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  #16   Report Bad Post  
Old 05-21-2004, 08:59 PM
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Amy52 Amy52 is offline
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Re: Building your portfolio

Thanks for all the great tips! The thought of developping a portfolio for me is pretty overwhelming... so much lies in the hands of it. I should reallyto work on one soon, since im sure it's takes quiete a while to complete...

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Old 05-31-2004, 06:24 AM
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kt077886 kt077886 is offline
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Re: Building your portfolio

Good advice! I just graduated and am now preparing my portfolio for graduate school. This post was created just in time!
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Old 08-13-2004, 11:52 AM
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antheag antheag is offline
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Re: Building your portfolio


I just want to say "thanks" for this thread!!! I am attending an interview at my chosen college on Monday (today being Friday) and I am frantically trying to put together my portfolio which I have to take with me to the interview. I am happy with the pieces, but wasn't sure how to go about putting it all together! I must say that the suggestions in this thread have been fantastic. I am going to rush off right now to put it all into practise!!

Wish me luck... Hopefully I will be able to return with good news!

`Never discourage anyone ... who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.` - Plato
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Old 08-14-2004, 11:46 AM
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cgwillim cgwillim is offline
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Re: Building your portfolio

It is soo great to find a place where I can acually get live answers on porfolio building and methods. I'm first year college-bound in September and have been through the rollercoaster of trying to build a sufficient portfolio. For those who are already in or out of college, does the demand of a large portfolio get stronger?
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Old 08-30-2004, 04:01 PM
elna elna is offline
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Re: Building your portfolio

Wow, thank you so much for the great tips to build a portfolio...I'm so glad I found WC.

I'm an incoming high school senior, and I just recently decided that I truly want to attend an Art School. The problem is, I think I made my decision too late. I have yet to start building my portfolio with recent work. I was wondering, how long did it take you guys to build up your portfolio before entering Art school/college/university?
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Old 08-30-2004, 06:18 PM
Taxguy Taxguy is offline
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Re: Building your portfolio

Excellent tips Axl. I will keep these for next year when my daughter applies to an art program. I would like to add a few more tips if I may, which I received from a few admissions officers and from some top art students:

1. Thoroughly read over the portfolio requirements of the school and adhere strictly to what they want.If they want 15- 20 pieces, you should limit work to that amount. If they want submissions using slides, follow that advice. Being able to follow directions is obviously important to them in order to see if you are trainable.

2. Many people submit their nice graphics pieces that they created on Illustrator or Quark. Even if you are going to study design, I have been advised not to present too much graphics work for my daughter. Colleges feel that they can train you in this. They want to see drawings and other art using as many different media as possible. If you have a good photographic eye, be sure to include a few of your better pieces.

3. All slides should not only be numbered but also include your name. Many schools suggest adding the social security nuimber to each slide. I don't agree with that last suggestion.

4. Have a good cover page outlining what each piece is about and why you drew it. If the piece was as a result of a project, what was the project etc. Also, Art schools seem to like students that know their art history. It would be especially nice if you can cite other artists or other periods that you wanted to emulate.

5. If you can, try to put in one or two REALLY realistic pieces drawn or painted in the classical mode. I have seen a lot of art by students and rarely do I see really good classical work. This type of work stands out, and you should present some pieces like this if you are capable of creating them.

6. Thematic pieces are also nice. Thus, drawing your favorite tree in fall, winter and in spring adds a nice touch.

7. Don't forget to use proper English in your cover letter that comes with your portfolio. Being able to write well and creatively really sells anyone who reads your work and impresses admission's officers. I have seen some fair to good art work backed up by an amazingly good discussion get some of my friend's kids into very top art programs. This is especially true for art programs that have a very heavy liberal arts emphasis such as LACS, Carnegie Melon, RISD, Parsons etc.

8. TRY as hard as you can to either enter a major contest or get some work shown somewhere reasonably important. LIttle things like this can really make a difference in both admissions and in getting scholarship money. It is, thus, very important to have some pieces that stand out in some way.

9. When submitting written work such as a cover letter or portfolio cover, try to avoid too much art on the paper. This is especially true if it hinders readability. Some cute stuff like a chicken or something creative isn't a bad idea as long as it doesn't hinder the clarity of what you are writing about.

10. Especially if you are considering a design major, include a few sketches. Admissions officers seem to like sketches that were made quickly and show good work. I have had a number of top art students suggest this to my daughter, and I think it is sound advice. Of course, you need to state that these were made in a limited time frame just to show what you can do when given limited time.

11. DON'T take all the art courses in high school to the omission of top liberal arts courses. Colleges want to see that you took some widespread liberal arts courses and even some honors courses in these subjects. No one wants to admit a student that has very good art but flunks out because of a poor liberal arts background.

Hope all this helps.

Last edited by Taxguy : 08-30-2004 at 07:03 PM. Reason: Typos
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Old 09-02-2004, 01:46 PM
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ladyfox ladyfox is offline
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Smile Re: Building your portfolio


Thank you very much! I have been having the same portfolio questions and a similar situation to yours. I am in the process of thinking about which university to transfer to, and portfolios tend to baffle me. I appreciate your insight.

Also, I think making a mock portfolio is a wonderful idea. Thanks to one of the WetCanvas members for mentioning it.
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Old 09-06-2004, 02:48 PM
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nympheas nympheas is offline
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Re: Building your portfolio

umm maybe this is a stupid question but....whats the difference between an arts course and a liberal arts course? the only courses my skool offers is visual arts and thats it (kind of a sciences skool, i dont belong lol) but would that effect my eligibility for a skool?
Any information would be helpful
Accept that some days you're the pidgeon and some days you're the statue.

