Visual Arts Centre

Prepare a great art portfolio for DSA and apply to the art school of your dreams

Visual Arts Centre has trained and supported many students leading to their successful admission into art and design schools with the Portfolio Preparation Course (DSA) and Portfolio Preparation Course (Diploma & Higher Education). During the one year of intensive Art Portfolio Preparation Course, students undergo professional art training and develop professional art skills and techniques useful for their educational and professional endeavours. At the same time, students complete a full art portfolio as required for Direct School Admission – DSA-MOE / DSA-SOTA, which demonstrates the student’s artistic abilities and creativity. 

An art portfolio consists of a series of artworks done by a student over a period of time and is usually presented during the art school admission process. Many art schools have clear instructions and requirements for the art portfolio, such as a set number of artworks and the style or subject of the works presented. 

Visual Arts Centre has years of experience in helping students gain admission into art schools through DSA, and to art schools and universities locally and overseas. The Portfolio Preparation for DSA one year course prepares and coaches students in P5 to help them to get into their dream schools through the DSA-MOE or DSA-SOTA admission exercise. Those seeking a Diploma or Bachelor /Masters Degree in Fine Arts may enrol for the Portfolio Preparation for Diploma and Higher Education. 

Many students have been successfully admitted to SOTA, NAFA, LASALLE and overseas universities through our Portfolio Preparation course and have received a strong art foundation and training which benefit them for life.  

Find out more and embark on your art portfolio preparation journey today!

What are the requirements to prepare for DSA portfolio?

Creating a successful art portfolio for a Designated School Official (DSA) application involves careful planning and organization. Here are some general steps to help you prepare your DSA art portfolio:

Our student working on her foundational drawing and sketching skills

1. Understand the requirements (to demonstrates and displays your Skills and Competency)

An Art Portfolio allows you to develop your creative vision and complete your own art project! 

An art portfolio is required for admission into art schools. Whilst this sounds demanding, an art portfolio is usually prepared over a period of one to two years, and students with a keen interest in art would have completed many works during their art learning journey.

Make sure you understand the specific requirements of the DSA program you are applying to. Different programs may have different guidelines regarding the format, content, and number of pieces required in the portfolio.

Commonly, a comprehensive art portfolio should include artworks of a range of art mediums and subject matter. Artworks demonstrating the students’ techniques in realism drawing and sketching, otherwise known as tonal drawing or 3D observational drawing is requested for the Talent Academy admission for DSA-SOTA. In addition, creative works, which may consist of works of painting, video, digital art mediums are also required for the portfolio submission. 

2. Choose your best works

Our student completing their artworks for the portfolio preparation

Choose a selection of your best and most representative artwork. Include a variety of pieces that showcase your skills, creativity, and versatility. Consider including different types of media, styles, and subjects to demonstrate your range as an artist.

Before working on a sketch, one has to begin by mapping out what they want to draw. This process of composing your work through numerous thumbnail sketches can effectively present to you the general outlook of your artwork – how the elements are arranged and how they interact with one another. As such, drawing and sketching helps you visualise the images in your head better, enabling you to plan and map out concepts more effectively.

3. Organise and Present Professionally

Our students focusing and finishing up their works! 

The more you practice drawing, the better you can get at observing what you see and presenting them as visuals. Having multiple artworks is awesome but do organise your portfolio in a clear and cohesive manner. Consider the flow and arrangement of your works to create a visually appealing presentation. Use high-quality images of your artwork and consider including descriptions or explanations for each piece if needed.

4. Include a Variety of Artworks

Having the ability to do multi-media works sets you aside from the rest of the students who are also participating in DSA. It is advisable not to stick to one medium as schools if the schools requirement (Point 1 above) is seeking for variety.

We highly recommend you to Include a mix of different types of artwork such as drawing/sketches, paintings (from watercolour painting/acrylic painting/oil painting, sculptures, digital art, illustrations, etc.  This will demonstrate your proficiency in various mediums and techniques. 

