Typical Portfolio Requirements
This is a generalized list of some of the elements that a college level program may ask you to send to them.

If you want to get specific feedback on your portfolio that you are sending to a specific school, you need to send the information from that school along with your portfolio, otherwise the comments will be more generalized. You can get the portfolio requirements from the school you want to apply to by simply phoning them up and asking for them. They'll either mail them out to you or ask you to stop by the school and pick them up.

• Life Drawing
- Human figures, showing: anatomy, structure, proportions, volumes, perspective, weight, and balance. This usually includes a couple of drawings of your hand and possibly some portrait work from real life.

Here's a sample from one school:

A) 10 Life drawings
- must show entire body including hands and feet, facial features not absolutely necessary but would be nice.
These should be from an actual life drawing class. The poses should be sustained for at least 10 minutes, no quick gestural drawings. They should be in charcoal or conte. Shading is o.k. so long as it adds to the definition of the muscle structure and overall volume of the character. Limit your drawings to one per page.
4 specific life drawings done for this portfolio of:
1) someone picking something up
2) walking
3) running
4) holding an object

2 drawings of your own hand

Here's what they're specifically looking for in the drawings:
• an understanding of human anatomy (everything looks like it's in the right place),
• proper proportions of the arms, legs, torso and head,
• structural drawing,
• correct volumes,
• balance,
• a sense of weight (like gravity is acting upon their whole body),
• proper execution in the drawing of the hands and feet (don't leave these half finished or trailing off the page.)
• completed facial features are not mandatory but would be nice.

• Object Drawing
- Everyday items that focus on 3 dimensional drawing and perspective.

A sample from a school:

5 object drawings
- everyday items from around the house such as a can opener, remote control, stapler, etc. No abstract objects like weird lamps or lumps of clay, etc. No shading on these.

Here's what they were looking for:
• understanding and proper use of basic rules of perspective, (horizon line, vanishing points, inclined planes, etc.)
• solid, structural drawing,
• attention to detail (drawing what you see),
• spatial relationships (the relative distance between objects)
• proportion

• Environmental Drawing
- Usually a couple of drawings of a room in your house to show structure, proportions, perspective, and spatial relationships.

Another sample from a school:

Environmental Perspective
2 environmental drawings
- draw a two point perspective view of a room in your house from opposing corners of the room (stand in a corner and look across at the opposite corner and draw what you see, then move over to that corner you just drew , turn around and draw the opposite corner.) Make sure the spatial relationships of all the objects remains consistent between the two drawings. Horizon line at 5 feet. (If your room is a mess, clean it up first. Draw a room that has some furniture in it.) No shading on these.

Here's what they were looking for:
Same stuff as above in the object drawings.

• Character Drawing
- Some of your own character cartoon work to show your ability and style.
- They may also provide you with a given character design sheet that you are supposed to draw from, placing the character into a series of different poses and expressions.

What they're looking for:
• consistent and proper proportions of the arms, legs, torso and head,
• structural drawing,
• correct volumes,
• balance,
• a sense of weight (like gravity is acting upon their whole body),
• emotional attitude of the character
• appropriate body language in pose

• Favorite Drawings
- A mish-mash of your own personal favorite drawings that usually show your area of artistic strength, i.e., if you're really good at perspective, more drawings of rooms and objects.

What they're looking for:
These pieces should show off your strengths. If you are really good at perspective, put in 3 perspective drawings. If you're really good with character design, put in 3 model sheets. If you're good at both, put in 2 of one and one of the other, etc. When they look at these pieces, together with the rest of your portfolio, they should say, "Wow! These are nice. Let's offer this person a position in the program!"

Depending on the type of drawings you send them, they will be looking for all the same things that were listed for each of the other parts, solid, structural drawing, attention to detail (drawing what you see), spatial relationships (the relative distance between objects), proportion, perspective, weight, and so on.

In some cases, the College you are applying to will have a list of other specific things they want you to draw especially for their portfolio submission, such as a storyboard using a given character doing something from a story passage, or as I mentioned above, draw a given character showing a variety of different emotions.

• Format
- Usually, the school will also have a list of Do's and Don'ts such as the following:

All drawings photocopied on 8 1/2" x 11" paper (NO ORIGINAL ARTWORK PLEASE)
Your portfolio will not be returned to you. After it has been assessed and all positions for the program have been accepted, they will be destroyed.

Do not staple or bind the drawings together in any way, leave them loose. A plastic binder or any type of portfolio casing will not improve your chances - "presentation" is not one of the graded parts of the portfolio.

Be sure only your name and student number (no phone numbers or secret messages) are on the back of each drawing you submit.

On the front, in the upper right hand corner label which part of the portfolio this is from, i.e.: "Part 1A" or "Part 4", etc.

Do not include a cover letter with your artwork that explains how, "Ever since you were a little kid, you've desperately wanted to get into animation."

Send your drawings flat in a 9" x 12" envelope

Some schools may also put some form of statement about personal censorship before you send in your work, suggesting that you avoid the following types of drawings:

• Don't copy existing artwork or photographs. It is so blatantly obvious when someone does this. It looks stiff and it's wrong. So just don't do it.

• Things not to submit: drawings of - barbarians, swords and sorcery, demons, flaming skull heads, tattoo art, "dream art" (a favorite high school assignment), anime or manga characters, existing cartoon characters (like Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny, etc.), any sexist depictions of scantily clad or naked women (this doesn't mean your life drawings can't be of women, it means don't use reference from a Victoria's Secret catalogue, etc.), portraits of family members, including Jimmy Hendrix, M & M, Alice Cooper, etc. (although a crying Elvis on black velvet could earn you bonus points... just kidding!... no, really, don't do this!) Desperately try to avoid any drawings of: kitty cats, horses and unicorns.

• Shading, when done properly can really enhance the three dimensional look of your drawings. Shading, when done improperly can really make your drawings look bad. The same thing goes for coloring. Neither shading nor coloring are graded in your portfolio, so it would be better not to do it. For the amount of time that it takes to shade or color a drawing, you could have gone back over your drawing and checked it over for any technical mistakes in perspective, etc. No amount of shading or coloring is going to save a poorly executed drawing.

So, there's a general guideline of the types of things you could include. Be sure to get the requirements from the school and send them with your portfolio.

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