In my current position as an admissions counselor, I regularly review portfolios. Some reviews are conducted in-person; other reviews are sent via email. Here is one of my emailed portfolio reviews.


March 30, 2016

Hi, Nancy. Thank you for your recent portfolio submission to KCAD via SlideRoom. Here are my comments and suggestions.

When describing the metals and jewelry pieces in your portfolio, you wrote, "Although my approach to these projects varies, I've noticed that the end products create a surprisingly cohesive collection." Your entire portfolio is cohesive. From the stylized and simplified still life drawings and portraits to the bird imprint inside the "Secrets" ring to the dangerous-looking "Talon" ring to the hat on your illustrated character Tim, there's a unified theme to your work (no matter the medium). Your work is ominous and graphic (with recurring shapes) with some light-hearted fantasy and moments of optimism. For example, the "Talon" ring. The piece of sterling silver jewelry is jagged and pointy. The visual, as well as the reference to a bird's talon, makes me think the ring could pierce into something and harm it. As for fantasy/humor/optimism, I imagine some evil character wearing the ring while getting dressed. She would snag her dress sleeve all the way from the cuff to the shoulder. I would laugh, but she might not.

My favorite pieces from your portfolio: "Observational Drawing I," "Observational Drawing 5," "Secrets" and "Tim and Sunfox." In the first observational drawing, I like your cropping and stylized shading. Your drawings are a mix between realism and cartoon illustration. The objects are believable but often have bold outlines. In the fifth observational drawing, I like how Jordan is off-center and his hair breaks the frame. You understand composition and 2D design. His shirt collar is roughed in, so the focal point remains on his face, and in particular, his bright eyes. With the ring "Secrets," I appreciate how the wearer knows the secret image on the inside of the ring. "Tim and Sunfox" is my favorite print and illustration from your selection. Going back to my comment about ominous/fantasy/optimism, Tim seems a bit melancholy in the other scenes. Yet here with Sunfox, both fantasy characters are surrounded by twinkling stars, Tim is holding a bright sun and I think the fox is smiling -- or at least smirking. (I might sound crazy. Perhaps those "stars" are actually cross grave markers and my read of all your work is waaaaaaaay off.)

Overall, your work is great. Good craftsmanship, value range and composition (in 2D and 3D). You meet KCAD's requirements and pass the review. My biggest suggestions: take the characters out of your sketchbook and put them in more finished pieces with environments and interactions with other characters. Also, add some color. Nothing too bright or obnoxiously happy. I can envision some of your prints and illustrations with grungy greens or rusty reds/oranges/browns. You do greyscale well. Try something else.

Your admissions file is complete and ready for review. My boss will review the documents in your file, make a decision and send you a letter. That decision letter should arrive in 1-2 weeks.