Artists Online Portfolio

Artists Online Portfolio

In this day and age, an artist without a digital portfolio is selling themselves short. Here's a quick guide to making a killer online portfolio with Format.

50 years ago, great art was only accessible through museums and galleries. Nowadays, the internet has made it incredibly easy for artists to display and sell their work. Personal portfolio websites and social media pages have become artists’ own virtual galleries—open 24/7 for the whole world to see and share. 

While social networks are a great tool for getting the word out on your art, nothing beats a professional portfolio website. It can stand as an all-in-one free gallery, a virtual calling card, and even a store. Here, we'll show you how to build a killer online portfolio. And once you’re done, you can also look through some of our best online portfolios for creative inspiration.

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What Every Online Artist Portfolio Needs

Not sure about what goes into creating a portfolio site? Here are three essentials to building an art portfolio:

Your Best Work

A portfolio website is a virtual gallery—a place to put your work so it can be accessed and shared with the world. If you garner enough attention, you can boost your career and begin selling works, collaborating with other artists, and dishing out commissions.

Thus, it's essential to include only the very best out of your body of work. Choose 15 to 20 of your latest and greatest works, making sure they highlight your skills as much as your artistic voice. Aim for a diverse portfolio, too—choose works from different mediums, subjects, and themes. 

Background Information

Oftentimes, people are just as interested in the artist as they are in the art. Make sure to put as much effort into your About page as you do with your galleries. Put together a write up detailing your educational background, your inspirations, your mentors, and the themes you find yourself drawn to. Don't forget to mention awards and accolades you received for past work too, along with any residencies and mentorships you've experienced.

Lastly, don’t forget to talk about any relevant interests that might make you more interesting. Maybe you dabble in some tattoo work, maybe you’re a graphic designer by profession, or maybe you’re a talented musician too. All of this makes you a more interesting, more well-rounded artist!

A Creative Vision

All artists have their own unique creative voice or vision. It's what makes you stand out from the crowd. If you haven't pinned it down yet, consider reassessing your art and your goals as an artist. If you do have an idea of what that voice wants to say, make sure that your portfolio is capable of delivering that message.

Through the images, your site design, and your write up, your portfolio website should embody your creative vision and represent who you are as an artist.

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How to Make Your Portfolio Look Professional

Take your site to the next level. Make sure it measures up to the best portfolio websites out there with these three tips:

Curation is Key

You can't just settle for any old artwork. You have to be deliberate when deciding on which fine art pieces to showcase in your portfolio website. As we said, they have to highlight your skills and your voice as an artist.

Aside from picking the best works, you should also put a lot of thought into how you'll be organizing your galleries. Be mindful of picking the most striking images for your homepage and header images—these have to be intriguing enough to draw visitors into your gallery and keep exploring your portfolio. Aim for quality, not quantity, and pick only a handful of your best photos for each gallery.

If you're an artist who hasn't had too many shows under their belt, your portfolio is likely most people's introductions to you and your work. Make sure you win them over on the first impression.

Practice Minimalism

One of the most common mistakes artists make when building a portfolio is forgetting when to edit. Oftentimes, young artists pull out all the stops to impress visitors. But in reality, overstuffing your site with too many photos, descriptions, and design flourishes just gives visitors information overload.

Without stifling your creative vision, aim to create a cohesive, simple, and elegant portfolio that entices visitors to stay and explore. This means choosing a template that complements your art style, keeping site navigation simple and easy to understand, as well as creating captions that are concise, direct, and to the point.

Make Sure Your Site is Optimized and Responsive

As much as you want to avoid uploading low-resolution images that come out muddy and pixelated, you also don't want to bog down your website visitors with huge files that take forever to load. Here's a tip: make use of photo editing software to compress your file sizes without compromising their quality.

Be sure to choose a website builder that comes with mobile responsive templates as well. These are templates that will automatically adjust to different screen sizes so that your portfolio can be viewed on any device, whether it's a laptop, a tablet, or a mobile phone.

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How to Make Your Online Artist Portfolio Stand Out

There are hundreds and thousands of artists out there who share the same talent, drive, and ambition as you. Here's what you can do to make your site stand out from the rest of them:

Optimize Your Site for Search Engines

High-performing websites don't just rank on search engines on their own. To help boost the online presence of your website, you need to keep your website optimized. This means editing image descriptions, text captions, and blogs so that they all contribute to pulling your site up the rankings.

Put Up an Online Shop

Make it easy for fans to get a hold of your work with a store. It helps you cut costs on all fronts, and allows people from outside of your region to purchase your art! 

Integrate Your Social Media

Let site visitors stay up to date on your latest projects, shows, and announcements by providing links to all your social handles. That way, they don't just forget about you once they close your site. You can pop up on their feeds every once in a while and show them what you're up to. Plus, if they really like what you've put out, they can boost your presence for free when they share your work on their own feeds.

Keep a Blog

Aside from SEO purposes, a blog can be really useful for tracking your progress, making announcements, and just letting website visitors in on what you've been up to. You can do all sorts of things with a blog, from publishing daily logs to giving visitors a peek into your creative process. The more personal you get, the more a site visitor can get to know you as an artist.

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Building the Best Online Portfolio for Your Art

With Format, you can build an art website in six simple steps, as well as optimize your site for search engines, run a store, integrate social media, and maintain a blog. Here's how you can create a site with Format's website builder:

  1. Sign up. Join Format and create and maintain a website for free for the first 14 days. No need to get a credit card just yet.

  2. Choose a template. Pick a template that complements your art style and creative voice. Don't worry about changing your mind later on; you're free to change your theme whenever you please.

  3. Upload your images. Pick at least 10 portfolio-worthy works to include in your website. With Format, you can organize your art into different galleries or pages.

  4. Edit your website. Tweak your navigation to make it easier for visitors to get around, add an About section with your background information, and create a dedicated page to your contact information.

  5. Personalize it. Your site can be personalized to match up to your brand and vision. Tweak the colors, fonts, and even add a logo to make it uniquely yours.

  6. Don't forget the special add ons. Make your site stand out with Format's wide array of special add-ons, including an SEO Editor, a blog, a store, and social media integration.

Artist Portfolio FAQs

Still uncertain about putting your work online? Here are six frequently asked questions about artist websites:

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An Online Portfolio is Your Digital Calling Card as an Artist

Whether you're a painter, a makeup artist, a photographer, or a designer, you can boost your presence and showcase your work for the world to see with Format's website builder. Sign up to Format now and enjoy a 14-day free trial—no credit card required. Once your free trial ends, you can continue using Format or just $7 a month. 

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