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Old 09-26-2005, 09:59 AM
Taxguy Taxguy is offline
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Re: Building your portfolio

Great Thread Axl.

You are quite correct in that it is very difficult for current high school students to put in the time necessary to have a top notch portfolio.

You also note that you need to edit your portfolio. I can't speak for everyone, but, at least for my daughter, it was very hard for her to evaluate her own work and edit it in order to make it better. She needed an external art teacher to give her recommendations and critiques.

In fact, I HIGHLY recommend, if you can afford it, to hire a professional art teacher that students can go to after school and help develop a portfolio. This will help in a number of ways, least of all by having a regimented weekly time frame of having to work. The ideal art teacher will really know what types of product should be in a portfolio as well. If this is too expensive for you, consider taking courses at the local junior college after class or during weekends.

I can tell you that my daughter had some nice pieces from her art classes in high school. However, after attending classes with a professional art teacher after school, her portfolio is much more dramatic and her skills are a lot more well-honed. Obviously, this is an expensive approach because it will take at least a year and preferably two years of private classes to develop the skills and portfolio needed. If you can develop these skills by yourself, good luck.

Moreover, as Axl has noted, everything that is sent to the art schools gets scrutinized. This includes the envelope that the materials and application comes in! Many prospects forget about the envelope and the enclosed letters. The envelope should be professionally addressed using very neat printing or, even better, a label. In addition, you need to give attention to any accompanying letters that you send admissions. Having a nicely designed background or logo can help a lot; however, made sure that any background art work doesn't interfere with the clarity of the letter. I have seen kids with decent skills get accepted because of their fabulous and creative presentations, and I have seen kids with very good skills not get accepted or not get as high a scholarship. Presentation counts a lot!

Finally, once you have your portfolio, you need to take first class slides of your work.Having great work but sloppy slides or out of focus slides will hurt your chances considerably. This is especially true for scholarships based on portfolios. If you are not REALLY good at photography, I would suggest a professional portfolio photographer do this. Yes, there are such specialists. In fact, there aren't that many in the US. If you want to make a good living, study photography and specialize in portfolio photography.

You are also right Axl in noting that students should submit different modes of work. My daughter had mostly pen and ink drawings or pencil drawings because she felt comfortable in these mediums. I can't emphasize enough the importance of stretching yourself using different mediums. My daughter's art instructor even made her do a 3D piece. Having some watercolor, paintings, 3D pieces etc. really beefs up a portfolio.

I should note that when we attended portfolio day, many of the admission's folks recommended some time and motion drawing with at least 6 steps in the drawing. It can be any subject, but you need to show what happens over time. My daughter drew the steps involved in a coin trick. She also drew the steps involved in cleaning her flute. This seems to be very important to some colleges.

Also, consider attending some pre-college courses in a college that you might want to attend. They will have some good portfolio development courses, and you might be able to get a recommendation from a professor in that school.

Be warned however: pre-college programs don't normally give a lot of time to really complete good pieces. They seem very rushed.

I should note one last thing that I was told by a number of admission's officers at top schools such as Carnegie Mellon, Tyler etc. If you go for an interview, which is recommended, admission officers want to see passion in you! They want to know that you are very interested in attending their school and very interested in majoring in the major that you have selected. Taking outside courses, even at the local community college, does indicate passion. Having a lot of work done in your own time and not part of your high school curriculum indicates passion. You need to communicate this passion to the admission's people in the interview. I can't stress this point enough.

Last edited by Taxguy : 09-26-2005 at 10:10 AM.
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Old 03-27-2006, 02:37 PM
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lindamulder lindamulder is offline
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Re: Building your portfolio

Quote:
Originally Posted by baquitania

Perhaps some of you would like to do a small 10-12 piece WC mock portfolio for the forth coming year? We could post the basic outlines, and then give you up to date feedback on improving them... the knowledge could be translated simultaneosuly into your "actual" portfolio...


I am now preparing my portfolio. Has anyone put up samples? I haven't seen any.

If there are none, this is what I will do. I will prepare my portfolio, take photos along the way and then post the whole thing as a demo when I get accepted to the school I am applying to. (Obviously, if I don't get in then my portfolio sucked.)

Joyce
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Old 03-27-2006, 03:42 PM
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Axl Axl is offline
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Re: Building your portfolio

No, unfortunatley we didnt get together the project of examples of finished portfolios. So it would be fantastic to see a few.

There was one guy a little while back who went through the process of showing us his portfolio. Ill go back and find the thread.

I still have some of what I had submitted. Id be willing to put up some as well.

Would be great to see yours as you get it together.
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Old 04-11-2006, 09:53 AM
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lindamulder lindamulder is offline
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Step One

Okay, here goes...

Introduction:
The first thing I did was do some research on the internet. Found lots of good tips and ideas, but nothing that was directly relevant to students eeking to gain acceptance to an art program aside from what has already been posted on this forum.

I have had lots of success in other fields applying for certain positions and so with that I will be confident and take you along through this process.

I am applying to a school in Canada that offers and Fine Arts diploma with a third year degree option. That is what I will eventually shoot for. Right now I just want to get into the program.

Step One:
Make sure you understand the school's portfolio requirements. I have noticed that some will only accept slides, while others will also accept slides and photos. In my case the school accepts photos of all the work and that is what I will send as I am accross the country and will be mailing it to them.

Don't be afraid to contact them for clarification. In my case the school is asking for up to 20 pieces. Well, I thought, does that mean truly up to 20 or is 22 still acceptable? (Not that I have 22 to submit!) So, I emailed the department chair and asked him. I chose to email him because the instructions said that if you had any other questions to contact him. He was very helpful in explaining that he is dissapointed when he looks at a portfolio that is padded with inferior work. He would rather see a portfolio with 15 really good submissions. I also asked if a letter of reference would help and he also replied that it would be very helpful.

