What to put in your portfolio if you want to major in Animation or Computer Art

For most schools, making an art portfolio to apply to a BFA Animation or Computer Art program, is different from other majors.

Our favorite BFA Animation/ Computer Art programs are: CalArts – we think is the best for this particular degree, and we also really like the programs at RISD, SVA, Art Center, Carnegie Mellon (IDeATe) and Pratt for this.

One thing is for certain, if you want to major in Animation, you HAVE to LOVE to draw, because in school you’ll be drawing A LOT. Admissions counselors know this, so they look for evidence of this in your portfolio, and if you have the opportunity to meet someone from admissions, your sketchbook. (a requirement for Art Center)

CalArts Portfolio Requirements for Character Animation are a good standard for what to include in your portfolio for any BFA Animation or Computer Art program.

They ask for:

1.Observational life drawings of human models: ranging from short pose lengths 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 must have demonstrated experience working with the live model


2. 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.
  • 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.


3. 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.

ASHCAN STUDIO 45 East 34th Street, NYC

Call today for a free consultation 212-967-8101 or email us infomanhattan@ashcanart.com

We have Portfolio Prep Classes every day Monday through Saturday from 11-3 & 4-8

and in the Summer Monday through Saturday from 10-2 & 3-7

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