With the exam season upon us, pressure is on to get your best grades as you can – naturally.
The very first requirement that you need to comply with for your UCAS application is to meet the exam grades. This can be the first hurdle as they are very high these days – mainly due to the fact that most of the Scottish Art Schools now are not independent and are part of the University of each particular city. Although Glasgow is not, but still, the entry grades there are the highest. (more…)
Have you ever said that – or heard it said?
Yesterday whilst talking to someone in the finance sector, I was reminded of this video.
The EXACT same scenario came up – you know the one, about the stick man! “I haven’t got a creative bone in my body – I can’t even draw a stick man!”
This is commented on in this fabulous TED talk about creativity by Cindy Foley (below) – please take a watch, it’s only 14 minutes long. (more…)
If you’ve used all five choices for art college/uni on your UCAS application, and you haven’t received any offers, you could still find a place using UCAS Extra – it’s free!
Some of you will however still be waiting to hear if you’ve applied to Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design and other colleges. Let’s hope this is good news. (more…)
I did a poll in the Facebook Group and by email last week – did you take part?
There were a number of replies and one of the main issues I’ve discovered that holds you and others back with art portfolio for college application is procrastination. So as promised, I will use these topics to assist you.
It’s useful if you can try to get a sense of what it is that’s making you delay, procrastinate and take action. (more…)
Considering the top universities for Fine Art? – get clued up!
It can be difficult to imagine what you might end up doing if you study Fine Art at Art College / University.
And there is always the concern from others that there are no jobs in the arts. There will always be people who don’t pursue a career in the arts having studied for 3 or 4 years, but that really is your choice. (more…)
First of all we wanted to write about the events over the weekend – Glasgow School of Art fire. The affects on the Glasgow community, Glasgow School of Art (GSA) students, staff, past and present, have rippled through the creative communities throughout Scotland and beyond. Consequently, to anyone in the world who has an interest also connection to the arts, culture and architecture. (more…)
So, you've just finished 5th year at school (here in Scotland) and you've achieved your Highers. So that means that you're possibly qualified for entry for art college in Scotland.
Each year, when I have students visit for their mentoring sessions, more often than not they are at school in the 6th year studying for their Advanced Highers. I wanted to write this blog post for those of you who aren't quite at that stage yet, maybe you're in 4th or 5th year. (more…)
We've been thinking a lot of about art and design and how it sits in the school curriculum. We hear from some students telling us that art and design is always the subject that suffers if a student has to catch up time with another subject, time is usually asked to be taken from the art studies first. Now why is this? Are the skills learnt in art and design not seen to hold as much value as those in other subjects? Hold on….what skills do art and design teach you anyway?
We're getting very excited about our event on dyslexia and creativity, a new partnership with Dyslexia Scotland – Creative Dyslexic Network.
This event (details below) is being held for Dyslexic creatives who need support forwarding their creative futures and/or generic job searches. (more…)
I received a really insightful email recently from a parent of one of my students from last year, who is now studying on the Production Art and Design – Set and costume design course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
We had a fabulous day last week in the beautiful autumn sun, in the woods MAKING OUR OWN DRAWING CHARCOAL can you believe! Why don't you have a go too?
I know you're probably thinking that it's easier to work from photos and it might be much more convenient too. However, a testimonial that we received the other week from a student's Mum said:
"Before Portfolio Oomph came into our lives Emily was happy drawing, painting but she was not creating. She clearly had the skills but was copying from photos, paintings etc. Although her teachers were very encouraging they weren’t helping her think for herself." (more…)
Use our chart to check what's required and when.
We had a couple of great evening seminars over the past couple of weeks, one at Stills Gallery and one at Dundee Contemporary Arts. The general feedback was that there is SO much to consider between the Colleges with different requirements, procedures, dates etc. (more…)
Yesterday was a fabulous day.
We saw the first 2 classes from Newtongrange Primary School, where our daughter attends, visit Jupiter Artland Foundation to engage in their hands on education programme. I have to say that I am absolutely thrilled for every child at Newtongrange as it's a magical place! We had a fabulous first day and the quality of the workshop was outstanding.
Just a little shout out for an artist/ceramicist that I have had my eye on her work for a while.
I have to say, I don't buy a lot of artists work, so this is a real treat – well, it was a treat for my birthday from my family. (more…)
When we visit galleries we usually think and know that we're going there to be creatively inspired and challenged. There might be some fun work, there might be some thought provoking and maybe work that makes us feel uncomfortable.
