Portfolio update

  • Pro

    I'm gearing up to do another round of emails, so I went back to do some work on my portfolio. I would love to hear what you think and if some areas could be improved!

    My portfolio: https://nessillustration.com/

    I have added some new work in my children illustration area, updated my "books and projects" section with my last 3 books and spruced up my about section. Apart from updating my information and removing some superfluous text, I am also testing out testimonials and added the 2 that I have collected from past clients. Do you think this is a good idea and might work, or is this not useful and/or tacky?

    Also would love to hear of course about the actual art contents of my portfolio and if there are any areas I'm not covering. I added more pieces than I removed this time so my main portfolio section is sitting at 31 pieces currently. Do you feel it's too much, or does it still look and feel manageable on my site? Any weaker pieces I should remove?


  • I really like the way the first page is set up, clearly stating you three topics. And even though I normally don´t like testimonials, I think the two you have chosen for your about me page actually work quite well. They seem honest and not cheesy and they check of all the qualities a new client would want to be assured of!

    When it comes to your "Children Illustration" page there are three pieces I would leave out, because I think they distract from your other work or can´t keep up: the pirate girl, the master painter and rush in mushroom forest. With the last one I like the background but the character and the lighting on it throws me off a little. I like the pirate girl, but I don´t like the arrangement. I would cut down to three of the illustrations on one sheet. And for the master painter, your other work simply is just way more interesting.

    All in all you have a really nice page and lovely work!!

  • SVS OG

    @NessIllustration hi! I honestly can’t find anything to critique with you portfolio. It’s clean, well-organized, direct to the point. I love it.

  • Pro

    @Aisleen That's very interesting, you've given me lots to think about! You make great points that I had never thought about before, concerning these 3 illustrations. Thank you so much!

  • Pro

    @Nyrryl-Cadiz Blushing now!!

  • @NessIllustration it looks beautiful! I’m with @Nyrryl-Cadiz and think it’s perfect 👌

    Your colors are gorgeous! The little red riding hood is probably my favourite, so it’s nice to see right up front.

    The about me page is very sleek, organized and professional! Nice updated photo too 😊

  • Pro

    @Coley Thanks Nicole! 🙂 When I was going over, I found a lot of places where I hadn't taken my own advice I gave you the other day on your portfolio haha! Had to fix that!

  • @NessIllustration lol! You’re advice helped me soooooooo much..... I’m glad you listened to your own advice too haha! See, you have a talent for this sort of thing ! 😃

  • @NessIllustration Hi Vanessa! Such a wonderful website to spend time on! I feel it has a wonderful positive vibe overall, but I do have a few suggestions. Please take them with a grain of salt (I can be nit picky about certain things because I was a QA enginner before I started freelancing as an illustrator 😅 )

    • Your name is your brand. So I feel "Vanessa Matte" should be the biggest most readable text on your website. Right now your menu text is most prominent. I would change it as your name to be the biggest text (and in color), then "children's illustrator" and then the menu text.
    • Consider just mentioning "Children's illustrator" instead of "Freelance children illustrator" under your header name. You can mention that you freelance full time in your About page.
    • Link your kitty logo to go to your home page.
    • Consider renaming "Children Illustration" to "Portfolio" in your "My Work" section.
    • Consider renaming "Mobiles games work" to "Mobile games"
    • About Page: I think adding testimonials is smart because it adds credibility. Right now one testimonial is at the top and the other is at the bottom, I would just place them both together at the bottom and add any more as they come. You can even add a subtitle "Testimonials". You can also consider adding "Client List" section since you have many published works.
    • Portfolio page: I think you have a good vibrant collection of your best work! I do agree with Aisleen about removing a feww which either don't fit in or are not adding value. These are also some pieces you could reconsider excluding:
      "No More Goodbye's" - Though I love the mood of it, it's not really a children's illustration.
      "Yummy Rainbow" - Visually appealing, but you've already shown your food illustrating skills in the Donut book.

    Overall, really wonderful, clean and easy to navigate website! 🙂 Best of luck!

  • The portfolio is just briliant so there's no much I can say 😃 . But I think the Menu (including your logo and name) can be improved.
    I agree with what @Neha-Rawat said, and I would maybe just mention few ideas:

    • When clicking on the ''My Work'' and then having to choose from 3 different categories, maybe just put them in the Menu itself? Something like www.rachaelmclean.com website, as she has ''Illustration'' and ''Books'' in the Menu

    • Putting ''My Work'' first in the Menu, and then ''About'' and ''Contact'', I think this is more common

    • Maybe put your social links to all pages (it's only on ''Contact'' now)

  • @NessIllustration Hi 🙂
    I'm just answering your content question (31 is a lot for me -that's just preference-so if it's good for you-go for it). In the last contest work I wrote out a content list. So from my list, I didn't see 1. monsters (however the lion that scared the panda might be an overlap that works for you), 2. aliens (not on earth characters), and 3. robots (even a robot toy could be included). I did note you had a cold climate/weather but maybe another time push the temperature "cold" because your little red riding hood has bare arms in a winter wonderland and I'd be cold lols. Maybe in another work, a shiver with no sleeves or covered around by a blanket, rosy cheeks and a puff of cold air coming out.

