✧ ˚ . My Portfolio Before & After Art School. ˚ ✧

happy virgo season~~ isn’t she a beauty? hello everyone, my name is lilith and today we will be just having a chit chat where I will be sharing my high school art portfolio versus my RISD graduation portfolio I fear—oh god;;; okay;; I don’t really know what to say… I mean, it’s been a good five years since I even looked at this portfolio I just feel kind of shocked because I’ve come so far at the time, I was advised to put my figure
drawings at the very beginning of my portfolio, just because I was told that
the board of instructors reviewing these portfolios want to see that the
applicant has practiced with a live model but honestly, when I look at these
pieces now I can tell that they’re done from a photograph, not from a live model I’m sure that these instructors who have been in the working field for over, you
know, 20 years can also tell that they’re from pictures they keep in mind
that you’re going to be spending at least 2 semesters, if not 4
semesters, working with live models so they’re not going to be looking at
college-level life drawings I feel like at RISD at least a lot of them have
way more concept base works a lot of them had short films, or collages, or a
variety of combinations of mixed media that I wasn’t even aware of when I was 17 as you can see the first couple of my pieces from my portfolio are life
drawings for this one I tried to be a little more abstract because I was considering (for a hot minute) to apply to the CalArts BFA character animation
which I was not accepted because my portfolio was geared more towards
illustration, and I didn’t include-nor did I work on-any of the CalArts
requirements, because I was not fully aware of the difference between
illustration and animation at the time when I applied for this one, I tried
to create a more gestural drawing, as opposed to the previous ones, which are longer poses, and then after the life drawings, I included a couple of
different mediums just to show my breath versus depth the breath is my capability to work with a variety of mediums this one was a
study of a photograph, I think it took me five hours? five, six hours? which is
not bad, I think, for a 17 year old definitely not plein air though..but, you know I still can’t do plein air, that’s definitely something that I look forward
to getting better at after the watercolor, I did an oil painting I remember after my first sitting, my art studio instructor was like, “oh, her head is too far to the right” but at the time, I didn’t really see what he was talking about but then now looking at it, it would be nice if I can move her just a little bit the other way;; I mean I think it’s pretty good the eyes are done well, the whites I’m impressed at myself is this tooting my own horn? this one’s done in charcoal these are all photo studies I did not do any of this from life, I did not make any drawings from
life until my first semester at college but given the amount of time I had to
work on my portfolio, which was about… I want to say I started the summer of my
junior year so I was 17 8 months? I had about 8 months to pull it together which is pretty long if you think about it, but I think the way I evaluate
time now it’s very different from high school this one I was pretty proud of I thought that I handled the core shadow very well but as you can see the
reflected light is waaay to bright what is going onnn I feel like I captured her presence y’know, it’s not bad this one took me about 10 hours, I want to say? I was pretty proud of it now we are moving on to the creative part of the portfolio I remember at the time I was pretty obsessed with… I want to say these are
watercolor pencils? or just watercolor but it looks like watercolor pencils to me I also think I did this thing where I utilized a lot of colored pens
that were not waterproof, and then use water and make it bleed intentionally so
that’s how I created these smudgy effects I would say I was trying to work
with abstract composition, figures of different scale, seemingly arbitrary
patterns, motifs, and objects that doesn’t necessarily relate to a central
story so kind of like a collage except I draw every element I also included text,
words, which is still something I do now so it’s interesting that I started doing
this a long time ago and I totally forgot I think I said in my RISD senior
portfolio artist statement that words are very important to me I did try to use my own photographs for most of these sometimes I utilized reference
images I found on Tumblr back when tumblr was a thing, so these are
my sketchbook entries I think I included these in CalArts’, too I’m not sure.. CalArts’ might have included more figures, but I don’t have the sketchbook anymore unfortunately I did a bunch I did a bunch of sketchbook layouts and spreads for my tumblr mutuals and this one, her username as you can see here is “sweetheart”, except the “heart” was in
