• Bess Yontz

Artfully Fun Quarantine: Make An Online Portfolio For Your Kiddo's Art!

Do you have a kiddo, (or two or three) at home who loves making artwork? Or maybe due to our recent situation found that they love making art? Consider making a kid-friendly online art portfolio for them! Here are several benefits to creating an online portfolio as well as some resources as to how and where to do that.


1) It encourages an early, real world and professional outlook on art.

Even for long-time and professional artists, seeing their artwork in an online portfolio where it is out in the world to share lends a lot of pride to any creative's self-esteem. This may help your kids start to see the tangibility and real world influence their art can have.


2) It helps them develop a critical eye and personal style.

Having your kiddo post their artwork in a portfolio format helps them to see the big picture of their work all collected together. It can even help them to start to see their

own style and possibly help them begin to find what they like and don't like in their own work. This helps them to develop a critical eye, (in a positive way) for and about artwork.


3) It gives your child a sense of agency about their artwork and work in general.

If after you set up the account for them, you allow them the independence to pick the artwork pieces they'd prefer; take pictures of their work; and post them, then you've just given your child another opportunity to see their work and passion as their own. They can then take that hard work into their own hands. This is a lesson taught by art that extends to every stretch of life . When we teach our kids to see hard work that has a purpose or drive behind it as no longer negative, we create truly influential young people.


4) It provides a chance for your child to share their artwork with friends, family, and beyond.

Sharing artwork can be intimidating no matter your age. Giving your child the opportunity to share their work and let it be seen by others helps with developing a more real world and tangible sense of work and even identity.


However, keep in mind, this benefit of sharing has its dark side as well. Unfortunately, online bullying and trolling is a thing. Many people, adult and child alike, hide behind the protection of their screen to say some pretty awful things. There are certain portfolio sites that can help you minimize any negative feedback for your child. Some allow you to turn off comments or if you use a site specifically for your child's age group the chances of unnecessary comments will certainly be lessened. Or you can choose who you share the portfolio link with.


Have a discussion with your child before starting the portfolio. While we would love a Utopian world where everything always goes well and there are no negatives, life is a bit messier. Remind them the goals of sharing their artwork as listed above and any others you think of. It's helpful, (again at any age for an artist) to keep the focus on the big picture of why you [they] are doing something.

You may even choose to warn them ahead of time of some of the negatives that might happen. 1). Negative Nancy's and cyber bullies. 2). Not as much attention as they want to their artwork. Then when the stormy times of reality come, your child can weather the storm and persevere.

This can be a great lesson for our kids. We see many today who miss the chance to grow through something. As soon as that storm comes blowing, they don't have the tools or big picture goal to say "well, the only way to face this is to walk through it, learn from it, stay focused on the goal, and keep going!" Again, this is another lesson art teaches very naturally and can be applied to any arena of life.


5) It's a great opportunity for you to show support for your child and connect.

Just the act of working with your child for a half hour or hour to set up the portfolio is a great way to say, "hey, I support you in what you do and am willing to carve some time out of my day to do that". It shows your child that everything they do has meaning and purpose. It can even be a continued engagement if you choose. 1). Your child may want help taking and posting images. 2). It can be something you remind your child to do after they create something and shows that you think what they created is worth sharing. 3). You can continue to show support by sharing the link with friends and family members who can offer verbal affirmation to your child. 4). It could even be a scheduled event where each day or once a week you challenge your child to create something they can add to their portfolio.


And of course, art is communication. So by simply taking the time to view what your child is creating and engaging with them on that journey helps to build your relationship between you and your child.


Before we get into sites to use for portfolio's, you may be wondering, "what does an art portfolio even look like or have?"

So, here are some basics!


1. An art portfolio is a collection of work. Usually, an artist doesn't post all of their work there. They pick pieces they would like to display.


2. The artwork is displayed in a variety of ways. While there are some foundation standards to portfolios, as all artists know, the rules were made to be broken! So there is really a lot of flexibility here.


- Some artists just have a collection of 10 - 20 artworks of what they consider to be their best work. This is on a simple page and then they change out artwork whenever they create a piece that they think is an improvement on the current work.


- Others share far more than 20 pieces of artwork. They may have 50 - 100 but they break them down by category. So they have different pages with 10 - 20 pieces. For example, one page may have editorial artwork, another has still- life's, and another has fantasy art pieces. These categories can be whatever the artist finds fits their work best.


- Some artists do a bit of both. They have 10 - 20 artworks in a single page portfolio, but then feature a blog or social media site where they post new drawings or paintings, daily sketches, etc.


