Artist highlight

Andrew Collins

Andrew Collins

Andrew Collins is an aspiring digital artist who just wants to make really cool stuff for the entertainment industry. He currently lives in Washington, DC working full time as a concept artist as well as a freelance illustrator and animator. 

CGMA Classes 

What is your background as an artist? What educational experience/background did you have coming into CGMA? Do you have professional experience?

Until I graduated college, drawing was only a hobby; I never had any formal training. I drew a comic book as part of a senior project for my philosophy major in college. Then I used the comic as a portfolio to find a job as an intern at an animation company. Since then I’ve moved onto other companies, and as I acquired more experience I’ve started working illustration into my skill set professionally.

Why did you decide to take CGMA classes?

I decided to take CGMA classes because I was in a place in my career where I knew that I needed more education, but I wasn’t in a place where I could go to a full-time art school. Internet tutorials weren’t focused enough for me to really gain the understanding I wanted. So I did some research and came across CGMA. It seemed like a good balance between going back to art school and not uprooting my life in the process. 

What classes did you take and why did you choose them?

I decided to take “Intro to Perspective” for my first class. I figured if I was going to go back to school, I should start at the beginning. I already knew basic perspective, but the class would help me correct bad habits in addition to learning new techniques. Since then I’ve progressed through the fundamental track. I've been taking them in order since each class builds upon the previous one.

How did taking classes help you refine your craft and help you along your artistic journey?

The formal instruction and feedback from professionals in the field is amazing. The instructors take you step-by-step from the beginning of a piece to the finish. In addition, they often gave assignments that challenged my comfort zone. Many of the classes introduce workflows that alter the approach to developing a piece, making the assignments less repetitive and more fun.

What was your first big gig and how did you get it?

I recently started a new job at a small games studio that makes educational iPad games for middle school and elementary school children. I’m very excited to foray into games and game design, applying what I’ve learned at CGMA into making things to help kids learn. While my goal is to work on AAA titles someday, I've been having a ton of fun applying the skills I learned at CGMA to a real professional assignment.

Why would you recommend CGMA to another artist?

I’d recommend CGMA because it’s the best alternative I’ve found to going to a full-time art school. For people like me, who have a BA from a four-year university, but have always really enjoyed art, this is a great way to get fantastic instruction without uprooting my life or quitting my job. The fact that I can do the work on my own time and see improvement in my professional work is enough reason for me to recommend CGMA.

Why is having professional feedback important to you?

Having knowledgeable and skilled professionals critique your work is incredibly inspiring. It's direct advice from people whom I aspire to work with some day. Because all the instructors I've had at CGMA work directly in the entertainment industry, they know professional quality work and what improvements could be made to a piece to make it really shine.
Is there anything else you would like to add?

The biggest lesson I’ve learned from my instructors is that to be a good artist we have to be perpetual students. You get as much out of the classes as you put in, and I can’t wait for the next term to start.

We would like to thank Andrew Collins for sitting down with us and sharing his CGMA experience. To see more of Andrew“s artwork you can visit his website at