5. Showcase Your Process in building your DSA portfolio

If applicable, include sketches, studies, and work-in-progress images to show your creative process and development as an artist. This can provide insight into your thought process and artistic journey. 

Nothing speaks volume more than hard work and dedication to your craft, so please include your process of your DSA portfolio! Include images of yourselves as well as your drafts to showcase how it led you to the final works of your DSA portfolio.

6. Highlight Your Strengths in your DSA portfolio

Consider the strengths you want to emphasise in your DSA portfolio, whether it’s technical skill, creativity, storytelling, concept development, or any other aspect of your art. Tailor your selection of work to showcase these strengths as they will surely come in handy in order for you to prep and building your perfect DSA portfolio.

7. Seek feedback 

Before finalising your portfolio, consider seeking feedback from peers teachers, mentors, or other artists around you! Their feedback can provide valuable insights and suggestions to help you improve your portfolio. Do not take criticism to heart as these people want you to be the best version of yourself!

Do you require professional feedback from art teachers for your DSA portfolio? Visual Arts Centre provides art courses with art instructors readily available to assist and provide feedback for your works for you to improve and hone your art skills for your portfolio preparations! Contact us [email protected] or whatsapp/call us at 62550711 today!

Sign up for our art courses! We have a 24 session art immersion course that is suited for learners of all levels. You will get to try out drawing and sketching, oil painting, acrylic painting or watercolor painting during your course. Over a comfortable validity period of 10 months, look forward to kick start your artistic journey with our personalised art courses.

Through drawing and sketching, one can fully immerse themselves in the art and hence, temporarily forgoing the stress. This temporal relaxation is likened to a stroll in the park or a quiet meditation session.

Click here to find out more about our 24 sessions art immersion course!

8. Practice Self-Critique

Portfolio Preparation Sculpture

Despite seeking feedback already, do also take time to practice self critique evaluating your own work. Consider what aspects you are proud of and what areas you can improve upon. Strive for a balance between confidence in your abilities and a willingness to grow and learn. This will surely help you to grow as a young artist as well! 

Remember that the quality of your portfolio is crucial in making a strong impression on the DSA review board.

9. Make a Digital Portfolio

In addition to a physical portfolio, consider creating a digital DSA portfolio that you can easily share online or via email. This will allow you to reach a wider audience and make it more convenient for reviewers to access your work. At times, having big works like sculptures do require caution and the last thing you want is to have accidents happening to big works that took time!

We recommend digital DSA portfolio by taking pictures, especially close-up images of some works where you can highlight the best parts of the work!  

10. Don’t forget to enjoy the process!

In the process of your DSA portfolio, do not forget to enjoy the process of your hard work! Aim not to burn yourself out when your passion form the arts is still burning! Good luck

 For more information, feel free to contact us at 6255 0711 / 6733 2155, or email us at [email protected].

Foundation In Digital Art

Embark on a captivating journey into the vibrant world of digital art! Our Foundation in Digital Art workshop invites budding creatives aged nine and above to unleash their imagination and hone their artistic skills in a dynamic, supportive environment. From mastering basic digital tools to crafting mesmerizing digital masterpieces, children will explore a spectrum of techniques guided by seasoned mentors. Through hands-on activities and interactive sessions, participants will discover the endless possibilities of digital expression while fostering creativity and critical thinking. Join us for an exhilarating adventure where young artists transform ideas into stunning visual realities, igniting a passion for digital art

Colour & Texture Exploration With Acrylic Painting & Collage

Prepare to unleash your inner artist in a kaleidoscope of color and creativity with ‘Colour Blast: Acrylic Painting & Collage Techniques’! Dive into a whirlwind adventure where vibrant hues and mesmerizing textures collide in a symphony of imagination. From mastering the art of seamless color blending to discovering the magic of mixed media collage, this journey is a playground for your artistic soul. With each brushstroke, explore new techniques that breathe life into your canvas, transforming it into a vibrant tapestry of expression. Join us and let your creativity run wild as you embark on this colorful escapade!”