But we probably don't go to galleries thinking that we're going to be challenged with our maths and arithmetic! (more…)
So, we were listening to Ed Sheeran on BBC's Desert Island discs today and what he says about how he writes his songs can so easily be applied to drawing.
Artists like Ed Sheeran don't bring in two Grammys, four Brit awards and global success for nothing. He's mastered his creativity and what it takes to produce this success – so I think there's no-one probably better to listen to!
A very quick overview of the Glasgow School of Art degree shows 2017 – or what we saw of them as time was limited!
As mentioned in a previous post, we were visiting for the very special occasion of our very first mentee, who was graduating. He achieved a first class honours degree in Sculpture and Environmental art and was awarded one of the RSA New Contemporaries awards – result!
How easy do you find it not to be sure about something you do?
We've had another REALLY inspiring mentoring session this afternoon with a student who's exploring portraiture in the widest sense. The journey that is being undertaken is huge and it's so good to see when a student is trusting in the creative process. This really energizes ME and that should be how YOU feel when you're really into your work! (more…)
We've had a great relationship with schools in the Dumfries and Galloway area of Scotland in the past year. 4 x 1 day workshops have taken place to inspire and engage young people in the area to challenge their techniques and processes and to think more about experimentation in their work. We also did a day workshop assisting students with the creation of their digital portfolios in preparation for their art college application.
Last week we journeyed down to Newton Stewart to take part in a residential in conjunction with the Outdoor Education Service in Dumfries and Galloway Council. 13 art and design students spent 3 nights down at Stronord Centre where they had time to focus fully on their art before commencing on their final 6th year at school after the summer holidays. Some of these students will be applying for art college, which was why we were invited to deliver a workshop. (more…)
Last week we had the very special occasion of celebrating the degree show of our very first mentee who was graduating from Glasgow School of Art. We actually can't believe that he's graduating – time has really flown by!
Lachlan graduated from Sculpture and Environmental Art with a 1st class Hons and has been awarded one of the RSA New Contemporaries awards. I didn't expect much less to be quite honest, as he was so engaged with life and art.(more…)
There are many places where you can get your ideas from and use as the starting point for a drawing. More and more often, we are finding that students are drawing the still life that is in front of them, objects/subjects, portraits or even landscape from their phones, ie. off a photo on their phone screen rather than directly.
This, I suppose, is the equivalent (for those who grew up without mobile phones) to drawing from photographs. When I was at College, drawing from photos was a real no-no and for me still, drawing from photos and especially mobile phone screens is just not acceptable – controversial maybe, but really not good practice. (more…)
Learning from MY mistakes!!! I'll tell you a brief story, about my experience of applying to art college as there's a fair bit to learn from it.
I was a student who many, many years ago, didn’t get a place at Art College, in fact 3 Art Colleges, and I was gutted as I thought my portfolio was great – honestly! (more…)
If you have begun to realise just how much work is involved in creating a portfolio and don’t know where or how to begin then I suggest you need to talk to Portfolio Oomph. THE place to go to speak about your art college portfolio – we can work with you one to one on our new aligned portfolio course. Read or watch more to hear how we can helped Ellie and can help you too. Find out more about our new online portfolio preparation course. (more…)
We're coming to you here from an absolutely gorgeous, sunny Edinburgh – spring is here!
I just really wanted to share with you a little bit this morning about why I started up Portfolio Oomph, and we've been running now for two or three years. And I used to work at Edinburgh College of Art in the First Year Department and part of the job was to interview candidates for First Year.
Dyslexia is a common distinction of the creative individual, with many young people attending art school falling into similar statistics as follows.
At Central St Martin’s College of Art and Design research by Dr Steffart found that three-quarters of the 360 art foundation students assessed have a form of dyslexia. Dr Steffart designed a series of six tests of verbal, written and spatial ability for the students. Their intellectual and visual spatial skills were at a superior level – but they had many problems with reading, writing and spelling. Independent
Last night we attended the John Byrne Awards at the Playfair Library, University of Edinburgh. The John Byrne Awards are quite unusual in that it is focused around values and how young people can express their personal and/or group values through their creative artwork. (more…)
On Saturday we took part in a totally new experience in our education world – an online conference! We've been to many conferences, mainly art based and all have been where we have been physically present. But last year we were asked to take part in this online conference organised by American based The Art of Education (AOE), an online resource for art teachers providing online classes, teaching materials, lessons, videos and much more.
