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Make a Winning Art Portfolio

Karen Kesteloot

A great art portfolio will get you into the best art and design programs in college. This free e-book will teach you the steps on how to prepare yourself in creating artworks that best showcase your skills and compiling those in the best possible order in your portfolio.

Make a Winning Art Portfolio


About PortPrep PortPrep gets you to the art and design school of your choice by helping you assemble a portfolio to the best of your abilities! We will improve your skills and technique so you can create artworks that will give you an edge over other students. Click here to visit our site and see our premier coaching services that ensure students a 100% acceptance rate.

About Karen Kesteloot Karen is an art instructor and owner of PortPrep. She helps students achieve their dreams of becoming future professional artists by instructing them how to make better artworks and designs for their portfolio. Click here to know more about her. Disclaimer: Some of the images used in this e-book came from Compfight. You will find a caption below the images that links to their Flickr Creative Commons page and the page where the image was taken.

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Make a Winning Art Portfolio


Table of Contents About PortPrep ................................................................ 2 About Karen Kesteloot ..................................................... 2 Introduction: Do You Want to Get into The Best Art and Design Programs? ............................................................ 4 Read This Before You Start Making Your Art Portfolio! .... 5 What's Drawing without Betty Edwards?......................... 6 Why a Notebook Is Crucial in Developing Your Art Portfolio ........................................................................... 6 Buy Yourself a Notebook .................................................. 9 Now You Have Your Artworks, What's Next? ................. 11 Learn How to Make Your Art Portfolio...the Right Way! 13 Give Yourself a Brand ..................................................... 14 Learn Art Branding from the Master Himself! ................ 15 Compile Your Artworks in an Art Portfolio Case! ............ 16 Is Your College Art Portfolio Complete?.......................... 19 Have Your College Art Portfolio Double-Checked ........... 20 Additional Resources to Building Your Winning Art Portfolio ......................................................................... 22 How about trying PortPrep’s premium coaching services? ....................................................................................... 25

Make a Winning Art Portfolio


Introduction: Do You Want to Get into The Best Art and Design Programs?

Of course you do! Getting into these schools allows you to receive the best education and gives you the best chance of having a successful career in art and design . However, that can only happen if they think you have what it takes to become a professional artist. You need to show to the art professors and admissions people that you have the creativity , passion , and skill to perform at this level. You can do this by presenting to them your art portfolio a collection of your best artworks through the years.

Make a Winning Art Portfolio


Read This Before You Start Making Your Art Portfolio! Hint: It's about the MOST important thing you need to master before enrolling to an art school

Photo Credit: Liis Klammer via Compfight cc

Quick, what’s the most important skill you need to master as an aspiring artist? With all the advancements made in arts and design, why does hand drawing remain the most important skill students have to learn before getting into college? Drawing is not only the foundation of great art, but it also proves the knowledge and understanding of an artist to translate what they see and imagine onto an artwork!

Make a Winning Art Portfolio


Having the abilities to convey form via shape and shadow and accurately depict an image from your perspective through hand drawing prove that you have a firm grasp of the fundamental theories involving art and know what it takes to create wonderful art. This will clearly show on your art portfolio and will impress the professors reviewing it.

What's Drawing without Betty Edwards? There's no point of talking about drawing as an art without mentioning the author of "Drawing On The Right Side of the Brain!" If you want the holistic approach to drawing, from the very fundamental to the most advanced techniques, do yourself a favor and watch Ms. Edwards at work in this must-see video. All of the topics discussed here are derived from her book Drawing On The Right Side of The Brain. Click here to watch the video!

Why a Notebook Is Crucial in Developing Your Art Portfolio

Make a Winning Art Portfolio


Your ideas and creative inspiration as an artist are VERY important!

Photo Credit: Honey Pie! via Compfight cc

That's why you need to keep a notebook and record every idea, thought, and opinions that pass you by. They don't have to be directly related to art - how you draw and express your ideas in your notebook define your thought process as an art student . Professors put stock on how you build and develop your ideas found in your art portfolio. This is the reason why some colleges ask for your sketchbooks along with your art portfolio for review . They will trace the process on how you go from establishing your idea in your notebook and transferring it to your medium of choice

Make a Winning Art Portfolio


(hand drawing, photography, sculptures, graphic design, and others). Ultimately, having a notebook helps you refine your process on how you make your ideas come to life through your art . By writing and drawing down everything that's in your mind, you have a clearer image of your thoughts and is therefore easier to recreate into a piece to be included in your art portfolio! TIP: ONCE



There will be times that you don’t feel creative enough to regularly draw on your notebook. As an artist, you need to find inspiration to not only create, but also develop original thinking . To help you harness your creativity and showcase your creative process through your notebook, read Making an Artistic Impact – The Creative Inspiration Process in Building Your Art Portfolio. Click here for the article.

Buy Yourself a Notebook If you don't keep a notebook or sketch book, now's the time to get yourself one!

