1 Oct 2013
How to create a portfolio for art school
6 things to do today to help with your portfolio

We've all been there. We've got to make a start on getting our art school portfolio moving. We need to start doing some work outside of school as this is what the art school tutors will be looking for – your commitment to art outside of school. But where do you start? How do you get motivated when it's not something that has been set for you to do by your art teacher?

Read on to find out 6 ideas that can get your juices flowing and start today! 

1. Go see an exhibition

Exhibitions are usually inspiring on some level. Whether that is the artist is using materials in a great way, the subject that the artist explores resonates with you. Or perhaps you really don't like the work, you think the use of materials is poor or the subject is banal and unappealing. Sometimes an exhibition that doesn't speak volumes to you can be as useful to you than ones that you simply love! So take a break, get on the bus/car/walk/bike and see what's on in nearby towns or cities. Or if there is nothing close by then have a day trip and see a few exhibitions at a city close by. If you can see something contemporary then that's great. When you're applying to art school they want to see that you are in touch with what is going on in the art world now.

Visit a gellery - 5 things to do to help you into art school

2. Go for a walk and take an imaginary magnifying glass

When we walk to work, to college, to meet our friends we're often so involved in getting there, listening to MP3 players, texting and just generally switching off we don't often see things that are blindingly obvious and interesting. Go for a walk, no interference from electronic goods and look, listen, explore with all your senses. Pretend you have a magnifying glass and you're seeing the smallest things that you'd not normally notice. Even better, pretend you are a 5 year old and you really will stop every 3 steps to look at something you'd not noticed yesterday. Take your camera, your sketchbook and start some exploratory work that you never know might inspire the next amazing piece of artwork!

Read our eBook 'Creating a sensational portfolio'. Also see this work by Ingrid Calame, based on the stains on roads…..

Ingrid Calame - 5 things to do to help you into art school

3. Read a good paper

Current affairs are great ways of coming up with new ideas. They can get your emotions running high and in turn they can produce some great meaningful art for your art school portfolio. When I write a 'good' paper I think I mean not the tabloids. However, there are interesting stories all over the place these days.

Something I saw this week:

'The Fallen'  to mark International Peace Day.  The objective was to make a visual representation of 9000 people drawn in the sand which equates the number of Civilians, Germans Forces and Allies that died during the D-day landings, 6th June during WWII as an example of what happens in the absence of peace.

The Fallen - 5 things to do to help you into art school

4. Watch an art house movie

Going to the movies can very inspiring and some of my tutors at art school packed us off to the cinema to see a film. Not any film though and not just any cinema, oh no! Hollywood Blockbusters were not allowed, not to say that they can't inspire you. However, there are many films that are real musts and might just inspire something. Take a look at one of our blog posts here on the film 'Tree of Life' by Terence Malick.

Some ideas – The Wicker Man, Psycho, Citizen Kane, 3 Colours Trilogy

5. Look after your work

Ensure that all the work you've done to date is well stored, sprayed with fixative if you've been using pastel, charcoal or conte. If you have work rolled, please unroll it and store it flat as this will make mounting your work so much easier when the time comes. Read our eBook on 'How to present and mount your work' for art school.

6. Read our 4 most popular eBooks

Many of our eBooks are essential to the creation of a sensational portfolio and are listed on our eBooks page. We've a whole host of other great ideas that you could work on to get your art school portfolio looking cracking. The advice that we have on this blog page is also useful for your personal statement and interview in terms of what you can write and talk about. Get started today!

Buy all 4 titles to get started for £46.98 – saving £10!


Here at Portfolio Oomph we are a one-stop-shop committed to opening up the possibilities for every one of you, to live your dreams for a creative future. Please use the information on this site alongside your own individuality, this is the essence of what the art colleges are looking for – I will explain more in the eBooks and eCourses. This I might add, is what my portfolio lacked, individuality, all those many years ago.

The information that I offer to you on this site does not guarantee you a place at art school. (Please read our terms and conditions before buying anything from our site).

All I can say is create beyond your wildest dreams, believe in your creations and “go get ‘em!” (that’s what my tutor Tony Currell at Chesterfield College once advised me and eventually I did).

To view our eBooks and eCourses you will need to install Adobe Reader if you don’t already have it. You can download it for free!


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