National Portfolio Day

Get ready for honest feedback on your portfolio Finally, the real test of the strength of your portfolio is attending a local National Portfolio Day event, where representatives from art schools and colleges with art programs across the United States are available to critique your portfolio in person.  If you’re really serious about being accepted into a […]

Art School Portfolio Examples

Lauryn Welch Teaching Artist “I don’t think I was technically very skilled, but I liked to be cheeky with the concepts in my work, and that made people laugh.  I think it’s really important to go beyond making art that looks pretty or realistic. Your art school portfolio is more memorable if you insert some […]

Art School Portfolio: Feedback

Creating a portfolio should not be an effort that you have to do entirely on your own.  Yet it’s very common that many students do not take the initiative to seek out feedback and help on their portfolios. Don’t get stuck in your own ways with your portfolio and shut out any outside opinions.  Because […]

Art School Portfolio: Color

Make sure that you have both black and white artworks as well as artworks that display a full range of color. Black and white artworks are important so that you can demonstrate an understanding of a wide range of tones and value,  and to explore contrast and lighting. The color artworks you show in an art school portfolio should […]

Art School Portfolio: Brainstorming

Identify the clichés Take the initiative to create artworks that demonstrate your thinking process, that pushes beyond the most literal, cliché reaction in a piece.  In fact, the best way to combat the danger of a cliché is to eliminate that option immediately. When Prof Lieu does brainstorming exercises with her studio art classes, she asks the students to […]

Art School Portfolio: Media

You need to make sure that your portfolio represents a diverse range of art media. Showing many art media is a way to demonstrate that you have taken the initiative to learn and hone skills in contrasting art media.   Step outside of what you see everyone else in high school doing, which is probably limited […]

Art School Portfolio: Drawings

Drawings are the core of a strong portfolio You might have 15 digital paintings with an impressive amount of technical skill, but none of that will matter if you have poor drawings. In terms of drawing media, the vast majority of high school students are creating tight, conservative, photo realistic pencil drawings drawn from photographs. Drawing is not about […]

Art School Portfolio: Presentation

The way you present your artwork matters Be sure that everything in your portfolio is neatly presented.   This means no white backgrounds, no dirty fingerprints, no random sketchbook drawings, no ripped edges, no half finished figures, etc.  It takes very little time (sometimes just a few minutes!)  to clean up your presentation.  The same drawing […]

Drawing from Life & Photos

Drawing from life is rare for most high school students Drawing from life is hands down the number one, absolutely essential thing to do that almost all high school students fail to do. This problem is so prominent, that drawing from direct observation is now the rare exception among high school art students. Just following this one directive will […]

Art School Portfolio: Subject Matter

Demonstrate your willingness to experiment Depicting a wide range of subject matter throughout your entire art school portfolio demonstrates your willingness and interest to work in many contrasting ways. There is an endless range of possibilities when it comes to subject matter in a portfolio. Admissions officers don’t want to see an art school portfolio […]

Art School Portfolio: Sketchbooks

Your sketchbook is an opportunity to show your thought process An art school portfolio benefits a lot from having a slide to show an image or two of a sketchbook spread. The advantage of showing a sketchbook spread is that it’s an opportunity for you to demonstrate your thinking, sketching, and brainstorming process in it’s […]

Preparing an Art School Portfolio

What do I need to know to start preparing my art school portfolio for college? Preparing an art school portfolio for college admission is not a casual undertaking, it’s very common for high school students to underestimate how much time and labor is involved.  Creating the artworks for an art school portfolio is not simply […]

Art School Portfolio Prompts

How do you begin to think conceptually as an artist? Unfortunately, many art students are taught to learn technique and content separately. They are instructed to first focus exclusively on mastering technique because they are told that they are “not ready” to address the subject matter of their artwork. The consequence is that students develop […]

Art School Portfolio: Photographing 2D Art

How you photograph the artwork in your portfolio can make or break an artwork One of my artist colleagues once said to me “As artists, we live and die by our photographs.” Today, the vast majority of the time, people will see our artwork on a screen before they see it in person, if they […]

Art School Portfolio: Photographing 3D Art

3D artwork is especially difficult to photograph well, and are the most problematic photographs for most students.   I rarely see 3D artwork in an art school portfolio that is photographed well.  The problem is that 3D artwork varies tremendously from artwork to artwork, so every single 3D artwork really requires its own custom setup in […]

Art School Portfolio Mistakes to Avoid

An admissions officer reviews thousands of portfolios, how will you distinguish yourself? Many art school portfolios share common mistakes There are a number of “quintessential” mistakes that I see over and over again when evaluating art school portfolios for college admission. If you watch several of our art school portfolio critiques, you’ll notice that regardless of […]

How To Photograph Your 2D & 3D Art

This video provides a comprehensive look at how to photograph your 2D & 3D artwork, showing common problems and with practical techniques to achieve photos that will accurately represent your artwork. Having high quality photos of your artwork is more important today than ever: you need photos of your artwork for your website, social media, […]