Guest post by Suki Zhang, founder of LoveFunArt
Getting into a great art school is a competition on its own. There are a lot of aspiring artists out there, and you have to make sure you stand out so that you’ll get the chance of being considered. But how can you stand out from the rest? Well, you can stand out from the rest by creating your own art portfolio.
As the name suggests, an art portfolio is an edited collection of an artist’s best works. It is intended to represent your abilities, interests, creativity, and overall development as an artist, and it will also help the administrators of a school to evaluate your potential. With that said, it is obvious that an art portfolio is crucial for any artists out there and that creating it should not be taken lightly.
But how exactly do you create a portfolio made of your best artworks? Here are some tips you can follow:
Tip #1: Read the Criteria Closely
Every art school has its own set of requirements for a portfolio. So, it’s really a good idea to examine the requirements of your preferred art school well: how many pieces do they require, what format, when is it due, and the like. Make sure your own portfolio meets every requirement because, sometimes, art schools reject applicants for not following the rules.
Tip #2: Organize Examples Effectively
A lot of the time, an artist can choose a single subject in creating a portfolio. For example, you can choose to compile all your artwork that focuses on your portrayal of important people, like Mother Mary, or Jesus, or the disciples, or on your depictions of particular stories that you like from the Bible. You can also choose to organize your work by style, medium, or technique. Do you have a lot of artwork for which you used oil or water colour? Are there pieces that were inspired by, say, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling painting? If yes, you can group them separately!
Basically, in whatever way you choose to organize your artwork, what you have to remember is that the way you arrange the different pieces should reflect on your presentation skills and thought processes. Make sure that with your arrangement, the administrators will be able to get a good grasp on your work’s narrative and your skill set.
Tip #3: Write Clear Labels
Most of the time, art schools want some basic information about the artwork you’ve selected in your portfolio. Usually, a title, a date, and a description of the medium will do just fine. But sometimes, more information is needed, and if that’s the case, elaborate without being excessive.
Tip #4: Show Your Technical Skills and Storytelling Skills
Since you’re trying to impress your way into an art school, it’s a good idea then to show off your technical skills in creating art. Of course, art schools know that young students are still constantly growing and learning, but they still want to see your potential. They want to see a foundational level of artistic technique that can be further developed in school.
Moreover, it’s also a good idea to not only show off your technical skills but also your storytelling skills. Think about a deeper meaning of each artwork. It’s even better if you can connect your artwork to a specific experience because that’s an attribute that will set you apart from other applicants.
For example, let’s say that one of your pieces is a painting of Jesus’ resurrection. Why did you paint that? Is there a deeper meaning to this artwork? Why is this special to you? Talk about all that when you’re showing off your work. The administrators will definitely appreciate that.
Tip #5: Don’t Focus on Quantity
When you’re creating your portfolio, you might feel the pressure of adding as many pieces as you can. But that totally shouldn’t be the case — unless the art school required a certain number, that is. If not, don’t be overly concerned with the number. Sure, sometimes, more artwork could help, but don’t do it for the sake of having a bigger number. Don’t risk your standards of quality. Remember: showcasing your quality is more important than showcasing your quantity of work.
Tip #7: Show How You’d Like to Develop Further
Artists never stop learning — despite how good they are at a particular time, they still have a lot of improving to do in the future. Art schools know that, and though it’s not really required, it’s a good idea to include artwork in areas that you want to continue learning someday. For example, say your strength is oil pastel painting, but you also enjoy dabbling in water colour painting or sketching. Include works in those areas, and if needed, explain why you choose to focus on them in your future studies. It will give administrators a sense of where your artistic direction is going, and they appreciate that.
Creating an art portfolio is such an important task for any artist out there. That’s why it shouldn’t be taken so lightly. Essentially, the primary thing to remember in creating a portfolio is that it should include all your best work, and it should also showcase your style, strengths, and your creative process so that administrators will have a better grasp on your potential. With that said, you should take your time with this task. Don’t just compile whatever you have. Be critical of the artwork you choose to include, and you just might get into the art school of your dreams.
About the contributor
Suki Zhang founded the art school LoveFunArt in 2015. She has previous work experience as a Marketing Coordinator and an Art Curator Assistant. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Art Design from Donghua University and completed her postgraduate studies in Marketing Management and Professional Sales from Lambton College.