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How to build your illustration portfolio

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It will be the exclusive demonstration of your talent and professionalism, kind of your brand identity. But in what way should you make a portfolio so that it is notable among thousands of other ones? Take allowance for the following crucial aspects:

  • Inspiration. To create a successful portfolio, you should really want to do it. Create it with genuine desire and eagerness! And not casually, but in an allocated time particularly for this process. 
  • The content of your portfolio. Be selective, adding only those illustrations that are truly worthy of public attention. 
  • A modern and user-friendly site for creating. Use Portfoliobox to make a worthy self-presentation of the greatest quality and without troubles.

Just imagine how many artists, even very talented ones, make unforgivable mistakes when creating an illustration portfolio and do not even realize it. So what are the most common mistakes, and how to avoid them? 

Make your portfolio properly

Make your portfolio properly

Define quantity

Include in your portfolio not more than 20 works, especially if you are a beginner illustrator. Do not show 20 similar artworks, archives, and old illustrations. Do not show less successful work to win over a potential client or employer by their number. If you do not have 20 good artworks, then add 10! Keep working on improving your portfolio by gradually replacing the weaker illustrations with stronger ones. 

Create a visual rhythm 

Do you know art gallery curators approach the creation of an exhibition? Their main rule is the scrupulous choice of the location for each artwork and considering its visual relationship to the neighborhood artworks. They do it so that all the works together create a certain harmony, that there is a visual rhythm. Each illustration in your portfolio also should complement the other one, not compete with it. Do not put five visually-loaded full-fill illustrations, then five vignettes, as the person's eye gets tired quickly. It is better to alternate your work - characters, plots, complex scenes, vignettes. Your illustrations should create rhythm and harmony all together in the portfolio and each individually.

Make it about you

Do not pin faith on trends. They change too fast, and what is fashionable today, will no longer be in vogue tomorrow. That is why you should figure out your individual style. What you are as an illustrator, and what do you want to get across to your audience? After all, many people are also good at drawing, but your uniqueness sets you apart from everyone else. Look around intently. Be sure to be aware of what others are doing, but focus primarily on yourself, your desires, and your inner world. 

Add some information about yourself

Apart from your illustrations, you should add information about yourself. Write only to the point: your art education, experience, participation in exhibitions, etc. It is not advisable to mention your other education irrelevant to the art area, such as a lawyer, economist, accountant. Include a brief description of your progress, a list of your clients, if there is anything to boast about. Of course, you can write a couple of sentences about yourself particularly, so that the text is not poor. Write so that people will not fall asleep during reading, and preferably even smile. Remember that your goal is to make a good impression. Try to do it as compactly as possible.

Make it easy to watch 

Put out intricate wallpaper, backgrounds, and frameworks of your mind. Forget about all other stuff that will only distract attention from your illustrations! A simple white background, your artwork, contact information, and a short note about you. Your portfolio page or website should be as easy to navigate and perceive as possible.

Find inspiration to make an impressive portfolio

Find inspiration to make an impressive portfolio

Of course, you should display your unique idea exclusively. That is the whole point of a portfolio. However, observing the work of talented illustrators will not be superfluous. It will inspire you, develop your creativity and make you feel more confident. Take a look at some examples of successful illustrators' portfolios. 

Gal Shir

Designer and artist Gal Shir runs the Color Hunt company and works as the lead designer in Lemonade, an artificial intelligence-based insurance company. His portfolio is a combination of work for Lemonade and Color Hunt, as well as colorful illustrations. Although it contains different projects, the portfolio remains joint thanks to a complementary color scheme and design aesthetic. What is more, Gal takes it a step further and includes links to YouTube videos to show the process of creating each illustration. It is another plus to understanding how an illustrator works. 

Emma Block

British Middlesex University graduate Emma Block skillfully combines her hobby with her work. Her illustrations were published in various magazines, books, and even were in the windows of popular stores. Emma Block's portfolio is a perfect example of showing your range as an artist, with examples from book illustrations to wedding invitation designs. 

Shantell Martin

Shantell Martin is a visual artist best known for her large-scale black and white drawings. She performs many of her illustrations for a live audience. Born in Thamesmead, London, today Martin lives and works in New York City. In addition to exhibitions for museums and galleries, she often works on international commercial projects, both private and public. Shantell Martin's portfolio is a perfect example of letting your personality come through in your online branding.

For you as an illustrator, nothing is more important than creating a high-quality, proper, and remarkable portfolio. It is your main advertising, and sometimes the only way to get noticed in the never-ending stream of other talented people. After all, potential customers are looking for us there, and they will evaluate our portfolio to see if you are a good fit for them.

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