World of Manga [Foundation & Styling]

A manga art workshop for children and teenagers sounds like a fantastic idea! Here’s how you might structure it:
Introduction to Manga: Begin by introducing what manga is, its history, and its influence on popular culture worldwide. Show examples of different manga styles and genres to give participants an overview.
Basic Drawing Techniques: Start with the fundamentals of drawing, such as line work, shapes, and proportions. Provide step-by-step instructions on how to draw basic manga characters, focusing on simple shapes that can be built upon.
Character Design: Move on to character design concepts, including creating unique characters, designing their personalities, and developing backstories. Encourage participants to get creative and think outside the box.
Expression and Emotion: Teach how to convey emotions and expressions through facial expressions, body language, and positioning of characters. This can be a fun and interactive exercise where participants practice drawing various emotions.
Storytelling and Paneling: Explore the basics of storytelling in manga, including paneling techniques, pacing, and layout. Show examples of different panel structures and discuss how they affect the flow of the story.
Inking and Coloring: Introduce participants to inking techniques using pens or markers. You can also cover digital inking for those interested. Then, demonstrate basic coloring techniques using markers, colored pencils, or digital software.
Feedback and Collaboration: Provide opportunities for participants to share their work and receive feedback from their peers and instructors. Encourage collaboration by having them work together on short manga projects or collaborative drawings.
Final Showcase: End the workshop with a showcase of participants’ work. This could be in the form of an exhibition, digital gallery, or printed booklet. Celebrate everyone’s creativity and progress throughout the workshop.
Remember to create a supportive and encouraging environment where participants feel free to express themselves and explore their creativity. And don’t forget to have fun! Manga is all about imagination and passion, so let that spirit shine through in your workshop.

Academy Drawing Traditions

The academy drawing and sketching tradition, rooted in centuries of artistic practice, emphasizes disciplined study of form, proportion, and technique. Originating from Renaissance workshops and formalized by institutions like the Royal Academy, it prioritizes meticulous observation and mastery of fundamental skills. Students progress from basic exercises to complex compositions, learning to depict still life and common objects with precision and expression. This tradition values both classical principles and innovation, encouraging artists to push boundaries while maintaining a deep respect for tradition. Through rigorous training and critique, artists within this tradition cultivate a strong foundation for creative exploration and artistic excellence.

Chinese Ink Painting and Calligraphy

This course on Chinese ink painting and calligraphy introduces young learners to the rich traditions of Chinese art. Through hands-on activities, students explore the basics of brush techniques, ink control, and the delicate art of Chinese script. They learn to appreciate the cultural significance of calligraphy and painting, developing skills in creating elegant strokes and expressive brushwork. The course fosters creativity, patience, and fine motor skills, while also providing insights into Chinese history and aesthetics. By the end, children gain confidence in their artistic abilities and a deeper understanding of Chinese cultural heritage.

Funk with Graffiti

Funk With Graffiti Workshop for children is an engaging and creative program aimed at introducing young artists to the vibrant world of graffiti and funk-inspired street style art. Participants learn the basics of graffiti history, techniques, and safety. Guided by professional graffiti artists, children explore the art of designing their unique tags, emphasizing creativity, expression, and individuality. The workshop includes hands-on activities, from sketching concepts to creating final designs with spray paint on provided surfaces. By the end of the session, children gain confidence in their artistic abilities and an appreciation for graffiti and funk as legitimate forms of street art. Each child completes two original artworks, which they proudly take home, showcasing their newfound skills and personal style.

Batik Tales

In the Batik Introduction Handkerchief Painting workshop, participants will learn the traditional art of batik, a wax-resist dyeing technique originating from Indonesia. The workshop begins with a brief history and overview of batik, highlighting its cultural significance and various techniques. Participants will then observe a demonstration of applying wax with tjanting tools and dyeing the fabric. Following the demonstration, each participant will design and create their own batik handkerchief, applying wax to create patterns and then dyeing their fabric. The workshop concludes with a group discussion, allowing participants to share their creations and reflect on their learning experience.