Portfolio preparation tips

What to include

The art scholarship portfolio should be a collection of your best work and effort, showcasing the individual artistic style you have. It should include 10 to 20 pieces of finished works implementing various media, styles and ideas. The following list offers additional information about the types of media that can be submitted.

  • Drawings from life emphasizing an understanding of light, shadow, composition, perspective, technique and value.
  • Figure/portrait studies showing an understanding of the human form. May be completed in a variety of media, as illustrations or as fine art pieces.
  • Paintings in any media (oil, acrylic, watercolor, tempera) displaying the ability to mix color and understand form. Demonstrate a familiarity with a variety of media and concepts, including both a realistic and/or abstract approach.
  • Computer-based art and graphic design, including posters, brochures, postcards, mailers, booklets, zines, photography, logo and alternative methods. Show skills in using color, layout and composition.
  • Three-dimensional designs demonstrating the ability to work with sculptural concepts. Ceramic works can be hand-formed or wheel thrown.
  • Personal choices highlighting your special abilities and skills. May include photography, jewelry making, printmaking, commercial art, interior and environmental design, typography, ceramics, etc.
  • Personal sketchbooks and preliminary studies can be included to show your thought processes in developing your final projects. These reflect your motivation, creativity and genuine interest in workflow and process.

Drawing is the most basic way an artist communicates and it remains so regardless of major or career choice. Try to include drawings made from observation, such as portraits, figure drawings, still-lifes, self-portraits and landscapes. Work from familiar objects and surroundings that have personal meaning to you.

Avoid drawings and paintings copied from photographs, especially someone else’s photograph. Rather, concentrate on the familiar in your own environment. This will ensure creative and personal compositions. Please refrain from submitting drawings or paintings of anime, manga or superheroes, unless they are your own artworks or designs.

Preparation Tips

It is best to seek advice from knowledgeable teachers and professionals when organizing your art scholarship portfolio. They can help guide you when selecting your best work relating to the information above. The quality of your documentation is taken into account during the submission review process, so try to submit a polished and organized portfolio.

A required inventory list in PDF or Word document format should describe each image with the following information: title of artwork, media, size and completion date. Include this document in the shared cloud folder. 

Please submit portfolios in digital format. We prefer an organized folder of JPG images provided via shared URL link to a cloud-based host source. Services such as Google Drive or Microsoft One Drive work well. Send this URL download link to baumgartnera@bluffton.edu.

When photo documenting your artworks, please consider these few tips–

  • Use a good DSLR camera. Mobile phone cameras can instead be used but are generally not recommended due to lack of acquisition performance. If you do not own a DSLR camera, see if you can check one out from your high school program or local library.
  • Photograph your work in a well lit environment. The best place is outside on an overcast day. Set up an easel to hold your artwork, and frame your photographs using the aid of a tripod. 
  • The artwork should completely fill the camera frame. If the piece does not fill the frame, edit the image by applying necessary cropping. 
  • Images should only show the artwork itself, no background, unless the image is of a 3-D object. In that case, the background should be neutral in value and uniformly lit.
  • You are welcome to provide additional detail images of an artwork as needed, however, please note this in the file naming conventions. (Example naming convention for a detail image: 1_detail.jpg)
  • Each image should be sequentially numbered and synchronized with the required inventory list.


Other things to remember

  • Familiarize yourself with the various deadlines you’re facing and be sure to complete all steps of the application process. 

If you have any questions, please contact Andreas Baumgartner (baumgartnera@bluffton.edu) as soon as possible. We are happy to answer any questions you might have regarding the scholarship or the submission process.