The conference starts tomorrow! (well it starts today but I have to work so… can’t go.) I’m of course doing everything last minute (like usual) and I finally got my portfolio together.
Every time I get a professional portfolio critique I go through a bit of anxiety (no, a lot of anxiety) and become extremely indecisive of what to actually show. So I go through the list:
- What subject matter do I want representing my art? I draw fiction kids stories so a lot of my work has a bit of a whimsical atmosphere with kids in it. Sometimes animals and sometimes robots too…
- What medium do I want to represent? I have two styles. One is digital, one watercolor. I draw everything by hand so a lot of the drawing stays similar (woo hoo!) I also have some black and white pieces that I love making.
- Can all these images together tell a story? I usually split images by paint, and I kind of did that this time too. The difference is the story I was trying to set up. The viewer starts with a lonely robot saying “hello.” Gradually more characters are added with each piece, as if more are joining the portfolio party. I end with the robot (Bucket) being fixed on by her creator as a way to say good night folks!
- Which pieces are the strongest? This will always be up for debate, but I chose my most recent robot story as my strongest pieces so I begin and end with them.
- Is the drawing consistent? This time I think yes.
There is also a list of DON’T DOS that my first portfolio, shown below, unfortunately did:
- DON’T MAKE YOUR PORTFOLIO INTO A LITERAL STORY WITH ONLY ONE CHARACTER AND A WEIRD CHANGING BEAST. This was my first mistake! A portfolio needs some diversity in characters and story telling.
- DON’T HAVE LIKE TEN DIFFERENT MATERIALS. This portfolio would have made any publisher/agent/what have you confused as to what exactly they’re getting from you. BIG mistake.
- DON’T TURN YOUR PORTFOLIO CASE TO THE SIDE. I’m such an idiot. I didn’t have a landscape portfolio book so instead I just turned a vertical book horizontal.
- DON’T HAVE TONS OF EXTRA PAGES IN THE BACK OF YOUR PORTFOLIO!!! I had one of those that you couldn’t take out the pages. I was so poorly prepared…
- DON’T ONLY BRING 9 IMAGES!!! Okay you need between 10 and 15 images, 9 is way too low haha.
- DON’T TEAR UP OR CRY. I was almost bawling by the end of that critique, but I got much stronger after that initial blow. E.B. Lewis probably felt sorry for me. In the end I gathered myself, took a picture with him, and got a signed book. I guess I redeemed myself?
The next step is to take what I learned from the don’t do list and apply it to the next portfolio:
I got a little better, more diverse with characters and story, more pieces, stuck with digital and mixed media. Still, I needed work on drawing, line, and most importantly, tightening up the compositions. I look back at this one now and realize a lot of these were incomplete…
This is my newest portfolio. I stuck with digital and this time I found a love for watercolor and I’ll stick with it. I think I’ve gotten somewhat better, certainly cleaner. I focused on drawing, lifework, and cleanliness like the last critiques suggested.
Now on to another critique and hopefully a better body of work!