How you organize your Art Portfolio matters a lot!

The top Art Programs ask for between 12- 20 pieces of your best work for your Art Portfolio.

When you are choosing the 12-20 pieces to use for your Art Portfolio- the order that you present your work matters a lot.

Think of it like a narrative, a book about who you are.

The work you choose and the flow from one piece to the next needs to be given a lot of thought.

A good rule is to open with your best work, and then the second best, and end with your 3rd and 4th strongest works 

You can play with the arrangement with thumbnails in photoshop, or print out small images of each to play with the arrangement.

Ask as many people as you can which layout they are most drawn to, and be willing to rearrange and make changes.

” When it comes to choosing how to organize the content you have selected for your portfolio, there are several things to consider. Your portfolio does not need to be chronological, put pieces in an order that enables you to communicate everything you wish in the order you want. Always begin with or highlight a piece that strongly demonstrates your abilities. Sort your work appropriately. If you have multiple areas of expertise, group your projects. Quality over Quantity” – Carnegie Mellon University Admissions

“The way you arrange the different pieces in your portfolio reflects on your presentation skills and thought process. If you are conscientious about the order in which your work is presented, admissions counselors will be able to better understand your work’s narrative and focus on your skill set.” California College of the Arts Admissions

Some other Art Portfolio tips:

  • If you have multiple projects each with the same approach, include only the strongest one or two.
  • Include as many different mediums as you can- pencil, ink, oil, acrylic, pastels, sculptural materials.
  • Add figure drawings from life- join a local figure drawing class. At Ashcan we usually end an Art Portfolio with a Life Drawing
  • The way you document your art, can make or break your application. Make sure your artwork is perfectly documented – straight, clean, with no backgrounds exposed except when done purposefully.
  • Art schools appreciate students who have a sense of direction. If you are interested in a specific art career – interior design, architecture, animation or graphic design, for example – include these kinds of pieces in your portfolio.

“Your portfolio shows art schools that you are a creative, well-rounded, technically capable artist. If you take your time, edit carefully, and seek outside help, you can compile a wonderful portfolio that shows off your abilities and helps you get into the art school of your dreams.” California College of the Arts Admissions


Please feel free to contact us to schedule a free consultation or to ask us any questions.

You can sign up for Ashcan Art Portfolio Prep Classes!- Manhattan, Queens, Long Island or Online- ⁠
Intensive, Fine Art, Art Competition & Portfolio, Design, Digital Art & Private Lessons⁠!

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