Application Guidelines for Prospective Students

Animation & Illustration Program Applicants

Students applying to San José State University’s Animation & Illustration program could receive additional consideration in the admission selection process based on faculty review of the supplemental drawing exercises as detailed below. Your supplemental drawing exercises will be submitted digitally through SlideRoom. SlideRoom can be accessed through your Cal State Apply application.

For many artists, moving from high school and community college studies to university-level studies is daunting, and applicants will have had different levels of access to artistic instruction. The SJSU Animation & Illustration faculty recognize this and have tried to create an application process that, while appreciating existing art skills, places more emphasis on additional applicant qualities that we believe are far more important to long-term student success.

Your submitted supplemental drawing exercise will consist of two “assigned” drawings and a “passion” page (described below).

Please note while the assigned drawings and “passion” page are not time-consuming or difficult to understand, we expect some applicants may find these requirements to be intimidating in subject matter and/or complexity. Applicants may struggle technically and feel frustration with their results. Please rest assured that the faculty are far more interested in seeing how a
prospective applicant tackles such problems rather than whether or not an applicant “succeeds” per se.

We are evaluating how you address formidable challenges—for if you are accepted there will be many more to come. Please follow the instructions, do your best, and submit your efforts regardless of how you feel about the results.

Your portfolio and application materials will be evaluated for creativity, thoughtfulness, aesthetics, discipline, skill, and craft. Care should be taken to present your work professionally. Please follow all instructions carefully.

*Admission to the BFA in Animation and Illustration is determined at the time students apply for admission to the university. There is no internal transfer into the BFA Animation and Illustration.*

Good luck,
The SJSU Animation & Illustration Faculty


Submissions not following these requirements will not be reviewed.

To apply to Animation & Illustration for Fall 2024 go to and choose the Animation & Illustration program.

Once you have submitted your Cal State Apply application, you will have one week to complete the supplemental drawing exercises by following the instructions below.

Completing the Supplemental Drawing Exercises

Submitting the supplemental drawing exercise to complete your application for admission to the BFA in Animation &Illustration program at SJSU is a digital process and requires you to create a SlideRoom account and pay a modest processing fee.

1. Create an Online Portfolio Review Account and Begin

In Cal State Apply, click on the SlideRoom tab in the Program Materials section. Then, click on “Go to SlideRoom” at the bottom of that page which will prompt you to create an account. On the account creation page, there is a video tutorial if you need assistance. Wait for the email from SlideRoom with your confirmation link. Follow that link to sign in. Once you sign in you can “Start a New Submission”. Please select SJSU A&I Supplemental Drawing Exercises: [+semester] [+year] with the appropriate semester you would like to start. (“SJSU A&I Supplemental Drawing Exercises: Fall 2024” for example). You will then be asked for some basic contact information.

2. Complete and Submit Two “Assigned” Drawings and the Passion Page

These drawings are to be done in a sketchbook or similar format. Size and orientation are not critical, but something near an 8½" x 11" format is what we are expecting. We would like you to limit your drawing time to no more than one hour for each. Concentrate on the quality of your effort rather than “finishing” the work. Work may be done in any media.

 1. Self-Portrait
Using a mirror, draw a self-portrait from life, in any B+W media other than felt-tip markers, spending no more than one hour on the drawing.

 2. Room Drawing
From life (direct observation), and using a ballpoint pen, sit in the corner of a room (your living room, a café or coffee shop, etc.), and draw the entire room and everything in it, up to the one-hour time limit. Use the entire page or even an entire spread in a sketchbook and draw out to all sides and fill the page.

 3. Passion Page
In one hour or less, creatively express whatever best captures your artistic passion and point of view in any medium, on a single page or submission: drawing, painting, collage, sculpture, assemblage, or an original comic book page. Express yourself, have fun, be original; there are no right answers. Then either in the "Additional details" field in Slideroom or somewhere on the page, please include one or two sentences to describe what we are looking at and why you chose to share this particular aspect of yourself.

3. Add Media – Upload Your Work

Step 1 is to scan or photograph your media and save in an appropriate file format (jpg, png, pdf, gif) up to 5 MB each. Then, upload your media. Click the button “Choose Media from Computer”. Navigate through your file structure to find the appropriate files. You may upload in batches. Add the items in Section 2 (above) as your three submissions.

Step 2 is to add titles and descriptions. Your work should be identified as Title, Medium, Description. Semester/Year information is optional and not required. The title of your file as you upload it becomes the title of the work, so name items thoughtfully and appropriately. You must submit a total of 3 items.

4. Complete Submission

When you have completed all of the information and have uploaded your supplemental drawing exercises then go to the next step and finalize your submission. You may be prompted to correct any information before completion. You may Save Progress at any step. Once finalized you will be given a submission reference number and get a confirmation email. You may also print out the confirmation page.

If at any time you experience technical problems with the SlideRoom website, do not contact the SJSU faculty—contact the SlideRoom website, technical support staff. While we do not anticipate you will have problems with the website submission, do not wait until the last minute to submit your work as unanticipated problems are the responsibility of the individual applicant. Start early, and finish early, to ensure a successful submission before the deadline.