Piomat200
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Okay so I need SERIOUS help with portfolios.

I got interviews coming up for BA courses in Animation (the first one takes place in a few weeks) and I have absolutely no idea how to lay things out and where to start (I already have some drawings which I'd like to include, so dw, I'm not gonna be starting completely from scratch).

I've tried to do research on this topic to no avail, so here are some of my questions:

-Apparently they're looking for sketchbooks which show planning and development, but what if I don't have a sketchbook like this? All of the drawings I've done haven't had any planning beforehand

-In said sketchbook, what should be included? All of my drawings have either been done digitally (which I'm planning to place on a USB drive in a powerpoint accompanied by writing for each piece) or on separate pieces of A3 paper. Would this sketchbook just be full of smaller, more experimental drawings such as hands, small objects, anatomy etc...?

-The main questions of mine is how would it all be ideally laid out? The only examples i've found are just of sketchbooks full of drawings and paintings, not actual examples of portfolios. How would these aforementioned A3 drawings of mine be presented?

Am I overthinking this?

I really don't want to mess this up, thank you in advance
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RBudzinska
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I’m also applying for BA courses in animation this year - lots of luck! I’m not an expert but hopefully I can help as my lecturers have provided a lot of support and information and I’ve got my portfolio basically sorted (knock wood)

With sketchbooks that show planning and development, they’re usually referring to the sketchbooks most people complete on art courses. If you aren’t doing one or don’t have sketchbooks like that, I’d suggest maybe doing a few drawings where you just roughly plan out ideas beforehand, eg thumbnails, mindmaps, maybe contextual research (artist inspiration). Doesn’t have to be huge but shows lecturers that you can plan which is a big thing in the animation industry.

Our sketchbooks are usually full of experimental work with annotation. Life drawing, printmaking, drawings and planning, mind maps, photographs, etc, for personal sketchbooks, it’s good to have what you’ve mentioned!

For our portfolios, you can display your work in loads of different ways. The way we’re doing it is with portfolio sleeves that we’re just putting our work into. For mine I’ll be putting life drawing, digital work printed out high quality, experimental pieces and if you have any small drawings that you really want to include, maybe collage them on photoshop onto one ‘page’ then print that out to put in? Saying that however, if you have pieces like watercolour, ink, paintings, etc they often like to see the real thing (if it’s not giant) so they can see your technique better and the textures well.

Don’t stress too much if you don’t have the things mentioned, everyone approaches art differently and all portfolios are different. Because you’re looking at animation I’d definitely look at Hertfordshire’s portfolio guide on YouTube - they have some really good advice in there. Also of course look at the portfolio guides for every course you’re applying to, they’ll be on the course pages if you haven’t looked at them already!
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Piomat200
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(Original post by RBudzinska)
I’m also applying for BA courses in animation this year - lots of luck! I’m not an expert but hopefully I can help as my lecturers have provided a lot of support and information and I’ve got my portfolio basically sorted (knock wood)

With sketchbooks that show planning and development, they’re usually referring to the sketchbooks most people complete on art courses. If you aren’t doing one or don’t have sketchbooks like that, I’d suggest maybe doing a few drawings where you just roughly plan out ideas beforehand, eg thumbnails, mindmaps, maybe contextual research (artist inspiration). Doesn’t have to be huge but shows lecturers that you can plan which is a big thing in the animation industry.

Our sketchbooks are usually full of experimental work with annotation. Life drawing, printmaking, drawings and planning, mind maps, photographs, etc, for personal sketchbooks, it’s good to have what you’ve mentioned!

For our portfolios, you can display your work in loads of different ways. The way we’re doing it is with portfolio sleeves that we’re just putting our work into. For mine I’ll be putting life drawing, digital work printed out high quality, experimental pieces and if you have any small drawings that you really want to include, maybe collage them on photoshop onto one ‘page’ then print that out to put in? Saying that however, if you have pieces like watercolour, ink, paintings, etc they often like to see the real thing (if it’s not giant) so they can see your technique better and the textures well.

Don’t stress too much if you don’t have the things mentioned, everyone approaches art differently and all portfolios are different. Because you’re looking at animation I’d definitely look at Hertfordshire’s portfolio guide on YouTube - they have some really good advice in there. Also of course look at the portfolio guides for every course you’re applying to, they’ll be on the course pages if you haven’t looked at them already!
Thank you <3 this genuinely really helps.
I'm thinking of making a sketchbook which is just full of experimentational drawings and me messing around with designs for different characters in a variety of different styles, as well as storyboards, concept art, anatomy practise, and just miscellaneous, small drawings which best portray my style.

