Making mistakes is part of the growing pains of becoming an artist. However, you cannot risk mistakes on a portfolio to be submitted for review to the school of your choice. The only way to combat blunders in your art portfolio is to know how to avoid them. The more you know about best practices, the less chance of mistakes.
To tackle this topic, we will look at some portfolio mistakes that you should avoid at all costs.
Poor quality of reproduced art
You must always strive for high-resolution copies of any work featured in your portfolio. Grainy images tell the panel one thing – that you have an undeveloped, if not poor, eye for image quality.
FIX: Save files at 300dpi (dots per inch) to ensure clear and unpixelated images of your work ready for printing.
One-dimensional skill set
Art requires you to explore different styles and approaches. With the advent of digital design over the past decade, everything has changed, and art is sure to undergo further exciting changes within the next few years. Adaptability is a valuable trait today, and to expand your art repertoire is also beneficial. If you stick to one style, no matter how good you are at it, your opportunities will be limited. Broaden your range and become a better artist.
FIX: Research and practice different art styles and incorporate them in your portfolio. Start as early as possible, so that by the time you have to make a portfolio, you will have enough experience with different styles to include good examples of each.
No message behind the work
Art is not all appearance and technique. Your work must be able to communicate a message. If a message is not evident in your work, then you may alienate the panel, and ruin your chances of getting into the school of your choice.
FIX: Be as deliberate as possible. Ask yourself why you chose a particular medium, style, or subject to express your message and whether or not they are appropriate to the task.
Watch this video to learn how to develop a “flow” with the art that you choose to include in your portfolio.
Every work of art must stop people in their tracks and grab their attention. Many factors can contribute to a work’s impact – controversial and timely topics, pushing stylistic limits, and a new and refreshing presentation, are among the many. If your portfolio has no striking features, the panel will simply pass it by.
FIX: To expand the boundaries of a given style of art may be too much for you at this stage. What you can do is work on your skills and techniques and solidify the impact of your art. When all is said and done, what matters is that your portfolio contain beautiful and well-composed works.
Same old, same old
If your art follows the same paths as everyone else, it is much more difficult to make an impression on the panel. Works filled with Transformers, dragons, skulls, and other cliché images will simply not cut it if you wish to become a professional artist.
FIX: Dare to be different. Do research on your own and find new subjects to inspire your art.
There are a lot more ways to make a bad portfolio than the ones featured above. If you need to make a great portfolio, and are not sure if you are going about it the right way, professional help is available. Karen Kesteloot, owner of PortPrep.com, offers her expertise in arts and design to help students on how to make an art portfolio for college.