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Animation Portfolio Workshop

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Animation Portfolio Workshop   

  • Type:
    Day camp, After-school / weekend classes, Virtual Camp/Program
  • Focus:
  • Cost:
    $700 to $10,000/session
  • Ages:
    14 to 18
  • Gender:
  • Main language:
  • Capacity:
    10 to 20
  • Programs:
  • e-Brochure:
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  • Summary Profile

    Animation Portfolio Workshop answered our questions

    Who are you as an organization?

    Animation Portfolio Workshop is Canada's first and original animation portfolio preparation program. For 23 years, APW has set the standard for pre-art college training in drawing. 

    We are a social yet disciplined environment for budding animators to build a strong portfolio by cultivating proper technique and learning how to measure their progress. Our program is designed to cover exactly what you need to get into animation school and, perhaps more importantly, meet the challenges of learning animation. Our students have been admitted to top animation schools around the world, such as SVA NYC, Gobelins, Calarts and more.

    Learn to draw with the best at APW.

    • Special needs: Not available
    • LGBTQ+ friendly community

    What do you do differently or uniquely well?

    This information is not available.

    Who are your staff and counsellors?

    This information is not available.

    What do families need to know about registration?

    This information is not available.

    Animation Portfolio Workshop  - profile photo

    Video Gallery

  • Programs, Rates & Dates

    Programs and Sessions Calendar

    Choose the right programs and sessions for your child; Animation Portfolio Workshop currently has 2 programs available; 5 TBD.

    Filter activities :

    Choose location:

    Virtual Program
    Ages: 16 - 18+
    Drawing, Arts (multi)
    Virtual Program,
    Apr 15, 2023-Feb 04, 2024$4,700
    Virtual Program,
    Apr 16, 2023-Feb 04, 2024$4,700
    Ages: 16 - 18+
    Drawing, Arts (multi)
    Ages: 16 - 18+
    $23 to $130
    Ages: 14 - 18+
    Drawing, Arts (multi)
    Ages: 14 - 18+
    Drawing, Arts (multi)
    Ages: 16 - 18+
    Drawing, Arts (multi)
    Virtual Program
    Ages: 16 - 18+
    Drawing, Arts (multi)
    Virtual Program,
    Date TBDCost TBD

    Financial Aid & Payment Details

    Payment Options:

    Credit card payment Yes

    Scholarships & awards:

    • African Canadian Youth Scholarship

      Amount: $6,000 Deadline: August 13, 2023 annually
      Type: Merit based
      Age: 16 to 18
      Details: Animation Portfolio Workshop has partnered the Honourable Justice Kofi N. Barnes and APW Associate Director, illustrator and visual artist, Joshua Miller, to offer the APW African Canadian Youth Scholarship. The African Canadian Youth Scholarship is granted annually to one student who best meets the specific financial and artistic eligibility criteria for this opportunity. Awarded annually, the APW-ACYS provides a unique study opportunity for Black youth seeking excellence in the field of animation/illustration arts. The Scholarship consists of full tuition for one session of the Animation Portfolio Workshop, a private online mentoring opportunity with APW Associate Director Joshua Miller, and all art materials required to complete the APW Session provided free of charge to the scholarship recipient.
      Application Details: Complete phase 1 of the application process by filling out and submitting the Financial Needs Assessment Form by the deadline of August 13, 2023. Applicants who meet the eligibility criteria in phase 1 of the application process will be contacted and directed to participate in phase 2 of the application process. In phase 2 of the application process you will be required to: Submit a one-page written component describing your artistic aspirations Submit 5 (minimum) to 10 (maximum) pieces of original art in any medium. Submit all application material by the scholarship application deadlines to be considered.
  • Insider Reviews & Perspectives

    The Our Kids review of Animation Portfolio Workshop

    our take

    It’s often said that the way to improve at tennis is to play someone better, that a challenge lifts skills and confidence. That’s true of all things, perhaps, including animation. When participants enter sessions at APW, they’re entering an environment of excellence, one that is populated by instructors and peers who are at the top of their games. Founded in 1999 by Vince Peets and Gerard Sternik, both former instructors of Sheridan College, APW was created to allows kids to learn by doing based in an understanding that, per Peets, “experience is a big motivator.” Gaining experience with people who speak the same language, and who have navigated the geography of professional illustration and animation, is as well. While developing skills, participants gain insight into the various paths they might take to their careers, and very purposefully build their portfolios with those paths in mind. In all, it’s a strong, proven program, as inspiring as it is successful in developing the skills and talents of those who attend.