We received some great news this week on a personal but related venture. Newtongrange Primary School Parent Council (our daughter's school) is to receive full funding from the Coalfields Regeneration Trust Participatory Budget, to enable all its pupils to attend an educational day at Jupiter Artland.
The Coalfields Regeneration Trust (CRT) is a regeneration organisation dedicated to improving the quality of life in Britain’s former mining communities. Newtongrange recently took part in a Fun Day to report back on the findings of their local household survey. This gave the 300 people who attended the event the opportunity to vote for local projects, Jupiter Artland being one.
When you’ve worked on your art college portfolio for 4 or 5 months it can be quite difficult to get some perspective and clarity to bring it all together for interview. When you know your work inside out getting a fresh pair of eyes on your work and a mock interview can really consolidate your application.
This practical, hands-on session from expert in portfolio preparation, Julie Read from Portfolio Oomph, is designed for anyone who is applying to art college and is in the process of finalising their portfolio for interview.
To demonstrate that you're looking at others artists and designers work is essential if you're wanting to get into some of the best art schools in the world.
We talked with 2 mentees this week about the section of your portfolio that many colleges/unis call 'context'. This is putting your work in context in the bigger picture and world of art and design.
The colleges/unis want to know that you are looking around you in the contemporary art and design world for ideas, inspiration and generally aware of the 'scene'. (more…)
Goodness, we've not written a blog post for some 2 months!! What's happened? Well, other than being inundated with mentoring students we've been out on the road doing some workshops with teachers and pupils at school across Scotland, that's what happened. (more…)
If you're starting to research about the Colleges and maybe you've even been to some Open Days you'll be realising that some art colleges/unis are asking to see a digital portfolio.
So, we've created a FREE 15 minute guide to get you started. Also, for the first time we are offering a digital portfolio package where we will compile your digital portfolio for you (with your input as it is YOURS essentially). No this is not cheating, you've created the work. Some schools have the skills and resources to do this themselves (but teachers often spend their evenings and weekends doing this as otherwise it won't get done). (more…)
We had a lovely 2 evenings in the last couple of weeks. One at Dundee Contemporary Arts in Dundee and one at Stills Gallery in Edinburgh, preparing many pupils for the process of getting their art college applications and folios planned and organised. Thanks to everyone for attending to make it such an enjoyable evening.
Generally the feedback was very good. However, I am a little concerned that feedback from a number of students there is this need to know 'how to do it' and what successful portfolios look like. I know this is reassuring and gives you ideas but it's important that you know that there is no 'correct way to do it', it is personal to you and you just need to get started.
Yesterday we visited the Queen Margaret University (QMU) – Costume Design and Construction and I feel so compelled to write about it as it was so inspiring.
My visit was prompted by having a mentoring student this year who is applying to Performance Costume Design this year. We had one student last year who is about to embark on first year at QMU and we also worked with a student last year who is now studying the HND Costume for Stage and Screen at Edinburgh College. (more…)
It's coming around again soon, oh yes, schools here in Edinburgh go back this week – can you believe it!! Where we live, we just fit into the Midlothian Council area so our kids are back next week but there is nothing like that "back to school feeling". Ughhh!
However, let's turn it into a positive and think about what lovely creative projects we can get started and in that respect getting some good sketchbooks for art college underway.
We were delighted to be invited to write for the huge american art teachers support website, The Art of Education on all aspects of creating a portfolio for art college. We were very pleased that they were some of their most popular posts, generating close to 200 shares on Facebook and over 400 likes!
We were posed a list of questions by Art of Education senior editor Amanda Heyn and they really got us fired up……
You may or may not have noticed we've been pretty quiet on social media and blogging of late!
The academic year has now finished here in Scotland so we've been taking a bit time off with a trip to the Isle of Mull with my family. If you've not been and you are in range of Scotland I would recommend it. We had a lovely peaceful week, no TV or Wifi, which was actually really nice. After Brexit I was a bit done in with social media and the media in general, so just to get away from it all was lovely.
The topic of this blog post is the differentiation between and expressive and design aspects of the Advanced Higher portfolio. We met with a student last night who we'd first met on one our portfolio preparation courses last year, 2015. When we plan our courses we don't specify that the course is geared towards expressive or design. Our courses all relate to both expressive and design equally, it's how you interpret what you're doing that really makes it relevant to your subject discipline.
