Why You Need an Online Portfolio

written by Georgia Schumacher 1 July 2014

Online PortfolioThere are many reasons why you, as an art school student or graduate, should have an online portfolio, but finding jobs and landing project work are certainly two major reasons to make sure yours is up and running. It doesn't matter if you're a freelancer trying to fill your schedule with client work or a career creative working your way up the corporate ladder--an online portfolio is one of the most important assets you can have. Here's why:

Freelance Creative Professionals

As a freelance creative professional, you're asking clients to take a chance on you. Until you have a reputation for delivering quality work, your portfolio is the only thing they know about you and your services.

Take photography for example. Today, everyone has a friend or family member with an fancy SLR camera that seems professional. However, not all of these photographers compose professional images or have studied photography at an art school. An online portfolio helps clients figure out who can deliver top-notch work versus those whose pictures are less polished. The same is true of other creative services where the lines between amateurs and true professionals can be hard to see without work samples.

Creative Careers and Job Searching

Sticking with the photographer example, it's easy to throw the title “photographer” on your resume. Anyone with an SLR camera and a single paying client can call themselves a professional photographer. This makes it difficult for hiring managers to differentiate between the top talent and relative beginners. However, one look at your online portfolio will let an employer know exactly what type of work you can deliver.

Even better, having your work show up in search results can yield unsolicited calls from staffing companies looking for your skills and services. Rather than plastering your resume all over town, create an online portfolio and employers can contact you directly.

These same ideas apply to all art school students and creative professionals, including web designers, game designers, photographers, interior designers, animators, graphic designers and all manner of creatives. Starting an online portfolio will help you:

• Land freelance gigs.
• Find side projects.
• Get in front of interviewers.
• Have your projects appear in search results pages.
• Land the job you've always wanted.

People need to see what you've created if they're going to hire you for their next project, and an online portfolio is one of the best ways to display your talent for prospective clients. Get started on yours today!

Interested in attending art school? Learn more about The Art Institutes!

Essential Advice for Pursuing a Creative Career

written by Georgia Schumacher 3 June 2014

Person Starting a New Career

You're a creative person, and you've always wanted to pursue your passion as a career, which is exactly why you came to art school. When you have that special combination of talent, passion, and a drive to succeed, an art school education followed by a creative career is an obvious choice.

You bring a lot to the table as a creative individual, including innovation and a unique way of looking at challenges and tasks you encounter in a day-to-day workplace. With the possibility of automating more menial tasks in many industries, employers look for employees who have strong critical thinking skills, interesting perspectives, and thought processes that can't be replicated by a computer—employees like you. However, to set yourself up in a creative career that is fulfilling and financially stable can take hard work and dedication, so here are some techniques to get you started.

1. Market yourself

"Show your work" is a common adage in the arts, and it applies just as well to creative careers. Learn how to sell yourself. Your business skills are arguably as important as your creative talent, and if you can't market yourself, it doesn't matter how good you are at what you do. Learn how to reach clients through social media profiles, maintaining a blog, and creating an online portfolio so you can easily show it to companies looking to hire. These skills serve you well whether you're after a job at a corporation or agency, or you want to end up creating a thriving freelance business.

2. Bolster your network

The next essential is networking within your industry. Many jobs are all about who you know, and in the creative field, that means who you sees your profile and portfolio. Stay in touch with the people you went to art school with and get to know other alumni. Talk to people about your work, attend trade shows, conferences, and directly visit businesses that hire for the type of work you're looking for. You want to get to know people, companies, and the movers and shakers in your field.

3. Plan your progress over time

It’s always good to dream big, but you’ve got to plan a path to reach your end goal and accept that working your way up will likely take time and hard work. Remember, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities only come around, well, once in a lifetime!

You may not end up in your ideal job immediately after graduating from art school, but as long as you're actively taking steps towards career progression you can build up to the position and salary you desire. Two ways to move forward in your career after art school include taking freelance jobs to expand your network and your professional portfolio, and applying for jobs across a variety of industries that may be interested in your particular creative flavor.


12 Practical Tips for Those Pursuing Creative Careers 
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3 Proven Sales Techniques in Fashion Marketing

written by Georgia Schumacher 30 May 2014

Fashion display

You (or your company) may have found the hottest fashion line in existence, but now you need to get it in the hands of consumers. Start by developing a sales and marketing plan with fashion marketing strategies and tactics that ensure that you get the attention of shoppers and stores worldwide.

1. Think about the whole picture

Keep the store flow in mind. Every retail store owner has a specific store flow that they use to direct customers around their location. The store layout utilizes racks, end caps, window displays, and other arrangements to show off the merchandise in a way that's accessible and desirable. Visualize what the clothing you're marketing will look like in each prime store flow location, so you can describe to the store owner exactly how well your fashion fits into their store vision. You want the store owner to realize that you know about their side of things as well and can help them make more sales.

