Portfolio Clinics

OCAD University has created a unique program of day-long workshops designed to give you the opportunity to explore new territory, build confidence in your skills as a visual communicator and get a sense of what it's like to be a student here. 

Start the day in a presentation about how to build a strong portfolio, followed by the workshop of your choice designed to inform and inspire your creativity. You will either complete a piece of work to include in your portfolio or learn a new skill that will enable you to create new work. The workshops provide a great opportunity to study with professionals. 

Workshops run for a full day. The cost of the workshop covers instruction and most materials. Not all workshops are available at every scheduled date.

Please note that the Portfolio Clinics are primarily designed for those who are interested in applying to a post-secondary art or design school. The curriculum of the workshops is not appropriate for students under the age of 15.

  • Email questions to Admissions & Recruitment 
  • Registration opens one month prior to the start date of the workshop.
  • Fee: $101.70 ($90.00 plus HST) 
  • 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Registration coming soon!

Detailed information about the day will be emailed to registrants approximately one week prior to the workshop. Registration closes the Thursday prior to the Portfolio Clinic date at noon.

2019/2020 Portfolio Clinics Schedule

Saturday November 23, 2019
Saturday November 30, 2019
Saturday December 7, 2019
Sunday January 12, 2020
Saturday January 25, 2020
Saturday May 23, 2020

Registration coming soon...

Sample Workshop Descriptions

More to be added soon...

Creating Comics

Communication and storytelling are foundations of illustration and comics. The comics medium is an  exciting and accessible way for emerging illustrator/cartoonists to engage the public, in the form of self-publishing zines, graphic novels, and online comics.  Through varied genres like autobiography, fantasy, and Graphic Medicine, there are audiences for every story.   This workshop introduces you to how comics work and includes several collaborative and individual exercises exploring pacing and editing, creating characters, and word and picture combinations. Zines and self-publishing will also be discussed. You will learn about authorship (creator developed, owned, and disseminated work) and how to create comics.

Encaustic Painting

Encaustic, or wax, is among the earliest known painting mediums currently in use. From its early associations with Greek and Egyptian funerary practices, to the Pop-inspired works of Jasper Johns, to the explosion of contemporary painters exploring and expanding its metaphorical possibilities, encaustic allows for a broad range of interpretations and applications. This workshop introduces you to the medium using a range of materials, tools and equipment. Wax is heated and mixed with oil paint, then applied in layers for a rich translucent finish. Changes can easily be made by reheating, manipulating, and scraping away areas to be revised. Because it dries so quickly you will be able to complete several paintings by the end of the day.


Experiments in Creative Writing & Performative Drawing

This experimental/non-traditional workshop employs the methods and tone of mindfulness and meditation practices to inform and ignite poetry writing and large scale performative drawing and mark-making. With a strong emphasis on process, creative writing exercises will drive performative drawings where each work is a record of the intuitive gestures and movements of the body, while letting go of the need to draw something representational.Working in this way, participants experience the possibilities that emerge when we release control in creative exploration, and instead slow our process, quiet the mind and embrace our intuition. Students leave this workshop with two or more short pieces of creative writing or poetry, and two or three large scale drawings for their portfolio; as well, students will discover a sense of calm and a new perspective on the connections between creative practice and health and wellness.


Drawing Shortcuts for the Aspiring Designer: From 2D to 3D

Technical drawings are used by many professions to communicate precise ideas in design and engineering fields by simplifying an object into 3 views and showing how something functions or is constructed. In the arts, technical drawings are an essential part of industrial, environmental and interior design, yet due to their effectiveness in communicating complex information, these drawings are increasingly being used in illustration fields as well. This workshop will begin by introducing you to the specific visual language used on technical drawings as you learn to draw an object in 3 views and understand the relationship between those views. You will learn how to add dimensions and use varied line thickness to create a functional drawing. You will then use your completed drawing as an underlay to make design changes to add features or personalize your object drawing. This portfolio clinic offering is perfect for students interested in Environmental and Industrial Design at OCAD U.

Drawing-on-Paper Animation

Drawing-on-Paper Animation
In this one-day workshop, students will produce and develop 2D animations by drawing on paper. This animations will be composed of individual drawings produced by each student, and later edited together into one continuous loop. Students will be guided through the pre-production (generation of ideas, themes, and storyboards), production (2D animation on paper), and post-production processes (editing and rendering video) that is required to complete an animation. Dragonframe and Adobe Photoshop CC software will be used for capturing and editing the animations.

Figure Drawing

This workshop focuses on developing observational and compositional skills through representation of the human figure. Students will engage in a variety of exercises that explore drawing and mark making techniques, beginning with a discussion on the role that figure drawing plays in artistic practice. Through the demonstration of materials and examples of composition development, the workshop will lead students through a variety of short gesture poses and work towards longer sustained poses.

Model Making

This workshop is intended for students interested in Industrial and Furniture Design. Students will generate a scale model of an object of their choice using extruded polystyrene foam. Students will be introduced to examples of foam in model making and the various tools required. It is advised that students generate their own design sketches of household items to model, examples: teapot, jug, sofa, chair, screwdriver, spray bottle, etc. Communicate your designs spatially, an important skill every designer will need in their toolkit.

The Transparent Landscape

Through utilizing the screenprint facilities at OCADU, we will explore the rich history of printmaking, relevant artists, and techniques necessary to design a multi-layered ‘series’ of prints on paper. You will see the complete process of how to develop a screen using light-sensitive emulsion, create your own hand-cut stencils, and use the light unit to expose a detailed stencil. Modified inks will allow you to build layers of transparent shape to develop a truly unique landscape composition. Read up on your colour theory. What is a landscape to you?

OCAD U reserves the right to make changes to this information. Inquire early as space is limited. Clinics may be cancelled due to low enrollment.

Student Comments

"Great opportunity to try new media, with personal assistance (small classes) and lots of hands on experience, not watching someone else make art half the time. Good value."

"It was such a great experience! I learned so much in such a short period of time. It was really fun, I would go again!"

"OCAD U provides a lot of hands-on experience, which will help you determine whether your chosen program is suitable for you or not."

“I learned what to put into my portfolio and I have a better understanding of what a university is expecting of me.”