Maia Kobabe is a very talented up and coming cartoonist as the above page from her Tom O’Bedlam adaptation shows. (disclosure: she is also a reviewer for me at Publishers Weekly.) Recently she wrote a very frank tumblr post in response to a question about whether to enter the California College of the Arts MFA program. This kind of degree program is very pricey, and let’s be real, a cartooing degree isn’t going to may off that five figure school loan any time soon. Kobabe gives a very detailed response:
I have no idea how my situation compares to yours- if you received the same scholarships, if you have loans from undergrad, if you have dependents, or medial bills- all of these things factor in. My goal going into grad school was to try and keep my debt under $20,000 (I didn’t have to take loans in undergrad so these were my first). I didn’t quite manage that, as you can see. The debt I ended up with will probably take me 5 years to pay off if I continue to live rent-free, or 15 to 20 years if I move out. Those are the costs. For me they were worth it. If I had been unable to pay any of my tuition upfront during school and had had to take out $50K+ in loans- I would still have received an amazing education but I think it would have been less worth it. So that’s something to consider.
A lot more in the link. Obviously YMMV, but any expenditure of this kinds comes at the price of a long term monastic lifestyle. But then, you’re a cartoonist; did you expect any different?
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.