Sorry for not posting this sooner for you.....
We are putting up a day to day blog posting on our website that follows the progress of one of our very recent (as in May 2010) PWI student, who was with us in between studying at the Vancouver Film School and attending the New York University Film Academy.
It looks like we are going to be holding a Fall Session of the Animation Portfolio Workshop.....
We were originally going to stick with just the one session for the rest of 2010 and early 2011, but we have received a lot of inquires and emails expressing interest in having a second session starting up in the Fall of '10, running through until the portfolio deadlines in mid winter of 2011.
I have told all of the prospective students that we will run another session based on adequate enrollment, and I have basically said that I'll give a definitive answer as to whether it will run or not by the week of the 16th of August.
To date, it looks like we have almost enough students to run the session, but I won't say either way until the 16th of August or thereabouts.
Im kind of new to this site and am trying to get into animation school. I've been looking into taking the Animation Portfolio Workshop because from what I've gathered it is my best bet at submiting a successful portfolio. If anyone has any information about when the next set of classes will be beginning it be greatly appreciated.
I am really excited about this information resource that we've just started to make available for prospective students of animation programs and people interested in the animation industry and animation schools in general.
We talked a lot about producing a series of podcasts focussing on the type of portfolio required to get into an animation program, from the point of view of the people who run these programs, teach in them, etc.
Our first podcast is a 5 part series featuring conversation with the Coordinator of the Seneca Animation Arts Program Jim Zubkavich.
Jim does a great job of saying what he is looking for in the portfolios that come across his desk from the hundreds of students wishing to join the Seneca Animation Program.
The topic is a fascinating one and should prove enlightening for everyone trying to put a portfolio together for animation school......
Hey Gerard, I just had a chance to come across your Animation Portfolio course, and I was wondering a few things. I'm going to do actually a copy / paste from another thread, figure it's probably best to ask an animation teacher directly for some advice:
My current artistic foundation basically stems from mimic'ing artwork found in comicbook panels (for a more western, highly detailed approach) and studying various anime frames / manga panels (for the more simplistic style of drawing).
I am interested in going to either Sheridan College or Seneca's Animation School (both in the toronto region), and one of the things I am really curious about, is how exactly should i be *thinking* in terms of my artistic perceptions, and even the style that I attempt to draw in. I need to make an animation portfolio, and I'm unsure that neither the complex western comics style, or the more simplistic anime style will quite give me the foundation necessary to realistically get accepted to either of the two animation schools I'd like to attend.
I'd really appreciate if anyone had some insight, or some resources I could look at to gain a better understanding of exactly how I should be drawing, or how I should be thinking when im drawing, so I nail "animation school worthy" drawing concepts down. Thanks a lot in advance for your answer Gerard.
Fallenagain, I'm guilty on all counts of not replying to you soon enough...sorry for the delay.
Your questions are excellent.
Let's break this down and deal with it in sections.
First off you write:
"My current artistic foundation basically stems from mimic'ing artwork found in comicbook panels (for a more western, highly detailed approach) and studying various anime frames / manga panels (for the more simplistic style of drawing)."
Let me say right off the bat that this is good.
Exposure to as much visual material from the area of your chosen artistic field is helpful in terms of developing your visual vocabulary.....however, your job as an artist is to give your own spin on things once you have developed your vocabulary, which means internalizing all of this great stuff, until what comes out of you is a synthesis of everything that you've learned, as opposed to a product of simply regurgitating something that you're copying.
Having said that, the first step really, is to learn to draw well from nature.
Good observational drawing skills are the key to your success.
You also write:
"I am interested in going to either Sheridan College or Seneca's Animation School (both in the toronto region), and one of the things I am really curious about, is how exactly should i be *thinking* in terms of my artistic perceptions, and even the style that I attempt to draw in. I need to make an animation portfolio, and I'm unsure that neither the complex western comics style, or the more simplistic anime style will quite give me the foundation necessary to realistically get accepted to either of the two animation schools I'd like to attend."
Take a good look at some of these examples from our website of animation portfolios. This is a typical example of what a student submits to get into Sheridan College for the 2-D animation program.
Here is another example of an animation portfolio from a student that got into the Sheridan college 2-D program.
You ask what terms you should be thinking in and what style you should be considering for a portfolio application to a school.
I would say don't worry about what style to be mimicking or copying but focus on learning to draw well in an observational fashion and all of the style will grow naturally from that as you go forward in your study.
I think that a deep study in the area of observational drawing is what's really going to give you the foundation that you need in order to get into one of the schools you mentioned, as opposed to mimicking any given comic or cartooning style like anime as a way of learning to put your portfolio together.
If you look carefully at this animation portfolio from a student that used it to get into the Seneca College Animation program, you'll notice that the main area of observational drawing that is emphasized is a synthesis of gesture drawing and structure drawing (depicting volumes in a 3 dimensional fashion).
Now to make this somewhat more digestible for the readers following this thread, what I'll do is a another post that breaks down the "animation school worthy drawing concepts" that you ask about in your post.
