Your portfolio is your ultimate tool to showcase your creations to the world and to bag opportunities for paid gigs. However, it is quite unfortunate to note that most illustrators fail to develop an exceptional illustration portfolio that can impress their target audience. If you are an illustrator, you should note that you should create an attractive portfolio to create the first best impression. If you are a beginner in this field, you should make sure that you create a perfect illustration portfolio that would perfectly reflect your skills. Here’s what you should take into account while creating an illustration portfolio that would inspire others:
Create Revisable Portfolios
As you continue to progress through your career, the definition of your “best work” would change. So the art that once portrayed your capability would no longer reflect your present capabilities. You should therefore focus on developing revisable portfolios. Your portfolios should be dynamic and it should reflect your talent and achievements. It is important to have an editable collection because your best works will change as you learn more and develop your artistic skills further. You can also create personalized portfolios that suit the requirements of each job position that you are looking to apply for. Make sure that you are not saving your works of art in un-editable formats.
Don’t include your early works
It is a good idea not to keep your previous works in your collection, especially the works that you created while you were an amateur. A prospective employer doesn’t want to see how far you have traveled. He just needs your illustration services and he would actually judge you on the basis of your current works. Keep your text introduction clear and concise without making it highlight your early experiences too much. Focus on your present experience and contributions and this would help you catch the attention of the employer. A prospective employer does not really care to know how you have evolved, but he just wants to see your best works. So you may want to highlight your best works in the most captivating way. Stay current and allow people to get a clear vision of your current state of development. Go on adding new projects to your portfolio and you may even consider refining or updating the imagery of old projects as well to give them a fresh, revamped look.
Variety can create a captivating appeal.
Make sure that your portfolio remains interesting with diverse samples of your work. Add variety while ensuring that each illustration still looks like your work. Connect all pieces of art together with thumbnail or cover images. Maintain consistency throughout your portfolio while presenting every project. Don’t use monotonous screenshots. Instead, use flat lays or mockups. You may consider using close-ups of elaborate details.
Less is more.
You need to note that an employer does not have much time to go through your portfolio. He may not spend more than a minute for a portfolio review. He will just skim through the pages and try to get an overall understanding about your skills and work quality. So it is a good idea to keep at least 10 of your achievements properly displayed so that you can leave a lasting impression. Minimalism is the key to gaining maximum attention. Make sure that you include clear and uncluttered designs in your portfolio so that your employer finds it easier to review your designs and develop an idea of what you can deliver. You may consider including just one illustration in a single page and provide a description of the project and how the artwork fulfilled project objectives. Keep this information brief and to-the-point. You may find it difficult to select the ten best works of art, so you may consider consulting a second pair of eyes. Ask a friend or a fellow illustrator to make a choice.
Your portfolio should keep your prospective employer engaged.
You should make your prospective employer stay curious during his journey through your portfolio. You can make this happen by starting off with a strong image that would catch the attention of your target audience almost instantly. Make sure you include an introduction and your contact details at the front page. Start with an image that you consider as most impactful and then you arrange the other ones in such a way that the flow is maintained. In a nutshell, your portfolio should be a page turner so that you can keep the prospect enticed.
Adopt a storytelling approach.
When you showcase your design process, you stand a chance to impress your prospective employer. Along with your designs, consider describing the outcomes of every project. Even consider including images that are still being processed and these may include notes and sketches, which would reflect your thought process. Your first and the last images should be the strongest and the most impactful of the entire lot. This would create a long-lasting impact on the prospective employer. Don’t ignore the textual part either. Make sure that your texts do not have typos. These are distractions that you may want to avoid at all costs. Also, make sure to acknowledge the contributions of the people who have collaborated with you in your projects.
Own a website
By having a website to showcase your works and send out your messages to your target audience, you would be able to complement your portfolio. When you own a website, you would be able to provide enough information relating to your works and your personal details including contact number so that prospective employers can contact you. Also, during an interview, you can readily access your website and showcase your designs. This would also allow your prospective employers to understand how professional you are in your approach.
Here are the 5 Dos and Don’ts that you should take into account while creating an exceptional illustration portfolio:
Edit your works carefully to customize them as per situation. Think what message you want your portfolio to convey. This way, you can categorize your work depending on the type of client, project, or company. What you should note is that your best work may not be relevant for your prospective employer.
Display works that you want to handle professionally.
Make sure that you include only professional works of art in your portfolio. Don’t mix your hobbies with project outcomes that you have created professionally. Your prospective employer should understand that you have strong skills in your area of specialization.
Provide the context.
Do mention the purpose of the project, the resources that you used, and the timeline within which you were able to complete your project. With this information, your reviewer would be able to know if you were really able to meet the project objectives.
Present your work professionally to create a positive impact on the audience.
Think how you can present your project beautifully. If you think that printed collateral would represent your works in the best possible manner, you may consider investing in quality photography. On the other hand, if you think that online portfolio is the best way to showcase your work, you may consider including your works in your own website.
The UI design of your portfolio site is important.
Make sure that the UI of your portfolio site supports easy navigation and accessibility. Your portfolio site’s UI should be functional and it should support easy accessibility and smooth browsing experience.
- Don’t showcase your entire work history. Your prospective employer wants to see your recent works only.
- Don’t provide details of your personal projects or hobbies. This would make the reviewer think that you are an amateur.
- Don’t just use your illustrations. Use text to explain your art.
- Don’t use similar formats to represent different projects. Treat every project differently and portray different project details with uniqueness.
- Don’t create a portfolio with a complicated design. Your portfolio should be simplistic yet appealing and it should allow for easy accessibility.
If you are able to put into practice these guidelines, you would be able to create an excellent illustration portfolio that would help you get your dream job in a reputed company. Many illustration companies or professional illustration service providers look into these basic principles while hiring talents.