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24 Apr 2017
Portfolio preparation course
24 Apr 2017
Portfolio preparation course online

As a prospective student, have you trawled the art college and university websites for information but still can't figure out what they are asking for in your portfolio submission?

If you're not in the UK it's quite difficult to obtain accurate information about applying to art college in the UK. Partly because you're not able to visit the colleges for their open days but because your education system is probably quite different to here in the UK.

Our portfolio preparation course isn't like any other Art Foundation Course that you will see available online.

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27 Feb 2017
Dyslexia and Art School
27 Feb 2017
Dyslexia and Art School

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

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24 Feb 2017
John Byrne Award 2017
24 Feb 2017
John Byrne Awards 2017

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…)

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20 Feb 2017
STEAM not STEM
20 Feb 2017
Art of Education Conference #artednow

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.

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9 Feb 2017
Jupiter Artland for schools
9 Feb 2017
Newtongrange Primary School receives funding for a whole school trip to Jupiter Artland.

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.

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9 Jan 2017
Masterclass - art college portfolio preparation
9 Jan 2017
Preparing your art college portfolio with mock interview

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.

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24 Nov 2016
context - best art schools in the world
24 Nov 2016
Context in your art portfolio

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…)

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22 Nov 2016
sketchbook drawings
22 Nov 2016
Sketchbooks a go-go!!

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…)

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26 Sep 2016
26 Sep 2016
Digital portfolio for art college FREE guide

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…)

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26 Sep 2016
art and design portfolio advice
26 Sep 2016
Art and design portfolio advice

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.

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1 Sep 2016
Queen Margaret University - Costume Design and Construction
1 Sep 2016
Queen Margaret University – Costume Design and Construction

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…)

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15 Aug 2016
Sketchbooks for art college
15 Aug 2016
Portfolio preparation course – sketchbooks

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.

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3 Aug 2016
The Art of Education
3 Aug 2016
The Art of Education guest blogging

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……

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11 Jul 2016
Isle of Mull
11 Jul 2016
Summer on Isle of Mull

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.

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9 Jun 2016
Ivan Midzic artist and jewellery designer
9 Jun 2016
Meet the artist/designer Ivan Midzic

As part of our new blog post theme, that of ‘Meet the art teacher/artist’ each month we will highlight either an art teacher/tutor, artist or designer maker and ask a handful of questions, nothing too serious but something that could encourage some interaction between art teachers, artists also college tutors.

Welcome arrtist/designer Ivan Midzic, I bought a piece of his jewellery whilst on holiday last year in Croatia and I absolutely love his work. Having agreed to do this interview for us and now reading more about Ivan, it makes my ring now even more special, I love his food answers! I also have a very special connection with this part of the world when I did some cultural aid work in 1996 after the Bosnian War.

If you would like to take part or know someone who would then download the questions here and fire them back to us at: julie@portfolio-oomph.com

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12 May 2016
Megan Chapman artist
12 May 2016
Meet the artist Megan Chapman

As part of our new blog post theme, that of ‘Meet the art teacher/artist’ each month we will highlight either an art teacher/tutor, artist or designer maker and ask a handful of questions, nothing too serious but something that could encourage some interaction between art teachers, artists also college tutors.

Welcome Megan Chapman artist – if you would like to take part or know someone who would then download the questions here and fire them back to us at: julie@portfolio-oomph.com

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5 May 2016
Design and expressive arts experiences and outcomes
5 May 2016
Design or expressive? Advanced Higher

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.

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22 Mar 2016
Careers for creative people
22 Mar 2016
Careers for creative people

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.

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10 Feb 2016
art portfolio masterclass 2016
10 Feb 2016
Editing, organising and mounting your art college portfolio with mock interview

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.

(more…)

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9 Feb 2016
Permission to fail
9 Feb 2016
Giving pupils permission to fail

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.

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8 Feb 2016
borders-railway-press
8 Feb 2016
Press for Portfolio Oomph

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:

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18 Jan 2016
art school portfolio
18 Jan 2016
Start planning your folio NOW!

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.

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13 Jan 2016
Borders Railway
13 Jan 2016
Newtongrange – we’re connected by Scotrail!

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.

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11 Jan 2016
portfolio prepartion course
11 Jan 2016
Portfolio preparation course at the National Galleries of Scotland

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.

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18 Nov 2015
Sketchbook ideas
18 Nov 2015
Workshop at Poldrate Arts Centre, Haddington

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…)

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23 Sep 2015
International art college application
23 Sep 2015
International student success at ECA.

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…)

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26 Jun 2015
5 mistakes in an art college portfolio
26 Jun 2015
5 mistakes in art college applications

There are many elements to consider when you start planning how to make an art portfolio for college of university. However, there are some common mistakes that are made when preparing an art college application (via UCAS or any other admissions process) and we aim to address some of these issues here. (more…)

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13 Apr 2015
guest blog Innovate my School
13 Apr 2015
How art can inspire confidence in students

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!

