Wednesday, 5 October 2011

016 - Sheridan Art Fundamentals Stuff: Part I of II

Last year I took the art fundamentals course at Sheridan College.  Overall it was pretty good.  There were some things about it that were great, and some things that so.  I was fairly confident that I wanted to get into an animation program for the next year, so although some of the projects were interesting, they weren't really going to help my portfolio in the short term.

There are a lot of people in the program; I think we had 12 or so classes with about 30 a class last year.  The program seems geared towards improving and experimenting.  A lot of the people applied to either illustration or animation programs but needed to improve their portfolios.  Some people wanted to get into design programs, other people wanted to learn new skills and see what interested them.  So it's geared to a lot of different tastes, which means everything won't be geared specifically to animation, illustration, or whatever.

I'm throwing down a bit of background info here in case you happen to stumble across this online.  Sheridan art fundamentals review perhaps?  Sheridan art fundamentals opinion maybe?  I remember looking around before I started the program, and not having much success figuring out exactly what I was getting into.  If you just want to see some of the stuff I did last year feel free to skip ahead.  It was a pretty good program though.

We had 6 classes per semester, each class was 3 hours.  So the actual class time wasn't overbearing.  There was a decent amount of work though.  On top of the school work though, was working on personal and portfolio work.  Just doing the work probably won't get you into one of the more competitive programs.

The best part of the program was the extra life sessions.  Figure drawing was available four nights a week from 6:00-9:00.  This was included in the tuition.  Figure drawing was a huge part of improving my drawing skills, and probably the most important skill to show for portfolios for animation.  Being able to work on it more than I could was great.  I probably averaged 2 out of 4 sessions per week.

The classes had slightly different names each semester, but the courses were:
1. Life Drawing
2. 2D Design
3. 3D Design
4. Painting/ Colour Theory
5. Drawing Systems/ Perspective and Rendering
6. English class/ Elective

Those might not be exactly the names, but that's how I remember them, and basically what the courses were about.

I'll get 6. out of the way right off the bat - first semester was technical writing, reports, bibliographies etc...meh...Second semester was a choice of an elective from a limited number offered that worked with your schedule.  I got the one I wanted, which was fairy tales.  We read and discussed some classic fairy tales.  It was fun, but when there was the pressure of portfolios looming it sometimes seemed to get in the way.  I learned things from it that will be useful, just not in an "evident right away" sort of way.

2.  2D Design
Lots of painting with gouache, line, shape, texture.  Geared to graphic design, advertising almost, illustrative style.  This class was alright.  Learning about design was fun.  Gouache is a pain haha.  Simplifying and stylizing ideas can be fun.

Values and colour schemes.  I like this one.

Colour thing.

Lines Textures Shapes.  Black and white.

More black and white design.  Those bricks took forever to draw.

Christmas card.  It's a PS3 blueprint.  I like the colours here.

Quick in class thing.

Logo for a group promoting bikes instead of cars.  Like this one too.

Trying to "paint" with gouache here.  Like the shark.

Can you find my initials: PLW?  It's also a piranha.

Our family dog Millie, with a creative colour scheme.  I had to put the letter D in there, so I sort of it hid because it was annoying.

For a project about Canada, I managed to sneak some character design into the course after-all.  Like this one, which is good because it took forever to colour.

Timeline of a day.  Kind of rushed if I recall, so went for a minimalist design.

T-shirt design.

That's most of that class.  Yikes, this could take a while.

3. 3D Design
Sculpture stuff.  I liked second semester a lot more, the projects were more interesting.  Some of the projects that sounded "dumb" actually ended up being my favorite.  Telling a story on a shoe?  A pop-up book?

rough pop-up

I actually really liked this project.  Way more than I thought.  We picked a song, and then did something to a pair of shoes, so that it somehow related.  I picked "On the Way Back Home" by Lucero.  Sweet band, check the tune out and then have a look at the shoes.

