How to Make a Drawing Portfolio [+ Ideas & Examples]

Created by Cake

An art drawing portfolio, or a drawing portfolio, is a compilation of an artist’s best works. Although a drawing portfolio sounds fitting for professional artists, many art students often need to make one for their classes or university applications. 

A drawing portfolio represents the quality of work, style, and progression. It is important to recognize that there is no perfect drawing portfolio. A good portfolio represents your passion, personality, professionalism, and inspirations. 

A drawing portfolio is useful for freelancers, artists, and art students. Depending on your current role, you might need to focus on different specifics in your drawing portfolio. Nonetheless, an art drawing portfolio is the first impression of an artist, so it needs to stand out amongst others. 

What Is a Drawing Portfolio?

An art drawing portfolio shows an artist’s technical, creative, and conceptual abilities. These abilities are unique to each individual, and a drawing portfolio tells an individual’s personal story.  

There are different mediums that can be used to present your portfolio drawings to the audience: 

🎨 Physical drawing portfolio 

Whether you need a physical drawing portfolio or not depends on the purpose of portfolio submission.

If you are applying to become a student at a film school, you will likely use a digital file. But if you are a fine arts student, you need to present sketches and drawings physically.

An advantage of having a physical drawing portfolio is the authenticity and rawness in the work. However, you may easily lose it, since you don’t have a second copy and you need to put some effort into maintaining the quality of the drawings.

💻 Digital drawing portfolio  

A digital drawing portfolio is useful for people in the art fields of graphic design, illustration, animation, filmmaking, and game design. 

An advantage of using a digital drawing portfolio is that it’s unlikely for you to lose it. With the advancement of cloud services, drawing pieces backs up automatically. The downside of digital pieces is that some institutions may still want to see observational work. Observational work can be done easily with physical drawings.  

Whether you need to make a physical or digital drawing portfolio, remember that the most important thing that a portfolio requires is the representation of your skills and ideas. Often, people like to see an artist’s progression, because it shows your creativity and commitment.

How to Make a Drawing Portfolio - What to Include

1. About me/Biography

In the about me section, briefly explain who you are. This introduction includes your inspirations, hobbies, interests, and techniques used in the artwork. 

Drawing portfolio website
Eric Theodore’s biography and artist statement on his drawing portfolio website

2. Resume/CV

As an artist, it is essential to show that you are participating in exhibitions, competitions, and awards. Some artists have apprenticeship and teaching experience, and these experiences show a whole different skill set that can be valuable to clients or future employers.  

3. The drawings

The drawings are the highlights of a drawing portfolio. Usually, artists show their work in the drawings section of the portfolio. Remember to show your best and recent work. Many institutions recommend 10 to 20 pieces in the art portfolio drawings. 

4. High quality images of the drawings

Most people are looking at the digital copies in the art drawing portfolio, so ensure the quality of the images is good. High-quality images allow the audience to inspect details further, as people cannot physically inspect the piece.

Drawing portfolio by Eric Theodore
Drawing portfolio by Eric Theodore

Tips on How to Make a Digital Drawing Portfolio

✨ Choose a suitable online drawing portfolio website. 

Choosing an online drawing portfolio website is highly important. Since there are plenty of online platforms to choose from, you can feel overwhelmed easily. Remember to focus on the features a platform can provide.

Cake offers a free portfolio building tool. A key feature of the Cake portfolio-building tool is that it allows you to connect your digital drawing portfolio with an online resume. You can easily change the design, text, and images with Cake’s portfolio building tools.

✨ Produce high quality images to include in your digital drawing portfolio.

High-quality images allow the audience to evaluate the details of the art pieces. In particular, the drawings in the art portfolio can be physical sketches and paintings.   

✨ Categorize your drawings into different types.

Categorizing art portfolio drawings reflect an artist’s presentation skills. Categorization allows the audience to grasp the concept and technicality of the art better. 

Drawing portfolio by Rie Nakayama
Drawing portfolio by Rie Nakayama

✨ Make sure links are working properly.

If you include backlinks in your portfolio, ensure that your backlinks work, so the audience can redirect themselves to the web destinations. When backlinks don't work, it reflects poorly on the artist. 

✨ Update your portfolio with your newest works frequently.

Remove your old projects and let your recent work shine. If you still think that your old projects can bring value, make an additional section called “archives”.  

✨ Use a consistent layout and design.

Consistent design and layout is an intuitive design thinking principle. The audience can get confused easily if you have an inconsistent layout and design.  

Drawing portfolio layout by Helen Stout
Drawing portfolio layout by Helen Stout

✨ Promote your online drawing portfolio.

Many artists find the idea of marketing their art portfolio drawings tedious. But promoting your online drawing portfolio can attract more leads. Use social media platforms to showcase your drawing portfolio examples, and more people will know you. 