So suffice it to say that the point of this first section of my answer to your questions is; invest your time in learning how to draw well directly from nature before you devote time and energy to the study of other sources like comics etc, when it come to putting together a successful animation portfolio to get you into the school of your choice.
O.k fallenagain, I'm going to go through the basic drawing concepts or things that you should be thinking about with regards to putting together your animation portfolio to get you into Sheridan or Seneca - one element at a time.
Let me start by saying that you should take a quick peek at The abc's of an Animation Portfolio written by my Animation Portfolio Workshop Co-Director Vince Peets.
This gives you a very nice overview of what to focus on for your portfolio submission.
For my part, I'm going to focus on some basics that apply to the life drawing, animal drawing, object drawing and hand drawing sections of your portfolio submission.
This is the single most important drawing practice to gain mastery over, if you intend to have any success at all in getting yourself into a program using your animation portfolio, and I'll tell you why.....
If you think about the word "animation" as applied to what we're speaking of, the definition is to display a whole bunch of images rapidly to give the illusion of movement
Now in order to give the illusion of movement successfully in your drawings, you have to study it in nature for a long time and develop a deep understanding of it.
That's why when you're learning to draw you practice by making thousands of drawings using gesture drawing exercises that specifically train you to see/feel movement and depict it with clarity and conviction.
You cannot expect to go on and depict shapes,volumes and contours effectively unless you have plenty of gesture drawing under your belt.
Here are some decent examples from our site of what I mean by depicting gesture convincingly...take the time to look carefully at these and pay particular attention to the life drawings and the hand drawings from these portfolios:
What these portfolios have in common is really believable depictions of figures / hands / objects / etc doing something, not just looking pretty on the surface and having the feel of a petrified piece of wood, which is a common fault with so many of the drawings that we see.
Gesture drawing exercises challenge you to utilize your experience of having a body to relate as directly as possible to what the model is doing as if you are taking the same pose as the model.
Quite simply put, gesture drawing is the "method acting" of drawing practices.
This is how you get the information needed to depict the action of the model.
You by-pass thinking about the pose and move directly to trying to feel the pose in your own muscles, (as Kimon Nicolaides states in his great book on the art of drawing The Natural Way to Draw) and then make marks about that experience on your paper.
Let's take a quick look at another essential concept to grasp when it comes to putting together your portfolio for an animation school.
It's obvious that you have to use line when you draw figures for an animation portfolio, because we regularly find schools asking to see drawings "without tone"...schools like Sheridan and Seneca college.
How you use the line is what's really the important part in all this......
I'd say that for the animation portfolio you could break down the ways in which you're going to have to use line in your life drawings into several categories:
silhouette line, or what we commonly refer to in the Workshop as "outline"
This is the single most common use of line that I see from students who join up and start drawing with us on the first day.
The silhouette line does exactly what it purports to do; create a flat 2-d shape of the figure on the paper , reduced to a basic silhouette.
This is an important type of line, because it shows silhouette which of course is a very important design feature when depicting any shape, and it also helps you to deal with very simple issues related to composition, i.e.- where do I place my figure on the page, and what kind of empty spaces am I creating on the paper when I do this.
In the Workshop, contour connotes a line that runs on the surface of what you're drawing and is always talking about the volume of what you're depicting.
A contour can appear on the edge of a form where the form turns away from your eye in space, making it an edge contour, or it can run anywhere on the inside of those edge contours as well.
Drawing contours is based on trying to touch the form, as Nicolaides says - as if your running your finger over the surface of the form.
Now if you'll pardon the pun, the "lines" get blurry when you start to try and make distictions between contour lines, construction lines and plane change lines.
The reason is that all of these lines depict aspects of 3-D volume, and as such become quite interchangeable when your actually drawing.
But for now let's be clear on one thing; a silhouette line is not the same as a volumetric contour..I know, I know, it seems silly to state this because it should be so obvious, but you'd be quite surprised at the number of students who don't make this distinction early on when they draw.....
Take a look at Lisa Wang's animation portfolio from our website, for some great examples of combining a well designed silhouette with strong volumetric contour drawing.
Let's take a breather, and I'll get into more refined definitions of the three types of volumetric lines when I post next.
A volumetric contour can and often does delineate the silhouette shape of the figure your drawing; you are creating the silhouette when you are drawing volumetric contours to represent the edge of a form.
As often happens in drawing, any one element can perform more than one task.
To clarify, I think what I was trying to get you to be aware of in the post above was that there is a difference between using line to depict volume and just drawing a line around the "edge" of an object without awareness of volume.
Many students show me drawings using a silhouette outline that they think shows volume, when in actual fact they have just created a flat 2-D shape on their paper
We've been getting emails about the 2011 Fall Session that starts this Saturday, September 17 2011.
The course is full, but it is worth it to get in touch with our Administrator directly to get more specific answers to your questions in case there's a student that has signed up who has a change of plans.
It does happen on occasion.
Here's a link to some nice photos taken by Vince Peets of the first weekend of classes of the Fall 2011 / 2012 session that started up on September 17th.
