Why is focus so important in a portfolio


  • Pro

    Hello illustrators! πŸ˜ƒ

    I have a brand new video that just went up! I thought the subject might interest you πŸ™‚ I talk about lack of focus in a portfolio and break down in detail why and how doing this could be costing you clients, as well as how you can easily fix it.

    Interested? Click here to watch! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2rsuripitk&list=PLcDSaDyKmuWltxtrzdSI5EbZHMuXx8dZK&ab_channel=ArtBusinesswithNess

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  • SVS OG

    @NessIllustration i was so excited to see your video on my feed. Already left a comment.


  • Pro

    @Nyrryl-Cadiz You're so sweet, thank you!! ❀


  • Moderator

    @NessIllustration , this is brilliant, and exactly what you were saying to me the other day. Thank-you!! I've really been digging down into my soul lately, and you've been providing a LOT of really great perspective.

    I do have a related question for you and how you manage things... There is a big emphasis on illustrators having multiple streams of income, and I know you do that--you have an Etsy shop for PDF planners if I'm not mistaken, plus (eventually) monetization on your YouTube channel, as well as patterns and such. Yet you don't combine them all in a single website--your children's illustration portfolio website is distinctly relevant for the children's print industry.

    How do you manage (ie "draw attention to" or "point customers toward") those different industries/passive incomes as an artist? Do you have different sites? Different social media accounts for each field? I see on your Instagram that you do address and include all your different skills, but given how the algorithm works there it seems you use that as an informal sharing opportunity rather than an industry-facing mini-portfolio.

    I'm narrowing down what I want to do with my art, and trying to become more familiar with the specifics of the direction I'd like to pursue. I think the heart of my confusion is that I see a lot of artists I admire using their children's illustration skills to create work that isn't specfically for the children's book industry. And I don't know how to make a website around that. Pamela Zagarenski and her Sacred Bee, for example. James Firnhaber, and Poly Bernatene who also do editorial. Armand Baltazar seems to focus everything around a specific self-publishing effort.

    Is this kind of generic catch-all only possible after measured success in a specific industry? Do I need to go focused before I can get to all the stuff I actually want to do? Am I confusing "portfolio" with "website"?



  • Oooh something to look forward to watching this weekend! Yay 😁



  • @Coreyartus Just looked over James Firnhaber and wow really nice! Thanks for sharing.


  • Pro

    @Coreyartus That's a great question! And I actually have a video coming up in a few weeks (already filmed!) where I list ALL the different revenue streams I use currently. But I didn't address specifically what you asked. And the answer is I keep them all separate!

    For instance my planner shop is completely different from my freelancing stuff and it's not relevant to mention anywhere in my portfolio. I have a separate instagram account for my shop (@thedigitalsiren) as well as an email list and private Facebook group. For the patterns, my agent handles that. They have my stuff up on the licensing section on their website. So I let them handle that and don't really talk about it on my website. For my new venture in art coaching, I have the Youtube channel and I'm building an email list and Facebook group. It will also have its own separate website eventually, which I haven't started building yet.

    It is quite a bit of work to maintain all these things. I make sure to build up one thing, automate it and become really comfortable at running it before I start up a new revenue stream. For instance for my shop, I have a PR team. In exchange for free products from my shop, they show them off in their Instagram and post on my Facebook group to help keep it engaged. So I just have to repost one of their images on my Instagram once in a while, and answer comments. It pretty much runs itself!

    As for your other question and the artists you mention - there isn't a single way to do things and some artists will succeed using different methods. James Firnhaber for instance has a wonderful style that is a bit chameleon and can be applied to different markets! However, keep in mind that you will very likely have more trouble getting your career started if you do not focus. It's not impossible but it will be much harder, and it's already quite hard to start an illustration career to begin with so I really don't recommend it! If you must, my advice would be to either create a second, separate portfolio, or to focus on one to begin with and add the other in later after your career has taken off. However do keep in mind that if you split your focus, you have less energy to put into each venture.


  • Moderator

    @NessIllustration This is incredibly helpful!! Thank-you!! You've always been generous with your advice, and I really appreciate it! So much more thinking to do!! Aaaaahhhh! πŸ™‚



  • @NessIllustration beautiful video and beautiful voice!I tottaly agree with everything!thanks for the vid !!


  • Pro

    @Coreyartus Haha yes this tuff keeps me up at night!

    @Georgios-Christopoulos Awww thank you Georgios that's very kind! I'm a bit self-conscious about my accent, so it's very nice to hear πŸ™‚



  • @NessIllustration Thank you so much for these videos and the helpful pdf guides! They really are a huge asset πŸ˜ƒ



  • Great advice @NessIllustration. I have purposely delayed my website portfolio to create 12-15 children’s picture book pieces that I’m proud to stand behind. I’m almost there thanks to the SVS monthly contests.


  • Pro

    Thank you @Jacy13 ❀
    @Jeremy-Ross Yesssss good stuff man!!



  • @NessIllustration your accent is beautiful,do not worry about them at all!


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