Hello! I’ve gotten a few asks similar to this, so I hope you don’t mind me answering publicly.
I’ve been at AAU for about 6 weeks, and I gotta say, coming here was the best decision I could have made. I have already massively improved in my knowledge of anatomy, I am much more confident drawing bodies, and I can render with charcoal extremely well. (I came here never using charcoal at all before.) Also I’ve made my own board game. From scratch. Yeah, that’s the kind of assignments you get in the illustration department.
Speaking of which, everything that I’m saying only applies to those going into the illustration major. I can’t say the same thing about photography or advertising or even animation. And CERTAINLY not fashion. Fashion has a 90% dropout rate. (enter at your own risk)
Personally, I absolutely LOVE every single one of my teachers. All of them are skilled artists and most of them are already successful in the art world! My figure drawing teacher? He animated for TMNT, The Secret of Nimh, and a bunch of other stuff. His father was a character designer and a visual development artist for Iron Giant. All of my teachers are funny and likeable, and they’ve taught me a ton already! Sure, I’ve cried a few times in Analysis of Form. Yeah, the stress is ridiculous and the workton leaves you with barely any free time. But it’s all worth it.
As for the administration or the real estate, I don’t know much about that. Yeah, AAU tries to get as much money as possible, but with all the benefits and knowledge and opportunities you get to come here? I say they can go right ahead do that.
All of the departments have been pretty reliable and understanding from what I’ve been through. The only thing that really frustrates me is the shuttle system. The buses aren’t always on time. But the good thing about that is you can always tell the teachers “it was the bus” when you’re late to class with a group of people.
I could go on all day about how amazing the Academy is. But just know that there is a TON of homework. Like it’s hard to overstate how much homework there is. And the grading system is harsh. A “C” is a good grade here.
Here, study this: http://faculty.academyart.edu/resource/FoundationsVisRubricTorsoDrawing.html
It is the actual grading rubric that’s up on the wall of my Analysis of Form class.
This school is amazing. You just need to prepare to put in as much as you want to get out of it. (Which is a lot.) I say, go for it. To anybody who is truly passionate about what they do and would kill for a career they love, the Academy is for you. :)