BFA Thesis progress blog

DUE each class period = semiweekly! A grade will be assigned once per month.


Progress Blog Set-up

Each student will create an online blog that will be the repository of ideas, research, process, and progress for the BFA Thesis artwork. This is a common practice at many universities.

This blog must be shared with both professors and their BFA Exhibition Advisor (selected by the student). At the end of each class, students will make a new post indicating what they have accomplished. In addition, their process schedule will be contained on a calendar embedded in the blog. This will be a valuable tool in ensuring the students stay on track with their schedule to complete the work in one semester. But ideally, the blog should be much more than a calendar. It should be the equivalent of your sketchbook, a place where we can see how your concepts and aesthetic have evolved through the semester, a depository for your ideas. The faculty are committed to communicating via the blog, and other students are encouraged to contribute to your blog as well.

Project 1: "The Pocket Notebook"

DUE September 8;

Keep a notebook collecting all your thoughts and questions.

This notebook will become the process by which you creatively develop your concept for your BFA exhibition work.

This assignment is designed to encourage you to look around the world around you for inspiration, observation, and ideas. You will be given a pocket-sized notebook and pencil that you will carry with you everywhere for TEN DAYS. During these ten days -- with the reminder right in front of you -- you will jot down things you notice, your thoughts, doodle interesting pix, etc. We hope you will be so inspired by the project that you’ll keep on doing it (and the instructors are doing it too!) In this technologically savvy age, why should we carry a pocket notebook, you might ask? Well, here’s some reasons why (modified from an industry leader, Keller INK)

1. It Will Make You Smarter
It’s been proven in several studies that the physical act of writing increases students’ learning. Surprisingly, muscles in the fingers give the brain stronger feedback when writing than typing, which helps with retention. It engages different brain circuits than typing. Similarly, it’s been reported that handwriting aids in memory. For example, if you write a list and then lose it, you are more likely to remember the items on the list than if you had simply read or typed them.

2. It Will Make You More Purposeful
Notebooks allow you to organize your thoughts, begin meetings with a purpose, be an active listener during them and revisit your notes at any time.This process will help you zero in on your objectives and your action items.

3. It Will Make You More Creative
Using a pen and paper is not restrictive in any way. You can sketch, write, circle, doodle and question anything you like at any given moment. You might say using a notebook actually combats creative blocks. It even promotes total left-field creation, which is sometimes the most successful. Plus, it’s a medium that everyone knows and can interact with that doesn’t seem too finalized, which begs for feedback and collaboration.

Example Questions: Do NOT use questions to which there are direct answers such as "How do Magnets Work?"

Project 2: Introduce your work and strengths

DUE August 27; presentations will be from Aug 27 to Sept 3

PART I: Presentation:

Prepare a 10-minute presentation that walks us through your strongest work from the past one to three years. Please rehearse your presentation and set up (copied to the instructor computer desktop) before class begins.

As professors of this class, we aim to mentor each student to create the best possible body of work for the BFA exhibition. This presentation is your moment to show us that you are capable of creating a BFA thesis work in your preferred medium. Bring in work that 1) highlights your technical and conceptual strengths, 2) shows what concepts and ideas you are passionate about. Only include work that is pertinent to what you want to do. If you are unsure, bring in your best work and the class will help you figure out an approach.

PART II: Self-Assessment Essay:
Write a VERY short summary of where you are artistically. By this we mean what area(s) of digital arts do you consider your primary medium? What do you make? Do you have a style? Do you tend to work on specific themes or types of ideas? What is distinctive about your work? This is not a summary about professional (industry) goals; rather this is about your ART.
Find an artist / artwork that in some way is connected to yours, whether it is style, type, content, or inspiration. Mention this work in your summary and if you wish, include pictures or links.

This essay MUST be typed up and posted to your progress blog following your presentation. (due 8/27 and 9/3).

Project 3: The Contract

DUE Wednesday, SEPTEMBER 10; posted to your blog before class begins


As explained in class, you will be working each class period (and outside of class) on a body of work for the BFA exhibition. You will have biweekly check-points in some format (see calendar online). This contract will explicitly spell out what you will be working on during and outside of class. I will check your progress against this contract, which we will adjust depending on our conversations.

For the BFA in Digital Arts Thesis project, your body of work must fit within one of the specialized Digital Arts areas at BGSU, based on our program description:

The School of Art offers a BA in Art with a Digital Arts specialization, as well as a BFA degree in Digital Arts with three areas of focus:

Computer Animation & Video - both 2D and 3D animation with a strong emphasis on 3D including non-linear digital video editing and compositing. Students work with narrative, and non-narrative experimental animation and video art as well as character animation.

Imaging - a focus on still images using digital photography, digital painting, collage and hybrid media. Works may be created using various printing techniques including large format, and experimental as well as 3D ceramic rapid prototyping.

Interactive Multimedia - emphasis on creative art development using HTML, CSS, Javascript, and Processing for online and mobile devices as well as installation and interactive physical artworks.

Projects that fall EXCUSIVELY within another discipline or something that we do not teach within the digital arts program, such as: illustration, comics, graphic novels, anime, etc. are not acceptable media for your BFA Thesis exhibition.

However, digital projects that cross boundaries are encouraged. For example, if you want to combine your digital skills with other areas, such as glass, ceramics, printmaking, etc. that is acceptable. The craftsmanship and level of skill must be equivalent to that of the BFA in 2D or 3D studies. Work that crosses boundaries will be juried by faculty in both areas (i.e DA and 3D).