2. Get social

Create a fashion marketing platform using social media and social networking. When you show that you already have popularity, you create a demand for your fashion designs. Whether your pieces are in front of millions on high end fashion blogs or you have a thousand dedicated fans following your or Instagram account or Tumblr, showing that people want your clothes helps business owners make their purchasing decisions. Sites such as Pinterest are particularly useful for fashion marketing, especially if you catch the ear of some of the most active pinners on the site. The visual-based medium of this site is also helpful for showing off your clothing properly, and most sites allow users to easily share content from Pinterest so it's much easier to get a viral reach throughout the Internet.

3. Put people in your clothes

Set brand ambassadors forth in the world. A brand ambassador wears your clothing and talks up your product to their peer group. You want brand ambassadors who will give your products a good reputation, so make sure that you screen potential ambassadors so you aren't on the receiving end of an embarrassing viral video campaign that shows them behaving badly. Not all press is good press, contrary to popular opinion.

Read More: http://www.specialtyretailcollective.com/traffic-flow-make-it-work-to-maximize-sales/

Improve Your Character Animation with These 5 Tips

written by Georgia Schumacher 29 May 2014

Animated characterAnimators these days have the most advanced applications and workstations at their disposal, and they can even incorporate the best industry hardware and software in their workflow to create stunning masterpieces from the comfort of their own bedrooms. As access to these tools has arguably leveled the playing field in computer animation, skills and talent will now more than ever be the prime differentiator; to this end, competency in decades-old animation basics will be crucial moving forward.

Though the animation landscape has changed drastically since the early days of stop motion, many hand-drawn techniques and methods rooted in the psychology of visual perception still apply, even in today’s environments. The following 5 tips can help in honing your character animation skills, regardless of the sophisticated tools in your arsenal.

1. Master Disney’s 12 Principles of Animation

Over three decades old, this classic by Disney animators Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas is still to this day held in high regard as the animator’s bible. While it’s true that the number of self-taught computer animators keeps growing each year, with the wide availability of training materials, literature, and software on the internet, those trained in academic settings know why Disney’s 12 Principles of Animation is still a standard textbook for introductory animation courses across the world. The principles detailed in this book are still relevant for today’s computer animation techniques, and mastering its techniques will assuredly translate to an improvement in one’s skill set.

2. Learn proper motion blurring techniques

Computer animation, no matter how fantastical, imitates real objects and settings. Specifically, film cameras capture life. Audiences are accustomed to the nuances and artifacts of live action film, including the way cameras render the motion of objects and people. Motion blur is a subtle but powerful perceptual indicator that not only tells the viewer that the object is moving, but also the speed and direction it is moving. To properly convey and enforce the illusion of movement, incorporate motion blurring techniques to make your computer animations come to life.

3. Animate standing characters using unique postures

If you observe a throng of standing people in the subway, park, or other gathering place, you will notice that people's postures constitute a unique element of their persona. A teenage girl's hips may shift to one side as she's explaining a story, while someone else may slouch lazily with his arms folded, one hand holding a cigar. Whatever the case may be, people seldom stand perfectly upright. For this reason, animated characters that are standing should always do so in some distinctive manner and in a way that is appropriate for their other bodily actions, mood, or persona.

4. Use shadows to ground your characters

Shadows are crucial elements to reality -- unless you're creating a vampire, the viewer expects to see your character cast a shadow. They give a sense of depth by anchoring characters to the ground and thus are important elements to character placement and orientation. Shadows also function as important psychological triggers to an animated sequence (e.g. long shadows indicate a later time of day, which can trigger melancholy, apprehension, or fear.)

5. Adjust sharpness and colors to indicate depth

By mimicking the shallow depth of field of a film camera, one can instantly give their animations the illusion of depth. By blurring the background objects and setting, you reinforce the believability of your character to the eye. Colors can also be used to indicate depth -- by using strong, saturated colors in the foreground subjects and muted, unsaturated colors in the background, sequences and character within seem more realistic to the eye.

Interested in pursuing a career in computer animation? Learn how we can help you get started!

You’re Invited: Learn about Interior Design Careers & More!

written by Georgia Schumacher 18 May 2014


As an art school offering fully online programs, we want to make sure you, our students, always feel connected to what's going at our own art school and in the creative world as a whole. As part of our efforts, we regularly host online events where you can explore your areas of interest and interact with your peers, faculty members and industry professionals.

The events listed below are a part of the American Society of Interior Design (ASID) Career Week. You can register for these events and find even more webinars on the Events calendar in the Campus Common!

Rachelle Schoessler Lynn, ASID National President
Monday, May 19, 2014
9:15-10:15pm ET

Career Opportunities in the Contract Furniture Industry
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
9:15-10:15pm ET

Insight and Tips from Someone Who Recently Passed the NCIDQ Exam
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
9:15-10:15pm ET

Benefits of the NKBA (National Kitchen & Bath Association)
Thursday, May 22, 2014
9:15-10:15pm ET

Remember, to register or view our full calendar, current students can visit the Events page in the Campus Common (located in the Campus Life dropdown menu in the top navigation).

Interested in attending an art school and taking classes online or at a campus near you? Explore our programs and locations today.