    Review(s) of Animation Portfolio Workshop

    Read all 7 reviews

    Patrick O'Keefe, ART DIRECTOR SPIDER-MAN INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE / SONY PICTURES (Alum) Animation Portfolio Workshop changed the way I look at the world

    Moving into films and working digitally, even building these crazy video game worlds all came from an understanding of drawing and design that I learned at Animation Portfolio Workshop which changed the way I look at the world and taught me how to express my creative ideas ... Read More

    Sophie Alberdingk-Thijm, LEAD REVISIONIST, YOWZA ANIMATION CORP. (Alum)APW made me much more confident and passionate about my art

    APW not only changed the way I draw, it made me much more confident and passionate about my art. The structure of the course allowed me to stay on top of my work while preparing my portfolio. It still surprises me how fast my work began to improve (and continues to!) once I had a grasp of the exercises taught in the course. I'm utterly thrilled to start at SVA (School of Visual Arts) in New Yor ... Read More

    Lisa Wang, Animation Supervisor at GOLDTOOTH (Alum)Skills extremely helpful for animation school

    The instructors at APW are dedicated and attentive. Not only did I learn to draw, they also taught me how to see form, structure, and think and draw in 3D space. The skills I learned at APW have been extremely helpful through all four years in animation at Sheridan College ... Read More

    Graham Finley, ANIMATOR / PIXAR ANIMATION (Alum)Gave me the start I needed

    Working with Gerard and Vince and having them focus my energy and enthusiasm for drawing gave me the start I needed. They knew when to answer questions I had and when I needed the encouragement to continue searching for myself ... Read More

    Joseph Lague, LEAD RIGGER, CEL ACTION 2D / INDUSTRIAL BROTHERS (Alum)Catalyst that launched my career

    Animation Portfolio Workshop is the catalyst that launched my career. They successfully taught me the skills to succeed in animation school and beyond. I've been working nonstop for almost 9 years now in Toronto and I am always bumping into successful APW graduates ... Read More

    Mr. Justice Kofi Barnes & Mrs. Beverley Thomas-Barnes (Parent)Dedicated to ensuring your students achieve their highest potential

    My son expressed an interest in studying animation. Having a top notch portfolio is extremely important and job prospects are greatly enhanced by attending top-notch schools. APW honed my son’s talents and helped him gain admission into his school of choice. Your dedication to ensuring that your students achieve their highest potential is proven and exemplary. Thank you for helping our son achieve his goal ... Read More

    G Q (Parent)Definitely the best portfolio school in GTA.

    My daughter Bianca is taking the portfolio classes on the weekend and I’m amazed how professional and good they are. My daughter loves the course, and for a teenager to take so seriously every weekend a course with a lot joy, must be because they are beyond good. The instructor is very skilled and amazing. We are very happy we found APW. Definitely the best portfolio school in GTA ... Read More

  • Location & Site Details


    Hillcrest Village, Toronto
    729 Saint Clair Avenue West, Toronto, Ontario, M6C 1B2
    Virtual Program


    Washrooms Facilities

    • Flush Toilets

    Is Animation Portfolio Workshop technology free? In our camps we offer specialized instruction in animation character design and how to create a hand drawn animation. Our virtual camps require students have access to a laptop and cellphone in order to join the class and share their drawings live.

  • What's New

    Director's Message

    Vince Peets, Director of Animation Portfolio Workshop
    One of the Founders of APW, Storyboard artist, former Sheridan College animation instructor, illustrator, artist.

    Learning by doing.  Young people learning traditional animation with their hands.  We are happy to witness confidence growing as young people really take to our workshop format and run with it.  Our students are generally high school age with a keen interest in animation and have an eye to preparing to make the jump into post-secondary animation programs.  This week-long format is an opportunity to get a solid hands-on intro to animation and character design.  Direct experience is a big motivator. 

