Portfolio Prep: Drawing for High School Students (online) | Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Portfolio Prep: Drawing for High School Students (online)

This online drawing class is designed to help motivated visual arts students develop exemplary observational drawings for their portfolios. Ages 15-18

The portfolio is an important component of an art school application. Most colleges require that portfolios include several observational drawings, or drawings made from what we see, rather than from our imagination or a photograph.

Students in this course will work with still life, landscape, interior, and figurative subject matter as they explore the fundamentals of a drawing: composition, line, structure, value, and expression. Instruction in drawing techniques will be supplemented by video demonstration, master and contemporary images, critique information and requirements for art and design school admissions, and regular homework assignments. Students will receive individual feedback from MCAD faculty and peers for each assignment. Assignments and feedback will encourage and enable students to create individual work that aligns with requirements for portfolio submissions within their own interests and experience. Students should expect to spend 6-8 hour per week on course work. / Open to students ages 15–18. MCAD strictly adheres to these age guidelines and is unable to allow exceptions. Please review our Policies prior to completing your registration.

Class meeting details

This online course is asynchronous, meaning that there are no set class meeting times. Instead, the course is project-based, with 2 to 3 deadlines per week, and students can choose a time and place that works best for them to complete the work. Course activities may include readings; video demonstrations and tutorials; online discussions; projects; and critiques.


Previous drawing and painting experience helpful, but not required.

Required materials

Supplies for the first day

  • sketchbook (any size)
  • graphite drawing pencils (various value F ~ 2B or more)
  • drawing pads (such as Strathmore, 18 x 24" or larger)
  • newsprint pad (18 x 24")
  • charcoal drawing set such as General's Charcoal Drawing Assortment that includes (items can be purchased separately):
    • 2 charcoal pencils
    • 3 compressed charcoal sticks
    • 4 willow charcoal
    • sharpener
    • kneaded eraser
  • Exacto knife or utility knife
  • ruler
  • masking tape
  • 4 x 6" cardboard or matte board (can be from a cereal box)
  • drawing board or something that can be a support when you draw
  • portfolio folder (DIY instruction included in the course)

Supplies will cost approximately $75–100 in total for materials (not included in tuition).


A computer with internet access, capable of running Adobe Creative Cloud software; digital camera; scanner or scanning app.


See canvas.mcad.edu/books for a list of required textbooks.

Class resources

This class uses Canvas, MCAD’s learning management system. Please see link for more information.

Registration deadline

July 1
If the minimum enrollment is not met by the deadline above, the class will be canceled on this date. Registration will remain open after this date if the minimum enrollment has been met. 


Contact MCAD Continuing Education at continuing_education@mcad.edu or call 612.874.3765.


Non-credit Tuition
Student Birthdate
  • Date:
  • Time:
  • Day(s) of the week:
  • Ages:
    Open to students ages 15-18
  • Term:
    Summer 2022
  • Instructor: Lynda Monick-Isenberg
  • Location:
  • SKU:
    CST 9570 20 SU22


Previous drawing and painting experience helpful, but not required.