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Portfolio Requirements


  1. Overview - what the studios want
  2. Research


There are NO single set of portfolio requirements that addresses what ALL studios are looking for. Be prepared for all scenarios and requirements.

Question from an online post:

I'm really interested in putting together a Character design portfolio. Can anybody give me info on what I should have in it? Should I create characters based on the styles of current cartoons? Should I include my own stuff? How many drawings is good enough to show my range, how much of my style, and established styles should I put in?


The most important thing about a portfolio is that it must be impressive. When I interview character designers, I want to be blown away by their work. So, only include work that will amaze other people.

This means you'll necessarily include your strongest work.

I like to see diversity. Provide a wide variety of stuff, but don't include something just because it adds variety. Only include it if it's amazing.

I need less than ten drawings to judge a person's talent, but I like to see dozens.

Other drawings are definitely good to have in there, but don't put them in just because you "need to have some human body studies", put them in because they're excellent, and they show that you have a range of skills.

Warner Brothers Requirements:

At least one page of the following:

  1. Figure studies that show economy of line
  2. Figure studies that show dynamic poses
  3. One page each showing you can draw extremities (noses, eyes, ears, mouths, hands and feet)
  4. Unique and creative character designs

Warner Brothers Recruiter Quote: It take 10,000 bad drawings to get one really good drawings so draw all the time.

Disney Requirements:


All portfolios (except those submitted for Background, Story and Visual Development positions) should contain the following, not exceeding 25 samples for the entire submission.

* A resume is absolutely essential. Portfolios will be returned if a resume is not submitted at the same time. A brief letter outlining your area of interest (character animation, background, layout, etc.) is also important.

* A good selection of carefully rendered figure drawings using line to emphasize volume and structure. Also include sketch books or loose sketches (mounted) of animals and humans in motion done in quick gesture style.

* Samples of your color and design sense (watercolors, character design or whatever you feel appropriate)

* Samples that show your imagination

* Generally, drawings should be from live subjects. Do not copy photographs.

* Recent work is a must. We should be able to evaluate your current skill level. (We prefer not to see student work unless you are currently enrolled in an art program or have recently graduated.)

* If interested in story, sketch, layout, background or effects, approximately half of the portfolio should reflect appropriate art.


* Copies of Disney (or other studios') characters

* Comic strip or comic book work (the exception being portfolios for layout).

* Super hero and science/fantasy illustrations.

* Graphic, poster, industrial and advertising design.

* Clay animation models or sculpture

* Textile, jewelry of three-dimensional design work.

Disney Character Design Artist:

* Character design samples, including the following:
- Hero/Heroine types
- "Funny animals"
- Incidental characters (i.e., "movie extras")
- Villains
- Realistic animals
- Anthropomorphised objects
* Clothing/costuming examples, both serious and comic, for a single character type
* Demonstrate an ability to manipulate a single character with consistency, i.e., model sheets, series of poses, characters in environments, etc.
* Quick gesture sketches of two or three characters
* Have several variations on one character, or the "casting" of a character, e.g.,., tall dark and handsome, short and squat, evil, benevolent (the kind of character and his/her variations is up to you).


Each assignment must be preceded by research
  • Google
  • Library
  • Direct observation
  • Photography