We've been thinking a lot about going to art college and careers for creative people recently. Mainly due to an email we recently received but also a discussion that we were in with students at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art last week. Is it a good idea to go into a creative education and is it a viable career option I suppose is the main thread of this post.
We were interviewed in ArtMag (Scotland and the North of England's art magazine) about whether or not we understood parents' concerns about an art education.
When you’ve worked on your art college portfolio for 5 months it can be quite difficult to get some perspective and clarity to bring it all together for interview. When you know your work inside out getting a fresh pair of eyes on your work and a mock interview can really consolidate your application.
This practical, hands-on session from expert in portfolio preparation Julie Read from Portfolio Oomph is designed for anyone who is applying to art college and is in the process of finalising their portfolio for interview.
We were invited once again to guest blog for the marvellous Innovate my School blog. This follows the success of our last post "How art can inspire confidence in students" back in April 2015.
When a pupil doesn’t get something right, it’s important that their confidence doesn’t take a knock as a result. Art portfolio expert Julie Read discusses why ‘failure’ is a vital part of success.
We recently wrote about the benefits of the new train line that we have running to our village from Edinburgh. 2 papers picked up on this, great news; the Edinburgh Evening News and the Midlothian Advertiser. See below for the full press release:
We nearly called this blog post 'time management and planning'. But then we realised that no-one would probably read it; me included if I am to be honest!
However, I am compelled to write this because of 3 situations with our mentoring that have arisen in the past 4 weeks. Whether you are reading this as we've published this in January or if you're reading it in June whilst you're on your summer break, the message remains the same. START PLANNING YOUR FOLIO NOW! As soon as you know you want to apply to art college take that as the day you start planning.
It's not just local tourist businesses that are seeing the benefits of the long awaited new Borders Railway. The long awaited rail link formerly known as the Waverley Line was re-opened in September last year after 46 years (when it was closed in 1969).
Here at Portfolio Oomph business is good and has been made even better by this new transport mechanism. Students come from as far afield as Stirling and Perth to use our mentoring and private art lessons service, one of a kind in Scotland. January is a busy time of year for prospective art students and Portfolio Oomph as deadlines for digital portfolios are at the end of January.
The October break is a great time to really start focusing on your art college application and your art college ideas. You've had time to settle back into school and hopefully get into a project or 2 in the art department.
Last year we ran a portfolio preparation course at the National Galleries in Edinburgh – based at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
We were delighted to be running our Ideas and sketchbook development workshop at the Poldrate Arts Centre in Haddington last weekend, 14th and 15th November 2015.
Sketchbooks are somewhat a mystery to many, “how do I work in them, what should be in them, what are they for?” These are questions we are asked over and over which is why we developed this course to help anyone who is working in one. (more…)
Earlier in May, we had a very different enquiry from an International student who was here in Edinburgh studying some short courses to help build a portfolio to apply to Edinburgh College of Art.
From the outset I was impressed by her resourcefulness as not only did she find Portfolio Oomph online, she arrived at our door one Monday morning ready to enroll in our institution. As you may or may not know, we are not an institution, it's just me, Julie Read, working from our home office / studio in Midlothian! (more…)
There are many elements to consider when you start planning how to make an art portfolio for college or university. However, there are some common mistakes made when preparing an art college application (via UCAS or other admissions process). Read our 5 mistakes in art college applications here.
We were recently invited to write a blog post for the fabulously inspiring Innovate my School website. Topic: How art can inspire confidence in students. We're pleased to have this published prior to the UK Blog Awards on Friday (17th April) as the director Michael Forshaw is the judge for the education category of which we are shortlisted. Please wish us luck for Friday!
A couple of months ago (10 February 2015) artist John Byrne was very outspoken with his views on Glasgow School of Art and its students. Here at Portfolio Oomph we felt strongly that the views of John Byrne weren't a fair or honest reflection of what it really happening at GSA.
So much so, that we wrote a letter in response that was published on 13 February 2015.
We've had a great start to 2015 and none better than collecting our award and meeting Dragon's Den star Theo Paphitis. If you missed our post in July last year then a quick update: we were selected by Theo in his Small Business Sunday #SBS initiative as a business he recognises and supports.
