As an artist, your portfolio is one of your most essential marketing tools. Everything in an artist’s presentation, including your portfolio, should show off your work. For your consideration, here is my “blueprint” for a very professional, inexpensive, and extremely flexible book. I hope you find these suggestions useful.


The ITOYA I-Series Art Profolio 12 page (24 view) is my first choice. ($4.50 plus shipping. Dick Blick Art Supplies) Do not make the mistake of getting a 24 page (48 view) portfolio. That’s just a few too many images for most folks to take in at one time.

The Spine and Cover Page should simply state the Artist’s Name and “PORTFOLIO”. Additional branding (if any) should be clean, minimal and consistent. Use your best design sense, and don’t be satisfied until the type, leading, kerning – everything is perfect.

Images of your art: This book is about your artwork, after all. Images should be about 4 x 6 in – or another way to think about it is they should take up about 24 sq. in. The center point of the image should be about 4-1/2 in. down from the top of the page. Include the following information: Title, Artist, Media, Size (h x w). Here’s an example:

Price List: I’ve found that the best way to deal with prices is to simply leave them off the individual image pages. Print a price list with thumbnail images on a separate sheet that will be inserted after the images, and before your biographical information. That way, if for some reason, you would like to show your portfolio without the prices, or if you change your prices (increase hopefully), you can do so easily, without re-printing 19 images.

Design and Printing: I use Adobe Illustrator to layout the portfolio pages. Placed images are about 200 pixels per inch. Type is set using Myrad Pro, 12 point. Print on high quality photo paper, using a high quality photo setting.

In summary:

  • Book: ITOYA I-Series Art Profolio, – 12 page (24 view) 8-1/2 x 11 in.
  • Spine – Artist’s Name, “PORTFOLIO”
  • Cover Page – Artist’s Name, “PORTFOLIO”
  • 19 images – one image per page, aprox 4 x 6 in. (Strongest two images on first two pages.)
  • Below the image print the Title (bolded), Artist (that’s you), Media, Size. (no prices)
  • Price list – One page, two columns, with Thumbnails – include same info on pages (except Artist) and price.
  • Biography and Artist’s Statement – on one double page spread.
  • Printer: Epson Workforce 610 – (High Quality Photo settings)
  • Paper: HP Laser Photo Paper 220g (Heavy “Brochure” paper – can be printed both sides)

There are many portfolio formats that “work”, but I’ve found that this “recipe” seems to smooth out a lot of kinks and produces an excellent and economical book that shows off my art in a way that I am proud of.

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This article has 14 comments

    • BMcElhaney Reply


      Thank you for your kind and encouraging words. By the way, I would be delighted if you would like to share this article on your site.

  1. Pingback: Gallery Submissions: How to Prepare and What to Send « The Practical Art World

    • BMcElhaney Reply

      Marsha – Thanks for your note. I am so glad that you are enjoying my blog and website!

      It’s good to be in touch. Wishing you much success!


      By the way, you are welcome to link to this article, or use all or part in your blog.

  2. Pingback: Art Gallery Prospecting Package | Art Working

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    • BMcElhaney Reply

      Flora – Thanks for your note!

      Hardbound and softbound books like Blurb or Apple are fantastic! They bring credibility and make a very professional presentation. However, they don’t offer the necessary flexibility. For example, if you have a new piece of art to add to your presentation, with a slip-page portfolio you can easily make a new page and swap it out – which is of course just not possible with a printed book.

  4. Ty Hallock Reply

    My favorite types of blog posts are things that people have found work really well and the sharing of the details. Thanks Brennen and I did share on FB.


  5. Pingback: Art Gallery Prospecting Package - Brennen McElhaneyBrennen McElhaney

  6. Dianna Reply

    You mentioned you used Adobe Illustrator to layout the portfolio pages.

    Which your book looks amazing.

    I have searched through all of the templates and can not seem to find the template you used for the price list – with thumbnail photos..

    Can you direct me to which one you used?

    Any help you can share would be greatly appreciated.

  7. Pingback: Art Gallery Submissions: How to Prepare and What to Send - The Practical Art World

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