What Makes a Good College Art Portfolio?

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What Makes a Good College Art Portfolio

Getting help on how to make an art portfolio for college is a big deal. After all, this is the time when you make something out of yourself not only as aspiring artists, but also as  a person. Therefore, in order to get into the school of your choice, you have to prepare a good college art portfolio that will make an impact on your future instructors; give the a reason to remember you over the thousands of applicants.

Here are some tips and ideas to consider that will help you learn how to make an art portfolio for college:

Include your best work

When it comes to learning how to make an art portfolio for college, it’s all about showcasing your talents and skills but even more so, your potential. You will be judged not only on the quality of your work, but also on the different types of art you have presented in your college portfolio. The more comprehensive your profile is with regard to the kinds of artworks you can produce, the better your chances of getting accepted.

In this video, PortPrep owner Karen Kesteloot explains to students that the first two artworks featured in your portfolio should encourage professors to accept you as a freshmen in this upcoming school year. The succeeding artworks after those should support your case as to why they should pick you.

Show diversity

It is awesome that you are good at a particular artistic style such as pencil sketching, abstract painting, graphic design or interior design, but as mentioned in the previous point, you need to learn and exhibit different styles and skill sets in your portfolio to be seriously considered for acceptance into the better schools. The initiative to learn the different styles is a testament of the artist’s commitment to become great. And that’s what the colleges are looking for…they’re looking for creative potential and evidence of the passion to pursue and achieve greatness in your creative field.

Create a flow with your artworks

You must present them in a logical and thematic manner. Order the artworks in your art portfolio in such a way that you’re creating a narrative. This will enable you to articulate to professors your intentions for your artworks.

The key here is your ability to arrange the pieces in your art portfolios that connect one to the other. Your works can be grouped under a theme or an idea that is presented in different media. You need to find ways on how to make your pieces interrelated and not just viewed as separate works in your portfolio.

Below is another video by Karen as she discusses to her students the best ways on how art students should order their portfolio content.

Edit, edit, edit!

If you feel that some of your previous work needs tweaking; DO IT! Make your work as strong as it can be and feel proud of what you present–that confidence will come through during your interview.

Don’t think for a second that you can’t improve on what’s already been done. Knowing that you have picked up skills and techniques throughout the years, you could apply your new-found knowledge in the arts and make your existent work much better. Add greater contrast, crop tighter to make more dramatic compositions. Add a little more intense color. You’d be surprised how much stronger your work can look with just a few careful additions.

Prepare portfolio in different media

An image of a compact disc - Pencil included f...

An image of a compact disc – Pencil included for scale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Normally, a college art portfolio comes in a binder with each page showcasing your work. However, it is best that take advantage of the multitude of ways you can present your portfolio. Burning your digital files into a DVD copy and uploading your art portfolio online are great ways to boost presentation. The latter requires that you have ability to code your designs using CSS and HTML, which is also another form of art that you should consider putting in your college portfolio.

Check what formats the college program you are applying to asks for. If there is a choice pick one that you think will make you stand out the most for that field of study. Check on the college website if they have a section showing examples of past  successful portfolio submissions. It will give you some good ideas of how you can show your work in the most memorable way.

Be wary of branding

It may be too early to think of how your art is to be presented to people, but you will soon have to decide how you want to be branded as an artist. While you will have time to figure out the kind of artist you want to become when you grow up, it would be advantageous to present your artwork with a concrete branding in mind. And it’s not just about how your art portfolio looks – branding also has something to do with the way you’re dress during interviews, how you explain your portfolio to a panel of professors for acceptance, and more!

Here’s sage advice from branding expert Raymond Aaron to art college applicants:

To learn more about branding, read “10 Ways to Good Portfolio Branding for Art Students.”

Get your portfolio assessed

The best way to know if you have learned how to make an art portfolio for college is if can get an experienced artists to judge it. There are people out there who specialize in analyzing college art portfolios and provide their insight on what needs to be included and left out, as well presenting it as professional as possible.

If you want to know how to make an art portfolio for college and  are unsure if you can make the cut, then let Karen Kesteloot at PortPrep.com give her take on what needs to be done to your portfolio to make it the best as it can possibly be. Best of all, her portfolio assessment is FREE of charge so won’t have to worry about a thing!

To see a sample of her coaching, below is a video of her teaching students applying to an illustration program. She discusses what to include in your art portfolio and the importance of having life drawings samples for illustrators.

If you like what you see, then click here to get your free consultation or fill out the form below so we can give you instructions on how to make your art portfolio better!

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