We tweeted to him about our business and each week he chooses 6 businesses to retweet to his 435,000 followers. (more…)
Drawings that will impress your art teacher?? Hmm, this might sound like a pretty normal thing to do as many students do think that drawing is only valued / validated if it impresses their art teacher. Have you ever done this? Let’s just make the clarification between drawing ONLY to impress your art teacher and drawing that is enjoyable for you but also happens to impress your art teacher. The 2 are very different, so read on.
We are thrilled to be able to guide you through creating your digital portfolio for university with our eBook with bonus video tutorial, that takes you step by step through the process of creating your art college digital portfolio. Not all students will be needing this as not all colleges require a digital portfolio. However, if you are applying to Edinburgh College of Art, Glasgow School of Art, Manchester University, Newcastle University, Goldsmiths, UWE and others please read on.
A flurry of activity on the UK Blog Awards website was had last month, so much so that the server crashed many times!
Portfolio Oomph was nominated in the education category with a chance to win the UK Blog Awards. And we are pleased to say that following the public vote we have been shortlisted to the final 10!!
We had a greatly inspiring workshop over the weekend of Off the Rails Arthouse in Fife. We call the workshop 'Ideas and sketchbook development' and much of what we cover is the sticky issue of getting inspired to make art.
Although our main aim is to work with students making applications to art college this goal is not essential to study one of our courses. In fact on this particular workshop we only had one student making an art college application. The other participants were all artists are varying stages and abilities, some having graduated a few years ago, who were all looking to kick start their creativity during a difficult time. (more…)
We had a meeting with a mentee last night and something we discussed was her UCAS art personal statement. Now you all know the ucas personal statement word limit, line space etc. so every word counts. Particularly if you're in the lucky position of having lots to say. If you're struggling for things to say then first of all download our eBook 'Writing your personal statement'! (more…)
On Thursday evening we attended the Advanced Higher art and design exhibition at the Tramway in Glasgow. For those of you not familiar with the Scottish education system, the advanced higher art and design is the final award studied at school if chosen to. It's ranked slightly higher than A levels by UCAS and many students who study advanced higher art then go on to apply to art college.
Having never attended this event before (it's been running for 4 years) I was quite excited to be seeing the best of the schools' talent. Also in a greatly inspiring venue, the Tramway Centre, Glasgow.
With the university open days and art colleges holding their Open Days as we speak it's a great chance to see what you'll be letting yourself in for at any one particular college. Many courses can sound quite similar from one college to the next but in reality they can be very different. This depends on who teaches there, what their heads of schools vision is etc. So at the university open days you get a chance to meet staff and importantly students from the courses that you might be interested in applying to. (more…)
It's been a while since my last visit to Jupiter Artland. however it's a best place to find contemporary art in Edinburgh in my opinion. I am all up for mixing a bit of 'work' with pleasure as we visited on my birthday. However, I don't view art, galleries and the like being work as I think if you're a creative type then you just can't get enough of it!
Great news once more! Our 'Idea and sketchbook development' at Off the Rails Arthouse in Ladybank is running again in November 2014 due to the success of the previous workshops in July and October last year.
Individuality of ideas or even just generating art sketchbook ideas and what to work from can be a real problem when creating artwork. Once you've decided what you are going to work on there also comes that really scary question of 'what I am I going to do with it?'
I've heard it so many times "but I just CAN'T draw". If you want to improve your drawing skills, read on.
It's almost like someone has resigned themselves to not being able to draw or believes that you either can draw or you can't. I don't believe that anyone can't draw, learn how to draw or improve their drawing skills. It is a skill and like any skill it can be learnt. Being creative is perhaps someone a little more complex and I can understand more why some believe they aren't very creative. However, there are still ways that creativity can be encouraged and nurtured rather than just accepting that you're not a creative person.
Some wonderful news came our way on Monday evening. We were announced as being one of 6 winners of the Small Business Sunday scheme as established by Theo Paphitis in 2010.
Each Sunday between 5pm and 7.30pm Theo invites small businesses to tweet to him including the #SBS @TheoPaphitis telling him about your business. He then selects 6 from those entries to re-tweet to his 435,000 followers the following evening; this provides a massive boost to the chosen lucky businesses.
I and 4 others have been busily preparing for the first ever Waverley Line Open Studios (artists open studios) since the beginning of the year. And finally on Saturday we opened our doors to the public for people to see what we do, how we do it and get lots of other questions that they might have answered.
