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 portfolioclinics@ocadu.ca
  • Registration opens one month prior to the start date of the workshop.
  • Fee: $101.70 ($90.00 plus HST) 
  • 9:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Detailed information about the day will be emailed to registrants approximately one week prior to the workshop. Registration closes 72 hours prior to the Portfolio Clinic date. If you wish to register past this time and before the Portfolio Clinic starts, you can call 416-977-6000 ext. 493 to see if there are still spots available.

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


Workshop Descriptions

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.

Encaustic Painting

Encaustic 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 students to the medium using a range of materials, tools and equipment. Wax is heated and mixed with pigment (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 students will have the opportunity to engage with a variety of techniques, and work on multiple pieces.

Drawing-on-Paper Animation (Fall Only)

In this one-day workshop, students will produce and develop 2D animations by drawing on paper. These 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.

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.

Graphic Design and Custom Typography

This graphic design and typography workshop looks at the study and practice of letters, words, and imagery. Students will learn briefly about some historical, political, and social intent and practice of various type-driven work. Using a variety of tools, from their laptop to their hands, they’ll learn how to convey emotion and function through typography. Students might develop a typographic sensibility and voice for something louder, or something quieter, or moments of surprise. Through this course, students will develop a third meaning to the content itself; the first being the intent of the words themselves; the second being its social impact; and the third being your interpretation/creation. Afterwards, they may discover an inclination towards typographic voice and a better understanding the role graphic design has played in social causes.

The Etched Image (Winter only)

Discover the beauty of the etched line and explore the production of a small print edition. In this workshop students will learn the basics of preparing copper plates, transferring original hand drawn images, etching and printing. Students will be encouraged to explore images that revolve around our environment. As students work together in a collaborative print studio, similar and disparate themes will evolve.

Introduction to Silkscreen

In this introductory level workshop, students will learn about the processes and possibilities of silkscreen, and class discussions will touch upon aspects of the broader print community. The technical processes of silkscreen will be demonstrated, so that workshop participants will be able to generate their own imagery and take home a finished print by the end of the day. Students will be shown how silkscreens work, basics of designing artwork for screen, differences in inks, different printing substrates, terminology, one-colour printing techniques, and we will be discussing print culture in general throughout the workshop.

Concepts of reproduction, the idea of the multiple and the history of print media will be introduced throughout, and connected to the print processes being demonstrated, so as to enable students to understand the relevance of printmaking as an art form, within the broader context of contemporary art.   

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.