Posted in art school life, comic reviews, study abroad


Man oh man. SO, I’ve been semi-offline for the past couple of days because I was having a hard time locating plug adapters for a) my phone charger and b) my laptop charger. Yesterday we went to a mall and I checked all 5 electronics store and NONE OF THEM had the type of adapter I needed, so I couldn’t use my laptop at all until this morning because my nice new friend Kathie who is familiar with HK and went downtown yesterday found me the perfect adaptor for 10 HKD (about $1.30 USD.)

I don’t feel like typing walls of text right now, so I’ll just post the pages of my travel diary comics I’ve been making since my flight here late Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning.

The highlight of this trip so far has been the food. Like, even the cheap instant food. Even the Starbucks. Everything is new and different and better-tasting here. Do you know how many more flavors of Pocky there are here than at the Asian Food Market back home? So many. I had green apple and mango and blueberry pocky…all of which were delicious…

And strawberry marshmallows filled with chocolate, purchased in Muji of all places. MUJI. WHICH THEY HAVE, RIGHT IN TUEN MUN.

Here is a selection of pictures from my first few days in Hong Kong. First, my dorm. SCAD rents out several apartments in the Gold Coast Apartment complex, and every student living on-campus at SCAD HK gets a room. My room’s the biggest in my apartment, with a bathroom inside it. Sheets and towels and things are provided, which is super convenient for me. Also, it’s the rainy season, so everything is damp and unpleasant. Not as hot as it could be, though. There’s plumeria trees right outside my window, and the flowers are so, so beautiful.


I made a snail friend yesterday, while waiting for the SCAD Bus to take us up to The Peak. IMG_20170617_164450694

At the Tuen Mun shopping complex, there was a store selling these super cute chocolate truffles. I wanted to buy some, but the store didn’t take card and I also just spent a lot of money at Muji, so. IMG_20170617_130843355

We also visited a wet market (a market that sells raw fish and poultry and even live animals for cooking purposes) and a guy in our group bought a whole cooked chicken and ate it. I can’t stand the smell of fish, so I spent as little time in there as possible. Still snapped a picture though.IMG_20170617_135512973

Then we went up to The Peak, which has the best view of the city ever, as well as two more shopping centers. I guess HK people love to shop. I went to a Starbucks and got a green tea frapp with earl grey jelly at the bottom, and I think it tasted better than green tea frapps in America. Two levels below the observation deck, there was this traditional HK-style restaurant that was hella fancy, and it had the same nice view of the city as the observatory, and my roommate and I had dinner there. I got noodles with duck and vegetables. They were extremely delicious. I’ve basically been subsisting on noodles with things in them and interesting pocky flavors. I should go grocery shopping today.

Classes start tomorrow! I’m taking Travel Portfolio and Hong Kong Comics. For Travel Portfolio, we already got a pre-quarter assignment. “Students will Research and Collect images and other reference from a journey, holiday or distant memory of a place. Consider computer print outs, photocopies, stills from moving image, found text, ephemera. This research can include primary and secondary sources. Students will make a collage of one of these memories in their A4 sketchbook pages. Write a brief story about this memory with emphasis on neat handwriting in your A6 sketchbook (150 words.) Produce one illustration in your larger A5 Sketchbook in response to all the
information gathered.”

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So, yeah! HK!

Oh wait I forgot to mention: when I went to SCAD on Friday for Orientation, I stopped by the library and checked out Truth is Fragmentary by Gabrielle Bell and I Kill Giants: Titan Edition!

Reviews: Truth is Fragmentary made me feel self-conscious about my own travel comics, but also I don’t really like Bell’s style. Lots of words. Maybe I’m not ~deep~ enough to get the appeal, though.

I Kill Giants I’d read before and loved it and it was great, but I hadn’t read the Titan Edition before. Titan in this case means in addition to the story, the book came with character designs, breakdowns, original scripts and insights into the creators’ workflow. Which was amazing to see. Definitely worth checking out.

