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How to Prepare a Portfolio for Art School Applications, A General Guide.

How to prepare a portfolio for art school, and other tips from Max The Mutt

Whether you’d like to start formal studies in art and design, animation, concept art or a sequential arts program, it helps to learn more about how to prepare the portfolio required for your review. For an outstanding portfolio, we suggest that in addition to the required pieces asked for by the college, you should consider asking if you can include extras that you feel good about. These pieces can reflect some of your personality; your ideas, technical skill and interests. This helps set your portfolio apart from others when college admissions officers review it.

Tips for Preparing a Portfolio for Art College

The following tips and guidelines will help you prepare a better portfolio.

  1. Double Check the Requirements – One of the most basic, and biggest mistakes you can make is to miss something that is clearly stated in the college’s application requirements. If it isn’t stated, a rule of thumb is to include 10 to 20 pieces in the portfolio. And submit your portfolio on time!
  2. Pay Attention to the presentation:
    • if you need to photograph some pieces, do it well! The best concept art ever can look terrible if it is photographed in poor lighting.
    • Clean up your drawings. If you are showing your sketchbook, for example, use a kneaded rubber eraser to clean up smudged or messy pages.
    • Organize the pieces so that is easy for the reviewer to check off required pieces.
    • Double check that you have everything required for your application! What else did you need to include besides the portfolio? The care you take is an indication that you will be a serious, focused student who can follow directions.
    • If the college does an in-person interview, get there a few minutes early. Think of this as a job interview. Be sure you are well groomed. Smile. Make eye contact… Introduce yourself.

If you liked this post, check out our article on how to begin a career in animation and many others on fine art, graphic design, and much more.