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Portfolio Day

oxygenandreamsoxygenandreams Posts: 4Registered User New Member
edited October 2011 in Visual Arts and Film Majors
Hi, I'm a grade 11 high school student planning to attend the 2011 NPD. I know that they give out early admissions and/or scholarships to acceptable portfolios from grade 12's, but do they give that to grade 11's as well? Did this happen to anyone before? Also, if anyone went to a past NPD- how many grade 11 students were there compared to grade 12's?

A couple more: How do you present your portfolio? Do you tell them your name, grade, etc. first? And when you're talking about a piece, what kind of things do they want to hear? So basically- once you get to their table, what do you do?

Thanks in advance!
Post edited by oxygenandreams on

Replies to: Portfolio Day

  • phillyartmomphillyartmom Posts: 410Registered User Member
    My dd went to NPD last year as a Junior. It was my impression that only some schools accept portfolios at NPD and that they can only accept senior portfolios. I think that at each school that my dd went to, they did want to know if she was a junior or senior, as the type of things they will tell you could be different. Good luck!
  • colcon2010colcon2010 Posts: 323Registered User Member
    I haven't heard about schools offering admissions at NPD (that's not to say it doesn't happen, I just don't know), but some will accept the portfolio portion of the application and then you just have to complete the rest of the process. It's a great idea to attend NPD as a junior, as the admissions reps will give you insight about what you can add/improve and you'll have a whole year to do so before submitting your application! As for how to approach the table and what you do once you're there, you can learn a lot just by watching. In most cases there will be a line so just take a look and see what the others ahead of you do, even simple things like if your pieces are in a presentation binder or portfolio, which way you should lay it down so it's easy for the rep to turn the pages without hitting the person next to her/him. Don't be nervous, in my experience they are there to help you and give you an honest critique of your work! Don't worry about what they want to hear; actually you will probably get more out of it if you really listen to what they have to say. Be yourself! As for presentation, you will see all kinds of work come in: pieces that will fit in folios, huge canvas pieces, sculpture, etc. etc. My D brought her pieces in a big portfolio, and a sculpture in a box. I helped her carry stuff up to the table and then I walked to the side and let her do her thing. I have a friend who is a professor at an art college and she said when she sits in on admissions reviews it does make a good impression if the work is presented nicely, even something as simple as Bristol board mats (back and then front with opening) hinged on one end so the reps can lift up the cover. D followed her advice and it really did look nice. She also had some canvas pieces and those she just presented as is. Stay away from frames or anything that would prevent the reps from seeing the nitty gritty of your work! Also, regular mats can be heavy and you will be lugging your stuff around from the parking lot and all around the NPD venue, so try to use something lightweight if you decide to mat at all. As for name and grade, I don't remember anything but D signing in at the door! Not sure if she got a badge or something? How quickly we forget! Definitely a worthwhile event, so go and good luck!!
  • TimkerdesTimkerdes Posts: 206Registered User Junior Member
    I wish I could help you on the first part of your post. I went to NPD a few years ago but I dont really remember much honestly. However, im a bit wiser than I was back then so I think I can provide you with some useful advise.

    Anyway, since ive met with alot of top schools in the last two months I can help you with the second part. You should sequence your portfolio in an order. From oldest to newest, by seperating design work from fine arts and from smaller projects to bigger projects (your second or third piece should be a big project, a piece in the middle of your portfolio should be another big project, and the final piece should be the best thing youve ever made).

    Your work should be diverse. You shouldnt just submit a bunch of academic line drawings of objects. You dont need all of these things but you should have most of them for the best results. Also, if you dont understand any of the terms I will list, just tell me and I'll explain.

    You could include technical line drawings, tonal drawings, technical figure drawings, drawings of still life set ups, deep space perspetive drawings, paintings (tonal and color), color design work, black and white design work, magazine collage, personal work, analytical drawings, 3d design work, ceramics work, and cross contour drawings. Maybe even some creative writing.

    You should only include this stuff if your very good at it (basically if they taught it at your school properly) otherwise, the schools would probably rather prefer that they teach you this stuff. Nonetheless you might include photography work, animation, graphic design work, or fashion design work. Basically, as a general statement, schools want applicants to have strong foundational skills rather than major specific work (parsons and art center are the exception).

    You should NOT do these things. You shouldnt have a portfolio consisting only of things specific to your major. You shouldnt have a bunch of hand studies in your portfolio; admissions reps get cranky about this because they have to look through thousands of portolios with them (include only one if you cant help it). Dont have any compositions where objects are in the center and/or if objects are red. Dont draw anything on both sides of the paper as it's considered a beginner's mistake. Dont put ANYTHING in your portfolio that was drawn from a photograph; the same goes fo master copies of others' work. This will kill your chances. Non-representational design work is preferred to representational design work quite a bit, so try to help it. If your portfolio is just drawings and paintings then incude something from every subject (still life, analytical studies, cross contour, figure drawing, tonal, deep space/perspective, and personl work), and it'll fly but it probably wont stand out as much as a portfolio with a little design work. Also, never put anything in your portfolio that isnt good (period). Just dont do it. Even if your portfolio is extremely specialized and you want to have some diversity, dont do it. A portfolio with no diversity makes admissions reps suspect that the applicant has no skills in other areas; a portfolio with poor work to contrast strong pieces confirms this.

