EP 09: Starting Out With An Art Mentorship

Is Art school beyond what your budget can afford, and the self-starter culture not for you? In this episode Dina and Illustrator Angi Pauly are looking at internships, apprenticeships, and mentorships for education; hence the term “ships”, because honestly who has the time to say all three!


What’s the difference between all these “ships”!?

You’ve most likely heard of an internship. A short period of time, usually a few weeks or months, committed to gaining on-the-job experience to see whether or not this could be the career path for you. It is not uncommon that these have, quite often, gone unpaid. A famous line to compliment your dwindling bank account balance is, “You’re lucky to be here, do you know how many people would kill for this opportunity!?”. Though there are plenty of internships that are paid, it really just comes down to what industry you’re looking to go into and what you can afford.

An apprenticeship on the other hand, is a little more official in that you’re being formally employed to partake in a training program within a company. Yes, contradictory to those of us who immediately think “medieval” when we hear the word, it’s very much a present-day practice. Generally spanning from one to six years, you’d usually finalize your apprenticeship in attaining a qualification and the skills to match this line of work.

And lastly, we have mentorship. Referencing this article by Corbin J.Pickett,

“Seeking a bond and relationship with an individual whom you respect despite craft or talent, but see value in their wisdom and advice. A mentor is someone you want to learn from personally”.

Usually, you’ll pay for a mentorship experience and receive personalized one-on-one coaching on how to best tackle short and long-term goals in order to get the work you want.


How’d you find your mentorships?

Angi gushes over the two past mentorships she’s had with artist Craig Elliott, who at the time was a production designer at Sony, and Thomas Scholes, a freelance artist specializing in concept art/visual development.

Referencing back to Angi’s own art school experience, it became clear that her school wasn’t providing her with the tools and skills she needed. Turning to the interwebs, she was introduced to a service that paired mentees with three month-long competitive mentorship opportunities, thus, finding Craig and Thomas.

She pinpoints her initial mentorship with Craig as a turning point in her life. Angi credits him for having her back during her graduation project, whereas her in-school mentor did not. And on a like-minded level, they really connected.

Two years down the line, she applied for her second mentorship with Thomas. After her first application was turned down, she reached out to him inquiring as to what his viewpoint was on her application and work. By doing so, Thomas advised she apply again, resulting in his taking her on as his mentee. Even though she didn’t score the mentorship the first time around, Angi still took the time to reach out and ask for feedback. And to this day, Thomas remains someone she can reach out to when in need of help or advice.

For one-on-one coaching that lasted almost as long as a semester in school, Angi put down $600-800. Not bad right!?


If you could go back in time, would you forego art school and opt for mentorship instead?

Aside from pleasing her mom, no surprise, Angi wouldn’t think twice about choosing this form of education. You’re one quick google search away from scoring that next mentorship, finding like minded communities, or downloading, let’s be honest, a whole semester’s worth of free educational material. All you need is the drive.

And if you’re lucky enough to have pinpointed what you want to do from an early age, even better. You basically have immediate access to start honing in on your craft. Think of it as an early acceptance into college or university, but from the comfort of your bed.


Dina’s looking for a mentor, Angi’s looking for a mentee!

Whether you’re looking to get into graphic design or concept art, creatives are pretty vocal in the fact that this industry can be a lonely one, not to mention competitive and more than a little overwhelming for those looking to get their foot in the door.

The path to an established career can be extremely scrapbook-esque in that we do the best that we can. Don’t be afraid of veering off your envisioned path when, perhaps, an alternative opportunity presents itself. Be resourceful and see the upside to whatever it is you may be facing.

It’s important to remember that education isn’t only for those fresh-faced younglings, but that in all stages of our career we should strive to come from a place of curiosity and desire to learn.

Angi’s taken up pottery classes as being surrounded by this contrasting form of creativity gives her insight into how she could approach her own work in a new and refreshing way.

And Dina deals us a dose of honesty in that though she’s entirely capable of handling her own, she wants to be the one being mentored for once, rather than being the mentor. In her own way, she’s looking to connect back to that side of her that creates for the sake of creating, regardless of the medium.

In closing, we’d like to announce that Angi’s in search of a mentee. Hit her up on Instagram to learn more!

Further mentorship platforms mentioned are CGM Master Academy, Anthony Jones, CG Spectrum and Gnomon. Happy learning!!




Aftri Marrisk
Editor & Lettering Artist
Pontianak, Indonesia
Website | Instagram | Facebook

Rachel Campbell 
Illustrator and Animator
Based in Amsterdam
Website | Instagram