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How to make an art portfolio (+ tips and examples)

How to make an art portfolio

Your art portfolio acts as your calling card, introducing prospective clients, employers, galleries or art schools to your unique creative vision and style. Whether you are a freelance artist looking to attract clients or a student preparing for college applications, having a strong and visually appealing online presence can help you stand out in the artist community.

In this article, learn how to make an art portfolio online, from curating your content to creating a website. By following these tips and tricks, you can create an impressive online art portfolio that represents your individuality and talent while effectively reaching your target audience.

Ready to build an online portfolio? Start designing yours today.

What is an art portfolio

An art portfolio is a collection of your best and most representative artwork, curated and presented in a cohesive and professional manner. It serves as a visual representation of your skills, style and creative voice.

Traditionally, an art portfolio would consist of physical copies of your work, such as paintings, drawings or photographs, carefully arranged in a folder or binder. With the rise of technology and digital media, many artists are now choosing to showcase their portfolios online. Online platforms have become increasingly popular, with 31% of young buyers and 37% of new art buyers purchasing their first-ever artwork online. This indicates a growing trend of art enthusiasts embracing the digital realm to discover and purchase artwork that resonates with them.

How to make an art portfolio online

01. Define your purpose

The first step to creating a captivating art portfolio is to define your purpose and audience. Ask yourself why are you making a portfolio and who is it for? Your portfolio should have a clear goal, whether it's selling your work, applying for a grant, or showcasing your talent. Consider what they're looking for, what they value and what they expect from an art portfolio. Your portfolio should speak directly to them and highlight the unique aspects of your art.

Identify your audience

Your audience can vary depending on your goals. Knowing your target audience will help you customize your portfolio so that it resonates with the intended crowd. For example, if you primarily illustrate for children's books, you may want to showcase these pieces prominently in your portfolio. You can focus your portfolio towards:

  • Gallery curators: If you are looking to exhibit in galleries or museums, highlight pieces that display a sense of your overall aesthetic.

  • Potential buyers: Present high-quality images of your pieces and include details on pricing and availability. You may also want to think about including an online store directly on your portfolio site for easy transactions.

  • Art schools: For students looking to apply to art schools, focus on highlighting your artistic range, techniques and development over time.

02. Select your best pieces

When choosing the specific pieces to incorporate in your art portfolio, think about quality over quantity. Pick a range of work that highlights the scope of your distinct approach and abilities. This will give your viewers an idea of what you are capable of as an artist. Keep these concepts in mind when curating your collection:

Create a cohesive portfolio

Your art portfolio should have a sense of unity and flow. Select  pieces with a similar style, color palette or subject matter to make a cohesive collection. Also consider the specific materials and medium of your work, and think about the entire story the pieces tell collectively. 

Highlight your artistic strengths

Use your art portfolio to display what sets you apart from other artists. Be sure to include pieces that demonstrate your technical skills, creativity and notable perspective. This will help others see what makes you stand out in the art world.

What not to include in an art portfolio

While it can be tempting to exhibit all of your oeuvre in your portfolio, it is important to be selective. Avoid including pieces that are unfinished, outdated or do not represent your best work. The goal is to leave a lasting impression on viewers.

Look at other portfolios for inspiration

Exploring different portfolio website ideas and art blogs can help you gain insights into what works and what doesn't when it comes to showcasing your own pieces. Seeing other artists' portfolios can help spark new ideas and concepts to incorporate into your own site. Websites like Behance, Dribble, Carbonmade and Coroflot are full of excellent examples of how to present your work in the best possible light and provide another platform to showcase your work.

Selecting art portfolio pieces

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03. Choose an online platform

Now that you have curated your artwork, it’s time to pick a website builder that best suits your goal of displaying your pieces. When it comes to showcasing your art portfolio, drag and drop website building platforms like Wix offer templates and tools that cater to the needs of an artist's portfolio. Take a look at some of the best website builders for artists , some of the best portfolio builders and consider the following factors when creating an online art portfolio of your own:

User-friendly interface

Since you’ve likely spent hours refining your artistic practice and honing in on your overall aesthetic, you want a platform that is easy to use and regularly update content. A user-friendly interface will streamline the process of creating your art portfolio and updating it as needed. 

Customization options

Having a variety of customization options, like different templates, color schemes and font choices, offers plenty of creative freedom as you carve out your online presence. This allows you to build a distinct portfolio that reflects your personal approach.

04. Customize a template

Find a website template that best suits your style and purpose. When determining your options, go for best portfolio templates over a personal web page, that will provide you with the website layout you need to share your collection. Your art portfolio should be easy to navigate and engaging. Avoid cluttered layouts or too many distractions that may take away from the main focus–your artwork.

Wix website templates

05. Design a compelling homepage

Your homepage is often the first impression viewers will receive of your portfolio. It's frequently the most visited by new and returning users, playing a major role in your website experience. The objectives for your homepage should be to engage new visitors quickly and channel them to the right content. To achieve these objectives, include the following elements:

An eye-catching banner or slideshow

Craft a striking banner or slideshow that will immediately draw visitors in. Slideshows provide a way to add motion to your website, displaying rich content.

Introduction and artist statement

Include a brief introduction, offering readers a sense of who you are as an artist. You can also write an artist statement to add more context and meaning to your portfolio.

Navigation menu

Make it easy for viewers to navigate through your portfolio by including a clear and organized navigation menu. This will help them find specific pieces or sections easily.

Art portfolio homepage

06. Showcase your artwork

The main purpose of an art portfolio is to exhibit your collection, so be sure to display it in the best possible way. Keep the following tips in mind when determining your website design:

Organize effectively

Create distinct categories highlighting different art techniques, such as abstract, landscapes, portraits, comics, etc. This enables visitors to filter through your art pieces and narrow in on their preferences. 