Moleskine Classic Notebook, Large, Ruled, Black, Hard Cover (5 x 8.25) (Classic Notebooks) Moleskine is the ultra-popular brand of notebook that most artists own. Aside from the fact that Van Gogh, Picasso, and Hemingway used one, Moleskines have a sleek and minimalist appearance that artists can't get enough of. Buy Now

Make a Winning Art Portfolio


Rhodia Classic Orange Notepad 6X8.25 Lined A very affordable alternative to Moleskine. In fact, it shouldn't matter what brand of notebook you buy. It's all about the quality of your ideas that matter - as long as you have those, your notebook will become priceless. Buy Now

Make a Winning Art Portfolio


Now You Have Your Artworks, What's Next? Even if you have the best artworks around, it won't matter to professors if you don't follow this ONE simple rule!

Photo Credit: brandonhuang via Compfight cc

Going back to your notebook, all of your ideas recorded there don't have to make sense outright. Your ideas, in this case are unrealized artworks - they need to be

Make a Winning Art Portfolio


developed and brought into a particular form and order so they can be understood by people. The same thing goes with the artworks in your portfolio. You need to put them in order for professors to fully comprehend what you want to express in them. Also, considering that you have to compile around 15-20 artworks in a portfolio (depending on the requirement of the college), you need to figure out a way to make each of the artworks interrelated so that your college art portfolio seamlessly flows from one piece to another.

In other words, you need to compile your artworks logically and intelligently to make it much easier to understand! Here are tips and advice to help you achieve this: 


Put your best artworks first and last. Your "WOW" pieces are intended to capture the attention of professors reviewing your college art portfolio. This is your chance to make a statement in the art world and show to them why you deserve to get into their art or design program. The works featured in the first and last page of your portfolio should best represent your current skill set as an artist, so choose wisely. Choose your second best work on the second page. This should be your "keep looking" artwork. It's clearly not your best, but it shows promise of

Make a Winning Art Portfolio


what else you can do if you were to learn more about doing arts and encourages them to take a closer look of your portfolio. Create a flow with the remaining artworks you have in tow. While these might not be your best works, your supporting documents should still help your case to get accepted to the art program. You can do this by arranging them in such a way that they create a flow that speaks well of your skill set and potential.

Learn How to Make Your Art Portfolio...the Right Way! Find out what it takes to build a winning college art portfolio This collection of Youtube videos should explain to you what to include in their art portfolios and how to compile your artworks in such a way that they create a logical flow. This helps art professors from colleges you're applying to understand your work much better!  What Colleges are Looking for in Portfolios  Did High School Prepare You to Apply to Art School?  What is the Best Order of Your Portfolio Content?  What to Include in Your Art Portfolio for the Illustrator Program?

Make a Winning Art Portfolio


Give Yourself a Brand Or, why you should focus on branding at all

One thing artists forget about becoming successful is how they should treat themselves as a brand. For some people, packaging is everything, and you need to package yourself according to an image or idea of how you want people to see you. Are you a painter, designer, or sculptor? Do your artworks clearly reflect your personality? What is your ultimate goal in becoming an artist? The point here is for you to separate yourself from other students applying in art colleges. The problem that colleges have to deal with during admission is how all applicants are almost the same that they can't distinguish one from the other. By having a clear branding for your art portfolio, you are able to showcase your

Make a Winning Art Portfolio


uniqueness more effectively, which you stand out from the "sea of sameness.� Another purpose of branding yourself is to establishing consistency between your college art portfolio and yourself. Your artworks are extensions of your creative vision. You must cultivate your brand by creating artworks that communicate who you are. Art colleges will appreciate the brand you exude in your art portfolio, especially if it's in line with your personality.

Learn Art Branding from the Master Himself! Proper branding tips from the #1 New York Times Bestselling author himself! Raymond Aaron, author of Double Your Income Doing What You Love and branding success coach, shares his thoughts and expertise on how parents can help their students how to get to an art or design program of their choice through branding! Click here to watch the video!

Make a Winning Art Portfolio


Compile Your Artworks in an Art Portfolio Case! There's more than enough reasons why you should get a case for your college art portfolio Once you have arranged your artworks in logical order, you will have to purchase a portfolio case to hold them. Keep in mind, however, that an art portfolio case is more than just holding your pieces together. Below are reasons why you should think carefully of the case you plan on buying for your art portfolio. 

Keep your artworks safe from wear and tear. Without a durable case, you risk your art getting damaged. You must choose a case that will best protect your art portfolio for years from your environment. Conveniently carry your art portfolio with you. The problem with most artists is transporting their works from one place to another. With an art portfolio case, you can carry them from the handle or place them on your shoulder while keeping your artworks safe at the same time. Present your artworks in style. This is important for students who need to showcase their art portfolio for college admissions. The portfolio case must be sleek and fashionable to match the artworks you will be presenting to the panel.

Below are types of art portfolio cases that you can purchase off Amazon today!

