The Most Important Tool for making an Outstanding Art Portfolio

What’s ⁠the the ideal place for developing ideas, developing your life drawing and imaginative drawing skills, trying out different compositions, taking notes on what inspires you and trying out new techniques?? Your sketchbook! 

Your sketchbook is the most important tool for making an Outstanding Art Portfolio for college admissions. 

Although the instructors at Ashcan encourage students to keep a sketchbook, and express the great benefits of keeping one to work in daily, most often Ashcan students are reluctant at first. 

We know that the empty space of a new sketchbook can be intimidating at first. But we’ve seen again and again that once you get in the habit of using your sketchbook daily, it will become your greatest learning tool and a place where you’ll discover your own unique vision and creative voice. 

Try to remember that your sketchbook is not just for drawing people, places and things, but it’s also a visual journal, a space to develop ideas where you don’t have to be afraid of how the end result turns out. It’s all about you, and it’s only for you, so it’s fun while also being a space to develop your drawing skill and drawing is the basis for all the visual arts. 

They are a private space where you can both see and think without judgment or restraint. 

It is an extremely rare person who isn’t afraid of failure, and with Art schools becoming increasingly more competitive it’s become even scarier. 

Then on top of it we wonder if people will buy our art, or designs, if it’s a good idea to follow our dreams to pursue an education and later a career in art or design. 

Ashcan Portfolio Prep Student Sketchbook

These fears can pile up until we’re paralyzed, and then this can lead to the ultimate failure, which is giving up.

This is one place where your sketchbook can be your greatest tool. They are a place where you don’t have to play it safe, where you can challenge yourself. If an idea doesn’t work in your sketchbook, you turn the page and try another. This mentality will help you learn from your mistakes and improve your skills and ideas much more quickly.

Keeping a daily sketchbook will  lead you to innovation instead of stagnation. 

As a young child you were likely encouraged to play creatively, and were likely told how wonderful your drawings and paintings were. Our teachers and parents encourage us when we’re children. 

Then, later when we decide we want to pursue art as a career, many people question this decision and express worry about our future. In effect, we begin to worry too, and often give into the fear. We overthink and become scared instead of making and doing and exploring ideas and experimenting.

We can spend all of our time running over and over endless what ifs, and let them prevent us from doing work. Or we can believe we can succeed and dedicate a little time each day to working on developing ideas or drawing from life in your sketchbook.  

Some things you can do in your sketchbook:

  • Create something daily regardless of whether you have a good idea or not – if you don’t have a good idea practice drawing a person place or thing from life 
  • Study artists and designers whose work you like. Copy their work and then find out how you can adapt what they’ve done with your own work
  • Sketch the thing or things you’re most interested in- allow your interests in non-art related subjects influence your art 
  • Write the lyrics to a song, a poem, a line from a book or movie 
  • Write down things you’ve overheard people say that day 
  • Mix paint colors and make a sample page of your favorites
  • Draw people on the subway, bus or at a coffee shop, mall, etc 
  • Draw a family member 
  • Draw a sports team or dancers in action 
  • Draw a portrait and focus mostly on their hair 
  • Draw your food and drinks  – meals, snacks, candy, the packaging, etc
  • Draw someplace messy in your house- the pile of dirty dishes, the bathroom sink covered with products 
  • Draw a page of your own and other peoples hands – you can also do feet, lips, eyes, etc. 
  • Draw a cityscape or landscape where you live 
  • Draw your phone with a text message that made you happy or sad 
  • Draw a scene from a movie
  • Pick a topic, and dedicate an entire sketchbook to it – this can be anything- dinner, candy, hands, a tv show, a person, tea, abandoned buildings…. 

The reason your sketchbook is your most important tool to make an outstanding portfolio, is that it allows you to practice and experiment.

You don’t have to make that one single work perfectly, you can just create more work instead. Our sketchbooks are the perfect place to let go of the worry of being perfect. It is only through constant creation that we can grow and become better, and work out ideas to create the scholarship worthy work art school admissions counselors love to see. 

 If you draw in your sketchbook every day, or every other day, you’ll see your drawing skills improve really quickly. ⁠And if your sketchbook is done well, you can take a video of a sketchbook flip through to include in your Art Portfolio.

Early-bird Discount
for SUMMER 2022 Enrollment

5% off tuition if you register by the end of April

Please 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!
Contact Us

About   Courses   Contact
email us!
Online: (212)967-8101 | Manhattan (212)967-8101 | Flushing (917)563-7852 Little Neck (718)819-0004 Syosset (516)226-3820

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s