Hi Tori! So like, I'm a sophomore in high school, and I started taking art seriously pretty late compared to a lot of people (I only started taking formal art classes last year) and I feel like I'm really behind, like my art isn't as good as yours was 2 years ago. And I really want to get into Calarts and go into animation, but I'm worried it's too late now and impossible to catch up no matter what I do. Any advice?

Your situation mirrors mine to the dot actually. Here’s a thread from 2 years ago that I made, it’s almost exactly like your ask actually! Plenty of good advice there.

Trust me, you’ve got plenty of time. I actually didn’t consider art school until I was a sophomore too, and I prepared for a year and half for RISD actually for illustration, and actually didn’t consider Calarts (or frankly, a career in animation) until September. 

Your art skill right now has little to do with what you can do. To be honest I was definitely not prepared for art school last year with my skill level, but I put a ton of hours into just working, just sitting down and grinding stuff out, and I improved. And so will you if you put in the time and dedication.

Also remember that it’s okay to wait longer. There’s plenty of older art students, especially at rigorous places like Calarts or Art Center. There’s no stigma against starting your career later. 

Good luck man! You’ve definitely got the potential to get it together

love your artwork!!! :o I was wondering...what would you recommend to anyone who also wants to apply to CalArts?

Thank you!

For applying, bottom line: Just Draw

Begin prep as early as is realistic. DEFINITELY read the requirements well and have a good idea of what sort of material you need to prepare. 

What I did: pored over forums, looked at way too many portfolios, stressed, drew, cried a lot.

It’s super stressful but it’s rewarding. Even if you get rejected, you can always try again, use that as motivation to improve even more. If you commit, you can do it! Most of all, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.

Good luck!

i just doodle things I see in my sketchbook, how does one become an artist ; ^ ; like its hard to draw something finished or original i guess? any tips ? thanks ' o ' <3

Doodling is a great start! It’s so important to have a sketchbook. I didn’t realize this until I started keeping one regularly. Especially if you carry one around with you, you can always find pockets of time to draw and a place to jot down visual notes through life drawing, which will help you improve faster and obtain more ideas.

Originality starts with the culmination of a vast library of knowledge and influences. The more you go out and see information, whether that be through drawing your surroundings, learning from books and other resources, studying the work of your favorite artists online, or even in the non-artistic knowledge you accumulate.

Really, sitting in front of a blank paper and forcing yourself to make an original finished piece won’t work well. This is because you’re focusing on the product instead of your vision. Kind of like you’re focusing too much on the end instead of the process.

You can give yourself projects if you want to focus on something, but give yourself limits, because creativity operates better when you have restrictions, interestingly enough. Read some interesting stories, watch some great movies, try to make characters that build upon some concepts you find interesting. Again, the more knowledge you consume the bigger the potential for ideation.

Good luck. Don’t worry too much about end results like if you’ll have original artwork, if you’ll have a nice style, or if you’ll make good quality work. Just Draw.

Do you live in California? If not, then how do you plan to settle into Valencia and pay for thousands of dollars on airfare annually? I'm in Florida but an aspiring Calarts alum, so I was wondering if you had any insight or advice maybe.

I think you should ask an actual person who is going to Calarts or someone from the admissions dept @ Calarts because although financial stuff is important I’m more concerned at this point about actually getting into the school before I worry about expenses…sorry U_U

im looking for more art blogs, do u have other friends on tumblr who also applied to cal arts this year? ^^ hope u all get in

Well here’s The List of people applying on AB. Many of them have blogs.

Here are some cool ppl off the top of my head YES

tang | sarah | antlor | deb | kor | gabrielle | katie | rhea | alexis | rachel | eddie

GAH they’re so good they make me so mad i could hug them all and hurl them at calarts like a burning ball of passion HMMMHMM OvO

i wanna go to calarts too :) any advice?

HAHA well I MEAN I don’t know if I’ll get IN Calarts or not. There’s tons of other blogs by actual Calarts students who probably can give more accurate advice.

