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What kind of art skills are required to enter a good art college?

I’m a senior in high school. I’m graduating on June 4th 2021. I Love to draw a animate but I’m not sure if I’m good enough. #art #artist #creative

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Melissa’s Answer

Generally, so long as you have an interest and willingness to learn, many skills will be taught. It also depends on the type of art. Drawing and animation do go hand-in-hand quite nicely. Most animation programs will have beginning courses geared towards drawing and storyboarding.

Each school may have their own requirements to get into a program. Research the schools you're interested in, and see what they require. Some will ask for portfolios and you choose what to include, others will be more specific, for example provide a website showing your 10 favorite pieces of art. Some schools have you start with basics (and will teach you skills) and then apply into an advanced program using your portfolio from those entry classes.

Keep practicing your work and staying current in the methods/technologies you're using. Experiment with different styles. Research the programs you're interested in to learn about requirements. Then, build up your expertise and portfolio based on those requirements.
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Addi’s Answer

Art school will teach you a lot of the foundational skills you need and then you can take more specialized classes (such as animation) from there, but building a portfolio that shows your interest/work ethic is a great way to get a head start!

Some of the foundational art skills you can demonstrate in your portfolio are: still life drawings, color and value studies (to demonstrate your handle of light + shadow + color theory), and figure drawing. Keep in mind, your portfolio does not need to be full of completed masterpieces - including pages from your sketchbook that shows 5-minute exercises can be valuable additions. Admissions staff want to see that you understand these concepts and are eager to learn them, even if you're not perfect at them yet (that's what school is for, after all!).

Specifically for animation, your portfolio can include: storyboards that are simple yet clearly tell the mood or narrative you want to express, facial expression studies, movement studies, concept art, character design, etc. You can find a lot of references on Pinterest or simple tutorials on Youtube to start building these pieces.

Congratulations on you graduation!

Addi recommends the following next steps:

Read "I Moved to Los Angeles to Work in Animation" by Natalie Nourigat. Very helpful, honest, charming comic about what it takes to enter animation.
Find tutorials on YouTube for the basics like still-life drawing, color theory, value, figure drawing.
Look up the portfolio requirements for the schools you want to go to, then use that to build your portfolio.
Find local art classes, online groups, or meet-ups - it always helps to have artist friends to chat with!
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Caitlin’s Answer

It really depends on the type of art school you're aiming for! There's a lot of different options for different needs. If you're good at disciplining yourself and would like to keep the price tag low, you can always check out online courses at Schoolism, CDMA, and other online art schools and classes. If you want to go to a university that requires a portfolio, try looking at the portfolios of students that are already attending those schools. CalArts, Sheridan, and Gobelins students often share the art, portfolios, and sketchbooks that got them accepted! There's also no shame in starting out at a state school or community college to buff up your skills while you work on getting into art schools. And the last thing: you don't need to go to art school to become a successful artist. Many artists in the industry started out in different careers, or were self taught. It's nice to have, but it's not necessary for everyone, so don't stress out too much and take your time considering your options. Addi's response has really good advice about what to practice and study in the meantime, too!
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Naomi María’s Answer

If you're uncertain about your skill level and what career path you want to make as a creative person, I think a state college or university with a fine arts program is a great way to approach art school. Plenty of state schools are overlooked for more expensive private schools that are very competitive to get into. You won't have to declare a specific art focus once you get in, which will give you a chance to explore various foundation classes, see what other students are working on, and get a better feel for what you would like to do.

Check out art schools near you online. You'll be able to see student work, see what art media the schools focus on: painting, printmaking, design, illustration, sculpture, new media, ceramics, or general fine arts. One thing to note is some schools may not say that they have an animation program, but it may be part of a different program like motion graphics, new media, or something else. Feel free to email the art school with questions and get more information.

While you're looking into your options, I recommend having a physical sketchbook to try drawing in at least a couple times a week. If you do digital illustration, painting, or other art beyond your sketchbook, it would be good to create a portfolio of your best work. It's easy to create an online portfolio with Tumblr using a clean and simple theme. Also think about what you like to make and why you like to make it, which artists inspire you, and what kinds of art or animation you'd like to create. These things are what you'd be doing regularly in art school, so it helps to start thinking like an art student!
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