Pratt Institute Campus, Autumn 2012

Beginnings: College Portfolio

The Artist's Life is frustrating not because the passage is slow, but because he imagines it to be fast. - David Bayles

We all have to begin somewhere and sometimes when we look back at where we began we might feel a little embarrassed but I don’t think we should. I think it’s important we embrace our beginnings and appreciate how far we have come since then. Therefore I’d like to show you my college portfolio and talk to you a little about this subject.

 

Applying to Art School

Pratt Campus, Autumn 2010

Pratt Campus, Autumn 2010

Back in 2010 I made up my mind to leave home, family, friends and country behind to pursue a degree in art across the Atlantic in the US. I applied to Pratt Institute and Parsons and was accepted into both. I picked Pratt because the campus was just beautiful and I knew a few other illustrators who had attended the school, that highly recommended it. Applying to an Art School abroad takes quite a bit of research. It took a year from I made the decision to apply till I was able to attend. You not only need to get the papers in order to apply to the school as an International Student, but you also need to deal with the challenges of covering the tuition and obtaining a Student VISA.

 

Do your research

I can’t stress how important it is that you spend enough time of doing thorough research for this, the internet is a wonderful resource if you just spend the time searching – Google is your friend here! I can’t advise you much on the process because it differs so much from school to school and country to country, so just do your research. I can tell you that if you’re applying to a US school, it’s important to note that finding Scholarships, grants, possible financial aid is more of a struggle. It simply isn’t as readily available when you aren’t a US student. In my case I was fortunate that my parents helped me get a loan which made it possible for me.

 

The College Portfolio vs. Your Professional Portfolio

One of the first challenges I ran into was putting together a portfolio. I had only done this once before when applying for The Academy of Fine Arts in Aarhus. It’s important you understand the portfolio requirements for a college ARE NOT the same as the portfolio requirements for working professionally. The same goes for the portfolio you will leave with after you graduate college, it is highly likely to need an overhaul before you are ready to work professionally. Professional illustrator William O’Connor recently wrote an excellent blog post on this. I wanted to share with you the portfolio that got me accepted into Pratt Institute and Parsens & The New School. I have learned much since then but I feel it is important for aspiring and young artists to see where we all begin and along I am still early on in my career I am certain you will be able to see that just since 2009, I have come quite a ways.

 

My College Portfolio

Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed this look at my college portfolio. Please feel free to ask questions in the comments and share with your friends.

 

Links: Pratt Institute of Art Parsons and The New School

Kiri Østergaard Leonard
kiri@kirileonard.com

Kiri Østergaard Leonard is an award winning illustrator and artist from Denmark, currently living in Austin, Texas. She enjoys working on projects within the fantasy and children's illustration genre.

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