No matter what your creative dreams are, there’s one thing that every aspiring artist should have—an art portfolio.
A portfolio is an edited collection of your best work, usually meant to showcase your style or approach. They’re most commonly used when applying to art schools or pitching to a potential client or employer.
In this post, we’ll show you some art portfolio examples, including digital samples on artist websites, and teach you how you can start building your own.
What Should an Art Portfolio Include?
It can be daunting when you’re first starting to think about what to include in your portfolio, and your head is probably swimming with questions. How many examples of art are in a portfolio? When should you update your online art portfolio with examples of your work?
While every portfolio will be as unique as the artist they’re showcasing, there are a few areas to consider including in yours—regardless of whether your end goal is to be accepted into an art program or make your next career move.
Mix Your Mediums
It’s easy to think that if you’re a watercolor painter, you should only include watercolor pieces as your portfolio examples. But that’s not the case. Particularly if you’re applying to an academic program, the admissions team will want to see diversity and breadth in your skills. Include a mixture of mediums and techniques to demonstrate both your creativity and technical abilities across the field.
Keep in mind, however, the program or position that you’re applying for. If you’re trying to snag an illustration job with Pixar, they probably won’t be that interested in your sculpture work or graphic design.
While it’s smart to include one or two pieces from alternative mediums, when you’re thinking about your art portfolio website examples, weigh your choices more heavily on the style and direction that you’re hoping to move toward as a creator. If there’s a piece you’re particularly proud of and would like to include, tailor any written explanations to discuss why it’s relevant to the program or job you’re applying for.
One of the most difficult technical skills as an artist is observation. Whether your preference is for drawing or painting objects or people, showing that you can take what’s in front of you and put it on paper effectively clearly demonstrates understanding of the fundamentals of art and design.
Be sure to include at least two observational works in your final portfolio. This is especially important if you’re thinking about how to put together an art teaching portfolio as you’ll be expected to have strong skills in this area in order to teach your students how to do the same.
Make It About You
The joy of living a creative life is in expressing yourself through your medium of choice. That’s what college admissions teams and employers want to see!
When schools and businesses are making choices about who to bring into their program or job, they’re often choosing between candidates with very similar backgrounds. When you think about some of the artist websites you love and their portfolio examples, they probably all look very different, even if the artists are using the same medium.
When you only have limited space to show a judging panel for a job or college placement why you’re the perfect choice, it’s important to put your best work forward and highlight the aspects you love most. That could be the style or technique you use, the subject matter within your work, anything at all that clearly says, “This is who I am as an artist.” The best way to stand out is to do what you do best—just be you.
How to Make an Online Art Portfolio
These days, there are plenty of online tools that can help to make your art portfolio stand out and give a true representation of your best work. Having your own website is the perfect place to start and gives you full control over what you put out into the world. It also means that you can grow and adapt online as you progress through your creative career.
WordPress, Squarespace, Weebly, and Showit are some of the most commonly used website builders for artists. They’re fully customizable content management systems, giving you the opportunity to make your site look exactly as you want and to show off your work in a way that feels authentic to your style and creative vision.
Don’t let the unlimited potential of a digital space overwhelm you. The best art portfolio examples focus on quality over quantity, with crystal-clear photography to capture the final product at its best.
Wondering how many examples of art there are in a portfolio? Most only show 10 to 15 pieces at a time. It’s especially important if you’re applying to art college that you check the requirements before submitting your portfolio, as most have submission limitations to keep the process equal for all applicants.
Make Your Portfolio Stand Out From the Crowd!
Professional Portfolio Presentation
13 Examples of Online Art Portfolios
Now that you’ve got an idea of how to create an eye-catching portfolio, take a look at some real-life art portfolio website examples from artists around the world.
1. Michelle Carlos
Michelle Carlos’ whimsical style is clearly displayed in her vibrant website, showing her range of illustration abilities.
2. Adrian Cox
Adrian Cox arranges his website by year and exhibition collection. Several of these pages have text discussing his work, one of the best examples on how to write up an art portfolio.
3. Jessica Hardy
Jessica Hardy demonstrates her breadth of experience in her website. She’s a great example of how to put an art teaching portfolio together ahead of a job interview.
4. Ricky Leung
Ricky Leung’s minimalist website helps to highlight his beautiful illustrations without any distractions.
5. Emma Block
Emma Block’s site is a perfect example of showing your range as an artist, with examples from book illustrations to wedding invitation designs.
6. Darren Hughes
Australian artist Darren Hughes is known for his animal portraits, whether wild or pets. His portfolio is a simple showcase that highlights his best work.
7. Brooke Cormier
Brooke Cormier’s website is neatly arranged into different categories, making it easy to find relevant work as a potential employer or client.
8. Brandon Celi
Brandon Celi’s diverse portfolio expertly highlights his skills across multiple mediums, including animation.
9. Mary Iverson
Mary Iverson’s giant wall paintings are mirrored in her website design. Nods to her well-known constellation piece frame the site background, while maintaining focus on the final works.
10. Xaviera Lopez
Chilean artist and animator Xaviera Lopez keeps her tones consistent across both her work and website design to create a balanced and cohesive portfolio.
11. Sarah Leigh
Skillshare instructor Sarah Leigh highlights both her paintings and hand-lettering pieces on her vibrant online portfolio. Learn how to make your own portfolio in her class, Create A One Page Art Portfolio Website in WordPress.
12. Shantell Martin
Shantell Martin’s portfolio is a perfect example of letting your personality come through in your online branding. Her quirky site design reflects her eclectic pieces and famous clientele.
As one of the most famous artists in the world, Banksy’s website is a collection of his best work. The minimal design lets the art speak for itself and the lack of text throughout the site is a nod to his mysterious identity.
If you’re thinking about when you should update your online art portfolio, we hope you’ve found some inspiration from these incredible artists to help you on your way!
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