    Now, about presenting your work. Cover all of your work with tracing paper taped at the top (not on both sides; admissions reps hate trying to figure out how to pry apart protective sheets). Doing this will protect your work from any travelling damage as well as protect each piece from each other. You dont want a painting or a charcoal drawing rubbing on design work, or line drawing, or another painting, or anything at all. On that note, store your work in seperate portfolios. Have all your line and charcoal drawings in one portfolio container (with protective sheets covering everything), your paintings in a large shoe box or pizza box (with tracing paper over each painting), and your design work in another portfolio container (you should work hard to keep everything pristine). 3 dimensional work should be carried in a large container that you can roll around (and rapped in newspaper). If your paintings arent dry, photograph them. It'll be a disaster if you bring them with you. Photograph your 3d work - if you cant bring it with you - from multiple angles so admissions reps can experience your work from all angles. All this might sound daunting, but your only bringing 10 to 15 pieces of your best work, so it's not too bad.

    About talking about your work. Dont defend anything unless asked to, if admissions reps criticise your stuff. Theyre there to help, so just listen (maybe nod your head a little). Dont talk about academic drawings too much. Talk about non-literal design work (as it might need some explaining) as well as conceptul work. You should first tell them your goals in making the work and then explain your design decisions (this is called an artist's statement). They will then evaluate you based on how successful they felt the work was. In the end, you should be speaking less than the admissions folks.

    Oh, and some schools do accept the portfolio portion of your application on the spot; they keep a record of this, so dont worry if you think they just remember you by heart. I was accepted this way by SAIC today actually, so I can confirm this.You should still submit your portfolio for merit scholarships (if your not rich).

    Hope this all helps.
  • TimkerdesTimkerdes Posts: 206Registered User Junior Member
    lol I typed an essay.
  • redbug119redbug119 Posts: 842Registered User Member
    My D attended when she was both a junior and senior. The first time she had her portfolio accepted by a few schools, and the second, some others. Once you have your portfolio together (NOTE: if you have Manga in your portfolio, remove it NOW!!) , here's a few non-portfolio tips. Get there early - the line will start to form about an hour before the doors actually open.



    1. Wear comfy shoes - you will be on your feet all day. The reviewers are not interested in how fashion forward you are that day. And leave your huge pocketbook at home. You don't need one more thing to carry.

    2. If you are are only looking for reviews by the more popular I-gotta-get-in-there schools (RISD, SAIC, Pratt, and the like), you will be spending most if not all of the time standing in those lines. Start with one or two of the schools you are most interested in, and do those first. Then go to some of the lesser known schools (NHIA, MCAD, KCAI, LAC's), where the lines are shorter. You will get a bigger range of comments and a better idea of what different schools are looking for. You may really hit it off with a reviewer (that happened to my D) and that influenced her school choice.

    3. If possible, bring another person to stand in line for you. That way while you are standing in one line, that person can be in another. It sounds like cheating, but it really isn't.

    4. Do your own talking - do not allow your parent or teacher to stand there, even if they are quiet. They should be watching from the sidelines. I saw one man take over his daughter's review, flipping the pages and talking about each piece. The girl did not get to say one word. Go up to the table, smile, and say, hello, my name is....... Don't worry about telling them what grade you are in, if they want to know, they will ask. Be prepared to talk about your work - your inspiration, why you made that tree blue instead of green, etc.

    5. Bring at least one sketchbook. Someone will ask you if you brought one. Some reviewers like to see how you get from point A to point B, not just the finished product.

    6. Bring something to snack on and some water. You will not want to take the time to run and get something to eat.

    7. Bring something to carry brochures/folders in. Task your standing-in-line person to carry them for you. Take all the stuff you can. Even if you are not interested in the school at the moment, you may be later on. You can always pass brochures on to others in your art classes, etc.

    8. Use your sketchbook (in the back someplace) to make notes as to what reviewers say. At the end of the day you will be exhausted and will have forgotten who said what.

    9. Spend the whole time getting reviews. If you are only interested in one school, make sure you go to other tables as well. DO NOT stop after you get the review of your dream school. NPD doesn't come along every month. I once drove a car full of kids to NPD and one girl had only one school she wanted to go to, went to their table first and did not get any input from other schools. She ended up not getting in her dream school, and had no idea what other schools may be looking for and what other options she may have had. D stayed the whole time and the other kids were aggravated because they were ready to leave and she was still finding that one last person to look at her stuff.
  • TimkerdesTimkerdes Posts: 206Registered User Junior Member
    "if you have Manga in your portfolio, remove it NOW!!"

