i just got my rejection letter for the 2nd time.
i was so confident this time in my skills and my growth. but it wasn't enough. and so, i'm asking for honest feedback.
life drawing portion
i'd appreciate it folks. help me realize what i need to work on.
I maybe wrong, since I'm still a growing artist, but from what I've learned from other accepted portfolios and critiques these are my thoughts:
-First off, the skills are definately there. Just as Meri said, you have a lot of great works that rival accepted portfolios. But I don't see a lot of yourself in the work. Just like Ambar said. I see a lot of past portfolios.You put more of yourself into the supplement, meaning you took more risks and put more personality. Maybe you could exagerate more in figures next time around.
-Second, I think you had too many completed pieces. It was really overpowering for me to see so many completed works that I didn't see any works in progress or as least a sketchbook full of really quick gestures or scenery. I really would have liked to see a section of gestures where you tried to tell a story with as little lines as possible. Once again as ambar said, I saw the characters but not enough story.
Actually, thats all I have to say. I thought I had more but now I'm blank xD I hope I helped somehow. I liked the portfolio overall and it REALLY must have been stiff competition this year for you to not have made it. Your confidence this year was not unwarrented because it was a good portfolio. If not this year, definately next year. Good Luck! ^^
yes to both questions. she said it was a strong body of work but never really went in depth and seemed short.
and brandi, you make a good point about all the pieces being the same amount of finished.
thanks for all the feedback so far.
Aww man that's awful. As mentioned, part of it might be the rising competition. The last two years of incoming students here has been ridiculous. In all honesty though, you've got a good portfolio. Congrats on being competent and confident in your skills, because you are. Just gotta keep pushing forward....
Ok, first of all, you put way too much in your portfolio. 29 figure drawings - 19 supplemental drawings - and a 2+ minute animation. That's a lot of stuff! I don't know if the portfolio requirements changed but I think there was the basic section, supplemental, and optional animation, and the only number of required pieces was 20. I sent 20 drawings (maybe 21...), 15 or so of which were figures, and the others were still from life (self portrait, landscape, etc.), a 5.5x8 100pg sketchbook full of animal/people watching, and that was it. They were simply and cleanly packaged and labeled w/ lots of attention paid to order. No fancy packaging, just my work in clean sleeves in a purple paper folder. Point being - you only want to put stuff in if it's your ABSOLUTE BEST. If they give you a minimum stick to that. It does not say that you are not hardworking, capable, have grown a lot, or house a variety of skill sets if you do not put a lot it your portfolio. What it does speak to is confidence, direction, and the ability to be clear and concise. Even at portfolio day in high school I remember the cal arts rep saying that I had confidence in the line of my drawings... Even on their website they say that their goal is to teach students to become filmmakers, not just trained in the tools but capable and confident enough in their own artistic abilities to devise and carry out a vision. Confidence goes a long way in portfolios wether real or imagined. Even when ringling reps came to my high school (their minimum is 10 pieces) Eric said to go ahead and submit 9 because it would speak to such confidence in your work. I'm a rule follower and stuck to 10, but that idea says a lot. Even with professional demo reels, the people reviewing those only look at the first 10 seconds before taking them out of the dvd player. In just the first few seconds of animation, or images in the case of a portfolio you can (or at least should) be able to tell wether or not the person has the necessary skills to carry them and perform. If you keep their attention in the first "10 seconds" great! But don't give them any reason to doubt it in the material that follows. It only takes one structural failure to topple a tower - so everything in your portfolio should be your absolute best - and not necessarily your personal best or the work you're most proud of - because that's no what they're looking for. Stand back and look objectively at what is the best from objective eyes and what best strongly demonstrates the skills and handling of ideas that they are looking for.
Animation: Drop it. Yes it is your first film. yes you are proud of it. Yes, it is a great achievement on your part and you should rightly be proud of it. Does that make it portfolio material? no. Technically speaking, the animation is weak and lacking, screen direction gets confusing in places, and it is far from visually ground breaking. It's not bad at all. It is your first crack at film making, which is great, but first times tell you more of what you need to learn than what you already know. And that's cool, because you're going to calarts to learn! I don't think they'd want to see how you animate or construct filmic stories - they're going to teach you that there and help you develop as an animator and film maker. What they want to see is if you've got the skills to succeed in the program. Strong fundamentals in depicting "life" from your vantage point that they can build off of. So yeah, ditch the animation in the portfolio.