It might all seem quite quiet here whilst students are attending interviews and waiting to find out if they have any offers. However, behind the scenes there has been a lot of activity on a personal creative level.
From 10 – 4pm on 10 May, I and 4 other artists are opening our studios for the first Waverley Line Open Studios, in Eskbank, Newtongrange and Mayfield.
Our daughter had a lovely tea set painting kit for her Christmas last year and we've finally got around to painting it today, well, she did with Dad.
It's the Easter holidays here in Scotland and of course we're trying to find lots of interesting stuff to do before we go on holiday next week.
Life drawing or not, that is the question?! You might be wondering what to put in an art portfolio for success.
I feel compelled to write this blog post as we've been running a portfolio preparation workshop which included life drawing classes in Haddington for school pupils applying to art college. This is a great opportunity for students as it is a thorough academic session in developing and strengthening looking and recording skills. This is relevant to any art or design project to varying degrees. (more…)
As a parent of a 5 year-old I was so excited to come across these beautiful poster illustrations of children's classic tales by Christian Jackson. The simplicity and effectiveness of the design and composition is wonderful and demonstrates that simple clean lines can sometimes offer so much than complex cluttered design in some scenarios.
So, you've applied to art college through UCAS if you're here in the UK. You’re off to your interview and you need to get your art college portfolio looking amazing because you’re going to get a place at the college of your dreams – yes! Good. Positive thinking we like. We often get asked how to present artwork for art college and there are a few simple rules to keep things clear. Remember that anything you show in your art college portfolio is really a reflection of you, your commitment to the course and ambition for your creative career. Take it seriously, spend some time making your portfolio shine and the rest should all fall into place.
Starting a new piece of work or on a new idea can be quite daunting. There is always the pressure that it must be a good piece, particularly if it is for an exam or for your portfolio in application for art college. This doesn't leave much room or time for experimental art.
From experience we know very well what works and what perhaps doesn't work so well and we often stick to this set of rules. (more…)
We have spent months preparing this eCourse and now it is finally available for you to download from our website. Sketchbooks are somewhat a mystery to many, how do I work in them, what should be in them, what are they for? These are questions we are asked over and over which is why we’ve developed this course to help anyone who is working in sketchbooks for their application to art college.
We are delighted to be able to offer life drawing in Midlothian in the new year. Having spent a bit of time liaising with the schools we have now finalised our classes which will be taking place at the new Lasswade High School Centre.
We've talked about life drawing and how it can be a great addition to any art portfolio for art college but it is not essential. However, if you enjoy it or have never done it before and can get to class then by all means get on down there and get drawing.
Life drawing can be a great addition to any art portfolio for art college but it is not essential. If you enjoy it and can get to class then by all means get on down there and get drawing. If not, don't worry, but find some other way to demonstrate your strong drawing skills in your portfolio.
This Saturday (November 16th) is the artists' open studios event Round the Horn in Kinghorn, Fife and we are planning to go, how about you?
Round the Horn artists' open studios represents a collective of artists, makers, designers and creative folk based in Kinghorn, Fife who regularly open their studios to the public and organise local creative events, exhibitions and workshops. (more…)
Whilst mentoring this week we've worked with 3 students and the one thing that has been discussed with all 3 is getting started writing your UCAS personal statement.
Whilst you might think there's loads of time before the deadline of 15 Jan 2014 there is also a lot of other stuff you need to get right too. Get this done early and you can forget about it and start thinking and doing all the work that needs to be done to get your portfolio up to scratch. (more…)
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! (more…)
This week we have become one of the first AccessArt Stars!
AccessArt* are awarding AccessArt Stars to artists, facilitators and teachers who they think deserve a public acknowledgment of the work they are doing at grass roots level in visual arts education. We're very proud to have this accolade.
Maybe you have worked with us in our workshops, bought one of our eBooks or been mentored by us on your journey to art school. If so, you will have understood how important the service that we provide is.
Picture this, you are dead set on going to one particular college/university and you know exactly which course you want to do. It is really competitive and there are only a small number of places each year. 'How do I get into art college?' is something we are asked all the time.
What is the best strategy to following your dreams and getting accepted onto this course? Read on to find out about articulation agreements.
Not only are we are excited to be partnering with The Big Draw this year in delivering a workshop online that you can all take part in, for free!
It is now being promoted and partnered with the Midlothian Science Festival.