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7 Apr 2015
John Byrne artist
7 Apr 2015
GSA, drawing and John Byrne

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.

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23 Feb 2015
#sbs Theo Paphitis
23 Feb 2015
Portfolio Oomph meets Theo Paphitis

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…)

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13 Jan 2015
impress your art teacher
13 Jan 2015
Drawings that will impress your art teacher

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 your but also happens to impress your art teacher. The 2 are very different, so read on.

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8 Jan 2015
Digital portfolio mini portfolio
8 Jan 2015
Creating your digital portfolio

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.

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8 Jan 2015
UK blog awards
8 Jan 2015
UK Blog Awards – we’re shortlisted!

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!!

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28 Nov 2014
getting inspired with sketchbooks
28 Nov 2014
Getting inspired to make art

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…)

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3 Nov 2014
UCAS word count
3 Nov 2014
UCAS personal statement word limit

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 don't read on but download our eBook 'Writing your personal statement'! (more…)

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3 Nov 2014
Advanced higher art and design
3 Nov 2014
View advanced higher art and design showcase 2014

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.

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22 Oct 2014
art college open day
22 Oct 2014
University open days – top tips

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…)

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24 Sep 2014
Julie Read Portfolio Oomph
24 Sep 2014
Contemporary art at Jupiter Artland

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!

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17 Sep 2014
sketchbook examples
17 Sep 2014
Improve your sketchbook ideas

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?'

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7 Aug 2014
Julie Read Portfolio Oomph
7 Aug 2014
6 ways to help improve your drawing

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.

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3 Jul 2014
#SBS Theo Paphitis
3 Jul 2014
#SBS winner with Theo Paphitis

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.

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13 Jun 2014
Fair pay for artists
13 Jun 2014
Fair pay for artists

I discovered a great article on the Guardian newspaper website last week that really is a positive step towards supporting the value of an art education. From lots of research that I do on my day to day business in bringing Portfolio Oomph to you I come across many opinions that art college is just a doss for people with their head in the clouds. One particular blog post's comments really saddened me….. (more…)

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22 May 2014
Portfolio Oomph success
22 May 2014
Art portfolio advice success for 2014!

Successes with our art portfolio advice from face to face workshops and mentoring for 2014 entry have been a huge achievement for our students but also a huge achievement for us! Our art portfolio advice has helped nearly twice as many students this year than last and the range of courses and colleges is expansive. (more…)

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12 May 2014
Bibi design
12 May 2014
Waverley Line Open Studios success!

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.

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9 Apr 2014
Waverley Line Open Studios
9 Apr 2014
Waverley Line Open Studios

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.

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7 Apr 2014
Grayson Perry ceramics
7 Apr 2014
Grayson Perry eat your heart out!

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.

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21 Mar 2014
life drawing art college
21 Mar 2014
Life drawing – or not?

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…)

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7 Mar 2014
Goldilocks and the 3 bears Christian Jackson
7 Mar 2014
Children’s classic tales poster designs

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.

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17 Feb 2014
how to mount a portfolio for art college
17 Feb 2014
How to present artwork for art college

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.

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5 Feb 2014
Matt Hulse filmaker
5 Feb 2014
Meet the artist Matt Hulse

As part of our new blog post theme, that of ‘Meet the art teacher/artist’ each month we will highlight either an art teacher/tutor, artist or designer maker and ask a handful of questions, nothing too serious but something that could encourage some interaction between art teachers, artists and college tutors.

Welcome Matt Hulse, artist. If you would like to take part or know someone who would then download the questions here and fire the answers back to us at: julie@portfolio-oomph.com

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29 Jan 2014
James Donald textiles
29 Jan 2014
Meet the maker/teacher James Donald

As part of our new blog post theme, that of ‘Meet the art teacher/artist’ each month we will highlight either an art teacher/tutor, artist or designer maker and ask a handful of questions, nothing too serious but something that could encourage some interaction between art teachers, artists also college tutors.

Welcome James Donald, designer maker and tutor – if you would like to take part or know someone who would then download the questions here and fire them back to us at: julie@portfolio-oomph.com

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20 Jan 2014
art school sketchbook ideas
20 Jan 2014
Taking risks with your work

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…)

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19 Dec 2013
sketchbook ideas
19 Dec 2013
Sketchbook development eCourse now available!

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.

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5 Dec 2013
Life drawing for art college portfolios
5 Dec 2013
Life drawing classes in Midlothian

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.

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22 Nov 2013
life drawing art college
22 Nov 2013
Life drawing classes in East Lothian

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.

