The Illustrator’s Portfolio


What is an illustrator portfolio?


When looking for an illustrator job, and having particular skills, you need a great portfolio to be successfully hired. In an interview for such a creative job like an illustrator, model, photographer job, being armed with soft skills can be not enough, that is why you should advertise yourself with your working experience, showed off in your portfolio. It is an introduction part, where you have some space to recommend yourself an artist with ambitions and skills, which can be useful for your employer. 


How many pieces should you have in your illustrator portfolio?


Set a limit of 10 to 15 images per section in your portfolio. If you have multiple sections, the number goes down to 8 to 10. If you only have one section, you can go up to 15, 18, or 20. These are guidelines. Averages. There are no specific numbers that will unlock a client’s heart—or their coffers. The answer is that you should show as many pieces as it takes to prove that you can do what you do at a consistently high level. That said, don’t “fill”. More is less, especially when the quality of your art drops off a cliff halfway through your portfolio. 

How to build your illustrator portfolio

  1. Create a portfolio website. On such websites, full of portfolios templates and examples you don't need to limit yourself as an illustrator, creating your own unique design. Creating a great portfolio offline is half of the win, but you should find a place to host it, letting the world see it worldwide. Digital portfolios have a lot of advantages, from saving paper to its accessible anywhere and any when, which makes it popular today. PortfolioBox platform provides users with incredible opportunities to create their own website, with many illustrator portfolio examples
  2. Offer something reliable and fresh. Without any doubt, any artist has a lot of old projects, which means something for the creator. But when looking for a job, or looking a client to work with, you should consider the desires of the market and trends. 


  1. Be honest. Keep your portfolio diversified and impressive, provided various works and projects to cover more people with different desires and needs. Also, you need to describe yourself as a professional honestly, exactly determining your abilities. We agree, that it can be a challenging task to appraise yourself from the side, so you can ask your colleagues and friends to do it. Let your customers get familiar with your offer from the best side, to let them know who you are as an artist and what ideas you can put in real life.

What should an illustrator portfolio include?

What should an illustrator portfolio include?

For any designer, working as an illustrator, it will be a great decision to create a space for customers, where they can find questions for a basic answers, get an idea inspired by your work and dissuade the need for additional references or work samples. The best strategy is to keep your website informative, but to follow the minimalism style, to provide the best conditions for both: you and customers.


  • Prefer quality rather than quantity. The quality of your work is the most important thing. You’ll be judged by the worst piece in your portfolio. Art directors will be concerned that’s what they could end up getting if they commission you. And, even if an art director can accept that risk, it’s often hard for them to convince skittish editors who would feel more comfortable going for the sure thing. So put your best foot forward and trash anything that doesn’t measure up. If the proportions are unintentionally funky, the concept is lame or contrived, or the color palette is garish, remove it. It’s better to have only five incredible pieces than five incredible pieces and ten mediocre ones.


  • Follow the sequence. Browse through your illustrations and try to pick out the most consistent work to go into your portfolio, both in style and execution. An art director wants to know that when they hire you for a job, they’re going to get exactly what they expect. If your work is all over the map, you’ll make the back of their neck hairs stand on end. So edit out all of those one-off experiments and go by the rule of threes: if you have three or more of the same approach, it’s allowed in.


  • Diversify your portfolio. While consistency is essential, you also want to make sure your work has a bit of variety. I’m not referring to style but rather a concept, composition, and subject matter. If all you draw are celebrity caricatures from waist level up looking straight ahead at the viewer, an art director is going to think you’re a one-trick pony. So look through your portfolio and see if every solution you’ve given to an assignment is identical minus a few details. Get rid of the monotonous pieces in favor of ones that show your range and demonstrate that you’re the illustrator who can tackle any assignment thrown your way.


  • Offer something exclusive that in demand. There are many illustrators out there, so you need to look through your work and see why what you have to offer is different from everyone else. It could be style, viewpoint, sensibility, etc. Whatever it is, make sure that thing comes through in your portfolio and eliminate work that seems derivative. It’s easy to be inspired by other illustrators, but if your art is just a carbon copy of someone else’s, that’s only going to get you so far (as well as probably anger the illustrator you’re ripping off).


  • Get along with the audience. Finally, the last thing you may want to consider when uploading work to your site is your intended audience. If you’re targeting book covers, but all of your illustrations are heavily editorial, those art directors are going to have a hard time visualizing and selling you to their higher-ups. Likewise, if you’re after the children’s market, but you have highly charged erotic art on your website, that could be a turnoff; this doesn’t mean you should go all one way or the other. In fact, don’t do that. But consider the markets you’re trying to work in and examine whether what you put online will help get you closer to them or drive your intended audiences away.


In summary, almost every creative person should have a great portfolio to be successfully hired. But you should realize, that your digital portfolio is only the mirror of your personality, which reflects your skills and advantages. So, it is only a binding option, and format, in which your personality should be presented. 


The next level on your hiring way is to let your portfolio be seen, that is why you should rely on PortfolioBox, which will help you to be closer to your goal.

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