Supplemental: Really isn't helping support you here. Anatomy/structure isn't that strong in these pieces and all those people pin ups aren't using strong design or composition and are weak in story to boot. They're just drawings you did of imagined people - but they're not engaged in anything interesting. They're not moving, they're not interacting, they're not ALIVE - and at the same time they aren't doing anything interesting from a purely aesthetic perspective. This section could be done away with or whittled down to 5. What I liked and why:
-day of the dead image: poses, eyelines, and staging hint to a story. There's the possibility of some interaction - wants and conflicts - and that intrigues me. Stylistically, the bold black and white is interesting, supports the piece, and the design of the figures plays well with things. It tells me this person can make artistic decisions to support the idea of a piece - and I like that. Compositionally, the window makes a really interesting shape, and those lanterns repeating back into space is a nice touch. I like the skulls in the left foreground too. They not only help tell the story but also help establish space, corner her in, and are visually interesting.
-fortune teller: I mostly like this for the style. It's got an interesting play of shape and line within the composition and I like that. What's more, head tilt, mood, and the way she looks out to the viewer confronts us and makes us wonder - I sense story!
-Rumors: interesting way to stylize the figures. It's pretty, but at the same time a little ugly w/ the coloration on the face and such (not ugly aesthetically, but when paired w/ society's idea) and that works! Again - here you are making artistic decisions to support the idea. The background is very bland and compositionally the piece doesn't sing, but here you're hinting to ideas in interpersonal dynamics. That's intriguing, relatable, and story fodder.
-brainwashed: figures in a landscape - that's good stuff. I don't know really what's going on, but that's ok because I can tell that something is and that intrigues me. Compositionally this could be more interesting or dynamic, but I like seeing figures in an environment doing things, that's good business.
-comic play: cool colors. Interesting panels and variation where appropriate between them. Stylistically it's pretty cool, and you've got a story going on inside w/ interaction and expressions (I'd like to see more body language though! -pantomime is a big thing in animation and story telling drawings!). This one stood out most of all from your comics, so, why add more? One comic tells me that you can make comics. I don't need to see any others.
Out of all 19 those were the five that I thought said something interesting or spoke to your artistic skills. Don't water down your best stuff with everything else.
Figure: After looking through all of them (impressions recorded below), you definitely could have left a lot out. you have some really killer drawings, but then you've got some that really dragged things down, and you're portfolio is only as good as the weakest thing in it. Really though, there's some great stuff in here. I really really like it. I think you've got the chops to get in, you just gave them too many reasons not to accept you. Keep it up, this is great stuff.
Jotting these down as I go....
1985: nice. strong start. I want to let you in.
2092: oh, hey what happened. ditch it. light and shadow masses look like you tried to indicate them, but end up wishy washy and confusing. Face weird, proportions odd, arm feels disconected, and somethings up with the legs.
1416: ok... interesting colors.. line quality is pretty fair. Weight is a big issue though. leg is popping up and is she holding her head up? Gold star for her because I've never seen a model do that for a pose. Twist of the body gets confusing w/ her breast so far to the left like that.
1247: I like this one. maybe not the best drawing but it makes a good impact overall. that kind of rendering, paired with her pose and expression, create a really nice mood effect. There's a lot more sense of weight in this drawing than those others previous. Hands and feet are handles nicely and communicate expressively. Flow of the pose along the front of her torso is great- I think that's where you're getting a lot of the sense of weight from - and it's visually interesting. The outer contour of her back gets lumpy, confusing, and unpleasing to the eye. In retrospect, a simple contour for the back, paired with that more complicated contour for the front of her torso could play really nicely aesthetically. The head and arms already support that idea too - and it could serve the emotion to posing a composed and strong edge for the back w/ the tumultuous contours hidden to her front.
1989: I LIKE THIS A LOT. great drawing. why wasn't this first? Structurally the shoulder is small, weak, and doesn't connect well. but there's lots of great weight, feeling, and super strong markmaking, w/ appropriately applied variety and confidence! Compositionally the space the the image, depth, interplay of light and dark shapes, and relationships of line work really nicely. do more like this! Drawings with strengths like this sing your praises.
1417: pretty cool. I'm not fawning over it like that last one, but it works well on a lot of levels. clear, interesting, and structurally sound. A neat variation in style too.
2084: ditch ditch ditch. Not structurally solid and not designed interestingly. depreciates your skill rather than praising it, and you do not want that. Really, pair these next to 1989 or 1247 and you'll see a HUGE difference.
1372: cool. Not the greatest drawing overall but you're trying new things and taking them in good directions. I like that. Most of all, could use a greater sense of weight (probably right hip area is the most troublesome and getting a strong flow of the torso like in 1247. Face and hands are lookin good. Twist in the body is good in the stomach and breasts (is that a little atmosphere leaving the further breast red and giving the forground one a line? nice!). The twist and space kind of gets killed off in other parts though where you got a little too heavy with your line, ie, both shoulders are the same line weight as each other -and all the way around- which flattens them out visually and kills that dynamic sense of overlap in the body that your were starting to get.
