31 Aug 2012
How to create a portfolio for art school
Art portfolio ideas and how to develop them.

With the colleges starting back across England, Wales and Scotland in the last week or this coming week and if you're applying next year you'll all be excited thinking about developing your art portfolio ideas.

If you've not already taken a look at our eBooks you'll perhaps be a little unsure about how best to prepare for applying to college and what this important yet elusive 'art and design portfolio' is.

We'd like to highlight 4 areas essential the development of your art portfolio ideas  that with some care and attention paid to, should stand you in a stronger position with your application. Our eBook 'Creating a sensational portfolio' goes into much more depth in all these areas and gives you some really good pointers as to how you can achieve impressive results.

These 4 essential elements can be categorised into 4 areas and the aims of our eBook 'Creating a sensational portfolio' are to provide you with a formula, that you can follow with just about any project. This will take you on a journey to enable you to develop a sensational art portfolio ideas.

Now I am not saying “follow this formula and you will get into art college”, please DO NOT think this – if you believe this you might as well stop right now (also please read our terms and conditions of the website if you haven’t yet done so!). Because if we knew exactly what to put in an art and design portfolio we’d all do it and art is not about doing what everyone else does, it’s about YOU and what YOU want to do.

This formula can take you on the journey that is the way to explore your art portfolio ideas in a very personal, individual way which is what the colleges want to see. How well and how far reaching you do this is up to you and will reflect your creative potential and commitment. This in essence is what is being assessed.


We expand on each of the headings below in the eBook 'Creating a sensational portfolio'. You may find that some colleges use different words than the ones we have below but essentially they mean the same. We also give you some great ideas for where to find your inspiration and how you can use your research in developing your art portfolio ideas.

Research/visual enquiry – You’ll have to show through images that you’re engaged in research/visual enquiry of your subject/concept of some kind.

Developmental work – How you got from idea/concept to finished piece.

Critical judgement, selection and resolved work – Now you have gone from the concept to the finished piece, what are the choices that you have made along the way;
how can you demonstrate this?

Contextual awareness – who (artists/designers) do you align yourself with and why are you interested in them? Show that you have done some basic research of the area that you are interested in.

I was a student who didn’t get a place at art college, in fact 3 art colleges, was gutted as I thought my art portfolio ideas were great. The thing I didn’t realise was that it said nothing about me, what I was interested in and it showed quite clearly that my passion for art hadn’t really been ignited.

Okay, so I could draw and paint but the subjects I was drawing and painting were really dreary in hindsight and to be quite honest – but hindsight is a marvellous thing, so learn from mine – please! I did lots of paintings of poppy seed heads, flowers and shells, if I am honest because I didn’t know what else to do. It was stuff we just had lying around at home; it showed!

So along with these 4 elements you need to prove that you have individual/unique art portfolio ideas which also includes lots of drawing. Visit our Pinterest page to see what can be classified as drawing these days, it's not just pencil on paper you'll be pleased to know!


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