    ^ I forgot about this one. I second it. Though it's okay if the style influences your work, it just shouldnt dominate your personal style or undermine your technical ability.
  • bears and dogsbears and dogs Posts: 3,076- Senior Member
    everyone else said everything esp. manga warnings OK OK fine, hate them....
    my 2 cents here
    It's not for every schools but nice small-sh schools would send in same regional reps year after year. If you two hit it off, it will help you greatly in the future.
    Junior year is a great time to go, you are matured to be somewhat ready but still have plenty time to change and grow.
    If you couldn't get to meet with your dream school's reps or it was too short-a-review, at least get on their mailing list, do follow ups and ask if they will be in your area again for another occasion. Keep checking the school's website often for any news/changes.
  • oxygenandreamsoxygenandreams Posts: 4Registered User New Member
    Wow, I check back after a few days expecting no replies, but oh my gosh thank you for all of the advice!!

    I can't reply individually but I've read through everything!

    This is what i'm planning to include: 3 digital illustrations, 1 graphic design poster, 3 watercolour pieces, 2 acrylic, 1 sketchbook (with various studies), and 1 acrylic WIP (I heard they really like seeing your process?)

    Is this diverse enough? At the same time I don't want to be all over the place with my art...

    (All my digital stuff will be printed out, not viewed on the computer cause I heard they like looking at art that is tangible, instead of something on a screen.)

    Don't worry haha, I'm not particularly interested in manga-styled art. Everything I have is either realism or semi-realism.

    I've recently bought a portfolio-like folder. It's fairly big, about 2/3 of a metre? I'll stick all my work in there, and since I don't think I have anything that could potentially smudge, it should be okay.

    Again, thanks everyone!! That was extremely helpful.
  • oxygenandreamsoxygenandreams Posts: 4Registered User New Member
    @redbug119
    Wait, your daughter was accepted by a few schools when she was a junior? So it's possible? Would that mean that when she's actually applying to those schools in grade 12, one year later, that the schools that accepted her work before would will just need the application, not the portfolio?
  • redbug119redbug119 Posts: 842Registered User Member
    She was not accepted officially, only her portfolio was. When she applied (senior year), she had additional (and improved) pieces, so she submitted an updated portfolio to qualify for scholarships.
  • oxygenandreamsoxygenandreams Posts: 4Registered User New Member
    Ah I see, that makes sense. Thank you!
  • phillyartmomphillyartmom Posts: 410Registered User Member
    Our experience was different than Redbug's dd at NPD. Here, my dd was told her work was very good, competitive, etc, but that no acceptance of her portfolio could be made until that year's incoming class (seniors in high school) had all been given their acceptances. This happened at a few schools, and when we visited over the summer (right before senior year), those schools did accept her portfolio.
  • artsmartsartsmarts Posts: 717Registered User Member
    Interesting. We did everything wrong but it worked out fine I guess. Well actually the one thing we did right was get there 2 hours early. I'd suggest 2 hours with a good book and breakfast if you are going to a large city NPD. The one we went to (Boston) was jammed out to the street by an hour before opening.

    My kid took a computer, all images on the computer and the responses were fine. I think my kids attitude was if they weren't tech savvy enough to look at digital images why would I want to go there anyway. And the positive responses were from highly desired schools including Cooper which requested an early admission application and a portfolio acceptance from another school with just digital images. But.....based on the responses here I guess I wouldn't recommend this approach.

    The holding a place in line thing I've discussed here before. I'm really really opposed to it and noticed that some people from schools who were monitoring lines weren't very pleased about parents or friends who were doing this. In fact the person from Cooper was really not pleased but I don't know if any notice of who had "line holders" doing so was made. And I found out later that this was a real biggie at the school.

    Here's the problem with this, the place where we went filled up very quickly and the problem with all the parents and friends who were there to hold lines were taking up space while kids were still waiting around the block to get in. Luckily for my kid we were there so early it was okay (I wasn't allowed to hold places in line even if I'd wanted to as it was "my deal". So I had time to notice what was going on and chat a bit with some of the representatives who weren't in the rooms looking at portfolios. In fact I went downstairs and waited as I realized that I could at least leave a space for one more kid to get in by doing that.

    But others have disagreed with me about this here at CC. Obviously it was done a lot when we were in Boston but somehow I think they might notice those kids who are mature enough to just go it on their own, that's my theory anyway and I'm sticking with it.

    Get lots of sleep the night before, it's a pretty trying day.
  • bears and dogsbears and dogs Posts: 3,076- Senior Member
    lemme just add that Cooper is THE weird one, and NPD Cooper reviewers are the grumpiest ones chosen to be there to discourage kids from applying so they don't have to deal with half-hearted applicants' half hearted hometests. (somewhat proven rumor)

    good news(or bad?) NYC one this year is at the Javis center!!!
    I have been one at Parsons (mad house) Pratt (still bad) Purchase (roomy but few big name skips to attend)
    I will go say hello to some reps we've gotten to know and will report.
    my guess is only using part of the one floor of Javis.
    I once mocked NPD as "sort of trade shows for art schools" and now it is actually IT.
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