This is for those who are interested in going to art school-especially in the West Coast. To make it even more specific, ArtCenter because that was the only school I applied to, and I’m attending there this Fall. Disclaimer: I ain’t those counselors who tell you the steps to getting what you want. This is my experience and process (of blood, sweat, and tears). Also, I don’t know about this featured photo. I took it last year when I was at the Willis Tower in Chicago and I thought it looked nice so I put it here LOL.

If you don’t want to read this detailed af post, you can go to my Behance page here. The only thing not there are pages of my sketchbook and figure drawings I submitted. No reason, I just never posted it on my Behance page.

To get things even clearer (wowza Andrea), I applied as a Graphic Design major at ArtCenter, so basically what I mean isrequirements are different. However, I do know some requirements that are broadly needed for many art schools.

I started off pulling my portfolio quite late-DON’T DO THIS I ALMOST DIED. I started my junior year summer at around June and applied in April. I have to bless not only God, but also Jesus for meeting such an amazing art teacher/mentor. She pushed me to venture and explore everything and anything. Frankly, I don’t know how she did it-like helping me throughout the process even though I gave her attitude because I got frustrated. That was rude on my part.

ArtCenter requires Graphic Design majors to submit layouts, brochures, TYPOGRAPHY (peeps, you have to include typography if you’re thinking of applying as a graphic design major), packaging/product, etc. I’m giving everyone the KEY here now-the key for a sleek ass graphic design portfolio is a neurotic-detailed to the core-explanation of your process. Why were you inspired to make this? Where is your inspirations? Why did you choose these colors and typefaces? And on and on. I even went so far as to explain why I placed certain blocks of text and images at certain places on the template. I made everything on KeyNote and exported it as a PDF. I was that serious about going to ArtCenter, and it paid off immensly.

I did go to ArtCenter’s counselors twice just to check on what I can improve or needed and the first time, I had some of my pieces already finished. I had everything separated into folders (yeah I brought my laptop) for both appointments because you don’t want to come off messy as a future student there. I also brought my sketchbooks just in case. I suggest to not waste time and effort by not trying for the second appointment. By the second appointment, you should have everything prepared and ready to submit. Otherwise, it’s as if you didn’t even put in effort for the time after your first appointment, and it’s going to just drag out the time you ARE ready to apply.

Due to personal reasons and schedule, I set my goal for my submission at the beginning of 2016 at around the first week of April, and I met that goal. I had a huge convention the week after, and I wasn’t going to stress about both because I might just have a mental breakdown. (As you can tell, I was immensly stressed from February to April).

In all, my portfolio included a website design, a poster design, one app design, four packaging designs (I kind of dwelled into the product design realm here while I was sketching my ideas but the essence was still packaging), two commercial products (business card and tickets), one apparel design, one logo design, two typography, sections from my sketchbook, and figure drawings.

Y’all wondering, “why figure drawing, you’re not going into illustration or entertainment or fine arts”. Yeah, I know. I hated figure drawing and foundation classes, but I still hauled my ass to go these classes because those are called foundation classes for a reason. I basically proved to ArtCenter I have a solid base to build off of when I enter their school. With these primitive knowledge, design comes easier and communication between different majors also become easier. It’s essential!!

If you any questions regarding portfolio, I have a contact tab on my blog!

Moving on to what is broadly required. If you’re applying as an Illustration major, figure drawing is key. Just like typography is hand in hand with graphic design, figure drawing is hand in hand with illustration. Entertainment Design/concept art is a little tricky. You have to show the school you have the ability to design characters and put them into life (creating a story). Figure drawing is key as well. Honestly, each art school is different so please do your research. I didn’t want to apply to East Coast because:

  1. Too much money
  2. I ain’t filling out that Common App bullshit
  3. Graphic Design careers are blooming in LA so why move to the East Coast?

I also didn’t want to apply to other schools in Cali because I like Pasadena and ArtCenter has many affliations with other companies. Graphic Design is also their second largest department so I have plenty of resources!

Good luck to those who are planning to attend art school! I hope this helped at least a little haha. Again, you can contact me through the contact tab!

Published by Andrea Hu