Make Your Own Art Portfolio – What should an art school secondary portfolio include? How do you present your portfolio? What gives you the best chance of getting accepted to your dream school? This article explains how to create an art portfolio for colleges or universities and is full of advice from art and design school admissions leaders from around the world. It is designed for those who are in the process of creating an application portfolio for an undergraduate course, certificate, associate or bachelor’s degree and courses based on architecture, art, graphic design, illustration, interior design, animation, game design, film and other creative, visual arts. It creates a 9,000-word document to help guide you through the application process, featuring examples of art and design portfolios from students who have recently been accepted to a number of art schools around the world.
In addition to meeting academic requirements, art and design schools, universities and colleges usually require a practical art portfolio as part of the application process (this is often accompanied by a personal statement and/or an art school interview – more on that soon). So what
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Make Your Own Art Portfolio
A portfolio is a collection of your work that shows how your skills and ideas have developed over time. It reflects your creativity, personality, abilities and commitment and helps you assess your potential.
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Because every art student is different (with individual strengths, experiences, passions, and ideas), each art school has different requirements and expectations. Some universities and colleges have strict criteria for preparing a portfolio, while others are more open and flexible. This change in expectations can leave students unsure of how to proceed. Even if the criteria are clear, applicants may wonder what to draw/paint/draw/create, what media to use and how best to select and present their work.
Creating an art portfolio is not an easy task. Top art schools often accept a very small percentage of applicants. Understanding how to build a great portfolio is essential. While it’s impossible to create a list of criteria that will fit all applicants in every situation (unfortunately, there is no guaranteed magic formula for creating a winning art portfolio), this article will highlight tips from experienced admissions staff and provide general suggestions to help you. by making the best possible university or art college application.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating an Art Portfolio for College or University 1. Carefully research and consider the art portfolio requirements for the various courses you are interested in.
Which art or design school you choose is an important decision (our upcoming article “how to find the best art school in the world” will help you with this). As you consider your options, it’s a good idea to apply to several different schools in case you don’t get accepted to your first choice. There is no shame in applying to a college or university and not getting in (many successful people don’t get accepted to their first choice university); but you don’t have anywhere to go because you didn’t apply to enough schools – this is an easily avoidable situation!
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Make a list of art or design schools you’d be willing to go to and find out their admissions criteria (you can search for art schools in California and New Zealand on this website – more areas are coming soon). All universities and colleges have different art portfolio requirements. Write down the exact entry requirements carefully, in advance, as deadlines can be earlier than you expect and portfolios can take a long time to prepare. Print them out, highlight key information and keep them handy so you can refer to them as needed during the application process.
These drawings are entirely filled with graphite pencil or charcoal on white paper and can be realistic or abstract. They can be taken from all or part of a bike, alone or placed together with other objects or scenes. These examples show the exciting level of skill and creativity demonstrated by students applying to the Rhode Island School of Design. Enlarged photos of Trie (middle left), Anetta Urmei (middle right), Boyung Young Kim (bottom left), and Seraph (bottom right). Main photo by Mikey Todd.
As another example, Parsons the New School for Design asks applicants to submit an additional portfolio to the Parsons Challenge. Previously, this task included the following instructions:
Explore what is usually overlooked in your everyday environment using any medium or medium. Choose an object, place or activity. Explain your innovation in three original parts. Support each artwork with an essay of approximately 250 words.
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Once you’ve gathered the requirements for the specific degrees you’re interested in, the next step is to search for existing portfolio examples.
Seeing real portfolio examples is one of the best ways to get a sense of the standard you’re aiming for (and to get creative portfolio ideas of your own). Art portfolio examples from many universities and colleges can be found online or in campus libraries (some art schools keep paper models to help students next year – this can be invaluable), and many examples of student art portfolios are discussed in the article below. . This illustrates the range of different portfolio styles possible and helps show how submissions for specific majors or degrees differ from one another.
If you’re intimidated by looking at other portfolios, it’s worth noting that these are usually the best candidates who show their work (which is indeed the case with this article). If your technical skills aren’t as strong as the work you’re seeing, don’t despair: remember that an art portfolio is judged on a wide range of criteria (more on that below). If you have good academic background, innovative ideas and passion for the subject, you can overcome someone with technical skills who lack creativity and personal flexibility. You might be surprised to learn how many famous artists do this
These are some of the photos submitted for Grace’s application portfolio. Most of these works are individual works of art; others are completed as part of a foundation course (this is a one-year course that many UK students take before entering university. A foundation course can be a great way to prepare an art college portfolio and is a common pathway for students to go to art school in the UK). Grace has been offered places at Kingston, Brighton and Goldsmiths art schools in the UK.
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Gray’s School of Art publishes a document with examples of sketchbook pages from student portfolios (some of which are shown below):
These examples show a beautiful range of mixed media and experimentation, as well as deep compositional exploration and development of ideas.
This portfolio demonstrates strong supervisory skills and competence in a variety of media. The addition of design drawings demonstrates that William is a well-rounded candidate with a broad competency base.
These two images are from examples of Elam’s fine art portfolio displayed on the University of Auckland website. This portfolio consists of Kirsty’s high school work.
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These captivating compositions show a breadth of artistry and a contemporary approach to portraiture combined with observational drawing skills.
Open Houses are a great time to find out if an art school is right for you (read more about this in How to Find the Best Art School in the World – Coming Soon). Open days are a great opportunity to learn more about the admissions process and what to expect from the school in terms of application files. (As mentioned above, some art school past portfolios are on permanent display at the school – for example in the campus library).
4. Plan your art portfolio to demonstrate a range of artistic skills and experience, creative ideas/originality and passion/commitment
This is the most important part of the article because this is the area where people get confused the most. All over the internet, applicants are asking, “what should I include in my college art portfolio?” He asks. The answer is: Bring recent visual work (completed within the last year or two) that best communicates your artistic skills and experience, your creative ideas/originality, and your passion/commitment.
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Many art and design courses require applicants to have certain observational drawing skills. This is important not only for art majors, but for many others such as architecture and fashion design. Even degrees that don’t focus on drawing are usually welcome to include it in their portfolio of applications. For example, the Ringling College of Art and Design says:
For majors that don’t involve a lot of drawing, submitting a drawing in your portfolio is always encouraged, but not required.
A tracing drawing is a realistic representation of an object or scene as seen in real life (as opposed to something imagined or taken from a photograph) – read more about creating great tracing drawings. It can be done with any application
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