  • Pro

    @Neha-Rawat Thank you so so much Neha!! These are all such good suggestions and I had not thought at all about the subtleties of website design. You're a godsend!!

    @TamaraDomuzin All great ideas, thank you so much for taking the time hun!

    @Heather-Boyd Thank you dear, you've given me lots to think about! I see what you mean about including other climates where it affects more the characters. For the suggestion about adding monsters, aliens and robots, I admit I'm a bit unsure about that one... Monsters, aliens and robots are the 3 things I hate drawing the most and I don't really want to get work on those subjects. What's your stance on including content that you don't really want to be doing professionally? Do you think the artist should give it a pass, or it's good to include anyway?

  • Pro

    I've made some adjustments thanks to your wonderful feedback!


    My home page is now my children illustration page, which I've renamed portfolio. I removed the My Work section from the navigation and separated it into Books and portfolio. The mobile games section is still on the site but hidden (I can't remember the last time that page was relevant). I played with the titles and navigation size, put my testimonials at the bottom of my about with a title, and I've removed 3 pieces.

    I couldn't bring myself to remove all the pieces you suggested ^^''' Removing work is so hard!! I really like drawing food and want to do more of it, so hesitate to remove the Yummy Rainbow. And the Master Painter one shows both an older man and Asian people, which I fee is important for diversity in my portfolio. But I also now have 4 pieces of unicorns which is probably too many, and can't figure out which one to remove! The one with unicorns and stars might be a good bet, but it's one of the only pieces I have with spot illustrations. The Stay Fabulous one could be good to remove but I really like that piece... Thoughts?

  • @NessIllustration I mean you could always pass, you have that choice. But I personally want to be able to incorporate as many subjects as I can, although I'm not big into ghosts (especially for kids books) because I don't believe in them (ghosts as dead people returning). But I would stretch to put ghosts in as monsters. Or like I did for an inktober "hang up your ghosts and live". Or in a Halloween piece where a kid gets scared of another child dressed up as a ghost, and consoling that child with truth.

    And for a monster, it would depend. We can think something or someone is a monster and really we are scared by an action, like if a parent got really angry. And for that angry moment a child may see a monster. And then sometimes monsters are monsters.

    I also don't believe in aliens but for me there's enough of a separation from reality -fantasy/science fiction aspect and that I love science fiction I would like to incorporate the "imaginary". I guess that's also where I would put robots. A story that incorporates a child playing with a toy robot and it breaking and a father coming alongside to fix it, isn't so far from reality. Or a child dreaming about building a robot friend because she hasn't made any her new school.

    After saying all that, I do understand, depending on your beliefs and age range audience your wanting to engage with. Maybe just return and look at why you "hate" drawing them.


  • @NessIllustration Your portfolio looks great! I think there are quite a few pieces but if you don't want to remove any, that's up to you. I don't feel like it's a ridiculous amount and it's still pretty easy for people to scroll through or just gravitate towards the pieces they like best.

    As for whether you should include things that you don't like drawing? My response would be no. Whatever you put in your portfolio is the kind of work you're going to get. The only reason to include a variety of subject matter is because it increases the potential projects you can get, but it's not worth it if those are not the projects you want! And in my experience, whenever I force myself to draw something that I'm not enjoying, it usually doesn't come out very well. You already can clearly draw lots of stuff that has a place in the market so leave the robot books to people like Jake who love to do that specifically!

    Anyway, your work looks great and I think you're ready to be sending out some more emails ☺

  • Pro

    @Heather-Boyd Thank you for your thoughtful explanation ❤ I'm afraid my reasons aren't nearly as well formed as yours haha... I simply don't really enjoy drawing them! I think it's because they are imaginary creatures and I cannot reference them. My strengths lie in stylizing things that already exist, I think. I've never been to good at coming up with interesting designs for monsters or robots!

  • Pro

    @Melanie-Ortins Thanks hun! I do want to remove a few more pieces but I'm having a hard time picking which ^^''

  • @NessIllustration I look at other's works for ideas of monsters, aliens, robots etc. But I understand. ❤

  • @NessIllustration Love your site, the content is very well organized, and I can really get a sense of who you are as an artist right way.

    My only nitpicking would be: consider change "books and projects" to simply "books".
    It seems that the only project that is not a published book is the Harry Potter one. Even though it is a personal project, it is a book (not published one yet, but nonetheless, a book project :-).

    As for what to take out or include in your portfolio: I do not think you have too many pieces at all. The Asian people piece did stand out for me, only because the subject matter is very different from the rest of the portfolio. I think it would work better if you have 2-3 pieces from the same projects.

  • Pro

    @xin-li That's a good idea, Xin! This section used to contain more personal projects from before I was published. Now that I have actual books to showcase, it might be time to rename the section and remove the Harry Potter project from it as well. I mean the pieces are already in my main portfolio anyway!

    For the Master Painter piece it seems to be a consensus! Then I guess I will remove it. You're right it is a bit different from my usual stuff (it was a prompt for a reading cards gig). I will put on my to-do list to make a new piece with Asian characters in it though, I feel it would be lacking from my portfolio!

    Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts ❤

Log in to reply