This past week, I spent most of my time cleaning and organizing my workspace (aka, bedroom and school schedule) instead of actually drawing. I did manage to multitask and get some portfolio-related things done at the same time, though.
I started watching more videos and listen to podcasts about how to compose a professional concept art portfolio (listed at the end of the post). I picked up on some specific things, but be warned: this probably reads like a random list of notes because I mostly just jotted things down as the podcasts were going.
For starters, limit your portfolio to maybe 12 pieces at most, but don’t put in anything less than your best. It’s better to have one or two really good pieces than anything that is a lesser quality work. Another is to only include work you want to be doing. If you like drawing characters, draw characters; if you like modelling vehicles, model vehicles. Putting in things you don’t like will bring down the quality and confuse the person viewing your work. Don’t include sketches or process works. If they want to see it, they will ask. Keep any descriptions brief. Have consistency between pieces. Update your portfolio often and get rid of old work (it’s not going to be your best and it brings the whole portfolio down). Make sure you only show work that you can be proud of because otherwise it’s not worth showing. Also, your blog and your portfolio are SEPARATE things. Your portfolio is for getting a job. Your blog is for the casual viewer and to get feedback or see progress on your work. Plus, the scrolling is a turn-off to employers.
In regards to the blogging and social media aspect of drawing attention to your work… Respect your viewers by showing your genuine self and not simply making work for the purpose of click-bait. Be accessible to your viewers and potential employers on a personable level. There are great artists out there who aren’t and it can cause them to lose out on a lot of opportunities. Be consistent – always put stuff out there because if you aren’t, people will stop thinking about you. One suggestion is to connect with your contacts and maybe even your previous employers (for freelancing) every few months or so to remind them of your work and that you’re still there making art. People will go to who they remember for filling positions, so be memorable and don’t let them forget you. Avoid hero-worship; you’ll never get any better if you waste time letting yourself be paralyzed by how great someone else’s work is. Let it be an inspiration to keep going and get to that level, not a discouragement from trying. Also, it’s fine to look up to artists, but realize that no one is faultless and they have to be working constantly to keep up their skills. And it’s quite limiting to only draw inspiration from people you admire. Go out into the real world and draw inspiration from THE SOURCE. Reference comes from somewhere, right? Focus on the fundamentals. Perspective is often ignored (it applies to characters and the proportions of everything), make sure your values work, if your image doesn’t make sense in thumbnail form or from a distance it’s not going to work. Going through the fundamentals kind of gives you a checklist and system to run through when you get stuck so that you can make a piece work. One good practice is line art caricature work; it’s drawing likenesses really quickly, like a gesture drawing.
Keeping these things in mind, I pruned the crap out of my Behance portfolio (which is listed on my business cards) and have rethought how to go about constructing my work for my senior portfolio class.
Also, here’s the spider silhouettes, side by side! (My blog site wouldn’t upload the image for some reason, so this was posted to my Facebook art page first.)
Here are my videos and references for the week:
- Level Up – Portfolio Reviews
- Why You Concept Art Portfolio Is Being Ignored (Part 3) hosted by Chris Oatley (Oh my goodness, this one is AMAZING; go listen!)