Portfolio and Application Guidelines (BFA)
We have added and changed our requirements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please read all of our portfolio and application guidelines carefully.
All parts must be completed in order to be considered for admission
- CalArts Application Materials
- Artist Statement (uploaded to the written materials section CalArts Application)
- Online Portfolio (Three part submission uploaded to the portfolio section of the CalArts Application)
- Observational Artwork
- Other Creative Work
- Video Introduction
- Sketchbook (to be documented via video and included in the online portfolio)
- What inspires you to make your art?
- Why are you applying to the Character Animation program at CalArts?
- What are your artistic goals?
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we ask you to observe social distancing, mask wearing, and other safe practices while building all elements of your portfolio detailed below.
Part 1: Observational Artwork (minimum of 15 total)
Observational artwork consists of drawings done from the direct study of life. This can be any subject in your environment, human and animal alike.
You must include examples of the following categories of observational drawing in any number you chose.
A. Observational life drawings of human models:
- These observational drawings should range from short pose lengths (gesture drawings) to longer pose lengths, and should indicate the models’ faces, hands and feet. Drawings of nude models are preferred, but costume drawings may also be included. Applicants in the Character Animation program must have demonstrated experience working with the live model and ideally have at least one year’s worth of experience studying figure/life drawings.
B. Observational drawings from real life:
- Drawings and sketches of people (in this case, not models) and animals from real life
- Drawings of interior and exterior environments
- Urban sketching, location drawings, café drawings etc.
Keep in mind:
- Drawings should be from observing real life, exploring elements such as shape, form, contour, contrast, ambiance, and mood.
- Do not erase all of your construction lines while drawing from life – they are especially helpful to the faculty in understanding your approach to observational drawings.
- Do not submit traced pictures or copies of work by others.
Part 2: Other Creative Work
Images should be uploaded into the online portfolio and can include any combination of the following:
- Sequential image storytelling: Work that showcases your ability to tell a story and develop a character. For example: storyboards, graphic novels, flipbooks, short animations or short stories with thumbnails.
- Digital creative work (animated or still): Creative work that you produce, or manipulate, in one or more computer programs. This might take the form of 2D digital art, illustrations, concept art, character designs, prop designs, cartoons, photography, or computer graphics (CG).
- Other Work (non-digital): Paintings, drawings, illustrations, concept art, character designs, prop designs, cartoons
- Plastic Arts: Sculptures, ceramics, installations etc.
Online presence: provide URL’s to your website, Instagram, Tumblr, Behance, etc. Add the URL’s in the “links” upload of the online portfolio.
Part 3: Video Introduction
In this Video Introduction, tell us about one person, place, thing, or event that has helped shape your artistic practice.
- Duration: minimum of 30 seconds, maximum of 90 seconds
- Speak directly to the camera
- Do not read from a prepared statement
- No edits
- No special effects or on-screen overlays
- File should be uploaded or linked directly to the portfolio section of the CalArts Application
- Does not require professional-level equipment; cellphone cameras or consumer cameras are okay.
- A complete sketchbook filled with your drawings, observations, stories, research for films you’d like to make, ideas, thumbnails, character designs, studies of images from films or other sources that interest you, etc.
- We want to see what you are uniquely inspired to draw. We recommend you do not use online sketchbooks for reference.
- Please draw directly in a sketchbook, rather than assembling pages together.
- Drawings in your sketchbooks should be different from the drawings submitted in your online portfolio.
- Sketchbooks come in many different shapes and sizes. Please feel free to work in the type of sketchbook that you like best