full screen background image
Tuesday 24 May 2022
  • :
  • :

Portfolios: The How and Why

Portfolios: The How and Why

It’s that time of year again. For us students spring means graduation prep and/or applying for higher learning. I’ve just finished my degree so this means that I’ve conquered the artistic thing known as the portfolio. So the question of the season is, what is a portfolio?

In the world of the arts, your portfolio is your life. It’s full of your best work, your areas of expertise, and your hopes. It’s your resume, your list of accomplishments, and projects. In summary, a portfolio is your career in a folder or on a website.

So, how do you make an online portfolio?

  1. Add your social media links – Seriously, thou must give Twitter handle, Facebook page, DeviantART, ect locations. Interactivity is a key thing when moving a portfolio from paper to online.
  1. Resume & LinkedIn page – If you do not have a LinkedIn page, I encourage you to get one up ASAP. You may think that having a LinkedIn account doesn’t matter but it makes a huge difference. Having an online work presence as well as a personal brand (AKA what persona you give via social media) adds to the old fashion resume and cover letter. Updating never hurts!
  1. Examples of work – If you’re like me, you showcase writings. If you’re an illustrator or photographer you have a slideshow of your best work. If you’re in film, you have videos. The portfolio is geared around your craft and your personal brand.
  1. List of projects – This area can be tricky. Listing projects (finished, in the works, or those of the far off future) is extremely hard and it can feel like you’re over doing it. Break the projects down into categories and it’ll feel less overwhelming. Like rating and genre, finished and unfinished, etc. It never hurts to have that organization transfer over to the final draft of the portfolio either.
  1. The portrait – I have seen a few people really screw up on this. When having a portrait taken for a portfolio you need to stick with your personal brand. Example: my personal brand is Victorian and artistic antics. I had three outfits I tried before I got the one that worked for my portfolio. The one that was the winner was also the craziest of the three. Why? Because I literally looked like a Victorian (or a character out of Doctor Who) who stepped out of a photograph. Looking modern didn’t fit my brand, so for me pulling out unruly lace and skirts was needed. Having a portrait that doesn’t fit your personal brand is awkward. It’s like seeing a classical musician use a portrait with a crazy pose and wild colors instead of their formal image of the suit on a flyer. It doesn’t fit.


There are my tips and I really hope they help. Good luck to-be-grads and students!

L. Ann Ahlstrom (Dickson) is a novelist and aspiring game writer who is currently enrolled in Full Sail University’s Creative Writing for the Entertainment program. In addition to being a full time student, Ann is a writer of web series and shorts that she publishes on DeviantART and her blog http://whiteroseblackrose.wordpress.com. When she's not writing, she's plotting ways to delete "long distance" when referring to her long time relationship with a fellow writer and musician she nicknames Vampire.