Portfolios are one of the most important aspects in developing your career. Whether you are applying for colleges, submitting grant proposals, or interviewing for a job, your portfolio becomes a professional representation of who you are as a creative entrepreneur.

We’re going to focus on the basics of creating a digital portfolio, as most applications today are submitted digitally. Let’s start off with how a portfolio should be organized, and work our way to what kind of content should be included in a portfolio.

If this is your first time making a portfolio, or you’re looking for something that handles the presentation for you, Kadenze offers a free online portfolio space, where you can start building your portfolio.

Organization

Include a:

  • Bio: Just a short introduction of yourself and your work.
  • Artist Statement: Explain your creative process. What motivates you to make work, what kind of ideas and themes do you explore?
  • Résumé / CV: Include work experience related to your practice, or artistic accomplishments, publications, interviews, awards, exhibitions, etc.

Include around 8-10 pieces. Try to include finished ones that display the best of your creative accomplishments and technical skills. It is also important to curate and group together work that clearly expresses your process and ideas rather than having a large, sporadic body of work. For this reason, try to stick to work you’ve done more recently.

I keep my Kadenze portfolio clean and simple. One project with six paintings, and one project with five videos.

Your portfolio must be organized into a single space, whether that’s a PDF, personal website, or an online portfolio. If someone asks you to send a portfolio along and they get an email with a bunch of attachments, they’re much less likely to get the big picture, or even pay attention. With Kadenze’s portfolio feature, you can curate your work under your own webpage and share your content with a community of artists.

Details of Your Work

Make sure to include some visual information about your work. E.g., with visual art, include dimensions and mediums. You can also include descriptions for each individual piece to provide your viewer with more context on your work.

Descriptions should be typed in a legible, consistent typeface. The Kadenze portfolio also provides the option of adding details and captions to your content. Here are some typical labels for different mediums:

  • Painting: Title. Date. Medium. Height x Width.
  • Video: Title. Duration. Medium Date.
  • Sculpture: Title. Date. Medium. Height x Length x Width.
  • Music/Sound: Title. Date. Duration. Credits

You don’t have to follow these verbatim. For instance, in my own work I often describe images like so:

Oil Pastel. 18″ x 24″. 2014.

As long as you’re consistent, there’s no need to stick with prescribed formats.

However, quality is extremely important. When uploading files or saving pictures of your work, make sure images and other files are not blurry, pixelated, or corrupted. Try to keep your images at 72 dpi to help make your digital files smaller in storage size and maintain a clear image.

Additional Tips

  • Update your portfolio regularly with new work to show viewers you have an active creative practice.
  • Show your portfolio to other artists or peers to gain some feedback to make improvements. Everybody has room for improvement, so don’t be afraid to share your work in progress.
  • Depending on who your audience is, modify your portfolio to fit specific portfolio requirements. Ignoring these tells people you don’t really care about their needs.
  • Have more than one copy of your portfolio in case your portfolio files get lost or deleted (ie: make a copy on a USB stick, external hard drive, cloud service, or a physical print of your portfolio)