    Vince Peets, Animation Portfolio Workshop, Co-founder

    In the News

    December 1, 2022
    2023/24 In-Person and Online Sessions Now Live

    Want to get into animation school? Animation Portfolio Workshop can help get you there. Learn to draw with the best. ... Read More


    • APW Grad Patrick O’Keefe – Academy Award Winner

      The entire Animation Portfolio Workshop team is over-the-moon excited for the 2019 Best Animated Feature film Oscar success of APW grad Patrick O’Keefe and his wonderful Art Direction on Sony Pictures Animation’s ground-breaking Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse.  Sony’s take on the Marvel Spider-Man story is creative twist signalling a very clear break from the current 3D obsession in animation feature film fare.  O’Keefe and fellow art director Dean Gordon creatively brought together the looks of old-school comic art, colourful crazy video game worlds, multiple Spider-Man characters from different universes, graffiti, urban digital painting and brought it all together while introducing a charming and forceful lead character in Miles Morales. While Patrick O’Keefe is right out there on the cutting edge of animation he is also somewhat of a throwback in his attitude toward drawing.  His drawing practise is at the centre of his creative life.

      Everyday I get up and draw. I go to work and do more drawing. I spend hours in meetings drawing frames everyday – sharpie on paper, pencil on paper posting them up on the wall…there’s no developing into an art director if you don’t know how to draw and paint in the most fundamental and solid ways.    —  APW grad – Patrick O’Keefe

      Drawing has always played a central role in animation production. The massive success of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse suggests a growing appetite in mainstream entertainment for the magic of this art form in informing the visual style of feature films after an over-dose of 3D movie after 3D movie after 3D TV series etc.  Animation Portfolio Workshop has always been about drawing.  Preparing animation portfolios is only possible after covering fundamental elements of drawings and learning them through expert instruction and constant practise.

    • APW Grad Graham Finley up for Incredibles 2 Oscar

      We’re proud of the work done by APW grads.  After learning drawing fundamentals at APW, these young artists go on to hone their abilities in other schools and programs and then on to the animation biz here in Toronto and internationally.  The 2019 Oscars are an opportunity for Animation Portfolio Workshop to salute Graham Finley and recognize his outstanding work.

      “Learning how to draw was the most important thing that I’ve taken from APW”

      Graham Finley – Animator Pixar

      Graham has worked at Pixar on a number of Pixar films: Inside Out, Brave, Monsters University, Piper, and most recently, Incredibles 2.  A successful animator, devoted to his craft and producing top-notch work. 

      Graham will forgive us if we publish this video from 2005. After the completion of the 2005 session of Animation Portfolio Workshop Gerard Sternik interviews a young Graham while Vince handles the vintage Sony handi-cam. Graham moved from Edmonton, Alberta to Toronto where he became an APW student solidifying the fundamentals of drawing.  He was accepted into Sheridan and Seneca animation and chose Seneca College and went on to various animation jobs and adventures that led to working at Pixar.

    • Sheridan Art Fundamentals and Animation Portfolio Workshop – What’s the Difference?

      I am in the unique position of having taught in the Sheridan College Art Fundamental’s Program for over 10 years, worked on the original committee that developed the Sheridan College VCA Program, taught Life Drawing For Animation in the APW program and am currently the acting Administrative Director of the Animation Portfolio Workshop.

      I would like to share my thoughts (based on my first hand experience) on what I understand to be the major differences between the Sheridan Art Fundamentals Program and the Animation Portfolio Workshop Program with respect to preparing an animation portfolio to get into the Sheridan Animation Program.

      The first thing that needs to be stressed about making a comparison between these two programs is that they are not really comparable in the first place.

      The Art Fundamentals Program at Sheridan College is an excellent beginner art survey course targeted towards the student who is interested in trying out a variety of subjects related to drawing, painting, 2D and 3D design. These classes total approximately 15 hours of classroom time per week, and when I was teaching in the program we were told to make sure that the students were given a least the same number of hours in homework to do every week. This adds up to a total of at least 30 hours of schoolwork per week minimum, and on many occasions throughout the school year, more time than this was required in order to keep up class attendance and adequately manage completion of all of the requisite weekly homework assignments.

