Monday, March 23, 2009

Portfolio Review Notes

So I called Libby Hux at CalArts today during my lunch break and finally managed to get her in person. She had my file right there because she knew I was going to call and she gave me the notes off my portfolio from the Admissions review board.

The first note was a bit longer I think than the rest, or maybe this is several notes- whatever!
- Figurative work needs more vigor. (Part of this I already knew, but it's also good to hear it, too. I know I need to address the "vigor" part... because currently I have no idea what I actually need to DO to fix this...)
- Perspective work is good but you need to loosen up. (This was mildly unexpected, but also- GOOD TO HEAR!)
- Nice animals and layouts. (Need to analyze what exactly this means, really... Not 100% clear, but worth looking into and still trying to improve on.)
- Needs more life drawing experience. (Again, sort of already knew this, but very good to hear.)

The other note on the portfolio was:

So... yeah... Libby said that the notes were overall good, but I am well aware of what my weaknesses are and what I need to address. So, now that I know this information I am forming a plan.

The Plan:
- Attend my Analysis of Form class- RELIGIOUSLY!
- sneak into "sit in" any figure drawing classes offered during Summer Session at AAU
- Attend my Figure Drawing class during Fall semester- RELIGIOUSLY!
- try to go to Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School in San Francisco every month
- draw the buildings of AAU (dorm, etc.)
- draw any other buildings I like in SF
- go to Golden Gate Bridge and draw that a couple of times
- start a sketchbook !!! (I haven't been able to keep on up since my art block)

When I asked Libby if there were any other things I could do to "improve" upon my portfolio through presentation, etc. she said I should go to one of the National Portfolio Days. After joking about the schedule and the improbability of being able to get to one, she suggested swinging by CalArts and meeting with her. Guess what... She's ON! I'm going to find a way to get down to Valencia once I start up school in SF, get a good direction and GO FOR IT!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Different Opinions

"I prefer that animation reach into places where live action doesn't go, and it seems like all of animation nowadays is trying to go where live action is."
Don Bluth

Okay, so occasionally, fighting with your Admissions Advisor over the classes YOU ~want~ to take versus the classes the school ~recommends~ you take CAN be lots of fun! XD

Academy of Art recommends Introduction to Computer Graphics for Animation and Analysis of Form for their Summer semester. The Analysis class actually sounds okay, but what's the use of "
in-depth study of classical drawing principles to achieve heightened realism in drawings" WITHOUT A FIGURE DRAWING CLASS?!?! XD "Concepts include light and shadow analysis, modeling of form, the 5-value system, form/cast shadows, composition, perspective and value pattern. Students work on still-life, drapery, plaster cast studies, and nude figure drawing using charcoal media." Well that's fine and dandy, but I don't want to wait until Fall to take my Figure Drawing class... I only have until Late November to churn out the next portfolio for CalArts.

*shakes her head* I have been sooooo careful these past few months to ensure that people who could not know about me and CalArts didn't leak out... now I have to tread softly for the next year- ALL so that AAU doesn't find out that I am using them to apply to CalArts. It's going to be so stressful... but this is what I wanted. This may be just what I need...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

How to NOT Get Accepted to CalArts!

Wasn't sure if I was going to post this, but now I think I should... Maybe if only to help those who want to apply to CalArts. If I had had access to something like this when I was applying, I might not have made so many mistakes. Presenting my Rejected 2009 CalArts Portfolio, in the order presented. Once I hear back from CalArts portfolio review, I will add more notes.

The first image, I really wanted to kind of BOOM!, stand out or something. I really liked both of these drawings, so I threw it in front. While I still like them a lot, I see now that I should have "finished" them and not left them as is.

In my mind, the next step was to logically present my pieces in a "time"-ly manner... These were 2 minute sketches. I realize now that neither show any kind of form of the figure.

I liked both of these when I did them as well, so in they went as well. I look now at the one on the right and OH GAWD! It is so FLAT! I have a lot of work to do in the next year.

Again, drawings I thought might stand out from the crowd. I truly like the one on the left, even though it is DISASTEROUSLY awful- no hands, bad shading, the WORKS! The one on the right is even worse, so let's not even discuss that one.

I was proud of this one when I attempted it. None of my art teachers ever really pushed this technique, so of course, it is horribly underdeveloped and not all that good anyway.