So, now that I am clear on what I need to do...I am off to step two.
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Old 04-11-2006, 10:09 AM
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lindamulder lindamulder is offline
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Step Two

Get someone with a trained eye to help you make decisions about what should be included. I have a teacher that I have taken some classes with and he has been very encouraging. I invited him to help and he was most eager to give me a hand. I laid out everything that I have and included things I thought maybe should not go in.

He took his time and I explained some of the pieces, which he hadn't seen. What surprised me was that a painting he raved about when I first did it, he thought should not be in. Why? "Because I've seen now that you can do better" Also a couple of things I thought might not be that good, he thought should be included. "The drape is great in this painting, I think they'll forgive you that you didn't the perspective quite right on the book." Etc.

So in the end we dicided on 18 pieces and three of them will need some fixes. One sketch he thought was small and could I redo it? Absolutley!
Okay, so while I'm working on that...
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Old 04-11-2006, 10:18 AM
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lindamulder lindamulder is offline
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Step Three

Make some decisions abut how you are going to present your works (aside from slides or photos etc. as I have already made that decision.)

I need a profolio case to mail and I did not want to spend too much. What I pruchased is an 11x14 case with sleeves from my local art store, but manufactured by itoya. Big enough to show the work and not too bulky. Some of the photos can be life-sized.

http://www.itoya.com/Catalogs/Profol...t_profolio.htm

I am also a web site designer in another life and I have decided to make a duplicate on-line version of my portfolio and will include the url with the portfolio I mail in. I happen to have that skill and can control the output, but unless you do and are confident of your ability to produce good design on-line as well, I would skip it. So, I am also wokring on that.... Step Four in a week or two when I'm ready (yes, I'm going to do it myself! ) to take some pictures...
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Old 04-11-2006, 04:33 PM
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Axl Axl is offline
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Re: Building your portfolio

Great info joyce! Thanks for posting this! We're looking forward to seeing your final portfolio. Thanks for keeping us posted.
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Old 04-16-2006, 05:31 PM
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Nicky1964 Nicky1964 is offline
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Re: Building your portfolio

hi axl,

thanks, this was really helpful!!..

nicky
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Old 04-16-2006, 09:19 PM
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jennakate jennakate is offline
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Re: Building your portfolio

here is the portfolio I did this year that got me into the Alberta College of Art and Design...


Jenesis Studios - click on Gallery, then Portfolio 2006

It was a lot of work (I drew, did some linoprints, lampwork, papermaking, painting, etc), but if you really want to go to art school, it should pay off.
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Old 04-25-2006, 11:14 AM
amrita amrita is offline
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Re: Building your portfolio

Great thread and thanks a ton for the tips Axl. It would be great if some of the students would post images of their WIP or final pieces in to the WC gallery.
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Old 05-04-2006, 08:06 PM
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lindamulder lindamulder is offline
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Step Four

Took photos of the peices too big to actually place in the portfolio.

I used a digital camera. I changed the resolution to 1200 and did not use a flash. Chose a room with lots of light, but no direct sun. A few photos I retook several times until the quality was good. I experimented!

Next I used a photo editing program and applied a "barrel distortion" tool to reduce the barrel effect caused by the lens of the camera. Then I straightened the photo using a "straighten" tool. Next, I used a "perspective correction" tool. Finally I cropped each photo and resized it to the correct size and resolution it is to be printed at.

I phoned around and asked friends about developing labs and found a local shop with an onsite lab. I let them know what I wanted and they say they can do the job. Tomorrow I go to deliver my precious cargo. Three day turnaround so we'll see what they can do.


Before (optimized for web of course)


After Before (optimized for web of course)

Next installment will talk about my prints from the photographer.
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Old 05-04-2006, 08:07 PM
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lindamulder lindamulder is offline
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Re: Building your portfolio

Quote:
Originally Posted by jennakate
here is the portfolio I did this year that got me into the Alberta College of Art and Design...


Jenesis Studios - click on Gallery, then Portfolio 2006

It was a lot of work (I drew, did some linoprints, lampwork, papermaking, painting, etc), but if you really want to go to art school, it should pay off.

Wow, nice job. Very creative!
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Old 05-04-2006, 08:23 PM
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Re: Building your portfolio

Thanks!

Love the apple painting! Wow!
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Last edited by jennakate : 05-04-2006 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 05-16-2006, 06:16 AM
$ergey $ergey is offline
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Re: Building your portfolio

Thanks!
Though I have arlready built portfolio, I've found some useful tips.

Keep on doing...
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Old 05-22-2006, 10:31 AM
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lindamulder lindamulder is offline
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Step Five

Okay, taking my own photos was a real challenge; I admit it. I probably should have read the article below before I started:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Articles/Sy...phototips.html
(since I also have a very good quality SLR camera)

The initial developer did a great job with what they were given so about half of the photos were acceptable right from the start.

I took digital photos (5 mega pixel camera and I set the resolution really high), but when I was resizing and cropping them on my computer I failed to notice that some of them were too dark. I re-took several of them and had to go back downtown. These were better, but I still took a couple more to another developer just to see if they could do a better job. They couldn't so that was $30 bucks wasted...unless you consider that I learned something from the whole experience. What I have read about doing professional portfolios for galleries is that you should hire a professional art photographer and I think I might plan on that for the future. Okay I'm cheap so I'll read the article and try it on my own first. hehe.

In the end I do have satisfactory photos. I am also including some original sketches in the portfolio so there was no need to photograph them.
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