Use high quality images

Make sure to use high-resolution images that accurately represent the colors and details of your pieces. To photograph your art, use natural lighting and avoid shadows or reflections. You can use this image resizer tool to make sure each photo is sized for optimal viewing. 

Include relevant details

Along with each image, display the title, medium, size and other background information about the piece. Tell engaging visual stories as it helps convey the essence and narrative behind the artwork. You may want to share details about your artistic process and any backstory to the specific piece. This will give viewers a better understanding of your artistic identity and workflow.

Consider additional features

Depending on your chosen platform, you may have the option to integrate elements such as videos, 360-degree views or zoom capabilities. These can add an extra layer of interactivity and engagement for visitors.

07. Add a contact page

Don't forget to build a contact page in your portfolio. This simple addition will make it easier for individuals to get in touch with you. Investing in a business email and business phone number is an easy way to elevate your professional presence. Be sure to have the following:

  • Contact form

  • Email address

  • Phone number

  • Links to your social media accounts

08. Start an online shop (optional)

If you are interested in selling art online, consider adding an online store to your portfolio. Having an online store provides the convenience and accessibility that modern buyers seek, allowing them to browse and purchase your artwork from the comfort of their own homes. When creating your shop, make sure to:

Write product descriptions

For each piece, include a thorough description with the title, medium, size and any other relevant details. You can also write background knowledge or stories behind the creation of each piece.

Set up secure payment options

Select a platform that offers secure online payment options. This will ensure the safety of both you and your customers' data. 

Offer shipping and handling information

Be transparent about your shipping and handling process, including estimated delivery times and any additional fees or policies. This will help manage customer expectations and avoid any misunderstandings. 

Tip: You can also start a print-on-demand business to help you make money as an artist. If you’re new to eCommerce websites, check our guide on what is eCommerce and learn what is print on demand to get started.

Online store checkout page

09. Edit over time

Your portfolio should adapt as your artistic style evolves and grows. Regularly updating your portfolio with new pieces can keep your website fresh and engaging for both regular visitors and potential clients. It's important to have external eyes review your site and be open to feedback, as it can provide valuable insights for improvement. Utilize analytics tools like Google Analytics to track popular pages and user engagement, allowing you to focus on the most impactful content. Don't be afraid to experiment and make changes over time.

Why is an art portfolio important

An online art portfolio is a digital collection of your art, typically built on a website hosting platform. It serves as a central hub for your oeuvre, making it easily accessible to anyone with an internet connection. Here are some key reasons why you need an online portfolio:

Gives you artistic freedom

An online art portfolio grants you control over how your work is presented. You can curate and organize your web content in a way that best represents your style. This allows you to feature the diversity of your talent, making it easier for visitors to see the full range of your abilities.

Maintains an up-to-date presence

Your portfolio can be accessed anytime, anywhere—meaning anyone who wants to see your talent can view it at their own convenience. Be sure to regularly update your site with new and improved content, keeping it fresh and relevant.

Attracts potential buyers

An online art portfolio is an effective way to persuade potential buyers to invest in your art. By showcasing high-quality images of your artwork and including information about pricing and availability, you can entice clients to purchase, or even hire you for a commissioned piece. It facilitates easier communication and transactions between you and potential buyers.

Demonstrate your identity as an artist

Your online portfolio is a representation of you as an artist. It not only showcases your work but also provides insight into your creative process, inspirations and overall artistic identity. By displaying your art and accompanying it with meaningful descriptions or stories, you can connect with viewers on a deeper level. This helps build your personal brand and establishes yourself as a professional in the art world. 

Art school admission requirement 

If you're an aspiring artist looking to apply to art schools, having a well-designed online portfolio is a prerequisite  of the admission process. Art schools want to see not only your technical skills, but also your creativity and ability to effectively present your work. An online portfolio is an excellent way to showcase all these elements in one place, making it easier for admissions officers to evaluate your potential as an artist.  

Online art portfolio examples

Looking for guidance on creating an art portfolio that will make waves in the art community? Check out these Wix-made portfolio websites. They're chosen to inspire and empower you to showcase your talent.

Liron Eldar-Ashkenazi has simplified the menu options to make it easier for website users to navigate the entire site. Each gallery image contains titles that, when clicked, open to a unique page with a detailed project description.

Liron Eldar-Shkenazi portfolio homepage

Zaria Forman’s homepage opens with a captivating fullscreen photo of her engrossed in her painting. The image serves to highlight the immense size of Zaria's canvas and offers a glimpse into her inspiring vision.

Hompage of Zaria Forman art portfolio

With an Instagram feed on her site, Jessica can showcase more images of her work, grow her followers and ensure that her site is always up-to-date.

Online art portfolio of Jessica Bearden

The combination of a cheerful yellow background with black and white text creates a lively contrast, making important aspects of Timothy Goodman's site stand out. Timothy takes the color scheme a step further on his About page, using color blocks to highlight distinct sections that showcase his bio, press images, client list and press. The result is a visually appealing design that captures attention and guides visitors through the site.

Portfolio homepage of Timothy Goodman

Other types of websites you can create

How to make an art portfolio FAQ

What should I include in my art portfolio?

Your art portfolio should have a variety of your best work, along with relevant facts such as titles, mediums and sizes. You can also write an artist statement and any other additional features that highlight your artistic strengths.

How many pieces should I include in my art portfolio?

Can I use my social media as an art portfolio?

How do I create an online art portfolio for free?

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