Busting some Portfolio Myths Part II

November 7th, 2013 by Admissions Blogger
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Want more? Check out our video on building a portfolio.

Want more? Check out our video on building a portfolio.

By Kira Magrann

Last week I likened portfolios to unicorns in that they’re a beast that is hard to tame, elusive in concept, technically beautiful but are unique in each legend.

As an Admissions Counselor I review a lot of portfolios and there are some questions that regularly pop up. This week we are going to look more specifically at content—in particular questions I’ve gotten about what type of work to choose for your portfolio.

Before I dive into the questions, here are a few things to consider:  So what exactly is in a portfolio? Well we look for technical proficiency in the use of medium, and in basic understanding of art and design principles like color, composition, and value. Concept is really important, to demonstrate that you’re not just creating visually beautiful work but also communicating ideas. Seeing pieces that take risks go a long way to show that you’re pushing yourself beyond just the classroom assignment. Dedication is essential for an artist so every last detail counts. Those are the essential ingredients for any portfolio to succeed, and they’re our requirements for admission. But what else? Here are some additional questions that I get asked.

“I heard it all has to be drawings or paintings, is that true?”

Your portfolio can contain any medium. I’ve seen all photography, all graphic design, all fashion portfolios. That said, it is good to have a little variety, so while you don’t have to stick to traditional media like drawing and painting, try to show off different types of skills. Having strength in three or four mediums is better than one. Don’t try to include 15 different mediums though just to show that off. Remember, we want to see your best work, so work toward your strengths. If you’re good at photography, focus on photography, and try to add one or two pieces in other mediums to show you’re taking risks.

“My portfolio is all photography, but I want to be a Fashion Design major.”

That’s ok. We can teach you fashion design when you get here, and would rather see your current strengths. Although, if you have work in your portfolio that is tailored toward the major you’re interested in, that does make it stronger.

“Does it need to be chronological?”

Not at all. In fact, because we want to see your best work, that usually means your most recent work. So don’t include those freshman pieces unless they’re stunners.

Next week we’ll wrap up our FAQs including a great question about whether or not to include a sketchbook in your portfolio.

Prefer some in-person guidance? We are hosting a portfolio and application day for high school juniors & seniors on Nov. 16, and if that doesn’t work, you can always schedule a tour.

Kira Magrann is a CCAD Admissions Counselor and artist  who creates enameled jewelry (www.etsy.com/shop/AnimaMetals), and has an award-winning blog, gamingaswomen.com.


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