Posted in art school life, comic reviews

Summer vacation and seeing old friends

So, I’ve been fairly busy this past week.

Wednesday, I went to get dinner and see Wonder Woman with two of my close friends. I really enjoyed Wonder Woman, but I’m not a big DC/Marvel fan, and I made the mistake of binge-watching Every Frame a Painting the day before, making me be super critical of the editing choices and the generic soundtrack.

Thursday, I went to Princeton with several of my friends, and then we ran into two more friends, and then we all went to my high school literary magazine’s end of the year party and spent some time hanging out and talking afterwards. I drew.IMG_20170608_193738.jpg

I went to Barnes and Noble and picked up a print copy of My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness, which I reviewed on this blog a few months ago, and I was really pleased with it! The print edition includes an extra chapter and an epilogue, and the author is in a much better place after her worked received the positive attention it deserved.

I also picked up Kase-San and Morning Glories, which is a cute fluffy yuri manga. I was alerted to its existence by this semi-viral animated short and decided I had to read it. It is extremely cute.

Then Friday I met up with a friend in Princeton, again, this time so she could enable me to buy a lot of books and two Haikyuu! folders. (I like volleyball anime now, apparently. I don’t know what happened either but I finished the anime and am on chapter 71 of the manga and I’m mildly embarrassed but not enough to stop myself from buying these.)IMG_20170609_190923805.jpg

I’ve finished reading Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda and Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel (enjoyed both, viscerally offended at the blurb on Simon that says it’s a cross between John Green and Rainbow Rowell because how rude), haven’t started I’ll Give You The Sun. I’ll make a post about my LGBT book and comic recs soon, because it’s Pride Month and that’s my job.

Saturday my friend group and I went to Grounds for Sculpture and then to a friend’s house to play a board game, eat fruit, and relax. Grounds for Sculpture is a central Jersey thing featuring famous paintings turned into sculptural figures, and also weird modernist sculptures. Modern sculpture has been ruined for me since I took 20th Century Art History and realized everyone is copying Henry Moore, David Smith, and Alexander Calder. Here’s a picture of me and my friends posing with Manet’s Dejeuner sur l’herbe.19030509_892074567599479_8080471439124986116_n.jpg

Then, I took a train to NYC and saw Hamilton. On Broadway.IMG_20170610_212109.jpg

I still can’t believe it really happened, but it did. My train got delayed and I ran into the theater like 5 seconds after the opening song started and had to find my seat between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, Sir, but it was so amazing. Google play says I’ve listened to Hamilton all the way through 7 times, and to my favorite numbers 16 times. I know all the words to all the songs. I bought the ticket way back in September, justifying it as a birthday gift to myself, and I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did after so much time has passed. But, I did enjoy it a lot. I loved how the set stayed more or less the same, but the dramatic lighting cues changed the shape and tone of the place to feel like different locations whenever necessary. Burr and Jefferson were both played by chubby guys one of whom was genie in the Aladdin musical apparently, and it was weird at first but they were really good at it. Eliza smiled too much in the Schuyler sisters and did burn as if she was literally in the middle of crying, which was interesting. The new Hamilton played it a lot more comedically and kind of overacted at some parts but his voice was nicer. Overall, extremely enjoyable, except for the part where I missed my train by 2 minutes and got home at like 2 in the morning.

Then today my mom dragged me to the circus. Yeah. The Cirque Italia, or something like that, is open in the parking lot of the local mall, and I have a 4-year-old sister. So we went. It was pretty cool, but the tent was so humid and dark I felt like death.


Artwise, I finished this four-page comic, and some commissions!

You too can commission me! For $10 I can draw your face or the face of a fictional character you like. Email for more!

Posted in art school life

COMMISSIONS! and end of Year 1


instead of dm-ing me because that is not how wordpress works you can email me at with references and any questions.


Second of all, my SEQA and 3D final projects. I got As on both B)

My 3D final was an artist’s book that reflects my aesthetic, body of work, and creative goals, which I think I accomplished.