We have some excellent news that we will running our portfolio development workshops again for school pupils in East Lothian. It is aimed at any school pupil in the East Lothian Council schools who wants to apply to art college or is studying art at higher or advanced higher level to improve their portfolio ideas.
We had some great successes from last years group, places being offered to participants at Glasgow School of Art, Gray's School of Art, Heriot Watt University, Falmouth University and Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design.
We are excited to be partnering with The Big Draw this year in delivering a workshop online that you can all take part in, for free! Anyone across the globe can take part using your GPS location tracking system on your mobile device along with a simple GPS Drawing app. This type of drawing technique is fun, experimental and really doesn't require any previous experience.
In true Portfolio Oomph style, we have a free eBook that guides you through the process of setting up the app and using your body position on the earth as your pencil!
It's that time of year when A level and higher results are in and the UCAS clearing system fires up to get you placed at a college that is right for you – hopefully.
I went through UCAS clearing some 23 years ago (in fact it was ADAR then – Art and Design Admissions Registry) so I know all too well what you're going through.
Portfolio development tips!
Here at Portfolio Oomph we are totally committed to helping you with your portfolio and all our products are shown below. We also show how our products work together to making applying to art college as straightforward and painless as possible!
We've spent a lot of time researching what help there is currently out there online for potential art students like yourselves. We've done searches for 'portfolio development tips', 'art college portfolio', 'interview advice for art college' and many, many other scenarios. I think the answer is clear; not much. That is why we have developed Portfolio Oomph.
I've been a little bit side tracked of late with events in our village which is slightly off the point of Portfolio Oomph but the more I think about it, the more I believe it's all related – library research.
We have a great little library in the village that we frequent each week with our daughter, sometimes twice weekly for her to exchange her books, chat to the librarians and meet up with other little people who she goes to nursery with. She really loves the library and now they have a coffee making machine that has hot chocolate it really is her favourite place!!
Since my visit down to London last week to see Rain Room at the Barbican, I have been inspired to get some digital art work finished that I've been working on (very part-time) for some time now. Setting up Portfolio Oomph has been a lot of work to get it to the stage that it's at just now and there is still a long way to go. During this time and for a long time before this due to having a family, there hasn't been much creative work that I've been happy with being produced. But this body of work that I am showing here below gives you an insight into where I am just now with my own ideas, creativity and concerns. (more…)
I am so pleased to have seen this installation art piece earlier this week – Random International – Rain Room at the Barbican Centre in London. The video footage from the installation art in the interview at the bottom of this post is just stunning and I was a little disappointed to have missed the last dance performance of the exhibition that day before I was due to go down. I've been enjoying contemporary dance for years now and haven't really been to see any since our daughter was born nearly 5 years ago, so this was a shame.
I've been very inspired by film and video art in its various guises recently.
One being Terrence Malick's 'Tree of Life' film with fascinating creative cinematography. Quite a tragic story involving the death of a young boy and his parent's coming to terms with it. It tracks the relationship of the boy with his parents through childhood. Visually stunning this film is creatively filmed, edited and the sound is superb.
So, you've applied to art college through UCAS if you're here in the UK. You’re off to your interview and you need to get your art college portfolio looking amazing because you’re going to get a place at the college of your dreams – yes! Good. Positive thinking we like. Remember that anything you show in your art college portfolio is really a reflection of you, your commitment to the course and ambition for your creative career. Take it seriously, spend some time making your portfolio shine and the rest should all fall into place.
Now that you've done the application to UCAS you will be hoping to get an art school interview (or art college) over the coming weeks. You'll not be guaranteed an art school interview as some colleges now have an initial screening/selection by submission of a digital portfolio.
Applying for art college this year? Generally not all colleges interview every student anymore as the time, costs and organisation involved in this process is immense. However, art college digital portfolios are the way to go!
Our portfolio building and life drawing workshops in East Lothian at the John Gray Centre have been a great success, we've now finished up for the holidays and we resume on January 11. Here's a couple of photos from our last session, rather sparsely attended as it was their Christmas dance the previous night and only the hardcore could stand the pace! Well done ladies.
Christmas holidays? Oh yes it is – Oh no it isn't! Your art college portfolio is waiting for your attention……
He, he, just a little bit of fun. You're right, it is time to wind down, relax and enjoy time with your family etc. But if you can do just a few of the things on this checklist before you head back to school or college in January you will be getting one step ahead of the game with your art college portfolio. You will also give yourself some breathing space when your application to art college really kicks off at interview time.
