Animating the stories inside your head for the world to see.
When I first applied to Sheridan College’s Animation program out of high-school, I had no idea what was expected of me. I hardly knew what the word “Animation” fully entailed, and I created a portfolio that was very, very bad! Part of why we’ve created this course is to help students understand exactly what is expected in a College or University Animation Program.
It’s incredibly important to begin your career in animation on the right foot, and this all begins with creating a great animation portfolio. All great animation schools require a portfolio so that students are properly prepared for both the quality and quantity of required drawing in the programs.
The curriculum that you’ll see below is built from the Sheridan Animation Portfolio, and as it changes each year, we adapt the content to meet their new requirements. We believe it’s incredibly important to be up-to-date in this regard, so if there is ever a discrepancy between what we’re covering, and what the portfolio is asking for, let us know on our contact page!
While we would have love to compress the entire animation portfolio requirements into a single 8-week online class, we feel this just wouldn’t do our students justice, so this first Animation Fundamentals course covers the first half of the portfolio, and Animation Fundamentals II will cover the second half.
We hope that, like all of our online courses, students will have at least 4 hours minimum to put into the homework each week. Art has no ultimate solution, unlike math for example, so the more time you spend each week, the better the results you’ll see. With this in mind, we do recommend up to 12 hours of study per week for best results. This said, we’re very aware that most students have many life obligations and so we do our best to work with the minimum amount of hours you can devote to the course.
To have a look at the current Sheridan Animation Portfolio that we’re using in this course, please visit this site and click on their portfolio assessment link. We check this each year to ensure that our course content is current, and we have been teaching students online for many years, with many testimonials of success that we’re extremely proud of.
We look forward to teaching your ropes of the Animation portfolio, and hope that you’ll feel much more confident when you submit your artwork to their online portfolio submission when the time comes for you!
Week 1 - Figure Drawing I
To begin this course, we’ll naturally start with the first portfolio item, which is figure drawing. The two most common weakest areas of student portfolios are figure drawing and storyboarding. While we would love if students would be able to practice this week in front of a live model at a local figure drawing, we also realize this isn’t always possible. For this reason, we have some online resources we share to complete this week’s homework. We’ll be discussing gestures, drawing with structure and form in mind, basic anatomy, line quality and how to use conté sticks (our preferred material), and what the portfolio markers are looking for.
Week 2 - Figure Drawing II
In week 2 of figure drawing, we continue with a similar approach, as it can take a long time to fully grasp drawing quick sketches of a figure that capture the essence of the pose. While technical drawing skills is what we hope to encourage, we are also going to be looking for quick gestural poses that convey a sense of storytelling, and so we’ll be discussing what exactly this means.
Week 3 - Hand Drawing
Moving on from figure, we’ll begin on our hand drawings. Thankfully, you are your own best model for this exercises! So we’ll go over basic hand anatomy and construction, so that you’ll have all of the tools to deconstruct your hand and make sure that there are hidden issues that might be invisible at first glance. We will also discuss the very specific structural drawing style that Sheridan College likes to see in their hand drawings; a style that to a beginner might feel like drawing an X-ray’s view of hands.
Week 4 - Character Design Ideation Process
Now that your hands will be warmed up, we’ll be changing gears a little to draw from your imagination. This week is solely devoted to discussing the ways that we recommend students think about creating their characters. This will involve some light research, soul-searching, and lots of sketching! We think the best characters have a very colourful and broad personality, so that they are extremely believable despite being mere drawings. This is not easy to do, so we will be sharing all of our tips for beginning this difficult process.
Week 5 - Character Design Rotation and Poses
Now that you have some idea of who you character might be, we’ll begin drawing more specific forms and discussing how to make a character rotation and character poses that the portfolio asks for. This is a heavy workload week, so make sure you have some time to devote to these exercises!
Week 6 - Perspective Intro
Switching gears again to a later point in the portfolio, we’ll be discussing the basic elements of making a perspective grid, and how to apply this to an interior and exterior settings. We’ll also discuss how the rules of perspective will apply not only to geometric cityscapes but also natural landscapes. Despite being very technical, we’ve also created some exercises to make this often boring process much more enjoyable.
Week 7 - Perspective Line Drawing I - Interior Office
Now that we understand the basic rules of perspective, we’ll be drawing an office preferably from life. If this isn’t possible, we’ll also provide some tips for using photo references to create an office from your imagination. We do not recommend drawing without any reference from your imagination at this stage of your learning. Also, don’t fall for the trap of creating a boring, simple office. Like everything in animation, we’ll be discussing how to infuse an office with believability, personality, and life, so that it looks like someone actually works there!
Week 8 - Perspective Line Drawing II - Natural Landscape
In our last week, we’ll be tackling the second perspective requirement of the Sheridan portfolio, which is drawing a naturalistic landscape that involve trees, rocks, and mountains (the specific examples in the portfolio document text, but by no means limited to this). We’ll still be using the rules learning in week 6 of perspective to create a convincing environment drawing. Since we’re drawing nature here, we’ll also discuss how to make your lines very descriptive with the fewest lines possible. It is more effective AND efficient not to draw every blade of grass, but instead imply the texture of the environment with creative linework. We’ll discuss what this means and how you can apply it to all different kinds of environment drawings.
This concludes Animation Fundamental I! If you’d like to read about the next course in this series, go to Animation Fundamentals II.
You’ll leave this course with:
The incredibly valuable subtext between the sparse lines of description of the portfolio requirements
A greater understanding of the quality of artwork expected to enter into the Animation program
A variety of different tools to begin thinking about each of the assignments
Reinforced confidence in your creative process by consulting the right references and resources prior to beginning
The understanding that “strong storytelling” is the umbrella that all aspects of the animation portfolio should aim for
A complete knowledge of the expectations of the portfolio reviewers
A list of new resources and artists to look into afterwards to inspire and encourage your artistic path
There are only 20 spots available in this course! And the early bird sale will be on until September 30th 2019.
How will the course work? What materials will I need?
This is an 8-week online course, so all you’ll need is a computer with internet access to receive the lessons (desktop or laptop), a camera or cell phone to photograph your drawings, and materials to create your artwork with. Pencil is recommended over digital at this early stage in your artistic career: “With great power comes great responsibility!” - Stan Lee.
The course consists of 8 extensive video lectures demonstrating each week’s assignment, and then a live online meet up where I’ll critique the work handed in by email. At this critique you’ll have the opportunity to ask me questions.
Starting Monday October 21st 2019 this class will run for 8 weeks, ending on Monday June June 16th
Group meet-up at 7-8 pm beginning after first week
Online forum to discuss course content with peers
Will leave course with greater visual storytelling and character design skills
$40 is non-refundable, but the rest is
Save $30 on 2 classes with promo code 2CLASS, and $60 on 3 classes with promo code 3CLASS!