(crossposted from facebook) I’m finally back in NJ after the end of my first year of SCAD in Atlanta. When I committed a year ago, I had a lot of hesitations, because the tuition here’s a huge investment and my chosen career does n o t pay that well. But after coming here, I can definitely say that for me personally, it was totally worth it.
So many doors open up when you put SCAD on your social media bios, when you tap your SCAD ID to enter the library, the computer lab full of CINTIQs, the exclusive talks at SCADshow. In just my first year, I’ve gotten to talk to representatives from Nickelodeon and Pixar, skype professional comics writers and inkers with my sequential art class, and get my artwork published in zines and online. I’ve gotten to read half the books on my amazon wishlist in our library for free, and made friends with so many amazing and talented people. And that’s not even talking about the classes.
I’m good at school, always have been. I learn best when someone else gives me assignments and deadlines and grades. The foundations profs here are so good at what they do and push you so hard (coughrodeckercough) I’ve improved by leaps and bounds since last August, and my diligence has improved too. I went from crashing and burning at Inktober and Huevember to completing Mermay and Nanowrimo and reaching day 63 of my 100-day project. Hours and hours of practice a week, guided by feedback from industry pros, helps a lot.
I’ve talked about this before but I have a lot of problems w/social stuff. I’m always worried other people don’t like me as much as I like them, or that I’m bad at being a person when I stay in and Consume Media instead of Socializing. I’ve realized that I don’t /have/ to hang out with people that make me anxious because I think they’re cooler than me if I don’t really want to hang out with them, and that it’s okay to spend my time by myself or with people that don’t intimidate me. I don’t need to stretch my comfort zone all the time.
I’m super thankful for all my professors this year, all my new friends, and everyone who joined SCAD Atlanta 2020 and SCAD memes for broke bees, the facebook groups I made so I didn’t have to talk to people to make friends. It’s been fun.
I’ll BEE back in September.


Posted in art school advice

ALMOST DONE! Momocon and RenFest

I want to go home so bad but I still have 3 days of classes to go! And then a day of lounging around in my aunt’s apartment because my flight’s Saturday morning, haha. But because it’s finals week, it’s been a very eventful series of days.

Last Monday in my SEQA class, we did an exercise where one person pencilled a sketch and someone else inked it. I drew Wonder Woman on the moon, holding a teddy bear. My friend Michael inked it.IMG_20170524_121111249.jpg

On Tuesday, I went to an LP concert with some friends from SCAD Savannah. I’d never been to a concert like that before, so it was a very interesting experience. Very loud. But fun!IMG_20170523_212807830.jpg

Thursday we had our Late-Night Brunch to celebrate the kick-off of finals week. It was okay, but I was very tired so I kind of hated being there. I do love free brunch at all times, though.

And then I had a very fun weekend! On Saturday, my good friend Regan picked me up and we went to the Georgia Renaissance Festival, where we walked around and looked at all this cool handmade medieval fantasy type stuff. I got a lot of character design inspiration and impulse bought some hairclips and some boots.

Sunday I went to Momocon. It felt weirdly small, like the convention center was way bigger than it really needed to be for the amount of people. I saw a surprising number of Homestuck cosplayers, and I bought some stickers, prints and charms, from friends and strangers. I went to the Women in Animation panel that morning, and it was really really cool. IMG_20170529_151108556.jpg

This was my favorite cosplay at the entire con.IMG_20170528_134214529.jpg

I also got to see some high school friends and played a board game called Dominion with them? And Dance Evolution. They had Happy Synthesizer and I learned that dance in 8th grade so I was really excited and I did pretty well at it I think.

And then today right before class the editor of our student media organization stopped me to give me this! I didn’t know that was a thing but I guess it is!


Mermaids of the Week, inspired by my daily life and my fandoms because I’m running out of ideas as this month comes to a close.

Also, some sketchbook doodles that I like.


it’s thunderstorming outside now, and I’m done for today.