Make a Winning Art Portfolio


Itoya ART Profolio 8 1/2 x 11 Storage/Display Book Portfolio-24 Sleeves/48 Views This is an example of a display book. This has plastic sleeves where you slip in your artworks. These are used when sending your college art portfolio via mail and are normally affordable. Buy Now

Make a Winning Art Portfolio


PRESTIGETM Carry-All Soft-Sided Art Portfolios for 32 x 42" This is a carry case portfolio that comes with a handle. This art portfolio case type is ideal when coming over to the college to personally present your portfolio. Buy Now

Make a Winning Art Portfolio


Is Your College Art Portfolio Complete? Before you feel good about completing your portfolio, read this first!

Photo Credit: Life Mental Health via Compfight cc

You've practiced hand drawing, wrote down your creative ideas in your notebook, followed the best ways on how you compiled the artworks in your portfolio, and have bought a portfolio case to store your artworks and present it to art colleges you're applying to. Question now is, are you satisfied with your portfolio? There is no telling what your future holds after submitting your portfolio to different art programs. There's a chance that you'll get in and there's a chance that may not. This is the reason why you may be feeling that something's not right with your portfolio, even though you've done

Make a Winning Art Portfolio


everything under your power to make the best art portfolio possible. Therefore, as much as possible, you'd want to squeeze everything that's worth out of your college art portfolio to maximize your chances of getting to your school of choice and fulfilling your dream of becoming a professional artist!

Have Your College Art Portfolio Double-Checked What if we say that you can have your art portfolio reviewed by an art instructor for FREE? Your college art portfolio isn't optimized for college admissions until it is reviewed by an art professor or instructor first. If you need your art portfolio reviewed, we can help you with no extra costs! Below are links to resources where you can get your free art portfolio review to increase your chances of getting into an art or design program in college. Welcome to the National Portfolio Day Association The National Portfolio Day Association is the premier source for post-secondary portfolio

Make a Winning Art Portfolio


development. The membership represent the highest standard of visual arts education available in the United States and Canada. PortPrep Get accepted to your art and design school of choice - take a portfolio assessment for your art portfolio for college from a successful art instructor! Gateways Coaching for Artists and Creative Professionals Artist Career and Creativity Coach help Art Professionals worldwide to empower creativity and reach art career goals faster. Augusto Fine Art Augusto Bordelois has helped art students with their works through his various services (in particular his free portfolio review).

Make a Winning Art Portfolio


Additional Resources to Building Your Winning Art Portfolio

Your art portfolio won’t be complete without following the tips and advice from these mustread articles! Learn the best practices on how to take pictures of your portfolio. Having good image quality for your sculptures, paintings, and 3D art in your art portfolio accurately showcases your skills. Resources:  How to Take Pictures of Artwork for Your Art Portfolio: 42 Tips  More Tips for Taking Pictures of Art from the Experts

Make a Winning Art Portfolio


Learn about SlideRoom. Instead of sending your portfolio by mail, you can now upload digital copies of your portfolios to their database. Most of the colleges use SlideRoom, a site where colleges can efficiently manage portfolios being sent to them online. It would help if you do a bit of reading about SlideRoom, which you can by clicking on the link below. Things to Know About SlideRoom Before Uploading Your Art Portfolio Arrange the works in your art portfolio. How the pieces in your portfolio are arranged will have an impact to those who will review it. It must have a logical flow where the best works are strategically placed on certain pages while your supporting documents or piece create a narrative that speak well of your skills. Resource: Applying to an Arts Program in College? Here’s What to Include in Your Portfolio

Make a Winning Art Portfolio


Master hand drawing. This art skill is one of the building blocks of becoming a great artist. Good hand drawing skills shows that you understand the basic concepts of art and design. With this knowledge, you will be able to build more creative ideas and achieve stronger compositions, regardless of art program you're interested in. Resources:  Hand Drawing Basics: A Quick Look  No Nude Models? No Worries! 6 Alternative LifeDrawing Resources for Art Students  Why Betty Edward’s “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” Is an Essential Read for All Art Students  The Fundamentals of Figure Drawings for Your Art Portfolio Ace the interview! While bulk of your college application depends on your art portfolio, it is also importance to prepare for the interview you will be having with the college. This includes presenting your art portfolio in person and answering questions about your intentions of studying art in their college. Resource: How to Prepare for an Art College Interview

Make a Winning Art Portfolio


How about trying PortPrep’s premium coaching services? Guarantee your spot at your art school of choice by signing up for PortPrep’s paid services and boosting your art portfolios like you’ve never imagined! Proven ARTS Answer The Proven ARTS Answer Video Series gives students the secrets to success in the most competitive visual arts education institutes. Art Instructor and top portfolio coach Karen Kesteloot of shows students what to put in art portfolios, in what order, and in what format. 100% of her students have been accepted into the top arts colleges and universities. Now you can too with the help of these instructional videos. Click here for more! Portfolio Development Coaching Packages Choose from three packages that best suit your needs. Packages include a detailed list of recommendations for the art portfolio you will be sending us, a video chat discussing how to further improve your artworks, free ebooks to help you get started, and a custom course depending on your availability. Click here to see our coaching services!

Make a Winning Art Portfolio


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Make a Winning College Art Portfolio  
Make a Winning College Art Portfolio  

This e-book contains vital information that will surely get you accepted to your art or design program of choice in college! How to Make a...