Japanese I know, it’s kind of funny and I think her name name was Maria I drew a lot of figures back
then, which is something that’s changed from my portfolio now, five years later I do not like to draw people anymore I don’t know why, maybe I just got sick of drawing them from foundation year or something oh yeah, I used a lot of reference photos here, as you can see I forgot which
designer this was, but I saw a picture of a close-up from a runway show
the New York Fashion Week but I can’t name the designer off the top of my head
it’s like yeah I just totally like ripped that off I think the rule of thumb is if
it looks 30% like the reference image, 30% or less, then you will not get sued copyright is super complicated, I can’t get
into it in this video this is one of the few
self-portrait I did, I had very short hair back then but then I cut my
hair even shorter for RISD I remember feeling especially proud of the way I
rendered the skeletons here, as well as the water, and the fish, I thought that
the water was very realistic I know why I had a heart hanging on a deer’s antler I’m not sure what these elements say about myself I think I was more
interested in the different textures that I got to draw, I think I used a little
bit too much color I’m not sure if you guys know now I use very little color so
I think maybe I should take some inspiration from this, find a better
balance between the two my impression of my portfolio
is simultaneously foreign and all too familiar at the same time because I
remember as I was making these feeling extremely confident and accomplished
feeling like this is the best work I’ve made I will continue to work like
this, thinking that I will progress in art school with this direction and
then that just totally did not happen but I will-I will show you later but yeah, I did a lot of figures you know, honestly, maybe this is like a wrong,
unpopular opinion, but I honestly don’t feel like these figure drawings helped too
much in the portfolio I mean it’s great to have 1 or 2, don’t get
me wrong, but I think I’m not a professional and I’m not on the board
that approves applicants to be accepted so I don’t know, but, I did get a pretty
big merit-based scholarship both times and my portfolio had over 50%
figure drawings, are they correlated? I’m not sure, I personally don’t think so?
maybe it shows that I’m very serious about drawing ^_^ let us open my portfolio there we go the other thing I want to include an
advice it’s when you are arranging your pieces for your portfolio depending on
what school it is I believe it was like 15 to 20 pieces for the slideroom
unless you just have a lot of work that are all equally flushed out they all
look like they got the same amount of labor and attention and focus unless you
have more than 20 and you had to narrow it down to 20, then fine, have 20 pieces but
usually I feel like it’s safer to air on this side of less pieces because more
likely than not, you’re going to be grabbing at mediocre works trying to
fill the 20 count, thinking that “if I have more works then I can show that I
draw a lot” right? “I can show that I have more experience” but putting in work
that’s not your best work actually will lower your overall impression, because
that’s telling the reviewer that you assess this as your best work when they
can clearly see it’s not, so then they would start to underestimate your
capabilities, or they’ll start to question like, “why is this amongst all
these other great pieces?” “why is this one here?” you don’t want them to
even have that thought, you just want them to be blown away from like
beginning to end so that’s why you have your best pieces, the first one and the
last one, you have your most well done, most rendered, most
you know-the “wow” factors you put it at the beginning and the end, and then the ones where it’s like, not your favorite, but you should show it, so maybe like a still
life or landscape or figure drawing or portrait or some sort of technical
aspects, for example in my high school portfolio I put the watercolor, it’s not
something that the reviewers will remember me by, because there are so many artworks that look like that watercolor painting but
the fact that I can do it when I’m in high school, what can I accomplish with four years of rigorous studio training? it’s sort of
the same concept here, except that now these pieces are grouped by theme,
working in series, I also included this piece which is an in-progress
sort of like a somewhat candid shot of my illustration I think I was doing a
study of Nobuyoshi Araki’s photographs from “Tokyo Lucky Hole” here is a pencil
drawing I did I was inspired by I think I was inspired by the Andromeda Galaxy? or
the Milky Way? but then when I was drawing it, it sort of ended up looking like
the ocean? so as you can see I’m still interested in mixed media, I still have that pen and ink going on but I’ve