Posted in art school life


I only have two! more! weeks! AND THEN I AM FREE I CAN’T WAIT

The third floor’s blocked off until 4:30 today because of the set up for the fashion showcase coming up so I can’t work on my comic for class which is fine because I didn’t really feel like it anyway #rebel

So, this past week has been…pretty lowkey really. Mermay. 100 Days drawings. Class. I sent in a pitch to The Nib but I don’t know if they’ll take it. Oh! I’m also the new Student Liaison for the Marksmen Drawing Club here! This means I’ll be responsible for communicating with representatives from other student clubs as well as contacting other colleges and things for events.

In 3-D Design, our last assignment was to create a wearable piece of art. It can be functional or conceptual. I chose to go for conceptual, and I created a visual representation of how my social anxiety physically prevents me from going out and being social by writing out my negative thoughts using a 3D pen and then wrapping those plastic sentences around a dress in a way that would limit my movement if I were to put it on. I had to sew each strand on with this awful clear string, it was the worst experience, never again. I moved that weirdly-placed bottom strand up after I took the photo.

Anyway everything about that was terrible.

For Intro to Sequential Art, I’m doing a Critical Analysis of one of my favorite webcomics, Octopus Pie. I’m really excited for the presentation and I wrote a 1500 word essay about how great it is, like a nerd. No one is surprised.

Art History is Art History. Our research paper’s due soon. I don’t want to think about it.

Non-School Stuff: I’m going to Momocon next Sunday!

Samurai Jack ended yesterday. I think the ending was very predictable, and the fact that I could see it coming five minutes away took away some of the emotional impact. I also don’t think Jack and Ashi’s relationship was built up very well. But Ashi’s cute and I’d still die for her.

SPEAKING OF TV SHOWS, Master of None season 2 is absolutely a masterpiece that speaks to every fiber of my being and I don’t need to go on and on about how great it is, because every major news publication has already done that for me, but trust me, it’s great, watch it.

Here’s my last week of Mermays.

Here’s an illustration I did for the connector!

Also, I put up a new design on Redbubble! Check it out! There’s been a lot of drama about what kind of fanfiction should be allowed to be written lately, especially in the Yuri on Ice fandom, so I thought, “What happened to ‘Don’t like, Don’t read?'” and then I made it a shirt.


I also drew myself a new Twitter header! Follow me @mashazart for basically the same content, but in real time and in 140-character bursts!


And yesterday I drew this Puella Magi Madoka Magica fanart, because I still love that show.


Posted in art school life, comic reviews

HerCampus Sketch Crawl Exhibition and other fun things

Okay so, last Sunday I joined the HerCampus sketch crawl trip to the Atlanta Zoo, and did some drawings. I submitted one of those drawings to the Sketch in the City show HerCampus held yesterday, and it was really nice! It was one of their favorite pieces of the night, and they even featured it on their instagram account!


On Friday, Marksmen had a combined meeting with the improv club where we drew the improv kids while they played funny games. It was really fun and I got some great gestures.


Besides that, there’s new graffiti on the side of the Spring House dorm. It looks super cool. I don’t really know why it’s there now, but it is and it looks great.IMG_20170513_122344773.jpg

Reading: I stayed up late last night catching up with Shimanami Tasogare and, OH MY GOD, WORDS CANNOT DESCRIBE HOW MUCH I /LOVE/ THIS MANGA!!!

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First of all, even if you’re not a member of the lgbt community desperate for representation, you have to admire the art. It’s gorgeous. Every panel is worthy of being framed. It has this lovely magical realism element to it that makes the world of Shimanami come alive.

The story follows a high school student coming to terms with his identity and finding a place he belongs. He joins a sort of club for renovating abandoned houses in the area that doubles as the nexus for the local LGBT community, and there’s a lot of discussion of homophobia, both internalized and from the character’s friends and families. It’s really emotional and resonated with me hardcore. I caught up in like an hour and now I can’t wait for the next update, and I need everyone I know to read this immediately and then talk about it with me. If you need more information here is a great review of it I just found that goes into way more depth.

