Discover what it takes to put together a successful portfolio.
Your portfolio is an important component of your application to the Lesley University College of Art and Design. Essentially your portfolio is a collection of 12 - 20 examples of your strongest and most recent artistic work. It is a visual record that demonstrates an understanding of basic art concepts, skilled use of materials and the ability to communicate ideas visually with imagination, creativity, clarity and originality.
Final portfolios must be submitted through SlideRoom.
You might wish to construct your portfolio based on your area of interest and a potential major at the Lesley University College of Art and Design.
Animation and Motion Media
Showcase Your Technical Skills
We value observational drawings. Approximately one third of your final portfolio (4 - 6 pieces) should be work that highlights your ability to draw from direct observation (what you see in real life). Examples of this include self-portraits, still life drawings, landscapes, interiors or figure drawings.
Drawings that use photographs, online resources and/or the artwork of others in not considered observational work. This type of work is discouraged.
A few sketchbook pages are welcome as these can be very informative in terms of artistic process, but be careful not to fill your portfolio with sketchbook imagery.
This portion of your portfolio should also demonstrate understanding of art and design fundamentals such as line, value, color, space, composition, perspective and proportion.
Develop Your Ideas
You are encouraged to include individual works or a developed series that explores a particular subject, theme or personal vision. This is the conceptual side of your portfolio.
The conceptual work should be reflective of your own original thinking and current interests.
To further develop your portfolio, Lesley offers the following resources:
Focus On Quality
Presentation is important. How you present your artwork is nearly as important as the work you choose to present.
The images do not have to be professionally photographed, but you will want to pay attention to the quality of the photographs.
The artwork should fill the picture plane and should not include matting or framing.
Never include anything you believe is your “second best”!
Organize The Work
Start strong and finish strong. Make a great first impression and conclude with a piece that creates a lasting impression.
Think about the sequence of the work and the relationship of one piece to the next.
Pay attention to how the individual pieces in the portfolio relate to one another and arrange them in a thoughtful sequence that you believe best highlights your potential and tells your story as a developing artist.
Consider a unifying element such as artistic style, subject matter or media to establish the portfolio as a cohesive body of work.
Talk it Through
Solicit feedback from others:
Schedule a portfolio review
Submit a preliminary portfolio
Come see us at a National Portfolio Day event
If you have questions about your portfolio, you may contact your Admissions Counselor directly:
Erik Gullard, Assistant Director of Admissions, BFA Specialist
Mike McCarthy, Ph.D., Associate Director of Admissions, BFA Specialist
Talk to Us
Request More Information
Admissions Travel Schedule
Contact Your Admissions Counselor
How to Apply
Advanced Professional Certificate Applicants
Portfolio Guide for Art Students
Programs and Student Life
Tuition and Aid
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Tuition and Fees
Urban Scholars Initiative
Net Price Calculator
Credit Toward Graduate Education - Lesley Dividend
College of Art and Design
Meet Our BFA Students and Alumni
About College of Art and Design
Directions to Campus
Request more information
Request a campus visit
Get your application started today!