artist: noah bradley


The traditional approach is failing us. It’s time for a change.

I’ve had it.

I will no longer encourage aspiring artists to attend art school. I just won’t do it. Unless you’re given a full ride scholarship (or have parents with money to burn), attending art school is a waste of your money.

I have a diploma from the best public art school in the nation. Prior to that I attended the best private art school in the nation. I’m not some flaky, disgruntled art graduate, either. I have a quite successful career, thankyouverymuch.

But I am saddened and ashamed at art schools and their blatant exploitation of students. Graduates are woefully ill-prepared for the realities of being professional artists and racked with obscene amounts of debt. By their own estimation, the cost of a four year education at RISD is $245,816. As way of comparison, the cost of a diploma from Harvard Law School is a mere $236,100.

This is embarrassing. It’s downright shameful. That any art school should deceive its students into believing that this is a smart decision is cruel and unusual.

Artists are neither doctors nor lawyers. We do not, on average, make huge six-figure salaries. We can make livable salaries, certainly. Even comfortable salaries. But we ain’t usually making a quarter mil a year. Hate to break it to you. An online debt repayment calculator recommended a salary exceeding $400,000 in order to pay off a RISD education within 10 years.

Don’t do it.

Don’t start your career with debilitating debt.

Please. I beg you. Think long and hard whether you’re willing to pay student loan companies $3000 every single month for the next 10 years.


You don’t have to go to college to be an artist. Not once have I needed my diploma to get a job. Nobody cares. The education is all that matters. The work that you produce should be your sole concern.

There are excellent atelier schools all over the world that offer superior education for a mere fraction of the price. Here are a few:

Watt’s Atelier


Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Arts


The Safehouse Atelier


There are more. Many, many more. And none of them will cost nearly as much as a traditional four year school.

And then there are the online options. The availability of drawing and painting resources is incredible.

Sitting at a computer I have direct access to artists all over the world. I have the combined wisdom of the artistic community to pull from at my leisure. For less than a few grand a year I can view more educational material than I would see at any art school. You can get a year of access to all of the Gnomon Workshop’s videos for the cost of a few days at the average art school.

With all of these options it can be a little daunting. So you know what? I’ve come up with a plan for you. Do this:

The $10k Ultimate Art Education
$500 - Buy an annual subscription to The Gnomon Workshop and watch every single video they have.

$404.95 - Buy Glenn Vilppu’s Anatomy Lectures and watch all of them.

$190 - Buy all of these books and read them cover to cover.

$1040 ($20/week x 52 weeks) - Weekly figure drawing sessions. Look up nearby colleges and art groups and find a weekly session to attend.

$2500 - Sign up for a SmART School Mentorship when you feel ready to get one-on-one guidance to push your abilities.

$2400 - Sign up for four classes from CGMA. Get taught by professionals in the industry on exactly the skills you want to learn.

Free - Watch all of these keynotes.

Free - Study other things for free. Suggested topics: business, history, philosophy, English, literature, marketing, and anything else you might be interested in.

$500 - Throughout the year, use at least this much money to visit museums in your area. And not just art museums. All museums.
Free - Create accountability. One of the great advantages to attending a school is the comradery. So use the internet to create your own. Go join a forum ( ) where you can give and receive critique on the work you’re developing. There are many different ones out there that can suit whatever flavor you prefer.

The rest - Materials. Buy yourself some good art materials to create with. Whether digital or traditional. Don’t skimp.

There. For less than a quarter of the tuition for RISD you’ve got yourself a killer education. You’ve received more quality, focused education than I think you’ll find at any art school.

Moving forward
There has never been a better time to be an artist. I’m inspired by the sheer quantity and quality of internet resources available to artists.

But I encourage all aspiring artists to think long and hard about their options. Student loans are unforgivable through bankruptcy and can wreck your financial future. Establishing a career while under the unceasing brutality of student loans makes an already difficult task nearly impossible.

Find another path. Art is a wonderful, beautiful, fulfilling pursuit. Don’t ruin it with a mountain of debt.

