Course Description

Due to overwhelming interest, we are no longer reviewing applications as the program has reached capacity. 

Applications are currently being reviewed for our other summer animation programs, including the Portfolio Development Workshop in Visual Storytelling, the Portfolio Development Workshop in Character Design, and the Portfolio Development Workshop for Artists and Animators.

Applications Open: January 2, 2021

Enrollment/Payment Deadline: May 24, 2021

CalArts Extended Studies' Animation Intensive gives artists around the world an opportunity to come together and develop foundational skills without having to travel. During this four-week program, students study drawing and design for film, and access workshops & lectures designed to broaden their understanding of animation as a multi-faceted art form. The program will include topics such as story development, animation history, character design, world building, and stop-motion animation presented by professional animation artists. Course content is developed by CalArts faculty from our esteemed Experimental and Character Animation Programs, giving students a great opportunity to connect with members of our community and receive mentorship.

Designed for emerging artists interested in professions and college programs in animation, this course will give a boost to high schoolers exploring creative options, young adults transitioning into college, and adult artists aiming to jump-start their artistic practice. Students will be given assignments to complete independently and post to the virtual classroom. Faculty will present a video critique of everyone's work for each assignment, giving students the added benefit of viewing and learning from a variety of interpretations of the same assignment. Students will support one another and share feedback in a constructive learning environment, giving them the opportunity to make friends, connect with other artists in the program, and develop a creative peer group. 

In the last week of the program, to ensure students have the opportunity to showcase their work, receive individual mentorship, and have access to college admissions advice, there will be a culminating group show, scheduled one-on-one meeting with instructors, and the option to participate in a session hosted by the CalArts Animation Admissions Counselor. Students will leave this program with the confidence and knowledge to achieve their creative goals, and with new work suitable for college application portfolios.

To get an idea of what a typical week in Animation Intensive might look like, click here to view a sample schedule.

Fees, materials, & technology:

Program fee includes instruction only. Click here to view a list of recommended materials with suggested alternatives in the event that specific items are not available. Students will also have the option of working digitally. Non-digital work may be submitted very simply as uploaded photos of the work. To participate in this program students must have a computer, tablet, or smartphone, and reliable access to high-speed internet. Headphones with an inline microphone, such as Apple earbuds, are recommended for one-on-one meetings.


  • John Mahoney
  • Nicholas D'Agostino
  • Pixote Hunt

Past Guest Artists:

Application Instructions

Enrollment in this intensive is based on the review of:

  • 5 images of original artwork, consisting of drawings or paintings. At least 2 of the images must be life or figure drawing examples. These examples should be from observation—not from a photograph, memory or imagination.

Applications must be accompanied by a $10 fee.

Applications will be considered—space permitting—on a rolling basis through May 21, 2021. Applicants are encouraged to submit their materials as soon as possible for full consideration, as space in the program is limited. We will cease reviewing applications once the program is full, and may resume reviewing applications in the order they are received should space become available. 


Enrollment is open to both beginning and more advanced artists ages 14+. Basic drawing skills and a willingness to be challenged are essential.


This course is not available for enrollment at this time. Click "Request Information" to be notified when enrollment for the next section opens.