2011 Central PA AIGA student portfolio review held at Pennsylvania College of Art & Design in Lancaster.
Photo by Jeremy Drey

Planning Your Art Portfolio – It’s Never Too Early

Elaine Pelz Getting Into College, High School, Student Resources, Visual Arts 0 Comments

Art Portfolio. The words alone sound intimidating. And they should, it’s one of those make or break parts of your college application. So when building yours, make sure it clearly represents your skills, passions, and your singular perspective. To do so requires creating, planning, and research. No pressure. Here’s how to get started:

1. Get Creating

Carry a sketchbook or notebook and a camera (easy) with you everywhere. Fill the pages. Record what you see. Consume art everywhere you can. Journal about your own art and that of others. Discover what influences you. Learn which mediums entice you. Engage with other artists. Explore new ideas. Take risks. All of it will influence your art.


Amelia Preston, www.ameliapreston.org

2. Get Organized

Understand the objectives necessary to create a solid portfolio and then set aside time to accomplish them. Create a schedule and stick to it. Building a collection of artwork takes time: for ideation; for sketching, mock-ups, and modeling; for finishing; and to photograph your completed pieces. Some will be classroom projects; others should be independent work.

Many believe that six months is the minimum time required to build a sound collection from scratch. Planning ahead means everything. Rushed work looks rushed and incomplete, so use your time wisely everyday.


Art sketchbook page by Lucy Luu.

3. Do Your Research

Every college has a different set of art portfolio guidelines. Make sure you carefully read – and reread – the requirements of each. They’ll vary in number of pieces, and even medium. Some will request specific supplementary work. Others will be general. Most will want you to include sketches as well as work from personal observation. Pay attention to the details of each program.

Build the specifications of each college into your portfolio-building schedule. Understand where requirements overlap and where you’ll need to submit additional pieces.


Projects by Syed Hammad Ali, exploring the topics ‘Contrast’ and ‘Lock’n’keys’ from Student Art Guide.

4. Tell Your Story

Portfolios unfold like a book. Start strong, end strong, and tell a story along the way. Your order could be chronological, by subject matter, medium, or by a theme of your own choosing.


The tangible components of your art portfolio are critical. They speak to your skills and capabilities. Simultaneously, the intangibles – your early investment in making, planning, and paying attention to the details – will provide a true picture of your passions, thoughtful dedication, and unique point of view.

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Pasadena Master Chorale Listens to the Future

Marshall Ayers High School, Music, Music Composition, Student Resources 0 Comments

The Pasadena Master Chorale (PMC) recently selected their new student composers for the second year of their innovative Listening to the Future project. Representing a cross section of area high schools, these juniors and seniors include (L. to R.) Elise Logan, Pasadena High, Sean Segal and Olivia Shue, La Canada High, and Tiffany Shi, San Marino (not pictured are Katherine Beggs, Westridge Scghool and Evan Kim, Polytechnic.) Along with the students, pictured far right, is the 2017 composer/mentor Nilo Alcala. Alcala is a Los Angeles-based Filipino composer whose works have been performed in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas.Read More


Walt Disney Birthplace in Chicago Celebrates Creativity

Christine Griswold Animation, Film, Opportunities, Performing Arts, Production, Visual Arts

Help Restore Walt Disney Birthplace Home while Celebrating and Encouraging Creativity and Innovation. Join in the Walt Disney Birthplace Indiegogo Campaign.

Award-winning Themed Entertainment innovators Dina Benadon and Brent Young of Super 78 Studios celebrate and awaken creativity in others by restoring the home where Walt Disney was born, and establishing The Center for Early Childhood Creativity and Innovation (CECCI) in his honor.

“Helping people to develop that creative, innovative self that exists in all of us; and helping to foster that creativity through the family environment.  That’s where I’d like to see CECCI grow, and give back to the world.” –Dina Benadon, Founder, Project Director CECCI at the Walt Disney Birthplace

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By: Vancouver Film School

How Linda Borgeson Finds Creativity in Post Production

Christine Griswold Career Advice, Film, Post-Production, Visual Arts

Linda Borgeson (Senior Vice President of Feature Post Production at the Walt Disney Studios) has worked on over 200 films in her 25+ years in the film business.

0-3Linda spoke with Artzray to help demystify the world of post production, highlighting why it is important for young filmmakers to understand and embrace this integral part of filmmaking. Post-production sits at the intersection of creativity and technology, which makes this work central to the creative process of filmmaking.

“What I love about post, is that I do think it is a creative process…the importance of sound, the importance of music, editing, visual effects…the movie doesn’t become the movie until post production. I see the creative power of technology daily.”

