top of page

APPLYING TO A VISUAL ARTS HIGH SCHOOL? Here are the Portfolio Requirements & Keys to Success!!

General Audition Info:

Students can submit audition materials through the Additional Materials section of their MySchools account. The deadline to submit these items is currently TBA for 2024, but should be posted soon. I believe it should be December 1st, 2023.


Visual Arts Portfolio Requirements:

Piece 1: A self-portrait using a graphite drawing pencil and paper done from observation (from observation means you draw yourself by looking in a mirror).

This is something we can potentially do during free art/free draw time after you finish your project. I will bring in a mirror for us to use during class. Remember what we talked about during our still life project: don’t draw what you think you look like, draw what you are actually looking at. It’s tricky, but pretend you’ve never seen your face, or a face in general. What lines and shapes make up your face? What shape are your eyes, how far away is your nose? Where is the light coming from? Where are the shadows?

Piece 2: A still life of at least 3 items, using a graphite drawing pencil and paper done from observation (from observation means you draw objects placed before you on a surface in front of you).

If your still life from earlier in the semester has 3 objects, you’re all set! We can discuss different ways to refine your drawing. If your piece doesn’t have at least objects, we can add others or do a separate still life during free art time or during our showcase prep week (Dec. 5 & 7). Same reminder as the self-portrait, really focus on what your objects actually look like.

Piece 3: A figure drawing, using a graphite drawing pencil and paper. You may pose a friend or a family member in front of you. Draw the human figure from observation (from observation means you draw a live person). If you do not have access to a friend or family member, see the tutorial on figure drawing on this visual arts portfolio resources(Open external link).

  • Make sure you draw the entire figure and fill the page: do not cut off parts of the head or feet.

  • Draw your figure with realistic proportions.

  • Try to use value or lines to draw the folds on the clothes.

  • Include any observed details and draw the facial features.

  • Include some background elements placing the figure in a simple setting to make sure your figure does not look like it is floating in space.

This is another one we can make time for in class, though as the prompt says this can also be done at home! Figure drawing can be a bit tricky at first, so during your free draw time, try drawing your classmates! Practice helps a LOT with figure drawing. Also, think about shadows! Placing a shadow below the figure (make sure it’s the shadow you see!) can help make a figure not look like it is floating in space. Same as the last two prompts, if you’re drawing from life: pay attention to and draw what you’re actually looking at, not what you think it should look like!

Pieces 4-7: Add 1 to 4 additional pieces to your portfolio. You may select pieces that were created using any material in any form. They may be two-dimensional or three-dimensional.

Pieces 4-7 are a great opportunity to show what you enjoy creating! You can use any projects you like from 2D Art (or 3D if you’re in the sculpture class as well) for these pieces, though we can also definitely adjust projects we do later in the year to work for these!

Piece 8: If you are applying to Art and Design High School, Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Art, and/or Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, submit this creative drawing. (This piece is optional for students applying to other programs.)

  • Using pencil and paper, draw a FANTASTICAL SANDWICH! Use your imagination and creativity – we want to see your wildest ideas of what a Fantastical Sandwich looks like to you. Consider for the drawing: What bizarre, unusual, or creative toppings does your sandwich have? Who made it? Who is it for? When creating your Fantastical Sandwich be sure to include a background and fill the whole page. Feel free to use colored pencils if you wish. And, have fun with it!

Just like the prompt says, really have fun with this one! Create a story around the sandwich, the prompt asks you to do that too. Who made it? Who is it for? Where would this be served/eaten?

Student Introduction

Select three pieces of artwork from your portfolio (Piece 1 and Piece 2 must be included). Upload a short video about the three uploaded pieces of original artwork. Discuss your choice of subject and materials, motivation, and influences. Your video should be no longer than three (3) minutes. If you are unable to create a video, you may upload a written explanation of up to 500 words (either is equally acceptable).

**This is noted on the Audition Info page; don’t forget about it!

All of the info and application links can be found here:

19 views0 comments


bottom of page