Hello, it is nice to meet you. <1st post>

My name is Michael Jenkins and I am considering entering the field of Industrial Design. This site is an invaluable resource and I’m so glad I found it before I committed to the profession because I have some doubts and questions. First, I became interested in the field somewhat by accident, I mean, I didn’t even know such a specific area existed. Now that I do, I wish I had earlier. I have painted, sculpted, and designed miniature figures for over a decade and have now begun making it a profession. The figures are aimed generally at late teens and early 20s. A lot of work has gone into studying not only the human form, but a spectrum of accompanying skills to complete a range of figures. Sculpting these kinds of science fiction and fantasy toys has been a passion and will continue to be a passion of mine for a long time. Retirement? Nah! I also graduated with a BA in History; I don’t regret it and it has helped me greatly on a personal level, but, professionally, the degree is useless to me.

So, here’s where you come in! I would like to update my passion for designing and sculpting figures into the current century :wink: - I want to do it digitally. I’m interested in creating my ideas as digital 3d models as well as the materials and processes of reprodcution, like injection molding and resin casting. I am also interested in the processes of 3d scanning and printing and rapid prototyping. Finally, I’m interested in improving my drawing skills, so that I have a better map to follow AND I can effectively convey my ideas to other sculptors to let them do the work! :slight_smile: Essentially, my goal is to, in all aspects, produce miniature figures. Now, where do I go from here?

There are a couple of things I’m worried about: 1) Getting herded into a program where I find everything is skewed or aimed at a more popular area, like vehicle/tran design. 2) Getting into a program where I come out on the other side, 4 years and 80k later, with a lot of cool knowledge, but not really any closer to my goal. I’m curious if I should just learn this stuff on my own to ensure that I’m getting what I want out of it.

Here’s two of the schools I’m interested in, so far:

Art Academy University - SF, USA
Victoria University of Wellington - NZ

Victoria is currently in the lead, because I read through the course descriptions and, unlike most programs, they mentioned specific areas I am interested in and specific software. I believe I could fit 2-3 courses of life drawing for designers into the degree . . . AWESOME! Plus I KNOW I’ll get a chance to use Rhinoceros. However, if you have any school recommendations that you feel would fit me, I would appreciate it very much.

Thanks for reading, and any words you have for are awaited eagerly,


ID is a very broad profession and so is ID education, don’t limit yourself so soon. the software you need to learn, like Rhino, is widely taught.
There are three niches where your interests and skills may find a design home. one is toy design, the University of Cincinnati has a large number of toy designers teaching there. RISD is in the home of Hasbro and would also be an excellent choice. Second is Hollywood, movies use a lot of special effects charecter designers, but not as many as perhaps - Third, game design. tons of ID’ers there as well, designing charecgters, props and entire environments.
choosing a school that lands you into the position of your dreams, would be strong in design fundamentals have a digital design department, and strong connections to those specific proffesions.