In the last two posts, we’ve shared some advice on how make your Art Portfolio stand out, so you can gain admittance into the most competitive art programs too. Here are three more ways that have been so effective for Ashcan Art students.

Figure Drawings

One way you can stand out is to add Figure Drawings to your Art Portfolio. This is because if they are dine well, it demonstrates to Art School Admissions Counselors a level of mastery of fundamental art skills.

A good Figure Drawing will illustrate the three-dimensional qualities of the model you’re depicting, including textures, highlights and and a wide range of shadows. Your drawings should always include the models hands and feet and facial expression. 

You can visually explore all of the elements of the model, by taking the time to really appreciate the details. There is almost always a local figure drawing class that you can and should sign up for. If not, ask friends and family members to pose for you for up to 40-50 minutes. People enjoy having their portraits drawn, so don’t be afraid to ask. Ideally you can do both.   


Another way to make your Art Portfolio stand out is to include Sculptural work. At Ashcan students are required to make at least one sculpture for their Art Portfolio, ideally several using different materials. This is because it’s important to show admissions that you can use a range of mediums & techniques

Including sculptural work in your Art Portfolio shows an ability to think creatively and a  willingness to experiment and try new things- which is important for Admissions to see in a potential candidate for their school

Ashcan Student SCULPTURE

There are so many different ways to make sculptures, and including one or more in your portfolio is a great way to capture the attention of admissions advisors. Sculptural work can be representational or conceptual but the materials you can use and the amount of space that they occupy are limitless.

Ashcan Student SCULPTURE

Because of the limitless nature of sculpture, with it, you can really show Admissions that you’re able to go beyond technical art and design skills. And that you can make art that’s different from what other people are creating. 

Add a Background

Adding a Background to your drawings and paintings can also make you stand out.  

Ashcan Student

The Background is the part of a painting or drawing representing what lies behind objects or subjects in the foreground, and many students make the choice to leave the background blank, not realizing that it is equally as important as the main subject. The reasons why you should include a background is that a background creates the context, the tone and the mood. It can also add intrigue and will deepen the narrative 

Ashcan Student Self-Portrait

It is difficult to choose a background, but if you want to stand out to Admissions Counselors don’t avoid doing this. It’s easiest to decide on the background before you begin on the final, including color studies. Keep in mind that there is no right or wrong way to choose a background, they can be extremely detailed or very simple, there’s only the goal which is to use this space to enhance the story or look you’d like to express. 

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