Art Portfolio Preparation Program

During this intensive portfolio preparation online course students will carry out a series of drawing, design and three-dimensional projects that will promote creative investigation, experimentation with materials, risk-taking and critical dialogue. These creative practices will serve to engage students in a foundational experience, to develop intellectual and practical skills and elicit the confidence necessary to do so
Designed for

Students who have background knowledge in visual arts, want to produce a portfolio and intend to participate in art competitions.


High school students

Class format

One-on-one and small group (Max. 7 students/class)

Class introduction

This eight-week workshop looks through the contextual lens of identity to understand art and aesthetics influenced by social processes and cultural values. Identity is how we perceive and express ourselves and influences the decisions that we make daily, such as the friends we have, the clothes we wear, and our political beliefs. Many artists use their work to express, explore, and question ideas about identity. Students will be introduced to artists such as Nick Cave, Frida Kahlo, and Zhang Xiaogang and learn how identity influences their art.

Students are challenged to explore and create artwork that expresses their own identity as they see themselves and how they perceive themselves to be seen by others during this course. Through lectures, assigned research, online discussions, and assignments, projects will focus on the traditional material investigation and repurposed found objects in both 2D and 3D art and design prompt aimed at the ability to communicate individual concepts confidently.

Course content
1Introductions and discussion of expectations. LECTURE: Portfolio Development
  • Blind contour portrait sketching exercises
  • Review/critique of blind contour portrait sketches
  • Pick one portrait to make on wire
  • Make a wire sculpture or mobile
2Review/critique homework of Blind contour wire sculpture LECTURE: M.C. Escher, EYE DEMO: Mark marking and exploration of different materials IN CLASS: That I reflect on self-portrait brainstorm, and work out composition and details for a final drawing in a sketchbook before beginning the final drawing. HOMEWORK: That which I reflect self-portrait
3Review/critique homework That which I reflect self-portrait LECTURE: How artists explore identity IN CLASS: Begin research and brainstorming for content to put into still life reflection. HOMEWORK: Complete a still-life reflection self-portrait using the material best expresses yourself.
4Review/critique homework of still life reflection LECTURE: Nick Cave Sound Suits DEMO: Working with found objects HOMEWORK: I have something to say
5Review/critique homework of I have something to say LECTURE: Zhang Xiaogang surrealist-inspired, stylized portraits DEMO: Working with photographs digitally HOMEWORK: Vague memories family portrait
6Review/critique homework of Vague memories family portrait LECTURE: Cultural Masks INTRODUCE FINAL PROJECT: Masks and Identity Students will utilize mind mapping techniques and rough sketches in their sketchbook to generate ideas for a final project  LECTURE: Mind map/ visual design thinking Assignment: Final project research and mind map production
7Review/critique homework of mask research, mind map, and rough sketches for the final project LECTURE: Materials used in mask making LECTURE: Impact of editorial photos LECTURE: Portfolio presentation expectations Assignment: complete the final project and shoot all the works of art
8Class critique of Masks and Identity PPT or PDF including editorial photograph as well as process photos. Student presentation all projects in a digital portfolio, PDF or PPT

Students and their parents will receive brief feedback after each class, via Teachworks, regarding the student’s general participation in class. Students will also receive feedback on graded assignments via email. At the end of the course, the student will receive a final report card, which thoroughly speaks to their overall participation in the course, including major assignments.


16 hours of classes, 120 minutes/class

Need to prepare?

To best prepare for this program, we recommend reading:

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