Basically what I did to prepare was a ton of figure drawing like give yourself enough time to have that period where you just hunker down and grind those drawings out. Don’t give yourself expectations, don’t get yourself down if you’re bad. Just Do. You’ll get better when you spend hours and hours and hours just doing it. I guarantee.

Practice smart too, be sure you can assess what weakness you have and what you can work on. Don’t hound other people’s styles.You’re trying to find your style, not copy others. People can tell if you’re copying another style because there’s mistakes in the style that aren’t informed.

It’s good to see examples of accepted students but set your artistic inspirations high. Look at actual industry professionals. Calarts alums, really anyone working in the industry you want to be in.

But also get exposed to stuff other than Calarts people because why not, why are you restricting yourself to a certain style. Keep drawing inspiration from quality people from all walks of art really.

Just draw, and draw smart, and draw what you want (within the portfolio guidelines, ofc)

Which school do you want to go to most?

Calarts! (it’s kind of…on my mind…all day..haha…)

your sketchbooks look amazing! what do you use? a moleskine? Im looking for a new sketchbook, would you mind recommending me some? Thank you so much ^^

Thanks so much! I’ve used a variety of sketchbooks. For the majority of the year I used a Pentalic Travelers sketchbook. More info on that here.

I bought this moleskine a year ago because I wanted to try it out but I don’t recommend it at all for wet stuff it’s just gross and it bleeds through. It’s super smooth though if you like nonexistant grain. It’s the BEST for stuff like pencils and colored pencils and dry media. Markers go on pretty well too but don’t expect an even-looking coating since the paper absorbs the ink weirdly. It also lays flat which is SO NICE (great for scanning) and it’s nice and sturdy in terms of binding too. I’ve heard there’s a few different types of sketching moleskines? Or they used to make them whiter in color? I just bought whatever was in stock at my local store.

I also have a watercolor moleskine which is good for wet media but I haven’t used it that much.

Right now I’m trying to just not buy any sketchbooks and sort through the mess of half-finished sketchbooks I have lying behind me. It’s gonna be a challenge.

I hope that was helpful! (nice art btw!)

I would love to contribute to Hourly Comic Day, but my art is crap on the tablet.

It doesn’t have to be on the tablet! In fact most hourlies aren’t polished or really digital. I’ll be gone from home a lot most of tomorrow too, and I’m doing mine in my sketchbook, 3 panel format.

I actually just completed my first hourlies, they look like this, nothing too fancy

I hope that helps! It would be awesome if you do it!

What is hourly comic day? I never heard of it.

Basically for the duration of Feb 1st in your timezone, you make a comic about what happened each hour of the day. Say for 8 am, in the time btw 8-9 you make a comic about what happened @ 8am. A fast paced and hectic activity that’s really fun to do! At the end you share it online and we get to see how everyone’s day goes. 

(mine will probably consist of whining over college apps)

Your art is awesome! Good luck with Calarts! :D How do you get out of an art block? And how do you go about life drawing?

Thanks youuuu UwU.

To get out of art block, I usually watch anime/cartoons, look at inspiring art, tutorials, concept art, student films for extra inspiration. Don’t get too caught up in it though. Really you just gotta force yourself to draw to get out of it. Don’t think, just draw. That’s the long and short of it. If you can’t find your own ideas, try studying stuff from life.

I have some life drawing tips posted here, but generally I look for interesting shapes with the person and the story of the pose. I have a habit of starting at the head but really I’m trying to start at the main idea more recently, which doesn’t always include the head. I try to be loose, go for the experience with the model over the end product. Life drawing to me is more of a character exploration than copying the appearance. Hope that helps!

Have your consider applying to other animation schools like Ringling, LCAD, or Capilano?

I considered applying to Ringling until I realized that I wanted a larger focus on storytelling over animation technique. I’ve heard of LCAD and Capilano but my parents don’t really approve of any schools besides the Big Ones so it’s gonna be a challenge to go haha.

hi! i commented on your calarts sketchbook video on yt, and i have a second question to ask: what kind of media do you use, and what's your favorite? because i use literally anything that falls into my hands to draw (i used wax and yarn once!) and i want to know how strong the sketchbook holds up... and also because your drawings are A+.

