Full Sail University

Associate Course Director Helps Shape Students’ Art Portfolios

Jessica Dunbar has a passion for color, composition, and helping students build portfolios.

Jessica sits in front of several of her colorful paintings. She is wearing a black t-shirt and is smiling.

Jessica Dunbar is the Associate Course Director for Project and Portfolio I: 3D Arts, which is a foundational course that all Computer Animation and Game Art bachelor’s students take before they tackle their specialized classes. Jessica has been working at Full Sail University for more than 15 years. Her dedication to the fine arts and acute attention to detail shape her role as a course director, artist, and mentor.

Before coming to Full Sail, Jessica worked as a freelance artist in New York City. Among several other projects, she worked on a French’s Mustard commercial, the 2008 Sundance Film Festival opener, and a Super Bowl commercial.

“It was very fast-paced in the commercial industry because you're going from project to project,” Jessica explains.

She even had the opportunity to pitch commercial ideas and helped see a concept through from ideation to completion. “I had a pitch deck and mood boards and tried to help the clients understand what the project would look like.”

Jessica’s time in the commercial industry has shaped her approach to her artwork and her students’ portfolios. It’s all about the process and developing a strong concept before slowly focusing in on the details.

“[Students’ portfolios] definitely go hand in hand with how they can create a look for themselves. How can they create something that visually tells people who they are through their artwork? Through how they present themselves?”

“I definitely take all the stuff that I do outside of Full Sail and bring that in to help the students with what that portfolio would look like, what that project would look like in general, and how to professionally show it off,” shares Jessica.

When it comes to her own artwork, she’s passionate about finding new ways to make it more vibrant and unique. Currently, she’s enjoying painting, and experimenting with psychedelic colors, patterns, and new composition techniques.

“I'm really excited about color. I'm excited about shapes and patterns and how they affect the depth of things. These paintings have gotten bigger and bigger and bigger,” she laughs. “It's almost as if I'm doing murals on canvas and just adding more to the details and textures.”

Proportions are also important to Jessica, especially when critiquing students’ work. “I'm always looking at how the shapes correlate to each other. All of that is something that I practice daily when I do my painting and when I'm doing [students’] daily critiques through Discord.”