*DISCLAIMER: I do not mean any offense to any of the educators at art schools. I have numerous professors who I consider close friends. This is neither an attack on you, nor your teaching abilities, nor the value that you provide for your students. I’m talking about the schools, not the artists teaching at them.*”

- Noah Bradley

- Noah Bradley is a Environment Concept Artist & fantasy & sci-fi & concept artist Illustrator based in Virginia. Website here:

—  THIS.


So the artist Noah Bradley decided to have a little fun with the new art for Desert Twister, available in the Commander 2014 product. As you can see he hid a shark within the twister….or sharknado if you will. 

What do you guys think of artist hiding these little easter eggs? I personally love it, feel free to post about any other hidden easter eggs in other magic art in the notes. 


Noah Bradley

Aramasu’s Legacy - Very proud of this one came from an idea at 2011 Gen Con Mantis Clan dinner, as well as my love of 7th Sea

Monastery of New Thought - This set we started working with Noah on getting more buildings worked into the landscape, really happy with how this one turned out, the colors, the shape, the local all really came together well.

The Castle of Order - The color in this is just so cool, we asked for this one to be mostly the structure but on a golden lake at sun set, it was everything we asked for.


 Master Studies!!

Fun Fact: Apprentices back in the old days were sometimes not even allowed to paint from real life until after they learned how to paint by painting works from the old masters (Yup, the one thing I retained from Art Survey 101)

The cool thing about painting master studies is that you can play art detective and break down how the old masters saw and  rationalized the world on canvas. See, we as painters are magicians that are able to create the illusion of space on a flat surface, (amazing!) and what better place to start learning that from a master. (They are called that for a reason)

Funny thing is, I never did master studies in high school or art school. It wasn’t until I graduated and decided to enroll in Noah Bradley’s Art Camp that I came across this learning method. And after doing a few I would definitely recommend it to any artists that feel like they are plateauing in their progress.
Don’t go to art school

I’ve had it. I will no longer encourage aspiring artists to attend art school. I just won’t do it. Unless you’re given a full ride scholars…

For anyone looking for an alternative option to art school, you should read this. However, I will say that I owe a lot of my growth as an artist and a person to the college I attend, and the students/staff there. The atmosphere and people are really what make the difference. You should decide the best path for you. Some people are great self-starters. Others need a push.

Master Study #1
Thomas Moran - ‘The Golden Hour' 

This week in Noah Bradley's art camp, we had to choose 3 master paintings and replicate them for colour/composition purposes. This is Thomas Morans 'The Golden Hour’. Fantastic environmental artist!  
So here’s my replica of it. About 10-11 hours of work on this.

So shut up, stop whining, and get to work.

I hear it all the time:

Am I talented enough? How much should I draw? Am I studying right? What’s the best way to use XYZ book? Art school or no art school? Do I need a degree? How will I know when I’m professional? What should I draw? Should I do more studies or finished work? What are the best materials? What kind of paint should I use? What pencil should I use? Are pencils or pens better to draw with? Should I draw big or small? Is it bad to draw from photos? Should I paint digitally or traditionally? Am I too old to start learning? Is Photoshop or Painter better? What’s the best way to hold a pencil? Where should I find inspiration? What do I do if I’m not inspired? How do I get through “artist’s block”? How long will it take to be a professional? Why does it feel like I’m not improving? Should I get a Moleskine? Is art dead? What is art? How do I do backgrounds? What are the best tutorials? What resolution should I work at? How do I come up with good ideas? What do I do if I stop enjoying art?

Well, I have the answer to all of your questions: it doesn’t matter. Really. It doesn’t. These questions are excuses, plain and simple. They are used by people who aren’t drawing or painting that want to get wrapped up in petty minutiae at the expense of their own work.

The fact is that if you want to make art, then you need to make art. I could answer every single question on this list and it wouldn’t make you the slightest bit better at drawing.

Now, I should qualify these statements before people start chucking rocks: these are mostly valid questions, with equally valid answers. They’re worth discussing at times, and are things that you’ll eventually figure out. But by and large, you’ll figure them all out for yourself by working. Notice a pattern here? Don’t be afraid to ask questions and research things, but be sure you’re not doing it at the expense of actually learning things.So shut up, stop whining, and get to work.

————–By Noah Bradley ( concept artist)