5 Tips to Create an Amazing Art Portfolio

Hey artist—nice portfolio. It’s got some great examples of your work, all beautifully scanned or photographed. It has your contact info too, right? Good. But is that all you need? Is that all a portfolio can be?

Your art portfolio is how you present yourself and how you compete with other artists. In a sense, it’s like your entire season of American Idol, bound up in a book. Think we’re joking? Your competition knows we’re not. Here are five tips for making your art portfolio—and why you should approach it like a reality singing competition:

  1. Make every piece count. More than just a collection of work, every piece should build on the one before and help expand the definition of who you are as an artist. If the judges get bored, you’re out.
  2. Look good. Make a great first impression before you even sing your first note—or show your first piece of work. You don’t need to dress it in spangles, but a well-designed art portfolio shows that you’re serious.
  3. Tell your story. While it’s the work that matters, give them some reason to think you’re special. An approachable artist statement that conveys your love for what you do will show you’re the complete package.
  4. End on a high note. When flipping through a book, people often start with the back and flip to the front. So don’t let your work peter out towards the end—close with a something great.
  5. Have fun. People like to see people having fun. It’s true for performance, and it’s true for making a portfolio. Display a little joi de vivre to show that you enjoy what you do.


Ultimately, every time someone views your art portfolio, it’s your moment in the spotlight. Knock ‘em dead.

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