Although post production is generally thought of as what happens upon completion of principal photography, planning for this important piece of the process often begins very soon after a project is green-lit, as it creatively affects the finished product in monumental ways. Lining up the perfect editor, composer, sound designer and visual effects supervisor are often key to a film’s overall look and feel. Likewise, figuring out what technology will best help tell the story (which will have implications regarding technical work-flow or exhibition capabilities), from new cameras, to aspect ratios, to 3D and VR capabilities, to new sound tools, etc., used in thrilling combination to transport audiences and create never-before-seen experiences.
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High School Student Ballot Guide 2016 CA Elections

Marshall Ayers High School, Opportunities, Parent/Educator, Student Resources

Student ballot guide “Letters 2 Dena” developed for the 2016 California elections.

The Letters 2 Dena project is designed to give John Muir High School students in the Arts, Entertainment and Media Academy a voice about the issues on the complex 2016 CA ballot, to understand the propositions and then share their results with their community through the development of a website.


English teacher Manual Rustin responded to a few questions about the project for Artzray:

What is the idea behind “Letters 2 Dena” project?

“This is an atypical election year—CA has a record number of initiatives on the ballot and the presidential race has produced headlines that would have been inconceivable in years past. We wanted to develop a project that would help students wade through the waters of this election and gain clarity about the wide range of issues and policies that will be on the ballot. More importantly, we wanted to develop within students a sense of civic responsibility to inform their community about how various ballot items impact them.Read More


Carlos Nieto III – Mixing Art, Culture and Day of the Dead

Marshall Ayers Along The Way, Animation, Artist Profiles, Drawing & Painting, Uncategorized, Visual Arts

Carlos Nieto III finds beauty in Day of the Dead celebrations.

As the fall arrives, chances are good that you will see Dia de los Muertos celebrations popping up around your community. From dancing to face painting to sugar skull candies, the tradition has its roots in ancient Aztec rituals and starts on the first of November corresponding with All Saints Day. This is the time of year when the boundary between the world of the living and the realm of the dead are believed to intersect. It is a chance to celebrate life and honor loved ones who have died.

Day of the Dead has also become a cultural crossover experience and artist Carlos Nieto III embraces this in his art characterized by images of skulls and skeletons.  As he says, Day of the Dead “celebrates the time we have here on earth.” When he’s not making art, Carlos is also an educator and musician and plays bass and does back up vocals in a pop punk band called Harmful if Swallowed.

1. Tell us about yourself
I was born in and raised in Silver Lake a neighborhood in Los Angeles, CA. I started getting into art in high school, I joined a punk rock band while in school and a few years out of school I landed a job working on the Simpsons. After 3 years I was let go and used what I had learned to do free lance work. I found later on that I loved teaching how to draw so I began teaching library workshops, also around the same time, I started working at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles as a visual artist where I do art with kids to this day, I also still play in my band, and do library workshops AND I am writing a “How to Draw Anime” book as well as a graphic novel.Read More


Faith in the Creative Endeavor – Mark Salzman

Marshall Ayers Artist Profiles, Books, Music, Performing Arts, Writing

No one word or label can characterize the many creative pursuits of Mark Salzman. Yes, he’s a musician, and a writer too, but he is also a teacher and a Kung Fu master along with many other descriptors. Artzray interviewed Mark as he was recently profiled in the new book, Advancing Confidently to learn more about what he believes are the essential ingredients for a creative life.

Where are you from and how did you get your start in music?

I was born and raised in Connecticut. My mother was a pianist and my father was an artist, so I grew up assuming that music and art were things that everybody did. I tried the violin for a year, then piano, but when I was seven I heard Aldo Parisot play the cello, asked my parents if I could switch to that instrument, and that one stuck.

Who are some of your major musical influences and what music are you listening to these days?Read More


5 Things to Know if You Want to Make Comic Books

Andrea Davis Career Advice, Drawing, Getting Started, How To, Illustration, Visual Arts, Writing

So you want to make comic books?

Writer Shea Fontana and artist and colorist Monica Kubina, two of the creative team behind the DC Superhero Girls Finals Crisis Graphic Novel, recently converged at Earth-2 Comics in Sherman Oaks for a meeting of S.C.R.A.W.L. (Secret Comic Readers and Writers League) to answer questions and sign copies of the comic book for their young fans. Monica and Shea shared some of their perspectives and career wisdom with the members of the audience, many of whom proved to be budding comic book artists and writers themselves.


Writer Shea Fontana and artist and colorist Monica Kubina

1.  Write or draw. Every. Single. Day.

If you’re an artist, if you’re a writer, do something to hone your skills every single day. Write a scene. Sketch. Design a character. Create a backstory. Every. Single. Day.

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The Art of Politics – Presidential Survey of Artists by Acceptd

Marshall Ayers Opportunities

Acceptd, an artist network of young artists, professionals, arts education programs and cultural organizations with nearly 200,000 members, has launched a nationwide survey of artists to help match their political ideology to a presidential candidate.

The 2016 presidential election is shaping up to be one of the wildest in history. With both major party candidates polling with low approval numbers, independent candidates making a bigger impact than ever and a new scandal seemingly popping up every day, it’s hard to make sense of it all.Read More