Also, here are this weeks Mermay drawings!

The may 11 drawing was of my bff Margarita, because it was also her birthday that day. I also drew her a portrait. We became friends in freshman year of high school when we were in the same French and Bio classes and also joined the same nerd club (academic decathlon) and now we’re bffsies 4evers. She’s great.


I also illustrated an article for The Connector a few weeks ago and it finally went up today!

I’ve also been drawing a lot of fanart for Tanya Grotter, the Russian children’s series of books that was originally supposed to be a parody of Harry Potter and then immediately went way, way off the rails. It’s really inventive and really funny and really fun, and I’ve been rereading the books lately and remembering how much I loved them as a kid, and how interesting these characters and the situations they end up in are. So I’ve been drawing them. A lot.

The goth girl is Tanya’s bitchy roommate she’s the worst and I love her.  She is literally ebony dark’ness dementia raven way’s life goals. Her name’s anya but she named herself coffinya cryptova and everyone just goes with it including the teachers. She’s super popular because she accidentally scored a goal in a game of dragonball, she’s tall and pretty and has different colored eyes and does everything by magic and HATES the protagonist, but not in an obsessive “will actively do things to hurt you” kinda way they mostly just sass each other amusingly. In the second image she’s paying a mafia cupid to shoot this rich famous british boy full of love arrows to make him fall in love with her but she doesn’t actually care about him she just wants his bank account and fame. In third image tanya’s annoyed w/her so she casts a spell that makes coffinya’s pet skeleton come to life and start dancing w/her. She’s so funny, so overdramatic, so active, she’s my favorite.

Don’t forget to check my instagram @mashazart for updates on my 100 days project, which is still going strong!

Posted in art school life, comic reviews

Free Comic Book Day 2017!

HEY GUYS HAPPY FREE COMIC BOOK DAY!! This is actually the first time I’ve been able to get myself to a comic book store and take advantage of the free comics. And then buy some more comics, because I like to support small businesses and I am very weak.

But for those of you who don’t have access to a physical comic book shop, Gaming Fridays by Tristan Yuvienco is free today if you input the code fcbd2017 at checkout! I just got it and it’s really cute.

Anyway, my loot today:

I went to Oxford Comics in Atlanta, which allowed customers to pick up 6 free comics and had a lot of other stuff half-off today.

I got: I Hate Image, Guardians of the Galaxy, Barbie, Fresh Off the Boat, Betty and Veronica, and Buffy.

Thoughts: I Hate Image was cute and funny, but I’d probably appreciate it more if I was more familiar with Image’s lineup. It definitely made me want to check out I Hate Fairyland. I loved the gentle mockery of Chew and Paper Girls and The Wicked and The Divine.

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Guardians of the Galaxy: Eh. Still not much of a superhero person.

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Barbie: I would be all about this if I was eight but now I realize I am not the target audience for Barbie comics.

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Fresh Off the Boat: Cute, funny, really dynamic art style, definitely recommend to any fans of the show.

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Betty and Veronica: The art is really pretty in some places and in other places the layout is muddy and the faces are like, uncanny-valley. Also, the plot doesn’t make any sense. I don’t think I like this one very much, which is disappointing.

Image result for betty and veronica free comic book day

Buffy: Cute, but the art’s kind of bland. Not a fan of the color choices. Not a fan of the plants vs. zombies bonus story.

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Additional, not FCBD purchases: Steven Universe 2016 Special: adorable!

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Giant Days: I love Giant Days so much John Allison is my favorite if you want to read good free webcomics please check out Bad Machinery and Scary Go Round do it it will improve your life.

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Shenzhen Travelogue: Guy DeLisle is a good dude. I’ve read…Pyongyang, Jerusalem, and The Burma Chronicles by him so far. Really excited for his new book.

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Blacksad: A Silent Hell: I only actually bought this because there’s a discussion of the artist’s process at the back of the book and I need to know how he does watercolor like that. It’s so beautiful. What the hell.

