Transitioning From Secondary to Post Secondary Education
“With the elimination of grade thirteen from secondary schools in Ontario and government funding cuts to high school visual arts programs, many high school students feel unprepared and overwhelmed by the challenges of constructing a successful animation school entry level portfolio. Animation Portfolio Workshop has helped many high school graduates make the transition to post secondary visual arts programs with confidence.”
Gerard Sternik, Animation Portfolio Workshop Director.
Listed in the top 100 animation schools in the world, the Animation Portfolio Workshop program has proven extremely effective in helping students assemble high caliber portfolios to gain entry into top quality animation schools.
The portfolio requirements for animation schools are focused and specific, with individual pieces of work reflecting the various components of the curriculum of the animation program itself. The common thread that links all of the portfolio requirements for most animation schools is the ability to draw.
A successful animation portfolio requires a demonstration of student skill in two specific areas of drawing; observational drawing and illustrative drawing (or what we commonly refer to in the workshop as Life Drawing for Animation and Drawing for Animation).
Animation Portfolio Workshop offers a curriculum that is derived wholly from these two core components of an animation school portfolio.
Life Drawing for Animation
The Life Drawing for Animation course exposes students to a series of drawing exercises that help to develop the skill set needed to create all the observational drawings that comprise an animation portfolio. Gesture drawing, contour drawing, constructive drawing, basic shape and mass analysis, as well as basic anatomical drawing are all practiced relentlessly by our students to enable them to complete the life drawings, hand drawings, animal drawings and object drawings required for the observational component of their portfolio.
The aim is to produce completed assignments that can be used as portfolio pieces.
Drawing for Animation
The Drawing for Animation course introduces students to solid, structural object drawing, linear perspective, character body construction, character design, storyboarding and composition. Students are given opportunities to focus on and explore each of these areas through carefully designed drawing exercises. The goal is to produce completed assignments to use as portfolio pieces.
2011 APW student Elsie Zheng’s preliminary sketch and finished room drawing.
Since its inception in 1999, Animation Portfolio Workshop has maintained a ratio of 10-12 students per instructor/teaching assistant.
Students attend classes one day per week for six hours. Three hours are spent studying Life Drawing followed by a one hour lunch break, and then three hours of Drawing for Animation. A typical day of classes would look like this:
10am – 1pm Life Drawing for Animation
1pm – 2pm Lunch Break
2pm-5pm Drawing for Animation
At the halfway point of the course, students begin to apply the drawing skills they have been developing to the process of assembling the animation portfolio itself. By the end of the workshop, students have completed their portfolios and are ready to submit them to prospective animation schools. The end of our course coincides with the due dates for portfolio submissions to top animation schools. Successful entrance portfolios submitted in late February/early March can receive offers of admission for programs starting in September.
Completed portfolios from our program have been used successfully to gain admission to these schools: Sheridan College (Computer Animation, Classical Animation, Illustration), Seneca College (Computer and Classical Animation), Algonquin College ( Animation), Capilano University ( Animation ), Vancouver Film School, Concordia University( Animation or Film program) , Ringling College of Art and Design, CALArts, Max the Mutt Animation, O.C.A.D. (Foundation Year, Advanced Standing), Ryerson Architecture, Biomedical Communications at University of Toronto and University of Waterloo Urban Planning.
Since our classes are on the weekends, some students study with us while completing their high school diploma; others while attending art fundamental programs at schools like Sheridan or Seneca College; others are mature students who have recently completed degrees or diplomas at post-secondary institutions; and some are animation industry professionals who wish to up-grade their drawing skills.
Paul Guenette, one of the students from the first APW class, shares his impressions: “It’s hard to believe that you started this more than 10 years ago”. Paul goes on “most of your former students that I’ve worked with have been some of the best animators. I could also be biased because I was one of the first students. I owe you guys so much…Thanks”