Applying to IGAD: Intake assignments
The part that initially I worried about the least in this whole applying process was making the intake assignments. I was quite confident in my drawing skills in general as I had seen some of my competition from previous, and even current, year of applying and in some cases I went “wow!” and in some cases “…huh.”.
In the end being accepted at IGAD is a sum of multiple factors, of which the intake assignments only play a medium-to-large-sized part. It’s not the whole selection criteria as far as I know, and similar care should be taken when crafting your motivation letter, CV and really making it clear what are the school’s benefits in taking you on board as a student. As an older student-to-be I could play this factor in my favor and display strong work ethics from the jobs I’ve had. It figures, that a person who actually gets to do what they always wanted to do but couldn’t, would probably work their backside off to get this programme done successfully.
Anyway! Enough of my ramblings, and more hints, tips and tricks.
I will go ahead and list the intake assignments, show my final pieces, critique them with what I think their weak points are, and link to resources that helped grow from “I’ll never get this right” to “Hey, this is pretty decent!” in a few weeks.
IGAD intake assignments for Visual Artists
I’ll start off with a disclaimer: these were the intake assignments in 2014. They might change them, and you should always follow whatever documentation you get from NHTV regarding these assignments. However, it’s a great artistic exercise, so doing these on your own will allow you to try new things! Just be sure to read through the assignments PDF you get, and make sure to return the files exactly as requested (size, compression, file name).
Drawing a self-portrait
This, right here, was the bane of my existence.
To draw an accurate self-portrait with even an inch of resemblance to yourself, you need to look at yourself in the mirror for long periods of time and note the relationships of different elements of your face. You need to have the observational skills of an owl.. at night…. on steroids. For this one I could not find any articles online that helped me, so that would probably explain why it was one of the harder assignments for me.
Secret shame story time: I re-drew this portrait about 10 times before it actually looked like me. I wish I were kidding, but I’m not. I learned a big lesson about observation.
You probably notice that the placement of eyes is off-center vertically. I could have probably also spent some time adding some shading to my hoodie. Nonetheless, I’m fairly pleased with the end result.
Drawing a landscape with building(s)
To draw an accurate environment, you have to consider the perspective in all things. I found an article on geometric perspective from For Dummies which helped me to realize that in order to start off well, I needed to define a horizon and the vanishing point(s) before putting in any detail.
If I were to choose my favorite assignment, this one would be it. Since I rarely ever drew environments before, my brain didn’t assume it knew what these buildings looked like, ultimately allowing me to observe the scenery better and ending up with a way more correct drawing than I would have even dared to hope for.
To give myself a bit of critique: Some irrelevant lines are much bolder than need be, and for example the bush at the front wasn’t that well-observed as it looks more like a pile of leaves rather than anything else. I could have also drawn the bricks better by leaving space between them, instead of signifying the space with a line, because I made it look like the bricks were much closer to each other than they actually are! The perspective should be quite accurate however, as I was busy making sure all relevant things were pointing to the vanishing point. Also, a major minus point for myself would be drawing this landscape from a picture (that I took an hour before drawing, but still) instead of following instructions and drawing at the location. I wonder if it shows?
Drawing a clean line art of a vehicle
The most foreign of all subjects for me, this assignment took me plenty of practice to get right. I spent a bunch of lunch breaks sitting at our company’s parking lot just drawing away all the cars that I liked. I also found a great YouTube video for drawing cars in perspective and another one about drawing wheels in perspective which allowed me to get a glimpse of the technique that car fanatics use while drawing, so I used that to my advantage, creating sweeping curves and then blocking in the details.
I found that it was easier to draw from life than it was to draw from a picture, funnily enough! The result was still not 100% what I wanted to be, but I ran out of time (bad excuse, I know). My final assignment file looked like the following:
As critique: This is probably the weakest of all the assignments. The perspective is off and it could be more detailed. There aren’t many redeeming qualities in this one, except that it does resemble a car, and fairly closely. Maybe a few more revisions would have helped. Better next time.
Building a 3D model of a bicycle
This assignment is where I started off as a total newbie to Maya (but not to 3D modeling in general, so I had that going for me, which is… nice.). I re-built my model once, mostly due to my dissatisfaction in my own work quality in the initial model. I went as far as to adding some textures as well, which made me feel like I spent a bit of extra effort on this one!
Resources that I would recommend for this assignment are:
- YouTube video series on modeling a bicycle in Maya (without sound or instruction, but he goes through the process of figuring out creating the spokes, ie. the math involved, which you can use as a model to create yours!).
- Maya Getting Started guide from AutoDesk. I used this to figure out how to set up a picture plane to use as a reference for my bicycle, and figured out extruding along curves (used this for creating curved bar parts of the bicycle)
- Last but not least: creating a free demo account at DigitalTutors, and following their Beginner’s Guide to Maya series (make sure to select 3D and Maya as your interests when creating your demo account to have access to this series) is by FAR the best resource to learn Maya from scratch. You can follow this with any of their multiple, effective but a bit slow, series to learn modeling or animation in Maya. It’s amazing. Do it! I am planning on getting my hands on a subscription as soon as our money situation allows.
Knowing what I know now, I can say that I could have built this model a lot more effectively. I just spent a lot of time making curves and extruding, tweaking, turning and cursing. But it was all a learning experience, and a very valuable one at that!
IGAD intake assignments are meant to test your artistic skills, and it’s a challenge that one should feel comfortable facing. I know I spent a lot of time researching, practicing and ultimately, putting these things together. However, I could FEEL myself getting better after every attempt, and I think I have what it takes to survive this program.
If you’re planning on applying or have already applied, how did your IGAD intake assignments turn out?