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Tina’s Mouth: An Existential Comic Diary: this one was half-off and so far it reminds me of Diary of a Teenage Girl meets Amelia’s Notebooks, but about the South-Asian Diaspora and existentialism. The narrator has an older sister named Anjali which is the name of one of my best friends ever (hi, Anjali) so I had to buy it.

Image result for tina's mouth

Speaking of comics, here’s the 1-page comic I drew for my Intro class!


I’ve also been working on mermay drawings this past week!

Besides that, yesterday was Out To Launch, a reverse career fair for SCAD Atlanta students where seniors, grad students, and alumni all have tables and important industry people come and talk to them. I walked around and saw the stuff the illustration, animation and sequential majors were showing off. They’re all so cooooool. I hope I can be that good when I’m about to graduate. And that I can get a job/internship when I’m about to graduate and don’t need to have a table at the event. They also gave out a lot of pins and stickers, which was nice.

I also went to the High Museum to get field trip credits for art history yesterday. I wrote a short paper about it. TL;DR: I love N. C. Wyeth deeply and I wanna go home.

And that’s about it for now!

Posted in art school life

Week 5: Midterm projects and things

I did really well on my first art history test! Which was nice.

In 3D I’m covering styrofoam balls with plastic bags so I can then suspend them from the ceiling to show mass and weight and things. I have to use the same material in 3 different ways, so I first wrapped a bag around a ball and tied it off, then cut a bag into strips and wrapped the strips around, then folded the strips together to create these things that stuck out and hot-glued them on.


In SEQA I’m working on a one-page comic now, but I don’t have any screenshots of my current progress. Sorry.

I got a hat from the internet with a bee holding a knife on it. I love it very much.IMG_20170425_135047115.jpg

On Wednesday, I went to the ASIFA-South monthly mixer and I brought my friend Sandy with me. It was really fun! I drew some stuff and made some new friends, and generally had a pleasant time. I drew a godzilla figurine holding some fake flowers.


On Friday I went to the Marksmen drawing thing at Piedmont Park and did some sketching. It was fun! There were turtles, and afterwards I went to Blick and Sweet Hut. I’d die for Sweet Hut.


And yesterday, I went to Savannah for SCAD’s Sidewalk Arts Festival. That was also really fun except I walked a lot and it was super humid. I checked out Guy DeLisle’s Burma Chronicles from the SCAD Library and super enjoyed it, and I went to Planet Fun and got a trade paperback of Snotgirl (WHICH I LOVE, SO MUCH). I also met up with a Savannah friend and went to two ice cream shops and bought some fancy iced tea. All in all, a Good Time. I didn’t draw anything on the sidewalk myself, just walked around.




Last life development: I started a youtube channel! Here’s the first video of what’ll hopefully be a longer series. Hope you enjoy!

Posted in art school life

Week 4 : too much work and it’s all self-imposed

I turned in my wire project for 3D Design and got a pretty good grade on it!

I also took my first art history test. I missed 2 short answer questions out of 75, and the essay questions haven’t been graded yet but I think I did pretty well.

I signed up to work on two senior films, doing cleanup on one and coloring another, and they both look really good so far. I’ve learned a lot about how to use Toon Boom Harmony and how an animated movie gets made at all. It’s been really helpful.

I’ve done a few illustrations for different Connector articles.  This is the only one that’s been posted so far.

Also! The marksmen zine I talked about earlier got printed and I’m on the first page!


I’m still writing my Camp Nanowrimo novel, though with midterms approaching it’s getting harder to find the time to hit the word count every day. I’m also still doing the 100 days project, which is a bit easier.

I was feeling kind of down about my drawing skills recently, but then my friend Ingrid sent me a link to this awesome video on Iterative Drawing, and it helped a lot.

Reading: I checked out Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo and Me by Ellen Forney and it was pretty interesting. Very informative and personal. She incorporates pages from her sketchbook from her depressive phases that really show the reader what it felt like for her then, and every page feels real and immediate.

