W ell, you can make an animation portfolio in a week…as for getting into Sheridan animation with it, that depends on a lot of factors that far precede the making of the portfolio itself.
The things you hear in this business of ours… it seems to cover the gamut of everything from “selling snake oil” to pearls of wisdom from on high….and at this point, we’ve seen and heard it all really.
At the 2019 APW Portfolio Day, a parent approached me, inquiring about enrolling their progeny in the Animation Portfolio Workshop. In the course of our conversation it came out that having had no knowledge of anything even remotely “animation related”, they had previously enrolled their teenager in a “how to make a portfolio course” at a local establishment (not ours I assure you) in the GTA.
This young person took lessons of some type for a brief period of time, (I assume hopefully, lessons that were related to drawing and making the portfolio) and then at the end of this period of study was told gleefully by the instructor that basically, now, “we can make your whole animation school portfolio in a week”.
To his credit, without missing a beat, the parent who recounted this tale finished off his story by saying that even he, with his limited knowledge of all things animation felt “like something was up” within seconds of hearing this statement proclaimed. His skepticism was based, he said, on a gut feeling that pulling off an animation portfolio of a high enough calibre to get his child into a school like Sheridan for example, would not be as easy to accomplish as it was being glibly portrayed.
I wholeheartedly agreed with his assessment, and I’ll tell you why…
I am certain that you could make an animation portfolio in a week’s time, but the quality of it…well, that would be a whole other question.
Unless you’ve been building up to this animation portfolio preparation event with months and months of hard work in the drawing department, whipping up an animation school portfolio in a weeks time after a preemptive survey course in “drawing” ain’t gonna get you anywhere near a spot in a really good animation program, or worse, enable you to hold on to that seat for the full duration of the program if by some miracle you did get in.
We keep saying this – an animation portfolio is a very unique animal. No amount of general art fundamentals courses, drawing survey courses, quick drawing fixes, tips, or “mini drawing workshops” are going to be enough to impart the full scope of drawing knowledge required, or for that matter, ever be a surrogate for the unique, hard won drawing skill set one has to fight tooth and nail to earn (yes, over hundreds of hours of practice) in order to even get close to snagging a seat in a program like the Sheridan animation program for example…not unless there’s been a miracle of some type.
This is not to say that learning things about drawing through all of the other venues mentioned above is not good or helpful. What I’m saying is that, at some point, eventually, if you are trying to get into an animation school like Sheridan, you will have to come to terms with a plethora of drawing concepts and master a plethora of drawing practices (that take a long time to master I might add) that you can’t learn in there entirety in the above mentioned venues.
This is because an intrinsically conjoined practice of observational drawing and drawing for animation is required in order to pull off an animation school portfolio of a high enough quality to clear the bar for a program like Sheridan’s. The two drawing areas are co-dependent on each other and must work together and complement each other in the right ratios with respect to each required portfolio piece. These ‘drawing areas’ are not conjoined in quite the same way in generic art courses, but they are conjoined in one other venue besides APW – in animation school itself.
After 20 years of conducting a very serious and extensive educational undertaking in the field of drawing and animation portfolio preparation, we have never once seen a student get even close to earning a seat in a top tier animation school like Sheridan, Gobelins, Animation Workshop, SVA, Cal Arts, Ringling etc, etc, to name a few, by doing a short course in “drawing” and then whipping up an animation portfolio to go with it…
So remember, when it comes to choosing an animation portfolio preparation course, always do your homework and caveat emptor!
- Gerard Sternik, AOCA - Animation Portfolio Workshop