. I told her “you should be. You think life is easy!? You think Life is this gentle entity who is going hug you and tell you everything will be okay!?” She laughed immediately. As an undergraduate

    2. If you do not receive an reply or got rejecte from applying to a company, it does not mean you are not good enough. It is simply and possibly because they do not care about students; it is very natural to be rejected and not have emails replied. It is not your fault, it is the way of the world. Good things come to those who wait, there is always a job opening somewhere; so stay optimistic if you in the midst of pursuing an internship or a job after graduation.


  7. One of the toughest thing that aspiring designers and artists want is style. This unique visual that is truly yours. We often ask ourselves; how do we get a style? Style is subjective and is simply how things look.Perhaps we are asking the wrong question here. Style is overrated; I believe we need to be concerned with our taste instead.

    1. A phrase from the Art of War, 知己知彼 百战百胜 (Zhi ji zhi bi, bai zhan bai sheng) was something my father often tossed at me when I was young which translates as know thyself and you will emerge victorious over hundreds of battles. Firstly, we need to understand and build visual language. What do you want to communicate with your designs or visuals? How do you want people to feel? Who do you want to work in the future?

    2. The Golden Circle by Simon Sinek is another concept you can try; starting with WHY you design, HOW does your design speaks about your WHY, and WHAT did you design

    3. In the book Design for Motion, SCAD professor Austin Shaw used Pinterest and created a board

    4. But I still want a style; fine whatever, here are some frameworks to better identify your styles

      1. Abstract --------Representational

      2. Communication ---------------- Storytelling

      3. Digital ----------- Analog

      4. Closure --------------------- non-sequitur


Hopefully with an overview of these frameworks, you are able to better understand g how to bring balance into our lives.

  • I attend Savannah College of Art Design for a BFA in Motion Media design, the school goes by a ten-week quarter long system with a standard of taking three classes. Among all the quarter, I’ve been through, Fall 2018 was the most successful in

  • When I was studying visual effects in a polytechnic; I was a productivity junkie; I would look up websites like lifehacker, lifehack, that give you the best tips on to be efficient, get the best out life, know what you want, the usual crap.

The idea will not come to you if you do not have a cool head. In a way, it can be compared to asking a guy or a girl out. If you try really hard, you will look desperate and possibly fail.