Thank you once again
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moid
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If it helps our portfolio advice videos are here:

2D Animation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEElrUnGrrI
3D Animation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53IRgzsPC8A
Games Art and Design https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34EaJs5qB1k
Visual Effects (VFX) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylzF...&index=14&t=0s

If you want a text based version with more notes in it, send me a PM with your email in it and I'll push that along as well.

@RBudzinska 's advice is very good. I would add to it that bring digital artwork on a pen drive / portable HD / laptop / phone / iPad etc and have paper backup copies in case things go wrong - and store the digital files locally, not 'on the cloud' - the amount of interviews I've seen go catastrophically wrong because the wifi is down/ you forget your password / your battery expires is ridiculous.

There is no right or wrong way to make a sketchbook (although it must have drawings in it, I can't stand those sketchbooks that students fill with postcards, long rambling hand written essays about melancholy and random bits of dried pasta / cigarette packets etc - those are for Fine Art). Just draw! I would advise trying to find a way to protect your artwork (plastic sleeves, although expensive are good for that, but if mounting work do it on lightcard, not heavy weight stock - your shoulder will thank you for this!). If you can't afford the plastic sleeves it doesn't matter, but do try to arrange the work in some sort of order so that you can talk about it coherently when we look through it (think about having some awesome work at the front and back and the not quite so awesome stuff in between also known as the **** sandwich!). Most lecturers have short attention spans so you'd be amazed what you can get away with, especially if they've been interviewing all day... Mostly joking...it won't work at Hertfordshire, but I reckon it'll help in many other places.

Try to avoid those plastic tubes to store your work in - when you unravel it, it never stays flat when people are trying to look at it. And it's always a pain to get the work back in at the end of the interview.

Don't turn up with every piece of art you've made since your started your GCSEs... the famous expression in the animation industry is that you are only as good as the worst piece of work in your portfolio. So don't show bad work - if you don't show it, the lecturer might not remember to ask about it 12 -15 pages of great work tells us if you have talent. 100 pages tells us you don't know the difference between good and bad art and have no critical thinking skills.

Don't appear with your work is a selection of tatty supermarket plastic bags and empty them on the table and say 'this is my ****' as one memorable applicant did to me I had to agree with them...

Only speak positively about your work - practise this with someone else, if you spend your interview saying, this isn't very good, I'm not happy with this, I hate this drawing but my teacher likes it etc then we are going to agree with you and hate it as well and will avoid offering you a place - people who have negative opinions towards their own work are usually not going to handle the stress of an animation degree where they'll need all the positive vibes they can get their hands on!

Make sure you know why you want to study at that particular university - did someone important recommend it to you? Have you seen a specific animation from their students, did you hear about an important award they won recently etc Don't say the UCAS form had one spare slot and I saw a list of animation courses and randomly picked yours to complete the list... even if it was true...

Know why you want to study animation - what ambition do you have? Who do you want to work for? What sort of work do you want to do? Choose some sensible companies in the UK, don't just say Disney or Pixar zzzzzz because that shows no research whatsoever.

If you get the option, try to go to interviews at the courses you don't care about first to build up your interview experience and learn how to cope with them and get less stressed - that way you don't care if you get in or not (and besides if they are not great you'll always be able to get a place via clearing with them) and that leaves you more ready to handle the courses you really do want a place at.

If you get rejected from all the good courses you want to study at, then seriosuly consider taking a year out to practice and imporve and try again instead of signing up to a crap course that takes £9250 from you and leaves you feeling like you were mugged... sadly most animation courses in the UK are not very good, make sure you do some serious research before you part with cash becasue you'll be paying that debt back for 30 years, and a bad decision at 18 means that 48 year old you will hate you with a vengeance. And that's an expensive therapy bill.
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Piomat200
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(Original post by moid)
If it helps our portfolio advice videos are here:

2D Animation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEElrUnGrrI
3D Animation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53IRgzsPC8A
Games Art and Design https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34EaJs5qB1k
Visual Effects (VFX) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylzF...&index=14&t=0s

If you want a text based version with more notes in it, send me a PM with your email in it and I'll push that along as well.