honed in on color I’ve honed in on mark making, so each mark is more descriptive,
and each mark is necessary the intention of the line is obvious I would say compared to you know like the bookstore I started working with salt I basically
would draw this out in pencil sketch it all in pencil and all white and then I
would put down a very wet layer of water and I’ll add drops black acrylic ink, and as
it was drying I would throw on the salt and then sort of let the pieces push and pull, sort of let the ink and the pigments push and pull each other
these two are actually from the same piece, the piece itself is pretty long.. I think I can include a full picture over here..it’s very..long.. I titled this piece “Absolute Being” I did not get to work on it as much as I wanted to
after the watercolors I showcased a couple of my comics I did this my senior
year fall semester I was doing an adaptation of a book I really liked by
Maggie Nelson, “Bluets”, the text here is directly from the book I just sort of
visualized I gave her poetry a space to occupy in the “real” world
and then oh this part I added ” you look so different with your hair short”, I was
trying to allude to a breakup because people tend to cut their hair during
breakups idk if that’s a thing, I feel like it’s a thing I kind of weaved in a secondary story
along with the story told by Nelson in the actual book, in the secondary story I
described this protagonist that was never like her face was never shown
until the last page and her name was never mentioned but basically she had gone
through a breakup and then after she had broken up with her partner she realized
that she was pregnant so then she had to travel to the city alone to go through
with an abortion alone the unspoken narrative represented by a series of
fragmented images I’m hoping that I can complete this soon complete as I’m like
I have all the drawings done I just need to clean up the scans and redo the type
because as you can see here I’m like what what why is this why is there a halo it’s so ugh oh my god you can’t even read the words I’m like dying yeah I can’t can’t publish this I’m not sure if you guys are familiar with the book
but at one point it like the beginning I feel like the second page or third page
she mentioned like an X on a map so I used Roman numerals to sort of indicate
time passing the poetry book is all about the color blue about Nelson’s
personal experience her personal heartbreak and how she was in fact very
obsessed with blue so it’s definitely a very very interesting book I highly recommend everybody to read it I own two copies I do not know why I have 2 I was inspired
by French films when I did the series which is why they’re all black and white I
feel like the composition or the storytelling is similar to (I feel like I’m
butchering her name) Agnès Varda? I’ll put her name here I mean like not like trying to
compare myself to her at all I’m just saying that she was such a legend and I’m so
just deeply moved and inspired by everything that she did so I would say
that my comics definitely have some sort of film influence, personally I think
it’s because of the close-up but thread is very thin and loose, the thread
tying this all together it’s very nuanced, I do wonder if it is a
little too subtle but, I like it, I feel like that’s what matters the most, yes there’s
things to improve on but overall I’m very proud of myself, my sketchbook now
compared, as opposed to my sketchbooks then a lot of negative space, a lot of boxes, I came across Aidan Koch during a final crit in 2015 I definitely
think her graphic sensibility the way she arranges things in a two-dimensional
space is super fascinating to me she also does tattoos in New York and I
really really hope I can get one from her soon like I really wanna go get one, I
really love to work wet-on-wet so I put down a clean layer of water and then
I’ll just like dip things in with the tip of a brush with acrylic ink the big
difference though it has to be acrylic ink I tried with watercolor and gouache
this it’s just not the same, so for a while I did this and I would even invert it so that
it seemed like galaxy or skyscape like night sky here you can see that my mark
making has definitely improved, my sense of lights and darks I would say, instead
of relying on color to tell a story I just rely on the line, but I wonder if that
has made me overly dependent on it, I don’t think so, I’m not sure? I don’t
think about it that much drawing what I feel like, in that moment, in that day, or
in that week, this specific page I was reading “A Natural History of the Senses”
by Diane Ackerman and then for this one I believe I was reading, or thinking
about, “God Herself?” “God Herself: the Feminine Roots of Astrology” by Geraldine Thorsten amazing book, highly recommend,
super hard to get my hands on, I have yet to find a second copy anywhere like not
