Patrick O'KeefeArt Director Sider-Man Into The Spider-Verse / Sony Pictures Animation
Moving into films and working digitally, even building these crazy video game worlds all came from an understanding of drawing and design that I learned at Animation Portfolio Workshop which changed the way I look at the world and taught me how to express my creative ideas. Happy 20th APW!
Werner ZimmermannLife Drawing Instructor / Seneca College Animation
Congratulations on 20 years! It definitely says something about your program and the care with which it is delivered to every student enrolled. I see the results come into my classes and can only say - here's to your next 20!
Toon Boom AnimationAnimation Production Software / Bring Your Stories To Life
As proud sponsors of APW's Character Design Contest for 5 years running, we wish the Animation Portfolio Workshop a happy 20th anniversay! Best of luck to all contest entrants this year!
Geordie MillarLife Drawing Instructor / Sheridan Animation
Toronto houses some of the busiest animation studios and post-productrion companies in the nation. For 20 years APW has been one of the best ways of entering this world. They've consistently supported students with the most essential skills as well as developing mentoring & teaching abilities in their own students. APW instils real positivity and a proud, open outlook that always shines as their students enter College/University programs and on to the competitive creative workplace. Congratulations to APW on 20 years of bringing the best out in their grads! Here's to 20 more!
Gordon DaviesUniversity of Toronto / Director, Languages & Translation, Arts & Science School of Continuing Studies
Congratulations to APW on their anniversary: 20 years of preparing young people for creative careers in one of Canada's most important industries!
Anime NorthCanada's top not-for-profit Fan Event / Anime North
Anime North sends Animation Portfolio Workshop all the best wishes as you celebrate your 20th anniversary of continuing to teach and support young students in developing their artistic skills and helping them along their educational path. Good going in the future!
Stephanie RamoneStoryboard Artist / 9 Story Media Group
Merry Birthday wishes to the fine folks at APW. You helped me to achieve my animation dreams. Here's to another 20 doing the same for many more!
Brian HladinFigure Drawing Professor / Sheridan College
A big happy birthday congrats to everyone at APW for their first 20 years of excellence! Cheers!
Angelo LibuttiStory Artist, 2D, 3D Animator, Director / Animation & Live Action
Happy Birthday Animation Portfolio Workshop! Love ya and keep on doing such a great job!
Sarah JargstorfLayout Artist / Pixomondo
Happy 20th birthday APW! It feels like just yesterday I was trekking my newsprint and chalk across town for life drawing. Big congrats to the whole APW crew!
Kaja BlackleyCanadian writer and illustrator / Maggie MacCormack And The Witches' Wheel
Happy 20th APW! May you continue to educate and inspire art students for many years to come!
Sonia FurierStory Artist / Jam Filled Entertainment
APW has been like a second home to me throughout my high school, college and finally my professional years. It's a place where I gained a strong drawing foundation, which serves me professionally everyday. I am so grateful and proud to be a part of APW's community - Happy 20th APW!
Mark ThurmanProfessor Figure/Anatomy / Sheridan College
Have a happy 20th anniversay APW! You've done an excellent job helping to educate students with learning how to draw and become prepared for their future lives as animation students and professional animators. I've seen this demonstrated in the APW grads who have been my first year Figure Drawing students at Sheridan College Animation. Best wishes for continued success for many years to come.
Dani Elizondo flips through her successful 2016 animation portfolio.
Animator, character designer, storyboard artist, visual development artist, layout artist, effects animator – all of these animation career paths have one thing in common: training. – Vince Peets, APW Director
If your dream is to get into animation school and work in animation, you need to know how to draw. No “short cuts” or “tips on portfolio-making” can ever substitute for the real thing. We know because drawing is all we do. 20 years of excellence in animation portfolio preparation has shown us that learning how to draw takes time and it’s worth it. Learning how to draw will prepare you to take on the challenges of animation school and beyond.
Every top animation school requires you to submit a portfolio of drawings. How your animation portfolio is judged will decide whether or not you receive an offer of admission. Competition for spots in the top animation schools is fierce. It’s not enough to simply meet the requirements. To get into an animation program you need to aim high and distinguish yourself with outstanding drawings. A typical animation entrance portfolio will contain some mixture of these things:
Several drawings of the human figure in various poses. These conte, charcoal or graphite drawings must be drawn “from life” and not from a photograph. A Life Drawing class with animation-related instruction is your best bet but the next best thing is a general life drawing class and/or an open Life Drawing session (3 hour session, each person pays per class, poses ranging from 30 seconds to 15 minutes in duration)
Drawings of individual common household objects. Often these objects are based on basic geometric forms such as a sphere (an orange?), a box (juice carton?), a cylinder (water bottle?), a cone etc. An awareness of the structure that lies beneath the surface of the objects you draw will enable you to draw any given object from different angles.
Drawings of an interior – a room – can demonstrate knowledge of linear perspective and enable you to compose a convincing and interesting layout. Use 2 point perspective to draw a room in your house (kitchen, bedroom?). When choosing a view of a room, avoid facing a wall directly. Look toward a corner instead. 12 to 15 feet away from a corner of the room will allow you to see and draw a satisfying wide-angle view of the room.
Your character design will show your ability to take something right out of your imagination and translate it into solid believable drawings that show creativity and personality. Other portfolio drawings are based more on observation and this one is all about visualization and imagination. Design an animation character and draw a turn-around of the character (front view, ¾ view, side view etc.) along with various action poses and facial expressions.
A number of drawings of your hand (sometimes in a before/after sequence) should show familiarity with gesture and structure. Drawn not from photographs but from observation.
Grab a sketchbook and head to a zoo or a farm, get your pet to sit and sleep while you draw, draw, draw. The goal here is gesture and structure.
Storyboards are a comic-book-like series of drawings of shots as in a film sequence. You may be given an open-ended outline of a simple story, a character design to work from and asked to draw a number of storyboard panels or you may be asked to come up with your own story and characters. Basic story-telling skills, character drawing skills, shot composition and creativity are evaluated.
Some schools (Sheridan for example) require a brief sequence of hand-drawn animation – a number of sequential drawings that make up a brief film sequence. You may be given a time limit or a maximum number of frames. This is a chance to show your creativity and demonstrate some knowlege of animation basics and character drawing skills. This animation is by APW Summer Intensive grad Ethan Chouinard starting at Sheridan in September 2019.
In addition to the required drawings, you may be asked to include artwork of your own choosing. Some schools may offer parameters for this portfolio piece (paintings, illustrations etc.). This is an opportunity to show a wider interest in other kinds of art that you create on your own.
Online portfolio submissions are common among most animation programs. During a typical application process, students scan their finished drawings, make a PDF and upload it to an online platform. Investing time and effort into each of the drawings that make up the portfolio and presenting them in a professional manner will help you get into animation school!
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