Show us what you’ve got! One of the first lessons you’ll learn about becoming an artist or designer is the value of a strong portfolio, a collection of your work that you share with others. We want to see pieces that best convey your process and skills. The deadline to submit is July 1 for the fall semester and December 1 for the winter semester.

Portfolio Requirements

Copywriting majors are not required to submit a portfolio. The admissions decision will be based on grade point average and ACT or SAT test scores.

  • The breadth of your admissions portfolio should demonstrate original thinking and should be a reflection of you and how you view the world. It should include examples of work that indicates the type of student you will be at the College for Creative Studies and provide an understanding of your interest in and commitment to the field of art and/or design. Your portfolio may show how other artists and designers have influenced you and your work. You also may want to show how other aspects of culture - i.e. literature, music, film, politics, fashion, etc. - have helped you develop both intellectually and artistically.
  • An applicant’s portfolio may or may not be geared toward a particular major when applying to CCS. The work should emphasize your strongest skill sets and concepts and should be limited to 5 to 8 pieces. Transfer students may be required to submit additional pieces. Examples of drawing, drafting, computer aided design (CAD), architectural drawings, floor plans, printmaking, painting, photography, film, video, animation, web design, graphic design, story boarding, creative writing, ceramics, metal and jewelry, fiber and textiles, furniture design, fashion, video games, 2D or 3D design, models, product design, transportation design, sketchbooks, graphic novels and any other form of new media is acceptable.
  • If you are applying to any of the following majors who require strong drawing skills, a minimum of 5 drawings from direct observation and/or imagination, using any medium must be included. Entertainment Arts (does not apply to those interested in video), Fine Arts, Illustration or Transportation Design
  • Edit your work. Quality is more important than quantity — 5 great pieces are better than 15 that are inconsistent. Work completed within the last two years is usually the strongest.


Portfolios should be uploaded to:

You will be charged a $10 upload fee


Any work submitted may be published in future CCS brochures or presentations. CCS reserves the right to print submitted works.

  1. Guidelines for Observational Drawing
  2. Guidelines for Imagination Drawing
  3. Suggested assignments for those with little to no art background or portfolio for admission
  4. Submission Guidelines for the Visual Portfolio

Guidelines for Observational Drawing

  • Draw from observation of objects, scenes, still lives, landscapes and people. Include descriptive or representational drawings of your surrounding environment.
  • Include accurate line drawings and examples of fully rendered compositions using a complete range of light, middle and dark values.
  • If possible, include figure drawings or partial figure drawings (hands, feet, etc.) or portraiture.
  • Consider the entire picture surface; try not to isolate one object in the center of the page.
  • Any medium is acceptable for these drawings, including but not limited to: charcoal, graphite, pen and ink, paint, pastel, colored pencil and digital rendering.

Guidelines for Imagination Drawing

  • When submitting original character drawings, include the surrounding environment you envision them working, playing and living in.
  • Consider filling the entire picture surface. Try not to isolate one object in the center of the page.
  • Character development should incorporate your own unique style as opposed to copying a pre-existing style (i.e. anime or manga).
  • You may combine one or more reference sources in combination when creating your own unique image. Copied images are not acceptable.
  • If submitting your own original inventions or concept design (i.e. products, fashion, transportation or furniture) you may include sketches, background research and inspiration used to develop them. Show us your thinking process!

Suggested assignments for those with little to no art background or portfolio for admission

A minimum of 5 to 8 pieces are still required for admission. You may complete any of these suggested assignments multiple times.

  • 2 Dimensional Design project:Use a camera to create the following:
  • A portrait of how you see yourself.
  • A portrait of how others (or “the world”) sees you.
  • Documentation of your environment and how you interpret your environment.
  • Three Dimensional Design project:
    • Create a 3D sculpture from a variety of found objects or materials that you are drawn to. Explore color, texture, form and message. Photograph it in its environment.
    • Create a mask that transforms the wearer into a whole new character, creature or world.
  • Written project: Create a distress / “SOS” or “message in a bottle” letter. Contact the Admissions Office for more suggestions.

Submission Guidelines for the Visual Portfolio

Images of your final portfolio may be uploaded to You will be charged a $10 upload fee. If it is not possible for you to upload your work, you may make other arrangements with your admissions counselor.

We encourage you to seek valuable feedback by presenting your work to an admissions representative, during a visit to CCS or at a National Portfolio Day

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