The final project should be a finished work - something that you would see displayed in a gallery or film festival. In other words, a body of work that is a step in the production pipeline is not a body of finished artwork. (i.e. a storyboard or character design sheet are steps in the process, not acceptable as a body of work.)

You contract must contain FOUR PARAGRAPHS which specify:

  1. What you will work on (type/genre of digital art, i.e. animation, video, digital imaging, installation, interactive work, etc.). Is it one piece, a series, or several works?
  2. What idea/concept drives your project? What theme will the project address? If this is time-based, it should include a synopsis of the piece. Otherwise, it should be a concept statement
  3. Describe the formal aesthetics and unique style and HOW that supports the concept.
  4. What final format will your artwork take (medium & size)? Discuss specifically how it will be displayed in the gallery (recall that each student gets about 12’ of linear wall space or 12 square feet of floor space).
In addition, you must submit:
  1. A DIAGRAM (professionally drawn in Photoshop digitally OR neatly drawn by hand and scanned in) that shows the display in the gallery. Rough sketches will be rejected.
  2. A list of equipment that you will need for both PRODUCTION - making the artwork (i.e. cameras, scanners, etc.) as well as for final DISPLAY in the BFA Thesis Exhibition gallery. We need this so we can begin working on those needs immediately.
  3. A Production Calendar that works backward from the final due date to today (including all the class dates) and breaks down every step of the production process. Be sure to list the midterm and final exam dates. If it is imaging, include time for printing and framing. If it is installation, include time to build the 3D elements and a test set-up. Time-based should include all aspects from storyboard/script through render and output. This is a SPECIFIC set of weekly goals. YOU MUST INCLUDE A LIST OF DATES WITH GOALS that can be put in your google calendar on your blog. You may want to imbed a google calendar with dates into your blog layout.
This contract MUST be posted to your progress blog before class begins.

I will briefly meet with each of you on September 10th and September 15th and suggest revisions if necessary. You should come to that class prepared to start your project.

Project 4: Midterm Defense of your thesis

DUE OCTOBER 7; presentations will be on Oct 7 and Oct 9

A thesis defense is a formal presentation of both your conceptual ideas and  4-weeks of progress on your body of work leading to the BFA thesis exhibition. You will be given 10 minutes to explain your concept through visuals. Afterwards there will be a rigorous question and answer session with the DA faculty. You are required to be articulate as you discuss your idea. You will receive a GRADE based on the average of the participating faculty's grades. Upon passing the defense, you will continue to progress on your work integrating appropriate faculty comments. The defense also offers an opportunity to better choose your official BFA Thesis Advisor, as you will hear comments from all DA faculty.

How to Pass a Thesis Defense: Example Grade Sheet:
4180 Midterm Grade Sheet (PDF)

Defense Schedule
Room may change
Arrive 10-minutes prior to your time slot.
See class schedule page for a link to schedule times.

Final Thesis Defense & Artist Statement

  DRAFT DUE November 12th
Final Artist Statement DUE December 17th
Now that you understand your body of artwork for the BFA Senior Thesis Exhibition, you need to begin writing the ARTIST STATEMENT for it.

In ARTC 4090, you have already discussed the goals and formats of the artist statement and did a reading with examples. If you want to review this, you can find the reading again HERE


This statement must specifically address the body of work you are creating in this class. It is different than the general artist statement you are making in 4090. This statement will be hung in the gallery next to your artwork in the BFA Exhibition!

There are many different approaches you can take to HOW you write the statement and what you choose to INCLUDE in the statement. Examples of what you may want to include / think about are:
  • Paragraphs about your underlying concept or THEME of this work
  • Your artistic style (as seen in this body of work)
  • Your inspirations or motivations (for the body of work)
  • Info about your PROCESS (as relevant to this work)
  • The medium you've selected - why you chose it and how you use it (if relevant to concept)
  • Quotes from research that support your idea
  • Consider your audience when writing it (it is not a CG community)
  • More information about writing an artist statement, available online HERE
  • Still more information about writing an artist statement, available online HERE

Turn in a hard copy to me and put a digital copy on your blog.

DRAFT DUE November 12th
Final Artist Statement DUE December 17th

Revised, updated FINAL version due based on instructor feedback on first draft.
Your BFA Advisor must have SIGNED OFF ON and APPROVED your Artist Statement by the Final Exam on December 17th at 3:30pm.

Final Presentation of your Artwork


Final Artwork Presentations
Prepare and present a final body of your artwork. This should fit into the same format as the 15 minute midterm thesis defense.

Advisor Form
2nd Advisor meeting and accompanying form DUE at the time of your defense.

See what time your presentation is HERE

Completed Work

DUE DECEMBER 17; 3:30--5:30pm

PART I: Finished Work
Your work must be turned into the instructor in it's finalized form, ready for the BFA senior show in the spring.

PART II: Revised Artist Statement
All changes noted on your artist statement must be remedied and a new copy printed out. ** YOUR ADVISOR MUST SIGN OFF ON THIS STATEMENT (their signature on the paper).

PART III: BFA Exhibition Forms (note there are 2)

Each student MUST turn in a filled out review entry form, which you can get here .
Each student MUST turn in a filled out proposal form, which you can get here .
A copy of the prospectus can be found here .
Additional information on the exhibit can be found at a later date.