Drawing Portfolio Examples

✅ Art drawing portfolio 

Art Drawing Portfolio by Sarah Gonzales
Art drawing portfolio by Sarah Gonzales

Sarah Gonzales’ art drawing portfolio is an exemplary portfolio of minimalistic look. It’s well-organized and all artwork is immediately glanceable.

Art drawing portfolio by Eric Theodore
Art drawing portfolio by Eric Theodore

Eric’s art drawing portfolio reflects his presentation skills. On the top of the menu bar, you can see that he organizes his work into two categories - drawings, paintings, and glass. 

Eric has a very impressive resume page. It is a good portfolio example to learn from. He has listed exhibitions, awards and honors, assistantships, teaching experience, and publications.

Eric shows the audience that he is eager to learn more by participating in various events.   

✅ Life drawing portfolio

Life drawing portfolio by Carolina Nierga 
Life drawing portfolio by Carolina Nierga 

Carolina’s life drawing portfolio showcases mostly figure drawing of human forms. She presented her work in a way that is immediately glanceable at first sight. 

Although Carolina shows an outstanding life drawing portfolio, she misses a biography page. Without the biography, we can’t learn about her inspirations, cultural appreciations, and identity. 

✅ Digital drawing portfolio

Digital Drawing Portfolio by Lydia Hill
Digital drawing portfolio by Lydia Hill

Lydia Hill uses a lot of thumbnails that capture the essence of her work. The hues she opted for are more dynamic, providing a spatacular first impression.

Digital drawing portfolio by Patrycja Podkościelny
Digital drawing portfolio by Patrycja Podkościelny

The Polish artist Patrycja Podkościelny’s digital drawing portfolio offers only a single image in the front page. As opposed to other examples we see here, her portfolio focuses less on her collective work.

Digital drawing portfolio by Joi Fulton
Digital drawing portfolio by Joi Fulton

Joi Fulton’s portfolio also opted for a more minimalistic look as opposed to the more traditional profile for a digital drawing portfolio. On the one hand, it showcases his work in an organized manner. On the other hand, he demonstrates his technical skills with the utmost confidence in his 3D work. 

One of the best features of Joi’s digital drawing portfolio is his business strategy. He monetizes his work on the page. When you click on “shop”, you can buy his artwork directly on the webpage. 

✅ Portfolio for art class

Gray’s School Art provides an excellent example of a portfolio for art class. It focuses on personal works of art from art classes.

An ideal portfolio for art class ought to be a compilation of the artist’s best quality as shown above in the students’ work. As a student, people don’t always focus too much on their technical skills. Instead, they pay attention to your passion, inspiration, and creativity. You can demonstrate these art styles in your portfolio. 

Art class portfolio by Gray’s School Art
Art class portfolio by Gray’s School Art

✅ Sketch artist portfolio

Students specializing in sketching can refer to Scott Alberts’ sketch artist portfolio. Once again it is a showcase of his collection of exceptional artworks. Scott has a strong call-to-action on his portfolio, where he describes the process of his artwork. 

Also, he demonstrates different technical art skills in his portfolio, including logos, graphics, illustrations, and sketches. But a potential problem with too many categories is the possibility that he is hung up on quantity. The audience can get distracted easily, if not lost on his webpage. 

Sketch artist portfolio from Scott Alberts
Sketch artist portfolio from Scott Alberts

✅ AP drawing portfolio

For students preparing an AP drawing portfolio, AP Centrals provides an example of past students’ work. A total of 12 selected images demonstrate the artist’s concentration. Descriptions also entail inspirations from the artist.  

A focus that students should strive for in the AP drawing portfolio is the rationale for the score. Unlike previous portfolio examples, AP art students need to pass a class to complete the course. It is possible to showcase the work separately in the college application. 

AP drawing portfolio from AP Central
AP drawing portfolio from AP Central

🔑 Key Takeaways: 

In this article, we have outlined the requirements and tips for creating a drawing portfolio:

  • A drawing portfolio can be physical or digital. The use of digital or physical portfolios depends on the purpose of submission. 
  • A drawing portfolio includes the about me section, drawings, and resume. 
  • A good drawing portfolio should have a consistent format and layout. Categorization reflects an artist’s presentation skill. Showcase your technical skills in the pieces. Make sure to include recent artwork and remove the outdated pieces.  

A pro tip of making a unique art drawing portfolio is to show your development. This is to show how you progress throughout time because people can develop different techniques and styles in art. 

Finally, make sure to get outside advice. You can attend conferences, exhibitions, and competitions. These events can help you reach out to others, learn from others, and network with new people. New people provide new opportunities.

--- Originally written by Diana Shih ---

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