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Old 09-06-2004, 03:13 PM
womble womble is offline
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Re: Building your portfolio

Liberal arts are things like english, history, science, anthropology, etc. Basically anything that is more general and doesn't lead directly to a profession; engineering or nursing for example. I'm not sure I understand your second question, but really all it means is that they want you to have a brain too as well as being a good artist.
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Old 03-06-2005, 01:40 AM
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bellacutthroat bellacutthroat is offline
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Re: Building your portfolio

I have been thinking about my portfolio.. and i saw the samples porfolios from Art students at this college near where i am located, and they were very creative and three-dimensional.. and the portfolio itself was a master peice..
.. what are your objections on that? Do you think people are looking for the more standardized portfolios?
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Old 03-06-2005, 03:49 AM
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SunShadow SunShadow is offline
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Re: Building your portfolio

*thumbs up*

thanks so much, Axl! I have been reading alot of the art school etc threads and I really appreciate that you have taken the time to write these things out. They are helpful to me and Im sure to others as well!

thanks again! keep on doing what you do best!!

take care...
Shadow Race

Every time I've raced my shadow
When the sun was at my back,
It always ran ahead of me,
Always got the best of me.
But everytime I've raced my shadow
When my face was to the sun,
I won.
-Shel Silverstein
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Old 03-10-2005, 12:56 AM
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cspango cspango is offline
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Thumbs up Re: Building your portfolio

Thanks so much for all the information in this thread. All you guys did a great job. This was very helpful to me because I haven't had much advice on this subject before. Thanks again, you did a damn good job.
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Old 05-22-2005, 04:44 PM
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wednesday wednesday is offline
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Re: Building your portfolio

Hey all

I'm a high school senior who just got into RISD and will be going there this fall.

Personally, I think the portfolio is one of the biggest pices of your application, but sometimes I think people forget about the other things, likes grades, test scores, hometests, and essays.

My portfolio was weak, because I come from a terribly undefunded public school. If you can't seem to get good work out of your high school classes, be sure that you show the admissions committee that you've explored other artistic opportunities. For example, I took a printmaking class at a comunity college, spent a summer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago's "Early College Program", and took portfolio prep and figure drawing classes at the Columbus College of Art and Design. That way, they know that you are trying to advance your art education. The few good pieces in my portfolio came from these experiences.

DO NOT SLACK OFF on your schoolwork! At many selective art schools, they want intelligent and well-rounded people. Don't flunk your math and science classes just because "you're an artist". I'm graduating with a 4.0 -- I think this and my high SAT scores are what helped get me in.

Take time on the hometest assignments. This is an automatic "weed out". Students that aren't committed enough usually don't even finish them, forfeiting their applications. If you work hard at them, and do them in a creative way, it'll make you stand out against the gazillion other talented artists applying.

Part of being a good artist is being able to express yourself verbally and explain and articulate the thought behind your art. Be sure to take time on your the "Statement of Purpose" or "Artist Statement"! Many selective art schools want what they call "thinking artists".

Anyway, this may not be what you want to hear, but I think it'll help you guys in the long run.

Just remember one thing: You don't have to be the most awesome in the world to get in. Schools look not only at your current level of technical ability, but at your creativity, motivation, and artistic potential as well.

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Old 08-09-2005, 05:53 AM
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Dreams-of-Flight Dreams-of-Flight is offline
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Thumbs up Re: Building your portfolio

I have just successfully applied to art school in the UK, and found this thread very helpful, thank you to all contributors for their advice!

My interviewer said that what they look for in applicants are artists who are open to new ideas & willing to experiment - and added that some applications had failed because the applicants had very fixed, rigid ideas about art and so were not receptive to being taught. Evidence of use of a wide range of media, especially the use of unusual materials carried a lot of weight. Involvement with the arts through attending exhibitions, spending time with other arts and membership of art groups & exhibitions of own work was important, as it helped show a strong commitment to art.

I was asked about the influences of my art, which exhibitions of major artists I had attended, and which contemporary artists I admired, and which of their work I particularly liked, and why. (So, do your homework on this one if you want to name someone obscure! Imagine how embarrassing it could be if you were asked these questions & couldn't answer?) This is a quick way for interviewers to test your historical and contextual knowledge of art, it might be helpful to write a short essay based on these questions if you get really nervous at interviews?

Interestingly, my annotated sketchbook was examined far more closely and for longer than my other portfolio work, the interviewer said that you could learn far more about an artist from the sketchbook than the finished work.

Good luck to anyone else applying to art school!

Blissfully eccentric
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Old 09-25-2005, 07:50 PM
Bumstar Bumstar is offline
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Re: Building your portfolio

Lotsa great advice...

I'm going to the National Portfolio Day in October, and HAVEN'T got a clue as what I should do with my portfolio. I haven't even made one, yet, and I don't have too many things to put in. (unless you can count doodles on lined paper) I'm aiming to major in graphic design, and I have a few works on the computer. What should I include in my portfolio? Sketches? Sketches of what? Paintings? Is it prefered when you include paintings of realistic things? I usually draw in a style of my own, and I doubt you would consider it 'realistic'... Can some of my paintings be in that style? Is it alright to include artwork with controversial themes? (or ones with meaning to them?)

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