OCAD U: Drawing and Painting course Review

Description of the Course: Drawing and Painting in OCAD U

Ontario College of Art and Design University, OCAD U, is one of the top art school in Canada. It is also known as the oldest art and design school, which was established in Toronto since 1876. In 2010, the school had officially become a university, OCAD U. The school still reserved its tradition of disciplines after the adjustment. Hence, students will learn more from their experiences.

Drawing and painting is a 4-year program, where students will mostly be working in a studio, learning how to apply the concept in their work, collaborating with different types of medium and technology.

Students also will have the basic knowledge of most mediums, which also include some adobe software…etc. Plus you will have the ability to work independently. Are you someone who is in love with art? Are you someone who likes to work hands-on? Are you someone who likes to work independently? If so this course is definitely for you!

 Note: If you prefer working hands-on, you will definitely like the program Drawing and Painting.


What do you need to prepare for Drawing and Painting in OCAD U?

Ontario secondary school applicants

  • Statement of intent (maximum 300 words)
  • Portfolio (8 to 10 samples of your work)
  • Official transcript
  • Six grade 12 U or M course with a minimum overall academy average of 70%
  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD)
  • Grade 12 U English (ENG4U or EAE4U) with a minimum final grade of 70

Canadian high school applicants from outside of Ontario

  • High school diploma
  • University courses with a minimum average of 70%
  • Senior-level of academy English course with a minimum average of 70% or an equivalent test

International students

  • If you are applying from a school with an English system, it is required to have a minimum average of 70% or B in senior academy English course
  • If you are applying from a school with another language, an equivalent test is required

 Note: they have English class for ESL (English second language) for the first year 


Preparing portfolio for Drawing and Painting in OCAD U

Notice: There are two ways to submit your portfolio. If you live in the area that OCAD U provided, an interview is required (25 CAD will be changed). If you are not living in the area, then you may apply through SlideRoom (12 USD will be changed).

  • A statement of indent: Explain your interest in the course that you applied in OCAD U (maximum 300 words)
  • 8 to 10 samples of your works. It could be in any medium. Submitting works that are related to the major that you applied is recommended.
  • Short art statement for each work of how the process/method/concept (50 words)
  • Some samples of your sketches

 Tip: make sure to show your sketchbook, it does not have to be perfect, but OCAD U really cares if you do art in your own. They also prefer creative work then still life, so it would be great to balance the works that you are submitting.


What will you learn in the program Drawing and Painting in each year?


In the beginning, I thought I would be able to draw and paint what I want. Yet it did not go with my expectation. Instead, I learned the basic knowledge of the common medium in drawing and painting. For instance, acrylic painting, oil painting, watercolour, sketching, colour pencil…etc. That also includes some common software, such are photoshop, premier, illustration, flash…etc. I basically have to follow what the professor told us to do, paint/draw what they want. The classes were very traditional, I had to do many life drawing/painting. I remember it was also my first time painting a nude model, and I found it interesting.

Although I already know some of it, I still go the opportunity to learn a different kind of medium. Which helped me a lot in the future of creating art. 


by Ronald Huo


In the second year, I realized that we focus more on my major. Which means I started to paint and draw more, and learn advanced skills. Such as building my own canvas…yeah about that, I realize it’s better to buy canvas in the art store. Unless you want to paint on a certain shape. Comparing to the first year, I was able to combine my style and concept in my works. On the academic side, I was required to take liberal art studies, this helped me to build the concept in art. The painting beside the text is also one of my painting from the second year. The difference between the one in the first year is that I built the canvas myself. It also includes my own content and style.

by Danielle Coleman 


During the third year, I started to learn how to apply and build the concept. There were basically no limits for creating art. For instance, in most of my classes, they did not have any specific topic or way to create. I also got an opportunity to assist in AGO through one of the OCAD U course. Furthermore, I also get to know how to be an artist, basically learning how to build the path to my career. 

by instagram: lineos_art


This year is a practice/start for students to be an independent artist. They will be preparing their artworks, and writing their artist statement for the GradEx, which is an exhibition for fourth-year students. I personally think that it is a great opportunity to practice to become an artist. During the year you can still get help from the professors. GradEx is also a great way to promote yourself because many people will come. The final work will be like a result of how much you learned from Drawing and Painting at OCAD U. 

 by Ivan Alifan

What will you learn after graduating from Drawing and Painting in OCAD U?

  • Work independently
  • Knowing basic knowledge of common medium and software
  • A strong concept in art

 Benefits of being an OCAD U student

  • An offer of internship and co-op in the art industry
  • Located in downtown (near Eaton centre and Chinatown)
  • Opportunities to participate in exhibition
  • Free ticket for general admission in AGO
  • Studio space

Jobs that are related to Drawing and Painting

  • Artistic studio practice
  • Illustration and mural work
  • Graphic design
  • Art conservation and restoration
  • Gallery work and arts collectives
  • Writing and criticism
  • Studio management
  • Arts advocacy


    The program Drawing and Painting at OCAD U will help you develop skills and technique with different mediums. You will be able to work independently with a strong concept in your work. At the end of the 4 years program of Drawing and Painting, you will realize how many things you are capable of.