Art & Design, Portfolio Preparation | Sonia Nicolson | Skillshare

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Art & Design, Portfolio Preparation

teacher avatar Sonia Nicolson, Architect | Entrepreneur

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      What Is A Portfolio


    • 3.

      What Should The Portfolio Show


    • 4.

      Its Use In The Interview


    • 5.

      What To Include


    • 6.

      Optional Projects


    • 7.

      Select Your Content


    • 8.

      Mixed Media + How To Present It


    • 9.

      Create A Direction + Focus


    • 10.

      How Your Portfolio is Used


    • 11.

      Style + Editing


    • 12.

      Submitting Your Portfolio


    • 13.

      Final thoughts


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About This Class


Welcome to the Portfolio Preparation class. In this class, you will learn how to prepare, plan and build your Portfolio for Application to University, College or Employment. 

This course is taught by Sonia Nicolson, a British Chartered Architect and former University Lecturer with over 10 years experience. Sonia has seen 1000's of students portfolios whilst working in higher education, interviewing students for both Under Graduate and Post Graduate course placement. 

This class is best for students who know their subject, are applying for further education/employment, and possibly already have an interview lined up, and have examples of work ready to assemble into a portfolio.

No prior experience is necessary.

At the end of this class, you will know how to assemble and present your portfolio for successful application to University, College or Employment.

Enjoy the class and good luck with your portfolio. Feel free to ask questions in the discussion section and share pages of your portfolio in the class projects - we look forward to seeing your work. 

Here are some links* for portfolios, websites:

A4 Portfolio

A3 Portfolio 

A2 Portfolio

A1 Portfolio 

Use an online file transfer service such as dropbox or wetransfer

Uploaded to a portfolio website such as behance or Coroflot (there are many others)

*Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. If you click and purchase via these links, I make a small commission.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Sonia Nicolson

Architect | Entrepreneur



Hi there. I'm Sonia, a British Architect and former University Lecturer. turned Entrepreneur. I work out of my home studio in Reykjavik and run sharing my 10+ years of Professional & Academic knowledge and experience to help Creative Entrepreneurs successfully design and build their own careers. 

I live in Iceland with my Viking and our daughter, Mia. 

Follow me on Instagram @SoniaNicolson

Skillshare is one of my favorite ways to learn new skills, and I'm excited to be here sharing and teaching some of my skills with you. 