2088: ok. Top left should go. Top right is cool, interesting, and effectively executed - I'd keep it. Bottom is meh. Pretty ok actually, better than quite a few of your other ones. structurally sound, pretty good flow.
1343: yep, really nice. lines work well. watercolor rendering speaks well to the forms in space - describes them well. that little tilt on the head and delicacy in the line work is nice. colors are intersting and the variation within them works well.
1379: yep ditch. I actually like this one a lot more getting to see it up close and noodle around in the details, but overall I still don't think it works as a whole, which is a vital test. Head and torso are structurally unsound. line is sketchy as hell and does not flow (not that could be used as a style and all, but it's got to have the other elements playing along with it, and right now they're not so this drags it down). Lighting is high contrast and inconsistent/confusing. color goes gray/flat/blackish in places, effectively dying. Cover up the top though and the legs themselves are actually a REALLY nice drawing. Delicate lines, subtleties of tilts, form, and atmosphere, + that blue fading off to a grayed violet over that small distance is nice.
1212: COOL! gestures are great! :D look at all these cool marks and confidence! Pose gets a little confusing with a lack of emphasis for any part of the body, but still a really nice drawing over all!
1388: AWESOME! I feel that that man is touching his face! he's slumping from not haven fully woken up. this is great stuff! cool line and variation! The one on the right might topple over at any moment, but these drawings are really nice. I'm jealous. good energy and suggestion of form. The guy on the left's head is not rendered at all, and yet I have no doubts of how it exists in space and relates to his hand and the rest of them.
20982: These are great drawings! Top two on the right could maybe go.
2010: these are good too! top right is awesome. Top left not so much. Left gets weak in that the torso is so odd, that chunk taken out of is back really confuses how his spine works. Guy on the right is great though.
1982: why is this in your portfolio? ditch it. You just built up my opinion of you and your work with all those other cool drawings and then put stuff in here like that that makes me question you, kill my enthusiasm, and reasses my opinion of your skills. Keep your portfolio to the minimum, don't give me these opportunities.
1987: hey, pretty nice. Not the best, faces gets kind of odd, hands and feet could use a touch more work. but pretty nice. interesting to look at too.
2098: hey this is goooood! This figure exists in space and is real to me. There's lots of life here in the drawing itself and in the markmaking. Rendering on the leg flattens it out and the shape of the ribcage gets wonky on her left, but really really nice. WAY better than you're second figure drawing. Put them next to each other and see!
1984: this is great! good figure drawing, totally plussed by eyelines/expression, handling of medium, color choices, composition, and abstract speech bubble. This is awesome. You've got solid drawing, mixing media, and bringing things together to create an interesting idea - I want to see you make a film.
1973: not your best at all. Still better than some of the other stuff in here. Line works out in places but too much of it is working against you. ditch it.
2103: AWSOME: totally great rendering/stylistic choices on top of fairly solid drawing foundations. What's more, you've made it an interesting composition through your use of color and shape to lead the eye to the focal point, the strongest part of the image.
1455: this is such a great drawing!!! so subtle rich and alive!
1452: not as good as the other I just saw, but still beats out some of your other stuff.
1039: woah, I don't know what's going on but I'm intrigued. Pretty solid drawing, especailly in that turned head. Justaposition of line to that graphic mass plays pretty interestingly.
1037: not my favorite thing personally, but really quite solid in drawing and form.
1347: why is this in your portfolio? Actually it's kind of interesting the more I look at it. But at first look I'm more confused as to what I'm looking at and where to look than anything else.
1979: interesting... figure, kind of weird. chair, pretty cool. this one's a mixed bag for me. It definitely holds up the portfolio on the different end though.
2158:....how big was your portolio .__. are these 18x24 drawings? I guess that's pretty normal... but with drawings that large, that's more physically to move your eyes over and look at. even more reason to cut the number of pieces down.
Layout-wise, this is how I would have done things
start strong, end strong, go some interesting places in between. Only the best. Like I said, you really do have great stuff. Just use persuasive selection of work and arrange it to take them on a short journey. You have lots of reasons for them to accept you, just don't give them reasons to not (drawings as reasons).
Hey Monica, sorry to hear you were rejected the second time, but by looking at your portfolio and comparing it to those who were accepted this year 2011 and 2010, I can see why. But please, don't be down by my comments; they are merely my opinions of your portfolio and I know YOU WILL GET BETTER, no matter what anyone tell you.
Anyway, I have seen your animation and browsed your portfolio, and I believe it can be A LOT stronger.
