postheadericon How to Develop Work for an Art School Portfolio

Getting into a reputable art school is competitive. The best art, animation, and design schools want to see a portfolio of your best and most recent work. If you’re looking to apply to one of these, here’s what you need to do to build a winning art portfolio.

How to Develop Work for an Art School Portfolio

1 Draw from life. The biggest skill that serious schools look for is observational drawing. This is the same for any nearly any discipline, from fine arts to design, architecture to 3D animation. If you draw from photographs or 2D work, it will be obvious to the reviewer. You need to prove that you can translate 3D concepts into a 2D space, that you can rotate a subject and keep the correct proportions and perspective.

How to Develop Work for an Art School Portfolio

2 Keep a sketchbook. You’ll want to show your process work – how you developed your ideas and how your work has matured. Some art schools will require that you submit your sketchbook along with your portfolio to give further insight.

How to Develop Work for an Art School Portfolio

3 Show some personal work. This may be experimental work or pieces that showcase your personal interest in a subject or medium. If you want to get into an animation school, for example, you might need to provide some motion graphics work or a demo reel. 4 Do your research. Find out what specific requirements or exercises your school may require, such as the famous RISD bicycle exercise or water study.

How to Develop Work for an Art School Portfolio

5 Be original. There are many aspiring artists applying to art school every year. Out of all the hundreds of portfolios and blogs, you want yours to be one that stands out and is remembered.

How to Develop Work for an Art School Portfolio

6 Demonstrate good technical skills. Make sure that you have the basics down: anatomy, color, lighting, etc. A creative art piece without proper proportions is not going to impress.

How to Develop Work for an Art School Portfolio

7 Photograph your work professionally. Photograph outdoors or using natural light where possible. For three-dimensional work, use a 3-point light system: one overhead light, and two spotlights set at 45? angles to the piece.

How to Develop Work for an Art School Portfolio

8 Digitize your work. Most schools now require that you upload your portfolio rather than send in hard copies. Make sure you save your work with sufficient pixels so that the reviewer can zoom in on your work without pixelation. Use RGB color mode, and save in one of the following formats: jpg (max quality), pdf. Be sure you always archive a high-resolution image for your records.

How to Develop Work for an Art School Portfolio

9 Curate your work. Choose your best and most recent work (within the last 12 months). Make certain that each piece showcases your talent and is as good as you can make it. Create a narrative throughout the portfolio that speaks to your intended audience, bearing in mind the particular program you are applying to.

How to Develop Work for an Art School Portfolio

10 Get your work professionally reviewed. At this point in your career, it’s not enough to ask your mom for her opinion. If there’s one in your city, find a National Portfolio Day event where many art schools will have admissions officers available to review your work and give you feedback.

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