1426. Integral to the memories of some smokers (at least those who have still survived) and comic book readers (same, come to think) of the middle of Le Vingtième Siècle would be ads repeated ad nauseum on matchbooks and in comic books, with a rather feckless-looking hobo and the entreaty Draw Me!
I also remember seeing a little cartoon fawn's head in profile. That was Art Instruction Schools, IIRC ... they even had commercials.
The ads marketed the Famous Artists School, one of the grandaddies of the correspondence courses. Unlike many correspondence schools, this delivered the goods, for as Wikipedia will tell you, many successful artists (commercial and otherwise) began as FAS students.
Surprised to find that the old "Draw Me!" school still existed (in considerably more sophisticated form), I surfed on over to their page and found a link at the bottom that connected me to the interactive on-line art quiz. Intrigued, I dove in.
Now, cards on the table, I offered myself up as a ringer. While not a graduate of any prestigious school I have had enough formal training and a lifelong love of art so that the answers to the questions came easily to me. I wanted to see what my score was. They ask your name and a return email address at the end and the answers are emailed to you in pretty short order.
My score was 100%.
The verbiage I found on the three grading levels was curious, however (all verbiage is copied directly from the e-mail grading explanation:
- 80% or better: This excellent score indicates that you have an innate sense of art and design, and would certainly benefit from the comprehensive and personalized instruction that is the hallmark of our Famous Artists Courses.
- 40% to 79%: Along with your strong interest in art, you already have a good eye for important elements of design, composition, and color. Think of how much you would benefit from the comprehensive and personalized instruction that is the hallmark of our Famous Artists Courses.
- Less than 40%: Your strong desire and interest in art indicate that you will benefit greatly from the comprehensive and personalized instruction that is the hallmark of our Famous Artists Courses.
So, no matter what level of score you made, you'd make an ideal student.
Now, before anyone gets me wrong here, this is not an exposé; moreover this is not an attempt to cast aspersions on FAS. They do have apparently a solid repute for educating artists via correspondence. I went so far as to check out the courses and the products (there are four courses – Watercolor and Oil Painting, Illustration and Design, Discovery Art, and the Course for Young People) and they seem pretty reasonably priced compared to some of the high-flying tuitions one sees in the world of art instruction.
But if you're going to take an aptitude test, one would think that an honest, credible report would tell you – nicely, mind – that hey, Sparky, you got 10% on this quiz ... maybe art just isn't for you? That maybe you'd suck as an artist. I mean, I know everyone can benefit from art instruction – but if you're paying for a course, seems to be part of the point would be to take on students that have a chance of passing.
No shame on the FAS otherwise, though, seriouslys! Just struck me as funny.
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