Preparing a Portfolio

 A portfolio is a selection of your artwork that represents the variety and quality of your capabilities as an artist.

It is important to an art college because it exemplifies who you are as an artist. It also gives a sense of your passion and work ethic in relation to your art. The work should demonstrate knowledge and versatility of media and subject matter, combined with an understanding of color, composition and design.

The portfolio should include a minimum of 15 pieces of recent work. You may add more work if desired, including current sketchbooks and journals. Remember that decisions made in choosing what to include in your portfolio are important ones. High school students looking to improve their portfolio should consider taking a summer studio program. More information about KCAI's Pre-College ArtLab (PCAL) for high school students can be found here.

What is a portfolio review?

The completion of KCAI's portfolio review is an essential part of the admissions process. The portfolio may be submitted for review prior to the application process in a number of ways:

  • An applicant may have a portfolio review during a visit to KCAI. In this case, original work is preferred. Rather than bringing in oversized pieces or 3-D work, digital images or color slides showing more than one view and details (if appropriate) are preferred.
  • The applicant may have a portfolio review at a National Portfolio Day Association event.
  • The applicant may have a portfolio review if a KCAI Admissions counselor visits his/her school.
  • A portfolio review also can be conducted by mailing or e-mailing your work to the admissions office in the form of CDs, DVDs or slides. Do not send originals. 

The portfolio must be submitted for the application process through Slideroom at

How do I document my portfolio?

Image requirements: Start by using a digital camera with a tripod to insure a steady camera and a timed setting or cable release. Even if you do not own a camera and tripod, you will be well advised to rent equipment or arrange with a professional photographer to take them for you.

If you want to shoot with an artificial light source, place the two light stands on either side of the piece at an angle of 45 degrees. Keep the stands at equal distances from the work, approximately twice the distance as the camera is placed from the piece. Start with your largest piece first, fill the frame in the viewfinder and continue down to the smallest to insure correct light exposure.

  • For digital media, JPEG format is preferred but files in any universal audio, video, graphic or Web format are acceptable. 
  • Individual files should not be any larger than 1MB each. Images should not exceed 1100 wide or 800 tall at 72-90 DPI.
  • Time-based work or performance pieces may be submitted in video format or as QuickTime files.

Submitting your portfolio for admission

All applicants must have a permanent portfolio on file with your application to be considered for any type of scholarship.

You must submit your portfolio through Slideroom at

Ready, set, apply

Apply online for the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program at KCAI.

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