even at a library… this one also, “God Herself”, thinking about the
Triple Goddess, the Moon, thinking about “Bluets”, hence the blue…okay to wrap
this up! overall portfolio advice… so number one would be make sure that you
have clean scans and clean reproductions of your pieces so if you have
three-dimensional pieces make sure they’re photographed on a white background or
like an even background make sure that the resolution is sharp just like really
basic presentation things to tell the reviewer that you’re serious about your
pursuit number two is arrangement, arrange your strongest pieces beginning and
the end of the slideshow with your technical pieces that are strong but
easily forgotten because they’re very fundamental or rudimentary in the middle
your still-life painting, your landscape painting, you feel like does
not speak for who you are as a person, if I were to do over in my high school
portfolio I might have put my creative pieces in the beginning because
once I capture once i hook the reviewers interest I still have time to show them
I have a strong fundamental understanding of the human figure, of
values, etc, but I want the first five seconds, the first 10 seconds to be very
solid, or to be very different from the other applicants…..in terms of coming up
with what to draw, it would help to ask yourself what concerns you, what is
important to you, and I would recommend branching out of personal and emotional
experience because that’s what you have to do as an art student eventually down
the road, so showing the reviewers that you have the capacity that you are, you
know, engaging your community, that you are thinking critically about social
issues, about the environment, about sustainability, about culture, and race, it
could be your culture, your race, it could be, you know, your family heritage, it
could be about the intersection of being American but something else, being a
first generation, being immigrants from somewhere, there’s just like many ways to
branch off, I feel like I don’t want to elaborate too much because I don’t want
to pigeonhole, or like put this whole thing into a box, the idea is that, how is
what you make going to fit into the world after art school, you know? because
because getting into art school is not the end of your journey, it’s only the
beginning, trust me when RISD asks for creative or conceptual work, they are
asking to see what you have to say about something, so the first thing you have to do is
find that something, and be very passionate about it and I have a feeling
that you do have something that you passionate about it’s just that you’re
not sure how to start… start by asking questions, try to visualize that
question into an image, and then when the image is done, you might have already
found your answer oh, grades, I feel like that’s a big one too right?
the portfolio matters a lot more than your GPA, than your test scores the GPA and test scores do reflect your work ethic which is really important in art school because art school is very intensive, and
you really need stamina to pull through especially foundation at RISD,
but overall they will definitely be looking at your works and taking that
into heavy consideration as opposed to your 4.0 or 2400.. if you have 2400 & 4.0
but you can’t really draw, you’re gonna run into some issues, they might just ask
you to reapply like the next year or something, which is what a lot of people
do anyway, like if you don’t get accepted this year, don’t be discouraged, as
long as you know that this is what you want as long as you are certain that
you have a passion and you have a drive for it, you just need time to prove yourself,
or like prove to the school that you have what it takes, then just apply
the next year, you know? there is no rush, there are so many students in
undergrad in art school that are not fresh out of high school and yeah~ well,
this is my before-RISD-and-after-RISD portfolio, I hope that it was insightful
or entertaining in some way, I definitely would like to, you know, give more
insight as to RISD was or, tips on art school itself, but that’s
gonna have to be at a later time because my sister is leaving tomorrow for RISD,
and I don’t really want to do that sit-down video by myself, so we’re gonna
wait until we are reunited to talk about it together and that’ll be more fun, you know, it’s Pyperbleu after all, not just Lilith thank you for
listening to me talk I think I am going to sign off now so I
can quickly edit this and put up for you guys I wish you the best in your
preparation if you’re watching this thinking about applying to RISD or CalArts or Pratt or wherever let me know if this was helpful and let me know what other
questions you might have, and I will see you in the next video, so have a
wonderful day or night~~ bye~~

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