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.


November 23, 2015

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

First of all, AWESOME AWESOME portfolio. Your compositions, color palettes, lighting, ability to do realism AND cartoon styles, vantage points… so impressive. My favorite pieces are the “Flamingo” longboard, the monkey “Sculpture,” the acrylic painting “Wood Planks,” the digital painting “Hair,” the digital painting “Shoes,” the badge “Duskfeather,” the digital painting “Hands,” and the colored pencil “Red Panda.” All of those pieces showcase your technical skill. With “Flamingo,” great composition and texture with the feathers. In “Sculpture,” again great texture. You are just as talented in 3D as you are in 2D. The detail and craftsmanship are strong. The painting of “Wood Planks” made me smile. It’s a plain (kinda boring?) subject but you’ve painted each plank so realistically. Who would think a painting of wood could be so awe-inspiring? “Hair,” “Shoes” and “Hands” are excellent digital paintings. Similar to your storyboarding, they show off your eye for thoughtful vantage points. And the details! In “Hair,” the quilted stitching over the camo Under Armour logo, the twigs and leaves in the gutter of the reflection in the sunglasses! Wow. With “Duskfeather” and “Red Panda,” beautiful color-mixing.

My biggest suggestion: don’t include older pieces. I understand your idea to show progress, but I’m more interested in your best work. When I compare the horse storyboard from 2013 to the Fossa storyboard from 2015, yes the Fossa piece is way better. You’re playing with more interesting vantage points and the character is IN an environment instead of standing IN FRONT OF a backdrop. The lighting and reflected color/light in “Desert” (2015) are better and more mature than “Under the Stars” (2013). For future presentations of your artwork, remove the older weaker pieces and show off your best work.

That said, you fulfill the portfolio requirements and pass the review. Because I’m so impressed by your artistic abilities, I will recommend that the scholarship committee award you for a portfolio scholarship. Check the mail in the next week or two and hopefully there will be a scholarship offer…