What to do if I can’t pay to learn?

Video: Audio in Spanish

There are those who don’t have the financial support or other resources to study what they like and today I present three alternatives that you can take in case of passing through this situation.

  1. Self-financing. Work while you save or pay for your studies.
  2. Be self-taught. Learn on your own.
  3. Scholarships & Supports. Governmental or academic.

I’ll talk in detail about each of these three points to get a better idea of what you would have to do in case you are in this situation.


There are many cases where you work to pay for the studies. But it is also well known that not always studying in a school is the best.

In my case, studying Graphic Design served me three things:

  1. Confirm that I did not want to dedicate myself to design but to make comics.
  2. Make some valuable friendships.
  3. And take the stress out of my parents when they see me studying a university degree.

I know many who quit school before finishing it. There were also others who finished it, and even took master degrees threw themselves. But much depends on what you want to achieve in the long run since the bureaucracy has its uses. If you want to immigrate, a university degree can make things easier for you. If you want an exchange abroad, having a diploma helps you a lot. So this paper supports your study time and can be very useful. Do not underestimate it.

Writing down your thoughts clears your mind and helps you to make better decisions. Also, do research on the school you are interested very well in case you decide to pay for a career. In fact, if you are an outgoing person, it would be great if you go to the school you want to enroll and ask the students how they are doing. The same if the school is online. Ask questions related to your interests. Getting opinions will help you make a better decision.

So the only way to study a career without financial support from third parties is by making use of your savings or studying while you work. But you must know that it will be a very hard road, and your motivation to study must have strong roots so that obstacles and adversities do not stop you in your way that will have many sacrifices. That is why it is important that you make the best decision according to your personal and artistic needs.

What if materials are too expensive too?

Although art supplies make things easier, they do not make us an artist. If the excuse of not drawing is because you have no materials, you are making a mistake. Everything starts with a paper and a pencil. Do not put obstacles yourself and work with the tools you have, whether traditional or digital. It doesn’t matter.

In my case I got to color comics with a mouse, it took me a day in a single panel, and after a long time, I had the opportunity to buy my first Wacom Intuos digital tablet, the one you see here is one of the first models.

And after several years I had a chance to buy a Wacom Cintiq 18 SX tablet, which you see is the first model they released, which helps you to draw directly on the screen. But to get to this, I had to work with the tools I had at my disposal to pay for it when I did not have this technology.

Be self-taught

Another way is to study on your own. And this is my case. I took the comics, and I began to imitate them. I studied anatomy on my own and also in Human Figure classes of my university (one of the things worth of having studied there). Besides not stopping in my desire to study comics to be able to dedicate myself to it. Making comics is very complicated, and what keeps me doing them is the need to express my ideas and dialogue with my readers through my stories. Without that, I would have given it up. So identify why you want to make comics.

The key is that while you study or work, you are drawing and practicing by your side. Have two careers or two jobs. Work from 8 to 16 hours. Saying NO to many things and YES to very few. So while I was studying, I drew in my house, practicing and analyzing comics and illustrations. Practice and mistakes were my best teachers. I took some classes on Saturdays at university with a colleague and a French teacher, but I did not learn everything there, I had to do it on my own. I graduated in 1998 from the University, and for 2003 I won an international comic contest in Spain. So while studying Graphic Design, I studied comics myself, and after seven years, my dedication and practice made me get an international award that opened the doors to my authorial career as a writer and cartoonist.

Being self-taught gives you freedom, but freedom is a double-edged sword, as it can lead you to do nothing, as you can reach incredible places.

As I mentioned before:

“If you have the freedom to choose to do something, you’ll choose not to do it.”

So schedule and organize well in what you want to do. You can check out a topic where I talk about how to finish your projects.

Scholarships & Supports

It depends on a lot where you live, and not all governments are the same. But I know there are national and international scholarships and financial supports. In Mexico for example, there are FONCA scholarships, for young creators and professionals. There is a considerable government support for the support of culture and the arts, and I got one for three years to develop my new comic LIVE FOREVER.

I would be happy to know if these words can inspire you, or help you make the best decision. So do not stop at achieving your goals because it is NOT easy for anyone to develop an author and professional career.

Do not hesitate to share this information on your social networks; you never know who you can help. The links are below.

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  • MiEl

    Hola, gracias por compartir tu experiencia y esta valiosa información, mi hija actualmente tiene 13 años y le apasiona el dibujo digital y tradicional, en fin ella esta interesada en estudiar animación, me puedes ayudar a elegir las mejores opciones de bachillerato para ella, se del celex, aunque nos queda lejos de casa, crees que estudiar en alguna preparar de la unam le sea de utilidad, espero me puedas ayudar, gracias 😊

  • Ezequiek A. Rodriguez B.

    Muchas gracias por tus aportes cada miercoles Raul, soy de Venezuela y actualmente no es desconocido para nadie la situacion economica de este pais, y a mi me encantaria poder estudiar ilustracion profesionalmente pero debido a los altisimos costo no puedo, actualmente hago cursos de dibujo para aprender y mejorar mas, pero con este compartir tuyo de poder ser autodidacta y mas valioso aun que es tu propia vivencia tu pasate por eso me parece de gran motivacion para no par por falta de dinero, recursos o a fines, hoy en dia con la herramienta del interne uno puede hacer maravillas y e descargado en PDF libros de como dibujar comic, manga y otros estilos asi que eso ya es un gran complemento pero de verdad lo que hasta ahora me a llegado mas son todos tus videos de verdad eres un gran creador y una gran persona te deseo todo lo mejor y espero poder ser como tu algun dia Raul saludos y GRACIAS