Getting Down to Business: Preparing Your Portfolio

Hi readers!

This week I would like to get down to a more serious topic, preparing your college portfolio. I’ll be honest with you, it’s a difficult task to compile your work. As you try to put together your best pieces, it’s hard to not think about what other students are putting in theirs as well.

For the most part, the pieces you include revolve around the specific minor/major you’re applying for. By looking on FIT’s or any other college’s website, you’ll find specific descriptions of any projects and portfolio requirements that the school would like from you.

My sketchbook

SKETCH!! Any and all courses more likely than not will want to see your sketching ability. Don’t be frightened! Unless you’re applying to a fine arts program your sketches do not have to be as realistic as a professionals. Portfolio reviewers like to see how your eye captures an element and transfers it to paper. The ability to sketch also shows your level of patience which is very important in any creative industry.

Another key to sketching is to work on larger pieces of paper, filling up a given space shows your ability to draw with more than just your finger tips. Noting that you use your wrist, hands, and arms to draw an image is very important.

It’s good to keep a sketchbook on hand to practice wherever you may be! Practicing will make you better at sketching as well as help you gain patience to execute bigger projects in the future.


  • Try to fill the whole page instead of just a small section

Trust me I know, I love to draw things on a smaller scale and make them more detailed, though it’s more beneficial to you if you practice drawing on a larger scale. By doing this you train your hand and mind to remain in a detailed mindset, plus it’ll look good in your portfolio.

  • Draw from life

Portfolio observers like to see how you interpret objects from life to paper. While showing your creative side with different drawings from your mind, be sure to include drawings of the basics like flowers or buildings.

A page from my sketchbook When it comes time for you to go through this process, take your time and do things to your best capability. Breathe and do your thing. I can assure you everyone is nervous when submitting works of their own, it’s good to be confident but it’s 100% okay to be nervous. Even though the process is a stressful one, continue using your strengths to enhance your pieces in your own personal way and see what happens from there.

If you have the opportunity, reach out to your art teachers for assistance and if you’re lucky enough even a professor. They’re there to help YOU! Asking won’t ever hurt and who knows, hopefully it’ll make you feel better along the way!

Thank you for reading and good luck on pursuing any passions you may have! We all take many different paths in life so stick to what you love and you’ll make it one way or another.

-Emily Kelly

Hey everybody! It’s Emily, the blogger from last fall with the chickens and the hurricane. I actually just moved back home, and the chickens are back in their coop in the backyard.

Putting together a fashion design application portfolio is not the easiest task. Especially while juggling AP classes, homework, fine arts portfolios and costumes for two plays at school at the same time. Thankfully, I have my own room with a desk to work on everything, and the portfolio class on Saturday mornings, where I can work on projects specific to the application.

But putting together a portfolio is also a chance to reflect on my work from the past four years of programs, and while there isn’t much of a change to the feeling conveyed by my drawings, there is a definite improvement in technique. Before I came to class, I worked only in watercolor, and I couldn’t get the proportions right or really show that the clothes were separate from the figure. When I had to use the art markers, I was scared of them. I didn’t like the way I couldn’t control them, but it was easier to render the different fabrics.

By now, the fall 2013 semester, I have learned a lot of little tricks that add up to more accurate renderings, like having a tucked shirt bulge where it meets the waistband, or showing the different layers of fabric when pockets have been appliqued on. Another big thing is showing shadows- don’t be afraid of contrast! Fabric doesn’t lay flat on a body, it has curves and bumps and hills and valleys that all catch light and cast shadows. Folds happen too. Try to draw them, especially if an elbow or knee is bent. It adds another dimension to the drawing. Wrinkles happen when fabric is gathered, and all that is is an extra shadow. And all that’s just from asking questions and observing what was fixed in my drawing classes!

Sewing is another beast entirely, because with fabric, you can’t really force it to do something it’s not capable of without working with it. Soft, flowy  fabrics aren’t going to stand up straight without being fused to a stiff backing, and stiff fabrics aren’t going to drape like a softer one. Wovens will not stretch as much as knits will. Zippers are an ordeal to set, and hemming a circle skirt is not the easiest task in the world. I think everyone’s made the mistake of forgetting to add their seam allowance at least once, and ended up with a garment half an inch too small on all sides. Or had a one-way print and accidentally had it upside-down on half their garment. I actually just did that one on a flare skirt. But that’s the process. You make mistakes, learn from them, and then move on to other mistakes. Eventually, you just don’t make those mistakes anymore.

I would say the most important thing I’ve learned from taking all these classes (I’ve taken 7 so far!) is there’s always something more to learn. Coming into portfolio, I thought I was set, but the proportions on my figures were still not correct, and I was having trouble with leg positioning. But everyone in class has something to teach you, even if they aren’t the teacher. I learned how to render pockets from the girl in the row ahead of me in the fall of my sophomore year. I’m helping the girl next to me right now with shading.

Are there any tips/tricks you’ve learned that help you in class? Share them in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!



Congratulations Bruno!


Student: Bruno Meria
Major: Communication Design

Courses taken in Precollege Programs include:
HAC 063  Careers in Advertising and Marketing Communications
HAD 101 The Principles of Design

Were you accepted to FIT this fall too? We’d love to feature you on the blog as well!
Email: for more information

Congratulations, Rebecca!


Student: Rebecca Zank
Major: Communication Design

Courses taken in Precollege Programs include:
HIL 012 Drawing for Illustration
 HFA 148 Fine Arts Portfolio
HAD 149 Advertising and Graphic Design Portfolio

Were you accepted to FIT this fall too? We’d love to feature you on the blog as well!
Email: for more information

Congratulations, Gabe!


Student: Gabe Pechia
Major: Communication Design

Courses taken in Precollege Programs include:
HSX 022 Portraits for Portfolios

Were you accepted to FIT this fall too? We’d love to feature you on the blog as well!
Email: for more information