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11 Nov 2013
Round the horn artists open studios
11 Nov 2013
Round the horn – artists’ open studios

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…)

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8 Nov 2013
UCAS word count
8 Nov 2013
This weekend – start drafting your UCAS personal statement

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…)

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1 Oct 2013
How to create a portfolio for art school
1 Oct 2013
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!  (more…)

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24 Sep 2013
Access Art star
24 Sep 2013
We’ve been awarded an AccessArt Star!

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.

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16 Sep 2013
16 Sep 2013
Studying the course of your dreams – articulation agreements

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 to find out about articulation agreements.

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12 Sep 2013
Midlothian Science Festival
12 Sep 2013
Midlothian Science Festival

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.

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3 Sep 2013
Morag Mcgee ceramics
3 Sep 2013
Meet the teacher Morag McGee

As part of our new blog post theme, that of ‘Meet the art teacher/artist’ each month we will highlight either an art teacher/tutor or artist and ask a handful of questions, nothing too serious but something that could encourage some interaction between art teachers, artists also college tutors.

Welcome Morag McGee, teacher – if you would like to take part or know someone who would then download the questions here and fire them back to us at: julie@portfolio-oomph.com

(more…)

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30 Aug 2013
Life drawing for art college
30 Aug 2013
Portfolio development workshops in East Lothian

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.

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21 Aug 2013
parents and art college
21 Aug 2013
A parent’s view on applying to art college

Portfolio Oomph focuses very much the on the art education of the applicant (usually a young adult) when applying to art college but it can also be a tricky time for the parents of these applicants. If you have a child who is keen on pursuing an art education and is doing well in their exams, the whole idea of an art portfolio can be quite confusing. This is especially so if you haven't had an art education yourself or you're not connected in some way to the art world. It can feel like banging your head against a brick wall trying to find out information from a reliable, independent source. (more…)

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16 Aug 2013
The Big Draw
16 Aug 2013
The Big Draw – drawing techniques

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!

(more…)

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14 Aug 2013
UCAS clearing
14 Aug 2013
UCAS clearing for art college

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.

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8 Jul 2013
Anna Ray artist
8 Jul 2013
Meet the artist Anna Ray

As part of our new blog post theme, that of ‘Meet the art teacher/artist’ each month we will highlight either an art teacher/tutor, artist or designer maker and ask a handful of questions, nothing too serious but something that could encourage some interaction between art teachers, artists also college tutors.

Welcome Anna Ray, artist – if you would like to take part or know someone who would then download the questions here and fire them back to us at: julie@portfolio-oomph.com

(more…)

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20 May 2013
Claire Platt art teacher
20 May 2013
Meet the artist/teacher Claire Platt

As part of our new blog post theme, that of ‘Meet the art teacher/artist’ each month we will highlight either an art teacher/tutor or artist and ask a handful of questions, nothing too serious but something that could encourage some interaction between art teachers, artists also college tutors.

Welcome Claire Platt, artist and art teacher – if you would like to take part or know someone who would then download the questions here and fire them back to us at: julie@portfolio-oomph.com

(more…)

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13 May 2013
art college success
13 May 2013
Art portfolio success!

Since it's a little over a year since our website as you see it went live (April 2012) we thought we'd let you know how our students we've worked with over the last year have been getting on. We've made up some info graphics to display this information on their art portfolio success stories. (more…)

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26 Apr 2013
Pernille Spence artist
26 Apr 2013
Meet the artist/tutor Pernille Spence

As part of our new blog post theme, that of ‘Meet the art tutor/artist’ each month we will highlight either an art teacher/tutor or artist and ask a handful of questions, nothing too serious but something that could encourage some interaction between art teachers, artists also college tutors.

Welcome Pernille Spence, artist and art tutor – if you would like to take part or know someone who would then download the questions here and fire them back to us at: julie@portfolio-oomph.com

(more…)

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19 Apr 2013
art portfolio tips
19 Apr 2013
Portfolio development tips

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.

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9 Apr 2013
Fiona Thompson ceramics
9 Apr 2013
‘Meet the artist / art teacher’ Fiona Thompson

As part of our new blog post theme, that of ‘Meet the art teacher/tutor/artist’  each month we will highlight either an art teacher/tutor or artist and ask a handful of questions, nothing too serious but something that could encourage some interaction between art teachers, artists also college tutors.

Welcome Fiona Thompson, ceramic artist and art teacher – if you would like to take part or know someone who would then download the questions here and fire them back to us at: julie@portfolio-oomph.com

(more…)

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8 Apr 2013
library research
8 Apr 2013
Library research resources

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!!

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25 Mar 2013
Emma Roberts lecturer
25 Mar 2013
‘Meet the art tutor’ Emma Roberts

As part of our new blog post theme, that of ‘Meet the art teacher/tutor/artist’  each month we will highlight either an art teacher/tutor or artist and ask a handful of questions, nothing too serious but something that could encourage some interaction between art teachers, artists also college tutors.

