Recently we had a talk with Fig Taylor who wrote the book “How to Create a Portfolio & Get Hired: A Guide for Graphic Designers and Illustrators.”
She gave a lot of good advice about how to be an illustrator and helped me realize thing I would not have even thought about when building my portfolio.
She spoke about how we need a style that shows our work the best of our abilities and that we need a verity in subject matter and ideas to make an impression. She also stated that when looking for work meeting with different clients is a necessity, and you will only have around ten to fifteen minutes to make an impression with your work.
Your portfolio needs to tell everything about yourself, the client needs to know what you can and cannot do and to think carefully about what you want to show and take out anything you do not like, even if it is published work, if your not happy with it don’t include it. Though if you are happy with any of your published work make sure to put it near the front.
She also spoke about how you should always keep you portfolio fresh and take out any old work and replace it with the new.
She stated that a standard size for a portfolio is A3 and A4, since it needs to be portable and not to large were the client cannot even place it on their desk. If you do have different styles then make sure to keep them in separate portfolios.
She also gave us advice on how to make a digital portfolio, it can be done any way you like, a slideshow, website, flickr, etc, as long as it is simple and easy to look though. Make sure you are completely self sufficient, bring your own laptop, and make sure you bring a dongle if you plan on showing your work from the internet, do not rely on the client to provide this for you.
Finally she advised us to look at different publishers and not only look for the obvious commissioners.
At university we have had a visit from illustrator Ben Tallon, who spoke about his work from when he was a student at Uclan, up until the present day.
He spoke about when he first started studying illustration he found it hard to find a style of his own, which is something I worry about with all of my own work. He advised us to be inspired by other peoples styles but not to copy them, as it will not be your own and will never be as good as the person who produces the artwork. He said when he graduated he rented out a studio with other graduates, which greatly helped him develop his work and find his style.
After the talk he gave the class an editorial brief he had worked on in the past and asked us to draw a rough to show to the class within 3 hours. I instantly went into panic mode and my thought were all over the place since I like to take my time and gather my thoughts before drawing, but then he gave me some advice about my ideas and told me to think about the brief from different perspectives and keep referring back to the text if I am worried about going off track.
From his talk I have gained a little more confidence in myself, and I shouldn’t worry so much about my work and just try to get on with it.