Show us your work
Showing your work is often considered the most intimidating part of the application process. Don't be intimidated, simply show us what you've got. In the event that you are looking for a little guidance, check out some of these helpful tips we've assembled to help you along the way.
You can download these tips along with a list of helpful “Dos and Don'ts (55 KB PDF) ”.
Deciding What Art to Submit:
Show a range of drawings and other media that display the depth and scope of your talents. Sure, pencil drawings are great, but show us what else you can do. You do not have to show us work related to the major you are applying for, but drawing is required for some majors (see below).
Observation is Key
Demonstrate your ability to draw from real life. Drawings of a person, a still life or a landscape – rather than drawings from a photo or someone else’s artwork – will always get higher marks.
Mind Your Composition
Highlight your composition skills. Composition is all about selecting the right elements and arranging them in a unique way within the picture space to communicate an idea or feeling. Try asymmetrical arrangements or use different angles of composition.
Dive into different materials. Combine them and see what happens. If your style is tight and detailed, try working loose and with gesture. Push yourself in a different direction and out of your comfort zone.
Deliver the Unexpected
Demonstrate not only your ability to draw objects accurately, but also conceptually. Think about a message, story or emotion you’re trying to convey.
Feedback helps you grow. Get it from your teachers, counselors and peers. Post your art- work on Facebook, Flickr and Youtube. There are resources at your disposal throughout this website. Take advantage!
Digital art and animation are big and only getting bigger. If you have any animated pieces you feel are worth a look, upload to Slideroom or post them online and send us the link.
Look Beyond the Obvious
Look beyond the obvious to communicate an idea or theme. For example, compose everyday objects together to deliver impact and drive home a memorable message.
What’s the Concept?
Don’t just take a picture. Make a picture. Organize and execute a scene to communicate a powerful idea. It’s an effective way to add emotion and meaning to your work.
Crafts & 3-Dimensional
If your forte is crafts, like pottery or jewelry making, drawings of your designs are perfectly acceptable. If you’ve created an actual piece, take photos of it. Experiment with your own “photo studio” at home using butcher paper as a backdrop. Find the best angle to photograph your work and use lamps as lighting. An overcast day gives good lighting as well.
Quality Over Quantity
Don’t worry about not having tons of work in your portfolio. It’s better to 5-8 strong pieces, than 10 weak ones.
Send Us Your Portfolio
Portfolios should be uploaded to Slideroom
You will be charged a $10 upload fee
NOTE: Any work submitted may be published in future CCS brochures or presentations. CCS reserves the right to print submitted works.
- Show drawings from observation of real life; people, places, objects and environments. Put your subject in a specific time or place.
- Portray objects accurately – but creatively and with originality.
- Experiment with mixed media, oil paints, watercolor and pastels.
- Take a ceramics or metal and jewelry class. Create something three-dimensional.
- Show art that combines technical ability with interesting ideas.
- Talk about your ideas with instructors or admissions counselors and learn how to present your work. Keep a sketchbook and include it with your portfolio.
- Ask for feedback. Put constructive criticism to work for you.
- Include figure drawing if you have it.
- Show drawings primarily from photographs.
- Show copies of other’s work, for example existing characters, CD covers, styles or genres. Isolate objects in the middle of the page.
- Draw on notebook paper.
- Limit yourself to pencil.
- Show only classroom assignments.
- Ignore the background.
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 collection of your work that you share with others. We want to see pieces that best convey your process and skills.
Applicants to the Copywriting major are not required to submit a portfolio. The admissions decision will be based on grade point average and ACT or SAT test scores.
All Other Majors:
- The art work you submit with your application 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.
- It should provide us with an understanding of your interest in and commitment to the field of art and/or design.
- Your work may show how other artists and designers have influenced you.
You may also want to show how other aspects of culture - i.e. literature, music, film, politics, fashion, etc. - have helped you develop both intellectually and artistically.
- The art work you submit does not need to include examples of your work in your intended major. The work should emphasize your strongest skillsets and show us how you think.
- Edit your work. Quality is more important than quantity. Limit your art samples to 5 to 8 consistent pieces. Work completed within the last two years is usually the strongest.
Specific Requirements for the following Majors:
Entertainment Arts (doesn’t apply to Video)
Strong drawing skills are a must for these majors. A minimum of 5 drawings from direct observation and/or imagination, in any medium, must be included.
Additional Tips & Recommendations
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 http://ccs.slideroom.com. 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.
In order to be considered for our highest, up to full tuition, scholarships - you must submit all parts of your application and upload your work to slideroom before December 1.