Portfolio Requirements



What is an Art Portfolio?

  • A portfolio is a visual archive of your personal artistic accomplishments that demonstrates your ability and potential as a creative artist or designer.
  • It is one of the application requirements of students applying to the Art Foundation Program (AFO)/ or Bachelor of Fine Arts Programs at VCUarts Qatar.

VCUarts Qatar’s BFA portfolio requirements:

  • All applicants are required to upload a portfolio of their own creative artworks along with the required university application materials to VCUarts Qatar’s online admission system.

The portfolio consists of four parts:

  • Three portfolio exercises (as listed below).
  • Additional examples of your best and most recent work that show your current interests, an awareness of design principles and experience with a variety of tools, media, styles and approaches.

About your portfolio submission:

  • Drawings must be done from observation, that is, from looking directly at the objects or the view and NOT from photographs or other published material (including photographs found on the Internet).
  • Images must be submitted in JPG format. PDF documents are not accepted by the online application system - please upload images of your artwork in JPG format instead.
  • A shortlist of candidates will be invited to take a drawing test following the portfolio submission deadline. Candidates may be required to participate in additional interviews or tests if inconsistencies appear in the quality of work submitted. Academic honesty and integrity are the standards expected and adhered to at VCUarts Qatar.
  • Candidates suspected of plagiarizing or including work done by others will be barred from admittance to VCUarts Qatar. Copying others’ work, including photographs, illustrations, artworks, etc., is considered plagiarism.


Make a work or a series of works (up to 5 pieces) that interprets what a “Journey” means for you.

This is a creative challenge, and you may approach it in any way you wish.  For example, you may use any medium or material, including two dimensional, three dimensional, or time-based media, and you can interpret the subject of “Journey” from any of the following points of view:

  • Your work or series of works could literally be about a journey that involves places you have traveled to or places you would like to see ...or...
  • Your work or series of works could be about an imaginary journey...or...
  • Your work or series of works could reference real or imaginary places as a means of communicating a particular idea (symbolism).

Select and use materials which best suit your project. These may include two and three dimensional, traditional and/or non-traditional materials and techniques, plus time-based work such as video, animation, and sound (2 minutes maximum), and/or digitally generated media. Be inventive with your ideas!

You may do this project in any combination of media; however the finished work(s) must be uploaded in JPG format, or in the case of time-based media, you must post your video on YouTube or Vimeo and include the URL in the appropriate space on the online portfolio submission form.

In 250 words or less, please write a description of your ‘journey’ project. You can write about the approach you took to make the project and about what made you decide to choose the materials that you used. You can also write about the idea that you wanted to convey in your project, etc.

We hope that this project will demonstrate some of the qualities and attitude that are important for artists and designers:

  • Willingness to learn
  • Curiosity, open-mindedness
  • Imagination
  • Capacity for experimentation/exploration
  • Critical thinking
  • Engagement with materials
  • Hard work


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about “Journey”

  • What is a series? A series is a collection of more than one artwork that is meant to be seen as a unified thematic whole.
  • Can I make a series of 2, 3, or 4 pieces? Yes. For the Journey requirement, you can submit a single artwork, or a series including any number of works up to five.
  • Can I submit a video and jpgs? No - please choose one or the other format.
  • What is the difference between traditional and nontraditional materials? Traditional materials include familiar art media, such as paint, drawing pencils, artist’s clay, etc. Nontraditional materials can include anything not in that category, like rocks, hot peppers, socks, or foam - use your imagination!

Create a carefully developed still life drawing.

You must also include additional work that demonstrates your process in designing and preparing for the final drawing, as described below. All drawing for this requirement must be done from live observation, and not from photographs.

Select five objects of different size made of different materials, such as plastic, wood, stone, glass, drapery, etc. and arrange them together in a still life. Choose objects that have special meaning to you, arrange them into an interesting composition, and add strong lighting to create dark and light contrasting areas.

Upload three photos of your still life taken from three different points of view. i.e., front, left side, right side, etc. Consider the compositional strengths of these viewpoints and select the ONE photo you feel is most suitable. Use the viewpoint from this photo for the sketch and for the final drawing - position yourself so that you can draw while looking at the still life from the angle you chose.

Upload one sketch of your still life. This sketch should take about 30 minutes to draw, and should be used as practice to help you develop proper scale and accurate placement of your objects into the composition. For this sketch, you should focus on using line only (no shading), and should use a 2B drawing pencil.

Upload one finished drawing of the same still life using a color medium, such as color pencils or chalk pastel. Spend as much time as you need to finish this drawing. Plan to spend a minimum of 60 minutes. Well-developed drawings typically require several hours of work or more.

The sketch and the final drawing should each be done on separate sheets of white paper measuring 16" x 20" (40 cm x 50 cm). You may use any white art paper large enough to accommodate this size, which may require trimming large sheets into smaller sheets.

This drawing is a value study done with drawing pencils (graphite only - no color). A value study is a drawing that uses shading (light and shadow). For this study, you will draw a tissue box with one tissue coming out of the top. Draw the box from an angle that shows its three-dimensional shape. A successful study will convincingly show the box’s geometrical volume and the delicate organic form of the tissue.

This requirement is to be timed - it is important that you work on this drawing for exactly 60 minutes. Use one sheet of white A4 paper only.

Upload five additional examples of your best and most recent work in any media that shows your current interest, an awareness of design principles (composition), and experience with a variety of tools, media, styles and approaches.

Tips on How to Develop your Portfolio

  • Start early:
    • The more time you allow yourself to create, the more work you will have to choose from when preparing your portfolio. Ultimately, however, quality of work is more important than quantity.
  • Challenge yourself:
    • Take advantage of resources available at your school, in your community and in your own time.
    • Supplement your high school art experience with outside opportunities.
  • Include observational drawings:
    • Most art and design colleges prefer that the majority of drawings submitted in the portfolio be derived from direct observation, which means drawing or painting from still life, figure models, or landscape.
    • VCUarts Qatar prefers observational drawings rather than drawings from photographs or from your imagination (such as fantasy characters or anime).
  • DO NOT submit work that copies images that are not your own:
    • This includes artwork, illustrations, or photographs found online or in magazines. Copying others’ work will be considered plagiarism.
  • Explore ideas in your work:
    • Strong portfolios typically include work that demonstrates solid technical skills and reflects thoughts and concepts.
    • Consider including work that speaks to your personal experiences, your culture and so on.
  • How to get feedback on your creative work?
    • Get outside opinions of your artwork before the year in which you plan to apply: It is important to show your work to others and to ask for critiques with enough time to benefit from the feedback. This will help you be aware of your progress, as well as areas that may need further development. Teachers, other artists, designers, mentors, and college representatives can offer this type of informal review.
    • Practice discussing your work: Don't be afraid to talk about your work and what it means to you. Select a couple of pieces to discuss. Think about when and why you created the work, what the work is about, and what media were used. Share what you like about the pieces and what can be improved.
    • Take a portfolio development class: VCUarts Qatar regularly holds portfolio development classes and drop-in evening sessions. Keep an eye on our website from September through December for availability. Portfolio Development classes typically begin in late September or early October. See Community Education Program at VCUarts Qatar for available classes and logistical details.
    • Meet with college representatives: VCUarts Qatar Admissions counselors meet with students on campus, visit many high schools and community colleges, and host special events for prospective students, during which they can help to clarify the expectations of the portfolio.

Office of Admissions

Al Luqta Street (P.O. Box 8095)
Doha - QATAR

T +974 4402 0530

E vcuqadmission@vcu.edu