Course Description

Offered in Summer, Fall, and Spring.

CalArts' Visual Storytelling Portfolio Development Workshop is an eight-week online intensive designed to equip you with the tools necessary to achieve clear and engaging storytelling in your work. Some topics will include: character and specificity, composition, layout, staging, gesture, clarity, and fundamentals of storyboarding. Through various assignments, you will observe from life as well as film, work within the parameters of a "script", utilize your own original stories, and create strong story-driven work for your portfolios.

Assignments will vary from literal to abstract and will push you to break down stories into their simplest parts. Quality of drawing is not the focus in this course, but rather efficiency and clarity in drawing. Use of real media for assignments is not required but highly encouraged. Lectures to include demos, film clips and examples from art and media.

Portfolio Development Workshop class sessions and critiques are not live streamed. You are free to access the class materials each week at your convenience. You will work on your assignments on your own time and upload them to the class module on Access, a CalArts online learning platform, by a set deadline. At the end of the week, the instructor will give you direct feedback on submitted assignments with video critiques. Lectures and video critiques are pre-recorded.

Application Instructions

The demand for portfolio development workshops is very high, and you are strongly advised to submit your application materials as soon as possible. Please be advised that in the event that a class reaches capacity we will cease reviewing applications, which can happen at any time. Materials submitted after the deadline—or when application reviews are ceased—will be considered only if space remains or becomes available.

Enrollment in the this workshop is based on the instructors' review of:

  • Five examples of your work, which must include:
    • One life drawing of a plant
    • Two life drawings of whatever you wish to draw
    • Two other work samples of your choice 

Life drawing work samples should be drawn from real life, not a photograph or mirror. For more information on what we are looking for, click here.

Applications must be accompanied by a $10 fee.


  • You must be 14 years old or older to take part in this workshop.
Enroll Now - Select a section to enroll in
Section Title
Portfolio Development Workshop in Visual Storytelling
Sep 27, 2021 to Nov 26, 2021
Delivery Options
Course Fee(s)
Tuition non-credit $1,000.00 Click here to get more information
Section Notes
Course Supplies (you can work with traditional materials or digitally)
  • Paper or sketchbook (printer paper is fine)
  • Thin line drawing pens (no ball point pens)
  • Black Sharpie (fine point)
  • Student's choice of colors (markers, watercolors, chalk pastels)

Technical Capabilities

  • Computer w/ internet connection
  • Scanner or decent digital camera; images will be emailed size 72 DPI around 12" x 14"
  • Digital Drawing programs are allowed but not required
  • Sloppy cell phone pictures will not be accepted. Take the time to crop the image to be "scanner equivalent"