Welcome Emma Roberts, art history lecturer – if you would like to take part or know someone who would then download the questions here and fire them back to us at: julie@portfolio-oomph.com

(more…)

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18 Mar 2013
Julie Read artist
18 Mar 2013
‘Meet the artist/tutor’ Julie Read

As part of our new blog post theme, that of ‘Meet the art teacher/tutor/artist’  each month we will highlight either an art teacher/tutor or artist and ask a handful of questions, nothing too serious but something that could encourage some interaction between art teachers, artists also college tutors.

Portfolio Oomph founder Julie Read kicks it off – if you would like to take part or know someone who would then download the questions here and fire them back to us at: julie@portfolio-oomph.com

(more…)

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18 Mar 2013
printmaking
18 Mar 2013
Meet the art teacher/tutor/artist

We are launching a new blog post theme, that of 'Meet the art teacher/tutor/artist' where each month we will highlight either an art teacher/tutor or artist and ask a handful of questions, nothing too serious but something that could encourage some interaction between schools, artists and college tutors too.

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6 Mar 2013
plastic bags refuse
6 Mar 2013
New work – digital art

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…)

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1 Mar 2013
Random International Rain Room - Barbican Centre
1 Mar 2013
Random International – Rain Room

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.

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20 Feb 2013
Tree of life - Terrance Malick
20 Feb 2013
Terrence Malick’s ‘Tree of Life’ film

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.

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28 Jan 2013
How to present and mount your work
28 Jan 2013
Mounting your work for interview

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.

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23 Jan 2013
Art college interview
23 Jan 2013
How to blow them away at interview

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.

But if you've followed our advice in our many eBooks, eCourses and on our blog pages then hopefully you will be interviewed at your favourite college.

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14 Jan 2013
Digital portfolio mini portfolio
14 Jan 2013
Digital portfolios – top 10 tips

Applying for art college this year? Not all colleges interview every student anymore as the time, costs and organisation involved in this process is immense. Art college digital portfolios are the way to go!

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4 Jan 2013
Life drawing for art college
4 Jan 2013
Life drawing classes in East Lothian

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.

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21 Dec 2012
Xmas holiday checklist
21 Dec 2012
Christmas holiday checklist

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.

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3 Dec 2012
Independent School parent
3 Dec 2012
Website of the month – Independent School parent!

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…)

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6 Nov 2012
Drawing skills exploration
6 Nov 2012
The art of drawing with Portfolio Oomph

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…)

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5 Nov 2012
NVA Speed of light
5 Nov 2012
Light art and The Speed of light with NVA

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…)

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5 Oct 2012
Michael Porter drawings
5 Oct 2012
Drawing and sketchbook videos

We discovered 2 videos from the BBC this week on sketchbooks whilst writing our eCourse on Drawing skills; exploration.

As you will probably have discovered by now art sketchbook ideas 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.

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26 Sep 2012
Glasgow School of Art
26 Sep 2012
Mentoring success story – GSA

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…)

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19 Sep 2012
All the young nudes
19 Sep 2012
The art of drawing; life drawing

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…)

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16 Sep 2012
Andy Murray
16 Sep 2012
Andy Murray in Dunblane

OK, I know this is slightly off the subject, but I have to share with you my weekend antics in Dunblane seeing Andy Murray come home after his amazing summer of success.

We had a difficult choice to make, Chris Hoy and other Olympians from Team GB in Edinburgh, just up the road, or Andy Murray in Dunblane 50 miles away. The choice was obvious seeing as we're great tennis fans. (more…)

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12 Sep 2012
Julie Read Portfolio Oomph
12 Sep 2012
Press coverage 13 September 2012

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…)

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10 Sep 2012
negative space drawing
10 Sep 2012
Negative space drawing; how to use it

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…)

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31 Aug 2012
How to create a portfolio for art school
31 Aug 2012
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. (more…)

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17 Aug 2012
advanced higher art exam
17 Aug 2012
Exam results in – off to art college?

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…)

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16 Jun 2012
16 Jun 2012
Portfolio Oomph mentoring
The subject of mentoring has cropped up in conversation a number of times with a number of people in the past week or so. I meet on the last Wednesday of each month with a very good friend Sam Miller to support each other with our new businesses, that of Portfolio Oomph and Sam Miller UK. Working from home on a business or as an artist alone can be quite isolating and as you have no colleagues to bounce ideas around with, you can get rather stuck in a rut from time to time. It’s been really good to get some objective support from someone I trust and value. This being exactly the function of the mentoring service including portfolio advice that Portfolio Oomph offers to students seeking to apply to art college. (more…)

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18 May 2012
Monika Grzymalas 3D tape drawings
18 May 2012
Interpretation of ‘line’

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!

(more…)

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3 May 2012
What to do if you don't get into art college
3 May 2012
New eBook now available!

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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