All in all, if you can afford it and are good enough, by all means, absolutely go for it. On the other hand, if you're dirt poor like me, think and rethink again. Schools like CalArts, Ringling, RISD, and etc. are astronomically expensive, and we no longer live in a world where jobs are easy to find (in fact, art jobs have ALWAYS been pretty difficult to find. It's just tougher now more than ever.)
There are scholarships and grants available if you're incredibly talented (which I for one am not. I've worked hard to get where I am at now.) So there is another thing to consider.Why self taught?
I won't ramble on for this side of the coin because it pretty much speaks for itself. I'll give you some perspective though. First and foremost, art is a business, just like anything else. You gotta make money to do what you want to do. Dividing that thin line between happiness and wealthiness has always been a challenge for people. Just how far do you go to get what you want without falling into poverty?
Being self taught has benefits and limitations as well. The biggest plus to this one is the substantial savings in costs. You won't owe your life to a college. But, the road is a lot rockier, and you must be even more determined. You're teaching yourself. You're putting yourself out there. You're trying everything out and experimenting on your own without the guidance of a master. You are in fact, taking a greater chance at failure.
What I mean by this is simple.
To be self taught, you must be a visionary maniac.
Masashi Kishimoto couldn't stand art school because he thought it inhibited his vision. He went on to create one of the most famous manga series ever. Tracy Butler, the creator of Lackadaisy, was self taught and has one of the most successful web-comics out there. Vincent van Gogh, well, the name speaks for itself. Tex Avery didn't exactly like the Art Institute of Chicago, so he went on trying to do his own thing with his comics. He eventually became a stapled name up there with Disney, Jones, and Clampett. One of my favorite lines of his is this: “I was never too great an artist. I realized there at Lantz’s that most of those fellows could draw rings around me.” Yet, the man contributed to creating some of the most famous cartoon characters of all time.
Walt Disney himself never attended college.
That is enough proof for me that there is more to art than just the art.
There must be a meaning and a soul behind it. That's what separates the best from the famous.
So thus my friends I'll leave you with these thoughts. There are many unique ways to look at this topic, and again, I think it's wonderful that we do have schools today that can show you the way and offer incredible connections and opportunities. But you know what? Sometimes, it's better to scrape your own knees and get back up yourself, because only then, can you truly see the way meant for you as an artist.