"To get outta here, two options one chance, you joined the army, I started a band"

I really thought this was the dumbest project when we got it, but once I started scribbling some ideas out I really started liking it.  I did some rough sketches for some of the things, but drew most of them straight on in marker once I had an idea.  I tried to mirror things so that each shoe tells the story of one of these guys.  One guy joined the army, one guy in a band.  How they meet up and reminisce.  How there is one girl that they both think about.  I tried to draw similar things in the same place on each shoe.  One guy plays guitar, one guy carries a gun, albums, maps, radios, amps, a girl, booze, cards, a ghost.

This is a shark mask that fits on my face but scratches it up like crazy because the paper mache shrunk the frame.  Part of the marks were for wear-ability,  so I tried to pretend that teeth weren't digging into my face - they actually were quite sharp.

This is my head made out of cardboard.  This project took a long time, and used a lot of both glue and cardboard.  It was slightly less freaky as a hat-rack.

a series of shapes in different mediums.

This one surprised me too.  Really liked this one.  Kind of like a 3 panel storyboard.

Panel 2.  Just paper and pencil crayons.  "crazy" colours, mostly because that was what I had left hehe.

This panel is up there for my favorite thing of the entire year.

A sculpture of a character I designed.  I made up some story as to how he was cursed with elephant paws. I'm happy with the expression.

This was the unpainted guy.  Pretty sure I "designed" him as I sculpted.  Next time I will definitely try to draw the character first.  I liked this one too.

Some of my favorite projects from the year were from 2D Design and 3D Design, which surprised me a bit.  Alright, that's 3 of the 6 classes taken care of.

Part II sometime soon...


  1. Man, I'm sorry but I hated that shoe project right up until the very end...why was shoes?? It could have been anything, wtf shoes??
    But for the record I will add that some of the drawing classes did teach me a lot, which became evident when I came out here, and a lot of the students don't understand principle concepts. Except figure drawing. I feel like we learned nothing there.

  2. Haha ya, it really could have been anything. Plus it was kind of a smelly display because everyone brought in gross old shoes.

    I ignored that project for most of the time we had to work on it, then once I came up with my idea did it pretty quickly. The one good thing about it being shoes was that it was two things, so that gave me the idea of two similar compositions with different content.

    You're saying you thought some of the drawing systems stuff was good, but not so much the figure drawing stuff, right? I kind of see what you mean. It was a LOT of practicing without always specific direction I guess, but I think I learned a lot from practicing too.

    I did find second semester figure drawing kind of tedious, all those long poses that focused on colouring. Probably good to have done, just less enjoyable than shorter poses.

  3. Hi Pat, did you get a chance to learn to use programs like Photoshop or Illustrator during this program?

  4. Hi Sarah,

    The program focused mostly on using traditional media (stuff like acrylic paint, gouache, pencil crayon, marker, and conte). There were a few projects where you could use Photoshop etc. but it was never required or taught.

  5. Hi Pat, I m pretty sure i want to go to animation later. I just received Sheridan's AF offer. They gave me two weeks to make the decision, I also applied to George Brown's art and design foundation, but they haven't given me any reply. Do you think i should choose Sheridan?
    PS: In AF do you have class in morning? If so when does it start?I live in Toronto but i don't want to live on campus.
    Thank you so much!

  6. Hi Lesley,

    Ya there were a few morning classes. I think they started at 9:00. I'm not familiar with the George Brown program. Seneca at York has an animation program as well as an art fundamentals program. Probably a bit closer, and might be worth checking out.

    Sheridan AF was pretty good, just treat the assignments as half of the workload and spend the rest of your time doing life drawing and working on your portfolio :) Plus you get to see all kinds of great work in the halls.

    I'm in the animation program at Capilano right now, and it's awesome. They also do a separate 2 month summer animation course that I took that was a great intro.

    Hope that helps!

  7. Hi Pat,
    I want to go for the animation course at Sheridan but I was wondering to apply for the Arts fundamentals course just to brush up my skills. Should I choose Sheridan college or look for an alternative for the arts fundamentals course?