Portfolio requirements for Graphic Storytelling

Your portfolio should represent you as an artist and storyteller and include your best work.

PLEASE NOTE: These are the portfolio requirements of 2021 and they are subject to change; updated portfolio requirements will be uploaded in September 2022.

The portfolio is all about you giving us the clearest picture possible of who you are as a visual storyteller, so make sure you highlight every part of your skillset.

You can freely choose the medium of your drawings – traditional or digital; however, it is good to see your skills in both mediums.

Please note that all dialogue and other text must be written in English.

Content requirements for Graphic Storytelling portfolio

  1. Letter of intention (max 4000 characters with spaces)
    With your letter of intention, you are giving the admissions panel a chance to get to know the person behind the work: Your background, interests, and motivations for applying.

    The letter should be written in English and in the form of an essay, not bullet points or Q & A-style answers to the questions.

    Some possible topics to cover:
    • Why are you applying, what made you choose this specific program, and how does that choice tie in with your ambitions for the future?
    • How do you see your own strengths and weaknesses as a creative in terms of craft, vision, drive etc.? What are you especially hoping to improve at by studying at TAW?
    • What or who inspire(s) you as a creative person? Consider naming some favorite creators or works (comics, films, games, books …) and talking about how and why they inspire you.
    • Tell us about any relevant experience you may have, work or study or other! Anything from paid work to passion projects applies.
    • Formative experiences: Things you have done or that have happened to you, good or bad, that you think shaped you in terms of who you are now.

  2. Sequential storytelling (10 - 18 pages total)
    Create two comics that comply with the requirements detailed below. For both, the key is to show us that you are able to tell stories and convey information through the medium of comics. We are especially looking for work where:
    • Writing, design, drawing style, etc. form a cohesive whole
    • Individual images are clear, expressive and well-composed
    • Panel-to-panel progressions, as well as page layouts, read clearly while also supporting what you're trying to say

    2a. First comic: Non-fiction (4 - 6 pages)
    A comics-explainer on a phenomenon, event, or person that fascinates you. It could be objective, maybe even academic, it could be an impassioned call to action, it could be a philosophical treatise with pictures – anything you like, as long as it's comprehensible, truthful and compelling. Formal requirements:
    • The comic must include dialogue and/or captions
    • Autobiography is not allowed
    • It has to be a complete, finished story or piece; color is optional

    2b. Second comic: Fiction (6 - 12 pages)
    A fiction short story, where style, genre, theme etc. is completely up to you. Try to create something you would want to read! If you have a bigger story in mind than you can fit into this page count, make sure to present us with a satisfying chunk of it – even if you see your story as a prologue to something larger, it should still make sense on its own. As with the first comic, pages should be finished and color is optional.

  3. World Building (text + min. 12 drawings)
    Create a unique fictional universe that you believe could be the setting for interesting stories. It can be entirely fantastical, set in the future or some alternate universe, or it can be almost like our own world with some crucial twist(s) – or somewhere in between. The less it feels like something we've seen plenty of times before, the better.

    The following are the requirements for written and drawn descriptions of your world; feel free to integrate them as you see fit and include bonus material when relevant.

    3a. World Building: Text
    • Write a brief text (no more than 2000 characters with spaces) explaining what this universe is and how it works. Try to give us a sense of what makes it different from others we've seen - what its 'unique selling point' is.
    • Briefly describe how this universe could be utilized on 3 different media platforms of your choosing (max 1000 characters w/ spaces in total). Maybe you imagine a computer game taking place there, or a TV, comics or kid’s book series, or a toy line – what kind of game/series/toys/etc. would they be?
    • Create at least 3 characters who could inhabit this universe and write a brief bio for each one (max 500 characters w/ spaces per bio).
    • Write brief synopses for at least 3 stories that could be set in the universe (max 1000 characters w/ spaces per synopsis). Depending on what kind of media you have described above, imagine you're outlining three TV series episodes or comic book issues or computer game quests – whatever the case may be.

    3b. World Building: Drawings
    • 3+ drawings showing key environments in your universe - what does it look like?
    • 3+ character drawings, one per characters, each showing the character doing something that's characteristic of who they are.
    • 3+ creature or prop drawings, depending on what's particularly salient to show from your universe.
    • 2+ illustrations where you bring characters, creatures/props and environments together and give us a sense of the overall tone and atmosphere of the stories you want to tell in this universe. Think of them as promotional images for a film/game/toy line, splash pages from a comic, illustrations from a book set in your universe or whatever might be relevant for your universe and choice of media.

  4. Life drawing (min. 8 drawings)
    Drawings from life of naked human bodies, using whatever tools you like. We like to see a mix of everything from detailed studies to quick sketches. The point of these drawings is to demonstrate a good understanding of the anatomy, proportions, gesture and weight of the human figure.

  5. Story (max. 2500 characters with spaces)
    Write a childhood memory that could be used as the basis for a comic. It should be in prose text, not script form. In this category, you must show your abilities as a storyteller. We focus on your ability to structure your story and make it compelling.

  6. Optional
    This is where you can include additional work that didn't fit into the above categories, but still helps to show who you are creatively: drawings, animation, story ideas, graphic design, and other creative projects.

    Also, should you have relevant recommendations or references and wish to include them in your portfolio, this is the place to put them.