UK Blog Awards 2015 – submission from Julie Read,  (nominated for Best Individual/Freelance Education Blog ).

Portfolio Oomph is an online hub supporting students through the preparation of a creative portfolio and their application for art college.

The hub, which includes a blog, was established following years of interviewing candidates for art college and realising that many students just weren’t receiving the advice and guidance that was needed for a successful application. Being made redundant really kick started my crusade to providing this support to as many students as possible. Working online, selling bite sized chunks of my experience and expertise was the way I felt I could reach out to students whilst continuing to make a living.

UK Blog Award’s theme of #BeBold has resonated with me on a couple of levels. Being bold enough to realise and identify that I had many years of experience and expertise to establish this hub took some time. As anyone knows the process of redundancy can be confidence crushing so picking yourself up and focusing on the next steps certainly took guts.

However, the idea of being bold in the context of an art college application is truly essential. Art colleges are looking for a portfolio that says something about you, something individual and something they haven’t seen before. This requires a degree of risk taking and being very bold. Our post on  and similar themes are explored on our blog with evidence that goes to support these notions. From experience in life we know very well what works and what perhaps doesn’t work so well in all contexts and we often stick to these tried and tested ways. However, if we always do only what you know is going to produce good results and you don’t explore and experiment then you are missing out on so many possibilities in life in general. In an art context you are cutting out many avenues that might take you to the very best work you have ever produced. You are denying yourself of the experience and joy of creation.

We have found our blog to be a great way of addressing sticky points that crop up in a art education. Art as we all know can be very subjective and therein lies the difficulty in knowing exactly how to produce a successful art portfolio. However, with our eBooks, eCourses and our blog posts a pretty comprehensive plan can be implemented to take control of the application process and be successful.

Social media also plays a large part in the business. Young people are so switched on to these channels of communication and getting our word out in this way has been essential to our exposure. A large part of our website visitors come from Pinterest where we use the boards to gather great examples of artists work that we discuss in our eBooks and eCourses. Connection with teachers on this platform is also good.

What about the pros and cons of social media, blogging etc.? Information in the world has never been so accessible and it’s great to be able to see a huge range of artwork out there. It’s inspiring but can also be daunting. Information overload can happen and the feeling that you can’t compete with what’s out there is common.

There is also the frustrating issue that many students visit a gallery website, look at the work and believe that they’ve ‘seen it’. No, they’ve not. There is nothing better than seeing the work in the flesh and I urge you all to get out to the galleries and experience art first hand. Not a digital representation on your iphone!

So take the bull by the horns, challenge yourself today!

This blog post was written by Julie Read, founder of .

Portfolio Oomph – 


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