@RBudzinska 's advice is very good. I would add to it that bring digital artwork on a pen drive / portable HD / laptop / phone / iPad etc and have paper backup copies in case things go wrong - and store the digital files locally, not 'on the cloud' - the amount of interviews I've seen go catastrophically wrong because the wifi is down/ you forget your password / your battery expires is ridiculous.

There is no right or wrong way to make a sketchbook (although it must have drawings in it, I can't stand those sketchbooks that students fill with postcards, long rambling hand written essays about melancholy and random bits of dried pasta / cigarette packets etc - those are for Fine Art). Just draw! I would advise trying to find a way to protect your artwork (plastic sleeves, although expensive are good for that, but if mounting work do it on lightcard, not heavy weight stock - your shoulder will thank you for this!). If you can't afford the plastic sleeves it doesn't matter, but do try to arrange the work in some sort of order so that you can talk about it coherently when we look through it (think about having some awesome work at the front and back and the not quite so awesome stuff in between also known as the **** sandwich!). Most lecturers have short attention spans so you'd be amazed what you can get away with, especially if they've been interviewing all day... Mostly joking...it won't work at Hertfordshire, but I reckon it'll help in many other places.

Try to avoid those plastic tubes to store your work in - when you unravel it, it never stays flat when people are trying to look at it. And it's always a pain to get the work back in at the end of the interview.

Don't turn up with every piece of art you've made since your started your GCSEs... the famous expression in the animation industry is that you are only as good as the worst piece of work in your portfolio. So don't show bad work - if you don't show it, the lecturer might not remember to ask about it 12 -15 pages of great work tells us if you have talent. 100 pages tells us you don't know the difference between good and bad art and have no critical thinking skills.

Don't appear with your work is a selection of tatty supermarket plastic bags and empty them on the table and say 'this is my ****' as one memorable applicant did to me I had to agree with them...

Only speak positively about your work - practise this with someone else, if you spend your interview saying, this isn't very good, I'm not happy with this, I hate this drawing but my teacher likes it etc then we are going to agree with you and hate it as well and will avoid offering you a place - people who have negative opinions towards their own work are usually not going to handle the stress of an animation degree where they'll need all the positive vibes they can get their hands on!

Make sure you know why you want to study at that particular university - did someone important recommend it to you? Have you seen a specific animation from their students, did you hear about an important award they won recently etc Don't say the UCAS form had one spare slot and I saw a list of animation courses and randomly picked yours to complete the list... even if it was true...

Know why you want to study animation - what ambition do you have? Who do you want to work for? What sort of work do you want to do? Choose some sensible companies in the UK, don't just say Disney or Pixar zzzzzz because that shows no research whatsoever.

If you get the option, try to go to interviews at the courses you don't care about first to build up your interview experience and learn how to cope with them and get less stressed - that way you don't care if you get in or not (and besides if they are not great you'll always be able to get a place via clearing with them) and that leaves you more ready to handle the courses you really do want a place at.

If you get rejected from all the good courses you want to study at, then seriosuly consider taking a year out to practice and imporve and try again instead of signing up to a crap course that takes £9250 from you and leaves you feeling like you were mugged... sadly most animation courses in the UK are not very good, make sure you do some serious research before you part with cash becasue you'll be paying that debt back for 30 years, and a bad decision at 18 means that 48 year old you will hate you with a vengeance. And that's an expensive therapy bill.
Thank you!

Not only did this help with the portfolio, but it also gave some very useful tips regarding the interviews!

I have one further question:
Do the sketchbooks which are required need to include sketches which are all related to the finished pieces in the portfolio? Or can they just be experimental sketches of characters, environments, items etc...?

Thank you once again
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moid
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Well for my university I'd like to see a mix of images - things that are relevant to your projects, but also the weird and wonderful things you do when there isn't a teacher telling you to do stuff - in other words the interesting and fascinating things that you'd really like to be creating. So experimental sketches / doodles / characters / environments / items are all cool. Showing a range of styles is great, trying things that work / don't work, images that you should probably be showing your therapist... actually not too many of those, keep them for therapy sessions

Not too much furry/tentacle stuff if you can. If you don't know what that means then stay that way, don't google it and we'll both be happier
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