Artist Portfolio

Our last project will be an artist portfolio. An artist portfolio can exist in a multitude of forms, some very traditional, some very modern. Let’s take a look at the components of an Artist Portfolio, and then at a couple examples. Portfolio comes from french, porte folio, or page carrier. With technology and digital media where it is, we no longer are limited to physical page carriers, although many artist still choose to have physical portfolios as well. Having both a digital & physical portfolio is ideal, as you can show amazing things with technology now days, but only if its available.

While you are students right now, and a portfolio may seem silly to some of you, the process of making one is still relevant. Anyone interested in going into art, photography, or design fields should have a portfolio. Other professionals may, or may not, have a portfolio depending on their field. I have one both as an artist, but also a different one as an educator. It’s best to maintain it periodically over time, instead of waiting until an opportunity to create on last minute. A portfolio is how you show your work, and your treatment and respect for that work, to a client or interested party or organization.

Its important that your portfolio be neat, organized, and well designed. The portfolio is the essence of the person’s work. Don’t be arrogant, but don’t put yourself down, or sell yourself short. Organize your work into similar art. This could be in style, could be in software, could be in subject matter.

So, what goes into an Artist Portfolio? 1st, artist statement, 2nd/3rd artwork + details, 4th contact information.

1) Artist Statement:

 An artist’s statement explains your work, subject matter, and/or themes. Method and/or philosophy could also be discussed. Mention your education, specifically if you’ve studied art. Your influences, especially artists (alive or deceased), can be mentioned. Mention any significant awards you have won, exhibitions you have participated in, collections your paintings appear in or significant sales you may have made, and painting organizations or societies you belong to. However, this isn’t a full resume, so keep it brief. Aim at around 100 words or three short paragraphs.

need more help? google it.

2/3) Artwork + Details

The main chunk of content in your portfolio should be your work itself. You’re not showing off everything you’ve ever done, just your most impressive stuff. Unless you have a very strong reason for lumping a bunch of stuff on the page, normally an artist portfolio has on image per page. As for the details? This varies some. Some artist are rather verbose, and talk about each piece of work. Most don’t. The standard is to include the title of the work (no title? then put untitled), the date, medium (that is: what did you use to make it?), and dimensions (ie: size; for digital it could be listed in pixels, like 600×800 pixels; or in measurements + resolution, like 3×4 inches, 300 resolution).

4) Contact Information

Essentially, how do they get a hold of you? This could include business cards and resumes, or it could just be name & number/email.

My Portfolio Example; this is designed as a printed book, with facing pages. It will look closer to how its actually designed if you download it and view it in Previewer with View > PDF Display > Two Pages selected. Due to be designed for actual print, it has no interactive features, although I have designed several portfolio for web before. I’m actually designing my photography portfolio currently (as a printed book), this is just a small minimalistic selection. This is incomplete, as its missing my cover design and some of the images were a bit low quality and need to be replaced (best I had on hand to make an example for you guys). I’d have to fix those issues before its finished.

Let’s check out some other examples; I’m only showing traditional examples below. Why no modern examples? Because the internet is filled with them. Check some out.


So…. What should your portfolio look like? Well, I already told you what your portfolio should include (See #1-4 above). Other than that, its up to you. As long as your portfolio looks well designed, and has a good number of works, then you’re good! What software should you use? InDesign is probably the most common,  although dreamweaver, illustrator, or flash are also acceptable. If you’d like to make a physical one, I’m alright with that too, although it is more time consuming- and I’m out of ink, so you’ll have to figure out where you’re printing your images. I do have everything else you need for it though (well, as far as making one that looks like the top two images).

Also, as you look around online, you may notice a lot on the web are interactive. Yours can be interactive, using some of the techniques you learned on the interactive comic project.

Students who’ve only taken one class with me so far may not have the biggest of portfolios yet. However, students enrolled in more than one class with me, or who’ve taken classes with me before (or will be next year) may begin to develop a decently sized portfolio. What other classes do I offer? 6 currently, 2 of which have additional levels, want more information about one for next year?  Feel free to ask (schedules changes are possible & not uncommon)!

This entry was posted in DAaA.

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 )

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s