Hey anon! I used a large variety of stuff. My standard portable pack includes faber castel big brush markers, microns, Prismacolor Col-erase pencils for sketches, Prismacolor Verithins (GREAT for sketching cannot recommend this more), regular Prismacolors, China Markers (mostly used for figure drawing though), a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, A Pentel Aquash brush, and random ballpoint pens or regular stationary just for convenience. For my Aquash brush I usually carry around a Winstor & Newton field watercolor box that has 12 colors. Super convenient.

When I have more time at home, I break out  acrylics, gouache, ink (both standard winsor & newton as well as chinese ink), whatever I can find around my house really, I sometimes prep my pages by slathering them in cheap acrylics or priming them with gesso. I also use tissue paper or weird wallpaper or scrapbook stuff to just tack on. I also have weird medium finish samples I got from a long time ago to help seal really gross sticky pages LMAO.

Um as for the Pentalic it’s awesome with anything water based. Once you get into alcohol or oil based stuff it kinda gets…gross and bleeds through (though not as much as other sketchbooks), so otherwise it’s an awesome sketchbook. It buckles under heavy load though so be prepared to uncrinkle pages.

Yeah I think that’s all I can think of on my mind rn. Hope that was informative!

I just have a few questions if you don't mind What type of school do you go to? It sounds like an artish school?? Though I may be wrong. I'm just wondering if people go to a smaller art school or college before going to a bigger one like calarts What do you want to go in to And what art schools are you applying too? Thanks for your time! Your art is beautiful!

I actually go to a public high school which has a pretty good stash of art programs and materials, but unfortunately not many qualified people to teach about them haha. But I have heard people who  going to either different art colleges for a year as preparation or taking a gap year for self study before applying or if they are rejected the first time. In terms of credit transfer  Calarts only accepts credits from Santa Monica College and College of Canyons which are located near Calarts.

I’m also applying to RISD, SVA, Art Center, and maybe Sheridan if I have time. I have already applied to MCAD and USC.

Thank you for your compliments! Have a wonderful evening.

(im asking so many questions im sorry omg) do you have any tips for drawing from life? i noticed youre really good at that

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve gone to a figure drawing session, so I’m a bit rusty, but I’ll try to come up with some tips.

When I approach models, I have a plan in my head, but I’ve stopped doing an undersketch before approaching the model, because I’ve found that it stiffens up  your poses and doesn’t make them dynamic enough. Confidence isn’t built up by staying somewhere where you feel “safe”, it’s built by taking risks and learning from them.

It helps to look at the points of greatest tension and try to capture them, such as torso twists, or weight on joints and pivot points.

A big thing I try to look for is the rhythm in the pose. I take a few seconds to analyze where the direction of the muscles flow. It’s usually an undulating “s” type curve. The balanced model is always in this equilibrium where each turn is balanced out by another curve in the opposite direction. It’s pretty challenging/fun to see where certain forces end up. Sorry if this doesn’t make much sense, it’s hard to describe in words.

There are rarely actual straight lines in a model’s posing. Of course in stylization that can change but it helps to understand what muscles flow into each other and the direction of where the forces are going when you’re starting out. Instead of ascribing an arm with a straight line, try asking yourself “where is this appendage going? What purpose does it serve in the pose?”

Additionally a big thing to pay attention is the relationship between the shoulders, torso, and hips. You can be amazed at how much you can express by just positioning them in the correct order.

Also, make every line count. Make lines loose when you want the eye to travel fast, such as across the back. Tighten them up at joint areas and places with a lot of information. Too many scribbly lines can confuse the form and lose the information of the figure. It’s like the difference between concise writing and purple prose.

most of this stuff I’ve learned through reading Matessi’s FORCE book. He describes figure drawing much better that I can haha. 

I hope that was helpful!