I first watched your animation, and I agree with many who believed this piece should be left out. When I watch this animation, I don't see anything special. The movement of your characters were unbelieveable and unrealistic , composition of each shot was not effective, the characters are not strong enough in design and their personality did not emerge within the film, etc. In actuality, it waas pretty awkward for me to watch it. Animation of characters running, sitting down, eating, or any other actions WITH expression and personality are a plus, in my opinion (if they are good).
When I browsed through your life drawing section of the portfolio, I saw some really strong pieces such as DSC_1985, I don't believe her proportions are wrong if you are accurately depicting her. DSC_1989, DSC_1212, DSC_2010 (bottom right one), DSC_1984, DSC_2103, DSC_1455 are the better ones from your portfolio. However, when I see your other life drawings, it seems you need a lot more practice and studying of the human anatomy and structures. Your proportions are a little off, there's very little difference in weight of linesin your drawings, I believe learning them will help you in drawing a figure more effectively either by attempting to draw realistically or experimentally.
In your third section, I really liked your comics, and I believe those are the better pieces in that section.
But where are the paintings from life? I'm not sure if they actually want to see thsi, but I believe it'd be a great addition to your portfolio if they are strong.
Don't worry! You'll do well if you just keep going at it. Have fun and enjoy drawing and you'll do fine. (: Good luck!
aw man i didnt even know there were so many replies i thought i made it so that the thread emailed me with updates. apparently it didnt! well thanks so much to everyone who has commented so far. i've read them all and it's helped set pointers and goals to hit. im ready to conquer!
also, when referring to a piece can you just include the link? i didnt title my pieces. those are all camera labels.
and dont feel like youre going to hurt my feelings or anything. i stay profressional and appreciate honesty.
Hi Monica ! There are a few pieces that I really love for example, DSC_2245,DSC_2246 and DSC_2240. I see some major improvement in these drawings and they definitely are stronger !!
There are some pieces that exhibits the lacking of understanding of balance in gesture drawing though, for example,
in DSC_2242, the model seems to me like she's sitting down, but the feeling of weight isn't there. Right now her right lap seems to be lifted up and her left lap doesn't seem to be supporting the right, and I think by getting that right already helps a little to project the feeling of weight in the model. She also seems like she's falling to her right with no support and her upper half body seems rigid. I guess the most important thing that's missing in this is her weight and her right leg's foreshortening that makes her look like she's partially standing/sitting.
In DSC_2237, her head seems to big for her body and her right arm seems to be forced a little too high up and pushed behind too much. There also should be more than a smooth curve on her right thigh now,like lines and constructions that suggests weight when a soft object interacts with a hard object.
In DSC_2230, her left foot looks odd as it's smaller compared to her right foot. Since it's a foreshortening and her left thigh is behind her right thigh, her left foot should look bigger in comparison to her right foot. Her left shoulder also seems to be flattened out like a straight line. Are those her fingers right below her hair ? If it is then it doesn't feel like they're in the right place.There's a 90 degrees construction that you can see in the overall of this drawing and it makes the whole drawing look static/rigid.
Keep going Monica, these are definitely improvements, I got a feeling you're gonna make it this time ! Keep posting !!! I would really love to see more from you !! :)
Meri Burgess said:
Well, my thoughts don't count for much, nor are they very informed. I liked your animation, I thought it was pretty good for someone who was trying it out for the first time. I also liked your comics as well. I think you have some pretty strong figure drawings, but I feel like maybe you put in too much and some of them may have been pulling you down. Some were super awesome and looked straight out of an accepted portfolio (DSC_1985, DSC_1417, DSC_2103 for example) but others not so much. I think you have all the skills, and honestly I'm a bit surprised you weren't accepted. It must have been a talented pool of applicants this year (which makes me all the more nervous, yikes) The review board always has surprises up their sleeves, but whatever it means, it's not the end of the world! Keep up with all the drawing and you're sure to succeed.
Hi... I saw your live drawing and your post. I might be too late for this post. but just some idea which come from my Lect. totally agree of what Meri Burgess says, some maybe pulling you down. too much of the drawing, choose maybe 10 very strong drawing will do and also ask you mentor/Lect or classmate to choose for you. you might be suprise that what other see and you is totally different. All the best and hope you get your idea job... Cheerios... Shanique
Yon Hui Lee, thank you for taking your time to critique. i respect your work and appreciate your feedback! and Shanique Moh, it's never too late to give me feedback. this will be an ongoing thread. thanks! i have returned with a new batch. i'm curious as to what i need to focus on more. i think my main issue is proportions and perhaps i need to focus on getting that down first--as well as focusing on shapes when drawing gestures. any other opinions?