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.


January 7, 2016

Hi, Jacob. Thank you for your recent portfolio submission to KCAD’s SlideRoom. Here are my comments and suggestions.

I smiled at the simple charm of your explanation “I live around a lot of agriculture.” I also read and liked your artist statement from your Award of Excellence submission. Prismacolor pencil "releases rich colors and I use this saturation to illustrate the positives of agricultural life.” I don’t often see illustrations (especially from high school students) showcasing life on a farm or being surrounded by livestock and tractor equipment.

My favorite pieces: “Ms. Forget Me Not,” “Farmall” tractor with the green and blue background and “Boots." Weak(er) pieces I suggest removing: “Dog in Snow,” “Buckeyes” and “Fishing Scene.” Your color usage, color mixing and clarity are much better in pieces other than these three.

When you’re shading in color or greyscale, strive for smoother, cleaner edges. There are times in your portfolio when objects blur together. For example, the objects in “Toolbox” look rough. I know the tools are metal and the case is probably plastic. Those textures are smooth, but in your drawing the tools appear to be made of wood or wool. The objects’ edges are scratchy. Shade and color in circular motions instead of back-and-forth hatching. Same can be said for “Ribbons” when there are so many objects/details piled on top of one another. Cleaner edges can differentiate the details.

Prismacolor pencils are your favorite medium. On what paper or surfaces do you draw? From the looks of it, white paper. I love Prismacolor pencils too and find success with Mi-Teintes toned paper and illustration board (the double-sided kind: light grey on one side, dark grey on the other side). Mi-Teintes paper is textured and comes in an array of colors. If you’re illustrating a tightly-cropped red tractor, consider using red or reddish brown paper. That way you won’t need to burnish and use up a lot of red colored pencils to cover white paper. The idea is to use the paper color to your advantage and even let it show through as a middle ground color. Illustration board is super smooth and a bit soft. Its surface makes colored pencil mixing easy. Either grey works well as a mid-tone.

Your artwork meets KCAD’s requirements and you pass the review. Your admissions file is complete and ready for review. My boss will review your file, make a decision and send you a decision letter. It should arrive in one to two weeks.