Some questions about making a portfolio...

General Discussion
Post Reply
User avatar
smaragddrache
Posts: 78
Joined: Wed Jun 21, 2006 9:24 am
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Contact:

Some questions about making a portfolio...

Post by smaragddrache » Wed May 07, 2008 5:37 pm

As someone who is fresh out of college and has just realized that what they learned for their degree isn't directly useful to getting a job in the art world, I have some questions about putting together a portfolio. I have been working multiple part time jobs doing mostly office admin stuff, but my creative side is crying for a more stimulating job. Hence:

My goal: to get a job doing something creative, whether it be illustration, graphic design, logos, anything. However, to do that, I need a portfolio that works. Right now, I have a smattering of work ranging from lithographs to oil paintings to digital prints, all from college. What I want to know is how do I form this relatively wide range of work into a cohesive portfolio? Is it good to keep some types out when presenting a portfolio for a specific type of creative position (i.e. keep out the oil paintings for illo jobs?) or do I just have to lump it all together and organize it well?

I would love to do just illustration, but I have heard on this forum time and again to avoid keeping oneself to one type of work. When looking for these various work possibilities, are there specific places I should be perusing, i.e. websites, forums, etc?

Any advice would be awesome!

User avatar
jdalton
Posts: 698
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2005 4:06 pm
Location: 1 hr east of Vancouver (currently)
Contact:

Re: Some questions about making a portfolio...

Post by jdalton » Fri May 09, 2008 7:55 pm

I never got very far with my own illustration career, but...
smaragddrache wrote:I would love to do just illustration, but I have heard on this forum time and again to avoid keeping oneself to one type of work. When looking for these various work possibilities, are there specific places I should be perusing, i.e. websites, forums, etc?
This may be true in life but not in portfolios. Art directors (or whoever) think that the work in your portfolio is exactly what you will give them if they hire you. Thus, magazine A.D.s only really want to see examples of magazine illustrations and so on. Do a bunch of fake assignments (i.e. pick an un-illustrated article out of a magazine and do an illustration for it as though someone hired you for the job) and fill your portfolio up with that. Make your portfolio changeable for different audiences.

And show it to them in person, if you can. If not, send out postcards or something. I think it might be rare for art directors (or whoever) to search out new talent in forums and such. They get enough people coming to them.

[/my 2 cents]
Jonathon Dalton
Image Image

User avatar
smaragddrache
Posts: 78
Joined: Wed Jun 21, 2006 9:24 am
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Contact:

Post by smaragddrache » Sat May 10, 2008 10:23 pm

Thank you for your feedback! I appreciate any advice. About how many pieces are considered good for an average portfolio? Is there any trick to the order (or is that a matter of personal taste)?

About the postcards: I have had a few people tell me that I should make some with my art on them. However, I was not sure of the etiquette involved. Do you send them directly to AD's at companies I wish to court? Do I put a collage of images on the back or just a couple? I don't want to make some horrible mistake and ruin any chances I might have. Do I need to explain myself (like a mini-query or cover letter)? So many questions, so little time!

Again, thank you in advance for any thoughts/advice/general ideas!

User avatar
jdalton
Posts: 698
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2005 4:06 pm
Location: 1 hr east of Vancouver (currently)
Contact:

Post by jdalton » Sun May 11, 2008 10:25 pm

I dunno an ideal size for a portfolio. "Not too many" sounds about right. As for order, there are a couple of different strategies, but most agree that you want your best piece first, to make a good first impression, and your second best piece last, to leave on a high note.
smaragddrache wrote:Do you send them directly to AD's at companies I wish to court?
Yes. Ideally with the person's name on the address. One image is probably best rather than lots of tiny ones. You don't need a querry letter, ADs know why they get piles of postcards from illustrators. Make sure your phone number is on the cards. And make sure you are able to answer your phone.

A word of caution though: I've heard tell that many ADs open their mail over the garbage can. You get a split second to make a good impression, or down you go. ADs get a LOT of mail. Don't lose heart, though, or give up after four months without a call-back (like I did). The more people see your work, the more times the same people see your work showing up in their mail, the higher your chances of being noticed. Also, don't expect to quit your day job in a hurry.
Jonathon Dalton
Image Image

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 21 guests