We've had some great press coverage recently in the Independent School Parent magazine and Chesterfield College newsletter, we'll share it with you.
We're really pleased to make it to the website of the month list in the Independent School Parent which is aimed at parents of children aged 13-18 years attending independent schools across the UK. It has a distribution to over 700 preparatory and public schools. (more…)
One of the most important parts of your portfolio and sketchbooks will be demonstrating your skills through the art of drawing. What images do you create in your mind when you think of drawing? I would say you'll be thinking of good representational drawings of objects, places or people possibly? Maybe something like these? (more…)
Taking part in the Speed of Light art project in August, created by NVA as part of the Edinburgh International Festival and the Olympiad Celebrations reminded me just how much creativity is flying around our city at that time of year. Also how game the public is for participating in such events. Not forgetting the commitment of artists to providing this fantastic experience for the public. (more…)
As you will probably have discovered by now that sketchbooks are a hugely important part of your art college application and portfolio. Your sketchbooks should show your thought processes, how you tick and offer an insight into your mind for the viewer! Sounds a bit weird. But really your sketchbooks are so important that you must have I would say at least 2 full ones to take with you to interview.
Our first mentee has a great future mapped out for him as he's had great news over the weekend that he has been successful in his application to Glasgow School of Art to study Sculpture and Environmental Art course. In just 9 months he's gone from having no portfolio to being offered an unconditional place at one of the country's most prestigious art colleges that has produced many of the nominated artists for arguably the world’s most recognised and prestigious award for contemporary art, the Turner Prize.
In June 2012 Lachlan contacted Portfolio Oomph to help him on the right track to going on to study at art college – the only problem being he hadn't studied art past the age of 15 therefore he didn't meet the minimum entry requirements for most further education colleges that feed the university and art college courses. (more…)
We all know that drawing is the essence of being an artist, at least to being able to visually communicate your ideas initially on paper through drawing. How you then create your ideas depends on the idea, your skills and materials/techniques available.
Our eBooks and eCourses emphasize this and as I am putting together the eCourse on Drawing, I thought what better time to brush up on my own life drawing skills? (more…)
Just a quick post here to let you know that our recent press release is now reaping rewards. We've a half page article in the Midlothian Advertiser, our local paper. We have others to follow up but this isn't bad for starters! (more…)
You might think that the term 'negative space drawing' has connotations of something quite complex, but really it's referring to the actual objects and the space around the objects that we're looking at. When we do a drawing, take a photo or make any art based on objects we usually draw the object in most detail first and leave the majority of the surrounding space to last if at all. (more…)
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. (more…)
As A level and higher art and design results come in thick and fast now, some of you will be lucky enough to know that you’ve secured a place at art college if you’ve a conditional offer. Some of you in Scotland might be staying on to sixth year to do advanced higher art. Others will be off to your local further education college to do an art foundation course or similar.
But those of you who haven’t got plans, please download and read our FREE eBook ‘What to do if you don’t get in’ – this short 5 page eBook covers practical advice on what you should do if you want to apply again. We recommend that to get the most out of this eBook that you buy it as soon as you hear that you’ve not been accepted at art college. (more…)
I've been waiting to write this blog post for a while as it's so exciting – for me at least! When we think about line, the first visualisation for an artist is usually a line drawing, yes? As I've been writing our eBook on 'Creating a Sensational Portfolio', one of the chapters is about the use of line to inspire our research work. In the past few months whilst researching artists work for these books, the use of line and line drawing has cropped up in many different guises and I will aim to cover some of my best discoveries here. There will be more images to find on our Pinterest page, another thing I've been whittling my time away on and I love it!
We have a new eBook out today to help you with some creative portfolio ideas for art college! I hope that not many of you will need this one, but it's inevitable that some of you might not get into art college first time around. This book is titled 'What to do if you don't get in' (to art college), it's a short, informative book and best of all it's FREE!! Download it from the eBooks section now.
eBook excert….. "I had a portfolio and went off to Norwich School of Art (as it was called then) for an interview. I’d chosen this place as it seemed quite intimate, not the size of some of the large cities I’d visited such as Manchester and Leeds. I was so desperate to get into this art college and I knew very little about the place, the college or the reputation as it stood. Had I done my research properly I would have known that it was a very competitive art college to secure a place at. Not that this should have influenced my decision but it could have saved a lot of upset as you will later find out. (more…)
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