School stuff: I went to the Flower Power Ball, which was kind of boring but I got to sacrifice peeps to the Peep Lord, and then Footprint, the earth day fair, where I got to make a flower crown. I also went to my first student ambassador meeting and learned about what I’ll be doing with the ambassadors next school year. The student ambassador meeting ended with an easter egg hunt, which was nice.


I also got a lot of free popsicles and bought myself a Unicorn Frappucino. I didn’t like it very much but it was pretty.

Oh! Also! I submitted a doodle to the Red Bull Doodle Contest! I have no idea if it’s going to even come close to winning or not, because I just got the submission form one day and drew the thing and then stuck it on the submission wall without doing any research on the contest whatsoever, but apparently starting Tuesday there’ll be an open voting thing where all of you should go and vote for my drawing.




Posted in art school advice

Calarts animation portfolios =/= Art School Portfolios

Just hear me out for a sec okay.

Calarts character animation has an insanely low acceptance rate. Like, over a thousand people apply every year, and between 60 and 70 get in. That’s a 6-7% acceptance rate, on par with Princeton and Yale universities.

This means that, unlike most art schools with acceptance rates of over 50%, Calarts is picky. Calarts wants students who already know how to draw. That’s the defining thing. They want students who have creative and interesting styles that don’t look like anyone else’s stuff, but also have a very, very good grasp of anatomy and color theory and how to stylize things so that they would actually move in a believable way when animated. Calarts wants people who are almost ready to enter the animation industry, but want to go to college for four years before they actually do so. Therefore, their portfolio requirements are extremely specific: a sketchbook, a selection of figure drawings, and Other Work that shows you can do visual development and character design and storyboarding pretty well without them needing to teach you.

Most art schools are not like this. Most art schools have rigorous foundations classes that will, in fact, teach you all the fundamentals Calarts wants you to have nailed down five years before you apply. What those schools want from your application portfolio is proof that you’re willing to learn.

Your figure drawings can suck, your designs can be sloppy, but you have to show that you want to experiment. Use a lot of materials, draw a lot of different things in different styles, try collage, try sculpture, try photography, try as many things as possible. And spend time on your pieces. Having the fundamentals is great and will probably help, but what’s more important is that you have a passion and a desire to put time and effort into the art that you make.

Also, for Calarts, you’re applying to a very specific program with a very specific direction. Most schools, you indicate an area of interest on your application, but you don’t declare a major until you’ve actually been there for a few terms. A willingness to explore and experiment with things that aren’t directly related to animation will make those schools think you are right for them.

Someone messaged me to look at their application portfolio for SCAD. It was all figure drawings in colored pencil on newsprint, a character turnaround, some plain backgrounds, and a storyboard. I could immediately see this person applied to Calarts. I could also immediately see that a) they did not get in and b) this portfolio would not get them in anywhere else without other things to back it up. Figure drawings and concept artwork for one simple animated movie don’t show enough training, which art schools like because it means you’ll do well in the foundations classes, or enough of that willingness to learn, to experiment, to break out of your comfort zone and try shit that scares you. Which Calarts also wants, of course, they just want controlled experimentation in a very specific direction.  Think of it as being more willing to do anything because you’re still growing and figuring things out as opposed to being more set because you’re more developed as an artist and actually know where you’re going.

Sidenote: Regardless of where you get accepted to and where you want to go, art school’s expensive and you would 100% be better off getting some credits and honing your skills at a community college for a few years and then transferring to wherever it is you want to go. Don’t let anyone tell you you Have To go to real college right after high school, they’re a bunch of lying liars. Literally all but 3 people out of 20 in my color theory class last quarter transferred in from somewhere else. Plus if you wait a little you’ll have more time to develop your skills on your own and be that much more ahead of the curve when you do apply places.

TL;DR don’t send 20 2-minute figure gestures to SCAD/ SVA / MICA and expect to get an acceptance letter and a full ride.