As a British chartered Architect and academic with over 10 years of experience teaching at BA and MA level, I carefully put t... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Hi guys and welcome along to the portfolio. Of course, I'm so glad that you've decided to join this course and hope you get loads of information out to that. And work up your own perfect portfolio for application to universe state college interviews and whatever else it is that you are working towards. So before we get started, and for those of you who don't know me already, I'm gonna give you a quick introduction to who I am. My name is Sonya and I will be your teacher or teacher on this course. I missed Scottish architect, an academic or the passion for design education and a whole lot of travel. I currently live in Iceland. I've previously worked in the UK, Japan, and India. In this class, you're going to learn what a portfolio is and how to use it for an interview. We're going to look at what to include in your portfolio to show off your skills and work and to help support your application to college, university or a job, you're going to look at the work that you have so far. And we're going to go through it and pick out the best examples to show off your skill set. Don't worry if you don't have enough work right now, go over to the class projects section. I've laid out a few examples of projects for you to try so that you can build up work for your portfolio. Then we're gonna talk about how to select work Cree a focus and direction throughout your portfolio, and then how to present it. We're going to look at how to submit it as well. So a physical portfolio and also a digital portfolio, discourse is full of information, lots of tips and advice to help you create the best portfolio for your application or interview. Thanks for clicking on this class, and I hope that you enjoy it. 6. Optional Projects: For any of you who are thinking that you don't have enough content for your portfolio, or the content that you have maybe isn't quite as strong as you want it to be. I've created five different projects that are going to be linked down below for you to go through in your own time and maybe add to the work that you have in your portfolio so far. Project brief number one is a mid board. So this would work maybe for interior design, possibly for fashion. The second project is photos of my world, which is a photography assignment. It could work for graphics and visual art as well. The third one is a handmade sketchbook, which ideally works for anyone who's doing any kind of Art and Design. Handmade sketch books are a very, very simple and easy project. Do and something that if you have a few of these in your portfolio that lit creative and they showed, you've made more of an effort than you'll already have a talking point to start with. Project number four is my room, my interior, which looks at model making. So if you're looking to the architecture model making furniture design, right the way through to interior design. This is a great project for you. And the fifth one is brand baby, looking at branding yourself, creating brand identity and coming up with projects that would work for graphics, visual communication, and so on. So have a read through the optional projects and if you feel like doing any of them, share your work, I'll keep track, comment. It'll be a great way to kind of create a community, share work with each other and for me to see what you're producing. 11. Style + Editing: Okay, so we're onto style and editing. This is quite fun, but may also be quite stressful to you. So just take your time going through this process. Now remember those key numbers. We're looking for between 15 to 20 pages within your portfolio around debate that number, but don't put too much and don't bet too little. Think about this interviewer. They are going to be interviewing maybe 1020 people in one day. So they have a lot of work to sea and you want to leave a really good, strong impression with them. Think about the style and the editing of your portfolio. You want to make interesting combinations on your pages within your portfolio. You want them to look like they're professionally presented, laid out. Like you've spent a lot of time and pride in this work. Because really it is a reflection of you as an individual, you as a designer, play with scale and layout. Rearrange pages, spent a bit of time kind of creating different layouts. This might be done physically or on the computer. Either way is absolutely fine. Think very carefully about the journey through the portfolio. You want to start off with something that is quite strong, but also finish on a very strong piece of work. That's the lasting impression. It will probably stay open on the table while you're chatting. So always ensure a good beginning and ending. Consider adding a personal style background colors are designed signature, don't go overboard with creating your own logo or using a whole lot of different fonts and colors. Keep it on trend. Maybe two to three fonts used throughout. One color, I would recommend just using white paper because it doesn't distract from the work that you're trying to show off. If you want to put some text in your portfolio running throughout to help explain or gave names to projects. Keep it short. After all, you don't want to distract from the actual artwork. So the key is less is more. Summarize a narrative of your work in one to two sentences, I suggest maybe a title for the piece. Maybe put what the medium is. So if it's clay or ink or whatever, and then a little explanation. So one sentence would be ideal. Read back through these, have them spell checked, make sure someone else is checking limb as well as you because you might miss some grammatical error, so on. And while you're doing any of this computer work, always make sure you're saving it and have a good backup as well. 12. Submitting Your Portfolio: Okay, we should be at the point now where we have our 15 to 20 pages. We know what the content of them is. We know what kind of style and layout we want and we know the kind of feeling of our portfolio. So now we're going to look into the different ways of submitting your portfolio. So there are many different ways of submitting a portfolio. This will depend on if it's for an academic or a professional interview. And also if you're attending the interview or not, you might have already been told how to submit your portfolio. He might have been given a link or told submitted by e-mail or be invited to an actual interview and told to bring your portfolio. If you're bringing your portfolio in the physical form to an interview, I highly recommend that you think about a small portfolio, maybe E3 size, so it's very easy to transport. Make sure it's in a protective folder. If it's getting bossed around on public transport or the weather isn't so good, it is definitely protected. Your work will not get damaged. And when you arrive, you can start yourself and be ready to open your portfolio and everything is set out the way you wanted it to be. Okay, so the electronic version, if you live abroad or are not able to attend the interview, then you will be asked to submit your portfolio electronically. There's a few different options for this. So the first one is to email a pdf version. The second one would be a file transfer or maybe use Dropbox or we transfer. You might also have a website or a blog or an online portfolio that you want to send out the link to. Website such as Behance and Carl flopped are great places to have an online portfolio. And also, if you're looking to do some research into the competition, then have let loose in your subject area at the portfolios that are already on these websites. So more and more institutions are neither leaking and asking for digital portfolios is becoming very common and there's no standard format to this. So don't worry too much about rules and pressure of making sure it's what they're expecting. Most colleges and universities will have portfolio guidelines on their website. They might also send these to you when they offered you the interview. So make sure you read through them, highlight sections, make notes, and compare it with the information that you are taking from this course. And for professionals going to, uh, job interviews, whether it's for full-time employment or maybe a short internship, it's always a good idea to have some form of online presence. So set up a website or online portfolio and keep updated as you go. 13. Final thoughts: So guys, that says come to the end of the course, I hope you've enjoyed it and that you have a fantastic portfolio ready for your interviews. I want to say a massive good luck to you. It would also be really cool to find out how you've got on. So feel free to get touch and let me know how your interviews go. A level, no nerves. I know it can be a really nerve wracking experience. You don't really necessarily know the surroundings and what's going to be expected of you enjoy the process, of course, is going to be nerve wracking. You will get used to it because you might have to do this a few times if you're applying to different universities, but it will get easier as you go. So remember, the skills that you're applying to have given you an interview because they are genuinely interested in you and getting to know more about you to see if you're a fit for them and if they're fit for you. So be proud of the work that you have because you have no reason not to be and really go and show off to them. So thanks for joining me on this course. Hopefully you have a fantastic portfolio NIOSH, and you're ready for your interviews coming up. Good luck. And I will speak to you soon. Bye.