Portfolio preparation tips

What to include

Your 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 work using 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 an abstract approach.
  • Computer-based art and design, including posters, brochures, postcards, mailers, booklets, zines, photography, logo and alternative methods. Show skills in using color, shape and composition and the ability to think symbolically.
  • Three-dimensional designs demonstrating the ability to work with sculptural concepts. Ceramic works, hand-formed or thrown on the wheel.
  • Personal choices highlighting your special abilities and skills. May include photography, jewelry making, printmaking, commercial art, interior and environmental design, lettering, ceramics, etc.
  • Personal sketchbooks and preliminary studies can be included to show your thought processes in developing your final pieces. These reflect your motivation, creativity and genuine interest.

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, like self-portraits, portraits, figure drawings, still lifes 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 professionals when organizing your art scholarship portfolio. They can help guide you when selecting your best work relating to the information above. We happily accept portfolio in both hard and digital formats. Meaning, students can drop-off a physical portfolio of original artworks, or provide them in digital format– documentation photographs will need to be provided on a CD or USB flash drive. Most students provide digital submission on CD or flash drive, with the addition of a physical sketchbook, which helps emphasis their consistent practice and artwork production.

A required inventory list describing each in piece should accompany your provided CD or flash drive. Listed information for each piece should include: student name, title of artwork, media, size and completion date. If you intend to send a CD or flash drive, make sure to include a hard copy of the inventory list listing each piece of artwork.

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

  • Use a good DSLR camera. Camera phones can also be used but are 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.
  • 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 a tripod. Don’t use a flash and shoot each piece individually. If you have a framed artwork, pull the artwork from the frame prior to photographing. The quality of your documentation is taken into account during the submission review process, so try to submit a polished and organized portfolio.
  • The artwork should completely fill the camera frame. If the piece does not fill the frame, edit the image by applying necessary cropping. 
  • Please save photograph files in the JPEG format. 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 color and uniformly lit. You can provide additional detail images of an artwork if necessary, however, please note this in the file naming conventions. (Example naming convention for a detail image) 1_detail.jpg
  • Each image saved to the CD or flash drive should be sequentially numbered to synchronize with the required inventory list.
  • Most importantly, take your time. Re-shoot if necessary. Select the best shots those that truly represent your work.


Other things to remember

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

If you have any questions, please contact one of the art faculty as soon as possible. We are happy to answer any questions you might have about the scholarship or the submission process.

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