Ashcan Student in TOP 10% of ALL Applicants

Congratulations to Young K!

Young K just got his acceptance letter to CalArts Character Animation program. The acceptance rate for this program is around 8-10% They only accept 40-50 new students a year!


Here are some examples from the outstanding portfolio he submitted to CalArts Admissions, that he made in Ashcan Studio’s portfolio preparation program. The portfolio guidelines, listed below- are very specific to this program and different from the portfolio guidelines for most BFA programs.

CalArts Character Animation program Portfolio Guidelines (BFA)

Online Portfolio

Part 1: Observational Artwork (minimum of 15 total)

A. Observational life drawings of human models:

  • These observational drawings should range from short pose lengths (gesture drawings) to longer pose lengths, and should indicate the models’ faces, hands and feet. Drawings of nude models are preferred, but costume drawings may also be included. Applicants in the Character Animation program must have demonstrated experience working with the live model and ideally have at least one year’s worth of experience studying figure/life drawings.

B. Observational drawings from real life:

  • Drawings and sketches of people and animals from real life
  • Drawings of interior and exterior environments
  • Urban sketching, location drawings, café drawings etc.

Keep in mind:

  • Drawings should be from observing real life, exploring elements such as shape, form, contour, contrast, ambiance, and mood.
  • Do not erase all of your construction lines while drawing from life – they are especially helpful to the faculty in understanding your approach to observational drawings.
  • Do not submit traced pictures or copies of work by others.

Part 2: Other Creative Work

Include any combination of the following:

  • Sequential image storytelling: Work that showcases your ability to tell a story and develop a character. For example: storyboards, graphic novels, flipbooks, short animations or short stories with thumbnails.
  • Digital creative work (animated or still): Creative work that you produce, or manipulate, in one or more computer programs. This might take the form of 2D digital art, illustrations, concept art, character designs, prop designs, cartoons, photography, or computer graphics (CG).
  • Other Work (non-digital): Paintings, drawings, illustrations, concept art, character designs, prop designs, cartoons
  • Plastic Arts: Sculptures, ceramics, installations etc.
  • Online presence: provide URL’s to your blog(s), Tumblr, Instagram, website etc. List the URL’s in the SlideRoom “links” section of the online portfolio.
Ashcan Studio Cal Arts

Part 3: Video Introduction

As we look at your work, we would very much like to meet you. Since this would be impossible in practical terms, we ask that you send a brief video, introducing yourself.

  • Duration: minimum of 30 seconds, maximum of 90
  • Speak directly to the camera
  • No edits
  • No special effects or on-screen overlays
  • File should be uploaded or linked directly to SlideRoom
  • Does not require professional-level equipment; cellphone cameras or consumer cameras are okay.


  • A filled sketchbook with your drawings, observations, stories, ideas, thumbnails, character designs, studies of images from films or other sources that interest you, etc.
  • Please draw directly in a sketchbook.
  • Drawings in your sketchbooks should be different than the drawings submitted in your online portfolio.
  • We receive sketchbooks in many different shapes and sizes. Please feel free to work in the type of sketchbook that you like best. 

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