These are really and truly awful now, I see that. They are outlines- no shapes or lines plotting the figure. Not to mention that they are UNFINISHED! I would venture to say that this is a BIG NO NO!

The next one, I truly liked the IDEA of, and I may have been so in love with the IDEA of it, that I failed to realize that it, too, is UNFINISHED!The next three are, ONCE AGAIN (are we seeing a pattern here?) UNfinished, show NO structure and are pretty much DEAD! Oh yeah, have we noticed yet that I have as of yet STILL included no color?

This piece I still love and you can't stop me. It is a detailed study I did of one of my favorite sculptures. If I do not get this drawing back in one piece, CalArts may never hear the end of it. Pencil with red pencil undersketches- 4 hrs.

Lion & lioness at the zoo. Lioness (18"x24") in graphite & VERY proud of... may frame it. Smaller paper in charcoal.

Elephants at zoo. (18"x24") in graphite, smaller sheet in charcoal

Drawings of my cat, Tibby (9"x12"?). Lacking compositional design.

Misc. animals at the zoo. Mostly cut from pages that were awful. Still lacking compositional design. Not all that excellent either.

First of my Architecture pieces. Interior architecture of Houston's Katz's restaurant. Included the original red pencil sketch and below it, a "finished" vellum inking with greyscale (yup- still no real color!) markers.

The second is the interior of my favorite sushi restaurant in Houston- Little Miyako's. SEVERE perspective on this. Again, included the original red pencil drawing and below it, a "finished" ink drawing.

Final piece in my portfolio- Exterior architecture of St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Houston, across from the Museum of Fine Arts. Spent about 6 hours sitting in front of the building doing this & another 20 plus fixing the perspective and inking. Plan on coloring it when I get it back.

All in all, I should have probably known that I would not be accepted my first try. But here are some of the things I am now aware that I did WRONG!

1) I matted each and every drawing on a piece of matboard, double-sided to save money. This is an OLD-school method of presentation that no one really does anymore. Hence, I will be purchasing a slip-pocket portfolio for next time.
2) My figure drawings STINK! I will be making sure that I learn how to do them better for next time.
3) I included NO COLOR! Granted, I don't know HOW to use color, frankly- it scares the shit out of me. So I am making sure that wherever I attend my next classes, I will be tackling color with a VENGENCE!
4) I submitted UNFINISHED WORK! DO NOT DO THIS! Show only your ultimate VERY best! Two years of art block for me should not have been an excuse.
5) I submitted NO supplemental materials. No flipbooks, no animations (the only one I had is so old and such crap, I was too embarassed.), and no sketchbooks. Next time, this will not be the case!
6) Will add more later as I come to grips with it all.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Crushed Illusions

"Dear Amanda,

I regret to inform you that, after a thorough evaluation of your application, we are unable to offer you admission to the Character Animation program at the California Institute of the Arts for the Fall 2009 semester.

Please understand that the admissions process requires that very difficult choices be made, and that these decisions are final. We are unable to reconsider admissions decisions after they have been reached. However, under no circumstances should our decision be understood as a reflection on your ability or potential. CalArts is dedicated to offering small classes with professional artists/instructors, and the large number of applicants we receive each year makes it impossible to accommodate every talented applicant.

Thank you for your interest in CalArts and for all the time and energy you invested in your application. We wish you the best in your academic and creative endeavors.

Molly Ryan
Director of Admissions"

So it appears that I will be moving to San Francisco this year. My honest-to-goodness best wishes to all those who have been accepted and those yet-to-have-been accepted. I know you will do amazing things in the year to come and I look forward to seeing them. I will try to learn everything I can in the year I must now wait to try again and I only hope that after that year has passed, I will be worthy of your company.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Small Illusions

wow... you guys, I actually LOST my own blog... I suck!

Anyway- slight update on the college front. Unfortunately, no letter from CalArts yet. What I ~DID~ get was a phone call (during work hours, after I have repeatedly asked them not to do) and a voice message from my admissions advisor from Academy of Art University regarding my portfolio grant I sent off about a week ago.

I have been awarded $2010 for the Summer semester!

So I need to hear back from CalArts by the end of March or they give my money to someone else...