Tuesday, 29 March 2011

The Process

I promised myself that if I got in, I would explain in crucial detail what I did, and what those around me did to get into Sheridan Animation.
I'll break down the approach my friends and I took first, and then hopefully post progress work soon too.
What I did:
I started my research on portfolio requirements REALLY early, way back in grade 10 to get an idea of what the accepted portfolios looked like. Then, in grade 11 I went to the open house, and made friends with some amazing first years who really guided me with great advice. Along the way, I also asked the seniors who had gotten in from my school into animation for some tips.
For now I will digress from the tips, and get along to what I did for portfolio prep:
Life Drawing Section: I started attending life drawing classes at MSVA (Mississauga Valley School of Arts) in late august, where Mr. Kerry Kim teaches. He has consistently gotten kids in for their life drawings, and I personally developed quickly with his help. Mr. Kim teaches 2nd year life drawing to Illustration students at Sheridan.
Everything Else (except for personals): I started attending the portfolio prep classes at the Blue Tadpole Studio (http://www.bluetadpolestudio.com/), where Andrew Lau teaches. Andrew teaches the fundamental animation concepts, like constructions and flow, line quality, etc. I trust Andrew because he's gotten all of his students into the programs they've wanted-- BUT it's really up to you to get the work done outside of class so he can use the class time to help you improve (if you slack, you won't benefit). Mr. Lau is a graduate of the Sheridan Animation program, and has worked on various shows. It's kind of cool to see the character rotations and layouts he's worked on.
Personal Art: Best works from school and own works. 
I found both of the classes to be really great prep. All 6 of us who attended the Blue Tadpole Studio for the animation portfolio prep were accepted yesterday.
The APW Approach:
Three of the students from Blue Tadpole who got accepted for animation also attended the Animation Portfolio Workshop. These girls were all international students, so they had even more competition to face. 
From what I understand, the course develops some seriously solid drawing skills in their students, but lacks longer poses for life drawing that are useful for personal works. Overall, though, I've never heard any other complaint about the APW prep course except for it's price.
The Art Fundamentals Approach:
I don't know many people who came from Fundies and got accepted quite yet, but I've heard that a great percentage of acceptances go to Fundies kids. What's more is that many of the best animation students came from fundies as well.
- You get to talk to the teachers, and make connections with other students, including the animation students whom you would be in close proximity with. 
- You can ask for help to review your portfolio
- You already know the atmosphere of the school
- You get more time ready yourself mentally if you weren't ready before
- Some of the best animation students came from Art Fundies
- The course is used to expose students to a wide variety of media to help them get a taste of different media, and moves at a fast pace so that there is no specialization
- There are no specific assignments to help build the portfolio, and you must manage time between assignments to work on your portfolio
- Teachers will often be swamped and may have difficulty reviewing portfolios
- The course is only what you make of it. It is up to you to excel in that environment
Since I don't know many art fundies kids, I would love to hear from people who have input on the course!
It was a lot of fun to do the portfolio, but crazy stressful too.
Major tips:
- *Time management skills are a MUST* - Otherwise, work will collect and create stress.
- Start early - Life drawing takes awhile to sink in, and learning structure and constructions for the first time can be a killer. Everything takes time.
- Figure out your concepts early (what will you do for characters, rooms, objects. Get your ideas down.) - That way you don't freak out at or near the end.
- Do a practice portfolio - Once you've done the portfolio the first time, you will drastically improve, and understand what needs to get done. (Thanks Adi)
- Show your structure - Do constructions in the blue or red animation pencils (Col-Erase) to show that you understand the form. This is a must, because the evaluators don't want to see just the outlining of the character, they want to see the underlying structure.
- Clean up carefully - Once you are done your constructions and lines, lay a new piece of paper over the drawing, and trace out new clean constructions and outlines. 
- Use line variance but don't go crazy - Line quality is critical. What is closer to you is shown as thicker lines, not necessarily darker. But don't make the thick and thin lines too drastic (this is where having a teacher to guide you is useful).
- Make friends and meet people - Knowing what others have gone through, what to expect, and learning tips from others is really helpful. 
- Most of all: Get a teacher to guide you - I would have never been able to do my portfolio without my teachers guiding me, and you have to make sure that the teachers you ask help from know what the portfolio requirements ask for.  Even if the classes are sometimes expensive, it's often worth every penny (if you really do your research and put in the work).

There are a lot of other finicky little tips you'll learn along the way. Above are the major routes and tips I learned of while working through the portfolio. 
If anyone wanders onto this post that happens to be working on their portfolio for animation, I invite you to ask questions, because I'd love to share my plethora of little tips I've picked up from friends and teachers during the portfolio process-- and if I don't know the answer, it'd be fun to find out.
Happy days!


  1. Thanks a bunch for posting this, I'm setting my sites on Sheridan next year after being rejected from Capilano for the second time.

    I'm a bit confused as to how the portfolio should be handed in. Sheridan wants originals, correct? Is it suggested to mount them on poster board like you did?

    Thanks again for this post, having any sort of guideline helps me a lot!

  2. Hey, sorry for the late reply. I couldn't post comments for some reason.

    Sheridan does want originals. In the portfolio requirements (they have them up on the site), it says that you can also make composite sheets of larger drawings put together on one paper, but that you will also have to include the originals. The black paper my portfolio pieces are mounted on came with the portfolio case :)
    For the most part, the only portfolios I've ever seen been successful have been in similar portfolios to mine, large enough to fit life drawings, and with the pieces laying on the black presentation paper. Labels. Yup.

    There are also some portfolio cases that zip up, and have handles. Those portfolio cases have bind-ring type insides that have the slides clip in. In those kinds, you could include an entire sketch book for rough work.

    For the most part, if you read the instructions they have on the Sheridan Animation Program page, and look at the successful portfolio work at the Sheridan Animation blogs, you'll do just fine.

    Hope that helps.
    -Happy Days!


© Alison's Art Blog 2012 | Blogger Template by Enny Law - Ngetik Dot Com - Nulis