      The Art Fundamentals Life Drawing curriculum is also a general survey of techniques and exercises that familiarize the students with basic drawing concepts related to working with the human form.

      Given all of the other types of worked work required of students wishing to pass the Sheridan Art Fundamentals Program, it is not possible to devote enough time to focus on the unique and specific observational drawing and drawing for animation concepts and practices required of a student trying to complete a high enough calibre animation portfolio worthy of acceptance into the Sheridan Animation Program. The sheer volume of hours required to gain fluency in the language of observational drawing that is put to use in making all of the required animation portfolio pieces for this endeavour are simply unavailable to a Sheridan Art Fundamentals student trying to matriculate successfully through ‘Art Fundi’s’. This doesn’t mean that some students have not managed to do the Art Fundamentals Program at Sheridan and make a portfolio that gets them into the Sheridan Animation school.…it does happen on occasion, but this is not a consistently predictable outcome due to having taken the Art Fundamentals course. The Art Fundamentals Program was never designed for the purpose of specifically training students to producing high calibre animation school portfolios: this is not within the course mandate. Sheridan Art Fundamentals is a visual arts survey course, designed to introduce students to a variety of beginner practices in different areas to help them decide what field of visual art they may wish top commit to. The Sheridan Art Fundamentals Program is good at doing this.

      The Animation Portfolio Workshop Program delivers a much more focused and specific curriculum, centred on learning to draw for the purposes of making high calibre animation school portfolios. The program Directors, Gerard Sternik AOCA and Vince Peets founded APW 20 years ago when they left the Sheridan Classical Animation Program.

      Having taught in the animation program at Sheridan through the 1990’s, Gerard and Vince were uniquely positioned to really be able to teach prospective animation school students exactly what was being required of them portfolio-wise.

      The APW curriculum is all about learning the basics of observational drawing and drawing for animation.

      APW students start at the very beginning and move through a unique series of drawing practises called the APW Method. Through practicing the APW Method, our students cultivate a keen ability to understand and execute drawings that seamlessly integrate gesture, contour, structure, anatomical, tonal and illustrative drawing methods with, visualization, character design, principles of animation, storyboarding and perspective systems. All of these are used in various combinations and in varying degrees to produce high quality material for animation portfolio preparation.

      The two main goals of this program are:

      1) To learn solid drawing skills that will sustain APW grads throughout their animation school tenure and in a future career in animation

      2) Creating a top-level animation / visual art portfolio that can be used for admission to the best post-secondary animation, illustration or visual arts program.

      If you're interested in learning more about us, visit our website, check out our brochure or book a call with us.  

    • Do you know what to look for in an animation school?

      In my capacity as Director of Animation Portfolio Workshop, the question I get asked the most by students and parents is, “How do I know if an animation school is good?”

      When checking out animation schools, treat the experience as if you are shopping for a very expensive item. Make a list of the qualities you are looking for, do research and ask questions. Expensive items are also known as “investment pieces” – and animation school is an investment in your future.

      I give my students a basic checklist with questions to ask when they meet with representatives of schools they are interested in.

      Here are a few:

      1. What is the quality of the work produced by recent grads of the animation program?

      Most schools post examples of their recent grads’ animation portfolios online. If you feel unqualified to judge the quality of the work, find someone with experience and ask their opinion.

      2. What kind of tech is being used by the school?

      Animation is basically about two things: excellent drawing skills and current technology. Since production in the animation industry is so intimately tied to the use of specially-formatted software and hardware, all good schools should train their students using the most current technology so that their grads can compete and perform effectively in any studio job or environment that they choose to enter. Any good animation school will be more than happy to supply you with a list of the technology they are using in their programs. Try contacting an animator at a reputable studio about the types of basic tech required in the current hiring market.

      3. Is there enough tech to go around?

      If students are fighting over hardware, animation stations, or feeling rushed to finish assignments because their “time is up” on a particular device, then something is definitely wrong. Good animation schools are expensive, and it follows that the equipment they are offering should not only be current but also plentiful.

      The answers to these questions can help you make informed choices when it comes to choosing an animation school.

      Do you know what to look for in an animation school? Choose your future animation school wisely!

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