Here are some examples of artist portfolios:

Image source: https://creativehowl.com/illustration-portfolios/



Lydia Hill Illustration

https://www.lydiakahill.com/


Mingjue Helen Chen

https://mingjuechen.carbonmade.com/


Jennifer Xiao

https://www.jenniferxiao.com/


John Hendrix

https://www.johnhendrix.com/


A lot of artists now focus on blogs, Facebook Pages, and Instagram as portfolios. Many artists from Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, (you name it!) can be found on various sources like these. So here are some examples of those as well.


Brittney Lee

https://britsketch.blogspot.com/


Roland Tamayo

https://rolandtamayo.blogspot.com/


Laura Bifano

https://www.facebook.com/bifanoland/


Where to Start

At this time, there's really not too many (if any) portfolio sites that are just for kids and parents to upload artwork...cough...Crayola...cough...other big art-based companies...cough...get on this...


However, there are still several options out there and it just takes a bit of creativity.


Portfolio Sites Just for kids:


Edublogs - This portfolio site is run by Wordpress. So the database and interface are basically the same. The nice thing is that it is free to run a basic blog here that still has some nice customization's you can do. In the blog posts is where you could have your kiddo post every day sketches and drawings. Then you could create a page and name it 'portfolio' and input the 10-20 of your child's favorite drawings.

https://edublogs.org/


Artsonia is another great posting site, however, parents and kids cannot start up their own portfolio accounts. It would have to be done by the art teacher at your school. https://www.artsonia.com/


General Sites

And here are some that are general art portfolio sites or alternative sites such as Facebook pages, Instagram, wordpress, etc. Just keep in mind, on some of these sites are mainly filled with professional working artists. Not all imagery they may see on their feeds may be appropriate. You may want to check out the settings. Some you can set to not display particular content.


General Art Portfolio Sites and Alternative Sites


Portfolio only:


Behance - This one is free to set up...at least, as far as I know it still is. (Let me know in the comments if you find it isn't and I will update this).

https://www.behance.net/

Image source: https://www.digitalartsonline.co.uk/features/creative-business/16-best-portfolio-websites-for-designers-artists/



Portfoliobox - I personally have never used this platform before, but it does say it has a basic package that is free.

https://www.portfoliobox.net/


Carbonmade - I was hesitant to put them on here. They used to have a free basic set up for portfolios. You were limited on number of pieces and special functions, but it still worked well. It's no longer free. But, if you're willing to sign up for a monthly fee for your kiddo, this is a nice, straightforward portfolio site.

https://carbonmade.com/


Journoportfolio - While all the lingo and titling specifies this for writing, this portfolio site is used for more than just that. Many visual artists also have been using this site to showcase their work. There is a free, basic package.

https://www.journoportfolio.com/



Alternative Sites:


Blogspot or Blogger - You may have noticed above that quite a few of the artists I listed use this for their portfolios. I have not used this platform personally, but believe that basic startup is free and allows for simple formatting that is straightforward for you and your child.

https://www.blogger.com/about/?r=1-null_user


Facebook Pages - Here is a link to some basics for setting up a Facebook page. This is from the perspective of someone wanting to set up a business page, but setting up an artist page follows the same basic steps. Just select community or public figure instead.

https://blog.hootsuite.com/steps-to-create-a-facebook-business-page/


Instagram - Set up an account for your child and let them start posting their images!

https://www.instagram.com/


Create your own website! If you're really tech savvy and feel up to making this a whole project and a half, you could just go ahead and create an actual website for your kids artwork. This option might cost a bit, but is great for security. You can set the site to password only and just give out the site url and password to family and friends. You can also have a variety of options in running both a web page and block through these platforms too.


Wix - I love using Wix because it is focused on the visual building and I don't have to mess around with coding. Wix also has incorporated blog features.

https://www.wix.com/


Weebly - This has a basic package that is free and offers some pretty neat templates to start a site/portfolio.

https://www.weebly.com/uk/websites?c=mkt_w_chnl:aff_geo:all_prtnr:sas_subprtnr:314743_camp:brand_adtype:txtlnk_ag:weebly_lptype:hp_var:358504&sscid=31k4_du7b6


Wordpress - There's some coding involved here at times depending on how in-depth you want to go. My suggestion, just create a free blog. It works similarly to Edublogs since that is also by Wordpress. Click create your site, create your account info, and select a template to create a blog.

https://wordpress.com/

Whew! That was a lot! But, as we all have a bit more time on our hands, hopefully you have some time to peruse through and this can be of some help to you. It would be a great chance to show off some of your child's work and connect with their creative side!


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© Bess A. Yontz Illustration 2020