Submit Your Portfolio

Submitting a portfolio for admission

All applicants for Herron’s undergraduate programs, with the exception of those intending to major in art history, must submit an artistic portfolio in order to be admitted into the school.

You should submit your portfolio at the same time you submit your IUPUI application.

Applicants who complete their IUPUI application and submit their portfolio by February 1 for fall admission, or October 1 for spring admission, will receive first priority consideration for Herron scholarships.

How to submit your portfolio

Description of the following video:

Hi, I’m Michelle Mullen, the Admissions Coordinator at Herron School of Art and Design at IUPUI. I’ll be your guide in developing and submitting a portfolio for admission.

Students applying to Herron are now required to submit a portfolio, along with the IUPUI application for admission, in order to be directly admitted as a Herron student. The portfolio is required of all applicants except those intending to major in Art History. Additionally, first priority for portfolio-based scholarships will be given to students who submit their portfolio by February 1st.

Here are a few quick tips on how to prepare your portfolio, document your work, and submit it for review.

Choosing which pieces to include in your portfolio can be a difficult task. We ask that you include 10 images of your strongest works of art or design. We’d like to see work that demonstrates creativity, technical excellence, and conceptual development.

Submitted work can be 2-dimensional work, such as drawings, paintings, photographs or designs; 3-dimensional work, such as sculpture or ceramics; time-based mediums, such as video or animation; or writing samples, such as poetry, narrative stories, plays, or other writing that reflects your creativity. You may submit finished works or sketches. Consider including journal or sketchbook pages that document your process of creative thinking and investigation. Your portfolio allows you to showcase artwork that you believe best represents your creative potential. We encourage you to include work that deals with subject matter that interests you.

If you’re unsure on which pieces to include in your portfolio, ask your art teachers, your friends, and your family on which of your works they think are the strongest. Ultimately, the decision of what to include in your portfolio is yours. After all, your work is a reflection of you as an artist.

In order to document your work properly, you will need a good camera and good lighting. Make sure you’re using a camera that is capable of taking higher resolution photographs. Nowadays, even iPhone cameras can take clear, detailed photographs.

The most important part of documenting your work is getting the light right. Light the work evenly with either natural sunlight or with studio-quality lighting. Fluorescent or incandescent bulbs tend to wash out or add an orange overtone to colors, so stay away from dimly lit areas and stick to photographing your work outside or near a bright window.

Make sure you angle the camera straight on. It also helps to have a tripod set up so you can keep the camera straight when taking your photos. You can also leave the shutter open and let more light in this way.

When in doubt, take more photos. Try taking photos of your work at different times of the day and at different exposures. You never know which setting will suit your work best. Try photographing your work on a neutral background. You can get a cheap piece poster board to achieve this effect. Trust me, your work will look much better in front of neutral colors that don’t distract. If your work is framed, take the glass out of the frame before photographing. Glass tends to reflect light, and the last thing you want is for the glare to distract from your piece.

If you have access to a scanner, use it to document smaller works or snapshots of your sketchbook. It also helps if you have access to an image editor like Adobe Photoshop. Sometimes scanned images don’t capture the true colors of your work, so it may be helpful to bump up the contrast or the vibrancy so the colors in your image look as close to the original as possible.

Take your time. Documenting your work can be tricky, especially without studio-quality equipment. Keep trying new things until you’re satisfied with how your images look.
Once you’re satisfied with the way your images look, you will submit all 10 images to Slideroom. First, go to www.herron.slideroom.com to start your application. You’ll fill out a brief form that includes basic information about you, and then you’ll follow the prompts to upload your images. You must include the title, year, medium, size and description of each work you submit.

Along with your portfolio, you’ll need to submit a 250-500 word essay that explains who you are and why you would like to attend art and design school. You may want to discuss experiences that have helped mold you into the person you are, career and life goals, and why the creative process is important to you. This will give us a brief introduction to who you are as an artist and as a person.

If you have questions about expectations or feel that you are unable to develop a comprehensive portfolio, please contact our office of Admissions and Student Services. We’re here to help in any way we can, and will provide coaching through this process and connections to resources that can help.

Good luck!

Admissions Coordinator Michelle Mullen talks through preparing and submitting your portfolio. See below for written instructions.

Portfolio requirements

Portfolios must include 10 pieces of artwork and an essay.

Artwork may include two- and three-dimensional work, video and animation work, writing samples, and sketches that demonstrate creative process. You must include the title, year, medium, size, and description of each work you submit.

The essay should describe who you are as an artist, and why you would like to attend art and design school, in 250–500 words. Include experiences that have helped mold you into the person you are, career and life goals, and why the creative process is important to you.

Submit your portfolio

Choosing which pieces to include

Include 10 images of your strongest works of art or design. We’d like to see work that demonstrates creativity, technical excellence, and conceptual development. Your work can be two-dimensional, three-dimensional, time-based medium, or writing samples.

You may submit finished works or sketches. Consider including journal or sketchbook pages that document your process of creative thinking and investigation.

10 tips for documenting your work

1. Use a camera that is capable of taking high-resolution photographs. Nowadays, even an iPhone camera can take clear, detailed photos. The most important part is getting the light right.

2. Light the work evenly with natural sunlight or studio quality lighting. Fluorescent or incandescent bulbs tend to wash out or add an orange overtone to colors, so photograph your work outside or near a bright window. You can also leave the shutter open and let more light in this way.

3. Make sure you angle the camera straight on. It also helps to have a tripod set up so you can keep the camera straight while taking your photos.

4. When in doubt, take more photos.

5. Try taking photos at different times of the day and with different exposures. You never know which settings will suit your work best.

6. Try photographing your work on a neutral background. You can use a cheap piece of posterboard for a nice effect.

7. If your work is framed, take the glass out of the frame before photographing. Glass tends to reflect light, and the last thing you want is for the glare to distract from the piece.

8. If you have access to a scanner, use it to document smaller works or pages from your sketchbook.

9. It also helps if you have access to an image editor, like Adobe Photoshop. Sometimes, scanned images don’t capture the true colors of your work. It may be helpful to bump up the contrast or the vibrancy, so the colors in your image look as close to the original as possible

10. Take your time. Keep trying new things until you’re satisfied with your work.

What happens if I do not submit a portfolio?

Students who are accepted into IUPUI with a pre-Herron major but do not submit a portfolio to Herron will not be able to officially declare a Herron major or register for Herron courses until their portfolio is submitted.

This can result in students becoming off track in their degree timeline. This means completing a degree could take much longer than four years, which can affect financial aid and the cost of attendance.

Submit your portfolio

Questions about submitting your portfolio?

If you have questions about expectations, or feel that you are unable to develop a comprehensive portfolio, please contact our Office of Admissions and Student Services. We’ll provide coaching through this process and connections to helpful resources.