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Careers: Arts/Career in graphic design

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Question
Hi,I'm Rohini from India. I'm currently in third year of my bachelor's course in i.t engineering. I want to do MFA in graphic design/animation from U.S. I read about the admission process, and am really confused as to how to manage making a decent portfolio. I mean, I'm doing engineering, and I paint and sketch as a hobby. But I really want to make a career out of it. Engineering doesn't interest me. So it's a constant dilemma as to what I should do and how I should prepare so I can get into a good university in the U.S. I would be really thankful if you could guide me regarding this. Also, I'm not quite sure if I should get into graphic design/animation or if I should opt for a course in painting or illustration. How do I find out?

Answer
Hello Rohini,
I apologize for the delay in response. The All Experts e-mail must have gone into my spam folder and I missed it! I appreciate your patience.

First, as to a portfolio, make sure you're clear on the requirements of the portfolio for each school you are applying to. Feel free to contact an admissions advisor to help answer questions in regards to how you should present your portfolio and how many pieces needed. Overall, a portfolio is simply a way of demonstrating your base artistic ability. An admissions portfolio usually shows a variety of media. For example, you can include some pencil drawings, some pen and ink drawings, an acrylic piece, a collage, etc. They are looking for your use of composition and balance and color and value. Do what you can and practice practice practice. Pick your very best pieces for this, and organize the portfolio in a way that makes sense. Always start and end with your strongest pieces.

Since you have an engineering background - have you worked with CAD or any design based engineering software? Something like a CAD rendering could be something you include in your portfolio. It would uniquely show your personal background and show how your design background is a little different from the next person.

As to your major as an MFA - I personally got my bachelor's in computer art/animation and illustration. I was able to balance computer use and fine arts for a well-rounded education. My current job uses mostly graphic design and illustration. Once you get the basics, both in software and media, you can grow professionally from then on. I would look into the type of jobs you would like to have one day, and let that lead your decision in choosing your base education.

And by the way, I came across many students when I was in art school who had never drawn before. Less art experience may set you behind a little in the beginning, but as long as you put hard work into your studies, that won't be an issue in the long run.

Best of luck! Hope you have an amazing experience getting your MFA.
Gianina

Careers: Arts

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Gianina L.

Expertise

I can answer questions concerning most traditional mediums such as acrylics, watercolor, colored pencils, collage/cut paper, graphite, charcoal, and pen and ink. I also have strong, advanced knowledge of Photoshop, Powerpoint and Publisher; and beginner to immediate level knowledge in Illustrator, Freehand, After Effects, and Flash. In addition, I can cover miscellaneous subjects such as portfolio preparation, applying to art schools, art school study skills, color theory, basic design and drawing principles, basic animation techniques, working on personal art styles and exploring new artistic techniques. Topics such as the detailed legal aspects of art, web programming and Flash action scripting do not fall under my area of expertise.

Experience

Experience in the Area
I graduated summa cum laude with a double BFA in Illustration and Computer Art (specializing in 2-dimensional animation) from the Savannah College of Art and Design, where as a student, I happily tutored fellow peers in all aspects of art and created numerous illustrations for the school newspaper. For the past several years, I have been illustrating seminar books, designing numerous graphics, and creating short animation sequences for use in video. In addition, I work as a private tutor and am co-director / co-owner of a company that focuses on and promotes the local music industry. I assist with all the day-to-day operations of this company as well as manage all art direction and design.

Education/Credentials
Savannah College of Art and Design
BFA Computer Art, Illustration
Summa Cum Laude
Dean's List, GPA 4.0

Awards and Honors
Induction into Alpha Pi Beta honor society for art and design, 2002
Outstanding Achievement in Computer Art, 2002
Outstanding Student for the academic year 2001-2002
Awarded "Most Dependable" for District, the student newspaper, 2002
Who's Who Among American Colleges and Universities, May 2001
Better Business Bureau Honesty in Advertising Essay Competition, Merit Award, November 1998
Mary Renee Whelan Scholarship, Savannah College of Art and Design

Exhibitions and Festivals:
Embodiement; Myths in Animal Form, www.postpicasso.com, December 10 - January 10, 2005
SCAD Alumni Show, Stardust Café, Orlando, FL; December 2004
Finalist, International Juried Online Symbolist Art Show, www.dracoblu.com, May 2004 - April 2005
Finalist, International Juried Online Symbolist Art Show, www.dracoblu.com, May 2003 - April 2004
Senior Showcase, SCAD Pei Ling Chan Gallery, Savannah, GA; May 2002
2D or not 2D, SCAD Trustees Theatre, Savannah, GA; April 2002
Small Works, SCAD Exhibit A Gallery, Savannah, GA; November 7 - December 31, 2001; art was purchased
Magnanimata Animation Festival, May 1999

Publications
Quoted briefly in Animation World Magazine, "Predicting the Future of Futurama" (April 1999) and "Ed, Edd, n Eddy: A Unique Approach" (June 1999)

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