How to Make an Art Portfolio for a University

Written by virgil dudley
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When applying to a university to study art, it often requires a portfolio review in order to be accepted into the department or to receive scholarships. While the work in the portfolio is the most important part, the presentation of the work can help to enhance the university's understanding of the work. Creating an art portfolio can take a lot of time, but a good portfolio will pay dividends in the future through scholarship and acceptance to a program.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Artwork
  • Portfolio
  • Images or slides of artwork

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  1. 1

    Create a list of the schools you will be applying to. Research the schools and their application procedure and note within this list the formats they accept for portfolio submissions: some require original work, while others accept slides or digital portfolios. Some schools will list specific types of work they want to see.

  2. 2

    Make a list of the type of work you need for your portfolio. Include still life and life drawing as well as abstracted drawings. Schools want to see your basic abilities to create work though fundamental techniques such as drawing and painting. Also include work from other media that shows your personal approach to creating work.

  3. 3

    Review your work. Look through any drawings, paintings and sculpture you have created and choose the best pieces. Look at the quality of the actual piece; if it is bent or smeared with torn edges, it should not be included in the portfolio.

  4. 4

    Select pieces that you would like to include in your portfolio. Think about which pieces show fundamental art making skills. If there are sketches or drawings that work up to a completed piece, include those--some colleges like to see the process to a completed piece. Be selective; most students have 10 pieces of completed work for every piece included in the portfolio.

  5. 5

    Create a list of the selected works; note the size, dimension, material and year of each piece along with the title of the work. This will be the list that corresponds to the slides or digital images of your work.

  6. 6

    Depending on the portfolio submission guidelines, document your work accordingly. Whether taking slides or digital photos, be sure to create a space with appropriate light for shooting your work. Any background space viewable in the image should be black or white. Be sure to crop the image as tight as possible. If you have the budget available, have a professional shoot your work.

  7. 7

    Complete the portfolio. When using slides or digital images, create a number for each image that corresponds to the detailed list about the work. For original work, make sure any drawings are coated with spray fix to minimise smudging and place a blank piece of acid free paper in between each piece of art. Place all originals in a portfolio large enough for the biggest piece of work. Do not fold any of the work; it should be kept flat.

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