The Dos & Don'ts of Creating A Portfolio


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  • Some examples of drawings or paintings from direct observation are strongly suggested (still life, interior space, landscape, portrait, figure work). Include finished work that is your best and most recent (completed within the last 1-2 years). Balance of the portfolio may be work in any media or style, such as sculpture, photography, 2-D design work, painting, printmaking, computer-generated art, fashion illustrations or garments, etc.
  • Charcoal is inexpensive to purchase and quickly achieves values and gestures. Erasers act as another type of pencil to add lighter values or to correct mistakes. Embrace the mess of charcoal! It is a fun and fast medium that allows you to improve dramatically over a small amount of time.
  • Keeping a sketch book trains your eye and makes you competitive for art school. Newsprint is the most inexpensive type of sketchbook and works well with charcoal.
  • Consider submitting a sketch book full of drawings and ideas as a portfolio piece.
  • “ Drawing from direct observation” means drawing from what you see in real life, including people, objects and or spaces directly around you. Drawings copied from photographs, posters, or another person’s artwork are not considered to be observational drawings.
  • Work in a style that suits you - whether it is gestural, controlled and measured, or abstract, work in a way that feels most comfortable. The drawings here are more loose and gestural.
  • This drawing is controlled and measured.
  • Acrylic, watercolor, oil, mixed media – all mediums are acceptable.
  • Paint on paper or canvas. Still lives are inexpensive to set up and won’t move like live models.
  • Don’t be afraid to play with abstraction.
  • Clay, plaster, mixed media are all acceptable. We will cover taking photos of your work for digital submission later in this presentation.
  • Think about composition, shape, line, and perspective.
  • How can you make an ordinary every day object look extraordinary?
  • Draw from a mirror. You are the only live model that is available 24-7.
  • Draw from your hands and feet.
  • Colored pencils and colored papers are two great options shown here.
  • Whether it is fashion, digital media, animation graphic design, illustration or interiors – we want to see your best work!
  • If you’re interested in animation and character development show us work that is original and dynamic. Do not include studies of work under copyright. Put your characters in environments and give them personalities. Digital renderings are a great way to fully realize your animation sketches.
  • Think about your photographs that demonstrate your creative eye.
  • Reviewers of your work will ask you about it. Keep in mind a few key points about your art.
  • Be able to answer a few of these questions about each of your portfolio pieces: Which pieces do you like and why? What works about your art and what doesn’t? What did you learn from making it? What is your process or concept? How do you go about making a new work of art? What are some ideas you’re working on? Who or What inspires your work? What are some of your favorite artists. Who’s work could yours be compared to? What mediums do prefer and why? What materials do you like working with? How do they inform your art?
  • The piece on the left looks like a study. The piece on the right uses the whole page and has a foreground and background. It contains a range of values. Consider composition, background, and horizon lines to complete an unfinished piece.
  • This includes fine art, photography, magazines, and cartoons or animation. Although the master study shown here is a great way to develop painting and drawing skills, it is not your original artwork.
  • Plagiarism is not allowed at any school, especially art school!
  • Drawings from photos tend to be flat. Try drawing portraits from observation.
  • Drawing on notebook paper makes your work look unfinished and not thought out. Use a sketch pad or plain paper instead.
  • Open House @ MOORE One every fall and spring! Call Admissions to RSVP. National Portfolio Day Philly - New York City - Baltimore Visit MOORE’s Campus Call Admissions to schedule Monday - Friday throughout the year.
  • Dropbox Share the folder with your counselor Website carbonmade Blog Tumblr Flickr Wordpress Blogspot CD or USB drive PowerPoint Presentation or Folder of PDF or JPEG files with a list that describes each piece
  • When submitting a digital portfolio, include a list of the works with a description about each photo. State the title, size, medium and concept of each image.
  • When photographing 3D work use a neutral background and photograph one piece at a time. This photograph is confusing because the reviewer doesn’t know which piece to review.
  • These are two great examples of single pieces of 3D work on neutral backgrounds.
  • Take good care of your art! When storing it make sure it is in a flat and safe place. When photographing 2D work hang it flat on a wall. Make sure work is lit evenly and there are no shadows on the piece. Move your foot.
  • Crop to the edges of 2D artwork to eliminate distractions. This is a simple fix to make your portfolio look polished.
  • When photographing 3D work make sure to zoom in close or crop afterwards.
  • MOORE offers several options to take advantage of: Young Artists Workshop Classes on the weekends and during the summer. A 4 week summer program for high school women called SADI. Portfolio Builders Clinics on Saturdays.
  • Take advantage of the local art museums and galleries in your area. Most offer discounts for students!
  • Make an appointment for a portfolio review with your assigned admissions counselor! Appointments are available Monday-Friday throughout the year. Call MOORE’s Admissions Office at 215-965-4015 for more information or to speak with a counselor!
  • The Dos & Don'ts of Creating A Portfolio

    1. 1. PORTFOLIO DOS & DON’TS Moore College of Art & Design
    2. 2. MOORE PORTFOLIO REQUIREMENTS • 12-20 pieces of art total. • Art created in the last year. • Art from any media or style.
    3. 3. Charcoal & Eraserscompressed pencil willow vine variety of erasers
    4. 4. Newsprint & Sketch Books
    5. 5. Draw fromObservation
    6. 6. Work in Your Favorite Style
    7. 7. Paint fromObservation
    8. 8. Sculpt from Observation
    9. 9. MakeDrawing Fun!
    10. 10. Model for Yourself
    11. 11. Experiment with Color
    12. 12. Show Design Work
    13. 13. Create Your Own Characters
    14. 14. ShowPhotography
    15. 15. Talk About Your Work
    16. 16. Talk About Your Work• Which pieces do you like and why?• What is your process or concept?• Who or What inspires your work?• What mediums do prefer and why?
    17. 17. Don’t Include Unfinished Work
    18. 18. Don’t Copy Artwork of Any KindORIGINAL WORK: Paula COPY of Rego’s paintingRego, “The Policeman’s submitted in a student’sDaughter”, 1987 portfolio
    19. 19. COPY of Sendak’s“Where the WildThings Are” in astudent’s portfolio.
    20. 20. Draw From 2D Images
    21. 21. Don’t Draw on Notebook Paper
    22. 22. SUBMITTING YOUR PORTFOLIO IN-PERSONOpen House @ MOORENational Portfolio Dayportfolioday.netVisit MOORE’s Campus
    23. 23. SUBMITTING A DIGITAL PORTFOLIO •Dropbox •Website •Blog •CD or USB drive
    24. 24. SUBMITTING A DIGITAL PORTFOLIO Make a List of Works • Title • Size • Medium • Concept
    25. 25. #1 Use a Neutral Background
    26. 26. #2 Keep 2D Work Flat
    27. 27. #3 Cropbefore after
    28. 28. afterbefore
    29. 29. Take an artclass!
    30. 30. LookatART!
    31. 31. Get Feedback on Your Art! Call MOORE’s Admissions Office at 215-965-4015