My Art School Application Portfolio

Summer is here! For those of you who are going to be seniors in high school, this means that you are going to be working on applying to colleges (or you should be 😉 ). When you apply to art school, there is one extra step – a portfolio of your best work. In this post, I’ll show you my portfolio and give you my tips to creating a portfolio.

Here are some tips for building a portfolio and what mine looked like.

The biggest tip I can give you is to check out the portfolio requirements of the school. Some are very, very loose only giving you the minimum and the maximum number of pieces to have in your portfolio. Others will give you different types of pieces that they would like to see (figure drawings, still lives, self-portraits, major specific pieces). Make sure to include these pieces if they are requested!

I would recommend doing research on the style of teaching the school you are looking into uses. Some are more focused on traditional ways of teaching reminiscent of the French salons. These more traditional institutions tend to have different teaching techniques than the less traditional institutions and one teaching style over the other may benefit you more. Different institutions also will like different styles of art, so doing your research will really benefit you.

The next piece of advice that I can give you is probably more useful for those who are going to be juniors in high school (or those starting to look at colleges). Take advantage of any portfolio building workshops that your schools may offer! This program is super helpful and usually features a portfolio review and sometimes a drawing workshop to create pieces to put in your portfolio. At the very least, schools will usually offer portfolio reviews to people who are a year or two away from applying to college to help guide them in the right direction.

As promised here is my portfolio I used to apply to art school.

I was applying to schools who had very loose guidelines, so I was able to include a lot of work I did for fun and really enjoy doing like nature and fantasy illustrations. I also included a self-portrait and still lives.

The biggest piece of advice I could give you is to make your portfolio thoroughly you. Draw what you like to draw, if still lives are required, use a few of your favorite things!

What are you or did you include in your portfolio? Do you have any ideas to add? Let me know in the comments!


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