We've already started registering new students for the Spring 2012 / 2013 session, and those of you on the wait list for the Fall session that just started up, may have to wait until the next session in the spring to join us.
Here's an interesting idea that our Director Vince Peets came up with for character designers and students of character design.
It's called the 14 day Character Design Challenge.
Basically, it goes like this......
From October 24th to November 7th, a new shape will be posted each day on the Animation Portfolio Workshop Facebook page at 9am Toronto time.
All comers are challenged to take the "shape of the day", and create a character design using the shape as their starting point....then if you wish, re-post your latest creation back up on our Facebook page.
Take each new shape and create a new character each day, 14 times.
I heard about your course through a friend of mine that lives in Canada. I haven't looked at the website yet but I probably will. I have a few questions to start with. Where is it? And when does it start?
How much do you cover in your course? I am interested in computer animation and graphic design. Would I benefit at all from taking Animation Portfolio Workshop?
In answer to your questions......
It sounds to me like you are not living in Canada, which is where we're located, so I would say that there are 2 options for you if you're interested in taking the Workshop.
Our 2012 Spring Workshop will be starting up on Saturday May 5 2012 and will run until Sunday March 3 2013.
We hold classes on weekends only, and the class will fall on either a Saturday or a Sunday for the duration of the course.
We have a page with this info on the Animation Portfolio Workshop website
There are some exceptions to this when we'll have some weekends with both Saturday and Sunday classes.
The classes are held in Toronto Ontario Canada.
The other option is the PWI Summer Intensive program.
This year the program will run for the month of June 2012.
The Workshop is condensed and accelerated for a much smaller group of students, between 6 and 8 in this Summer Intensive.
The idea is to offer an option for students who have to travel a great distance to study with us and want to work in a shorter time span than what we offer for the regular Workshop.
Now, your question about what we cover in the course requires a longer answer.
You should take a look at the animation portfolios on our website, and this will give you a good idea right off the bat of what we're doing in the program.
Basically, animation schools generally require a portfolio to enter their program.
The portfolio requirements tend to be very specific, and are generally the same for most of the animation programs give or take a few drawings.
So, for example, you would be asked to draw a certain number of objects in a specific way to demonstrate to the people who are looking at your portfolio that you are capable of solving similar types of drawing problems once you're in the animation program in question.
This would apply to a variety of subjects that you would be asked to draw, and when you put them all together, you get your animation school portfolio.
If you are interested in applying to a computer animation course, then I would have to say yes, taking our program would be of benefit to you.
We have had people take our classes and go into graphic design, as well as a variety of other programs using all of or parts of the portfolio they've produced in our class, but generally speaking most of the students who come to us for help are looking to get into an animation school.
Do you have any ideas about specific schools that you're interested in?
Do you have any art background already...perhaps some private art classes that you've taken or visual arts courses from high school?
As far as I know, Art Fundamentals programs don't offer specialized courses in drawing for animation ( i.e. character design, storyboarding, layout for animation, etc).
I've never really heard of any that do cover material in the area of drawing for animation in any great depth.
It doesn't really matter if you’re just starting with respect to life drawing.
We take students who are beginners in our classes.
In regards to the question about the life drawing.......
I think that an art fundamentals program would cover some of the areas that we cover in our life drawing classes, but as the title "art fundamentals" implies, I think that the type of drawing that you would be exposed to in a generalist art program of that nature would be a general and broad study of the art of drawing.
We teach sound fundamental practices of life drawing, but as we've mentioned before, animation programs require that a specific type of knowledge is clearly demonstrated in the life drawings that are required in a portfolio used to gain access to their programs.
We've noticed that this kind of knowledge tends to be lacking in the students who have come to join us from various art fundamental programs.
So there are some similarities between what you would learn in our classes and an art fundi's life drawing class, but I think that we end up by teaching a wider range of skills and go into much greater depth teaching about a number of areas of drawing practice that aren't covered in an art fundamentals life drawing class.
Just a thought,
Maybe the question is "what is your goal?" You'll find plenty of life drawing classes in art fundamentals courses that teach ways to approach drawing the figure - I agree with Gerad - any number of these courses are introductions to the art of figure drawing. For those who want to get into animation school the life drawing requirements are pretty specific. The challenge is to find a course where what you learn is directly based on what you need to know to get into animation school. Drawing for Animation encompasses several areas that in other programs may be spread over several courses. If the goal is to learn things that will help you to get into animation school (gesture drawing, object drawing, perspective, storyboarding, character construction and design etc) then you'll definitely need to find one course that covers all of that. It all comes back to the question - what is your goal?
We have been getting inquiries about when the cut off point is for registration for the upcoming Workshop that starts in May......
We register on a first come first serve basis and the upcoming Workshop is half full, so I suggest that it is probably better to be on the safe side and register earlier as opposed to leaving it untill the month of April, thinking that there will still be spots available.
In the past we have filled up half a Workshop in a week of registration, so it is better to secure spots well in advance of the start up date.