Getting a professional evaluation, and...where are the ❤️ posts?

  • SVS OG

    I could really use some professional feedback about now--a portfolio review, a mentorship, or something similar. I created a website recently and am getting a lot of self-publishing requests, but my work, while it has a certain consistency, is also still changing a lot and am not 100% sure I am ready to launch a full-blown marketing initiative with postcards, etc.

    I love the peer feedback here, but sometimes one just needs a pair of eyes that has evaluated a lot of professional work and that can tell you, "You do this well, but you need to improve at this and this, and this is how you can do so." "At the rate you're going, you still need to work at building a better portfolio for about six months." Or alternatively, "You're too scared. Just launch already!"

    The only mentorship/review service I know of is Giuseppe Castellano's, but I've heard mixed things about it. Will there be any more "office hours" at SVS? I was really hoping that it would happen last February! Are there any other good mentorships or other such services to get professional feedback?

    P.S. And, for several months I have been right clicking the three dots at the bottom of posts, where you can edit and delete, and ❤️ing various posts I want to come back to. But I confess that now I have no idea where to find the saved ❤️s! Does anyone know? Somewhere I have got quite a stash of good info from the forums, if only I could find it! 😂

  • Hi Laura,

    I recently had a portfolio review with Ness from Orange beak studio (UK based) with there 1-1 sessions. It was really helpful for an overview of my portfolio and she gave me some constructive feedback. It really helped me get a nudge in the right direction. You can let them know what you want to cover over the hour.
    She wrote up some notes afterwards and answered some additional questions. They send you lots of forms before and do quite a bit of prep work before the session.

  • Hi Laura, I had a portfolio review with Alison Branagan from the Association of Illustrators a couple of years ago. I am a AOI member. She was very good and asked to see my site plus all of my social media. It was a complete mess at the time so it was really good. I could do with another one soon to be honest, mine is better now but still a complete bag of mixed messages. Unfortunately I have just looked at the AOI site and there seems to be no available dates in the near future to book one. If you are an AOI member it may be work checking back from time to time to see if a spot pops up or bookmark the site for the future. (

    Another one is from Inky Goodness: but I've missed the deadlines for those too! But again, I've bookmarked it and keep checking back from time to time to see if any more dates are available. I've not used this service yet so can't review it sorry.

    I'm also UK-based but the AOI is defiantly an international organisation.

    I'm not sure the two mentioned above are so focussed on children's books as SVS are.

    Regarding Giuseppe Castellano from The Illustration Department, I was actually considering doing the remote review with him but would be interested on what mixed things you have heard? I may hold out for dates for the other two to come up.

    Can't help you with the ♥ issue sorry, I didn't even know it was an option 🙂

    Good luck with everything, your work is great.


  • Hi Laura, Congratulations on all the steps forward you're taking lately... I hope you find the review services you're searching for. As for the loved posts, I think if you go to your own profile page you can click on the three dots at the top of your profile (on my phone they're in a blue circle), and from there you can find your bookmarked posts. The first time I wanted to go back to something, it took me a long time to figure out where they were saved too. All the best!

  • Regarding the ♥ issue:
    I think it is called "bookmarks" in svs forum. You can find them by going to your profile, and click the 3 dots with the around blue background, then select "bookmarks" from the menu.

    Regarding mentorship:
    I have a very good experience with Giuseppe Castellano at IllustrationDEPT. It might be helpful to do some research on the potential portfolio reviewers/mentors, find interviews of the person, articles the person has written, or artwork they have produce (if the person is a working artists as well). Basically, get an idea from what perspective the person will critique your portfolio. I think it is also a good idea to get different people to review your portfolio if you are able to economically.

  • Pro

    @LauraA I actually offer portfolio reviews too, they're 1-1 meetings, 1-hour long 🙂

  • SVS OG

    @LauraA I'm pretty sure some of Giuseppe Castellano's students are doing well...i know there was an issue with one of our members having a very frustrating interaction..or non-interaction with him..after she had paid i believe...not cool. I do plan on getting another portfolio review from him though or mentorship when i have enough new pieces in my portfolio( color pieces)...the first review was really helpful ..and he is hooked into the publishing world very deeply it seems . Maybe try the portfolio review since it is cheap and then you can decide if he is right for the mentorship? There do not seem to be a lot of options out there...
    .. i found the thread about Giuseppe not getting back to Laurel and put it below

  • SVS OG

    Thanks for all your suggestions! I will be looking into all of these. @Kevin-Longueil Yes, that's the conversation I was referring to. I'm glad that you had a better experience with Giuseppe's mentorship, @xin-li.

    And it figures that I would find all the bookmarks under another three dots, @KathrynAdebayo. I looked and, violà! There were all the posts!

  • SVS OG

    @lizardillo When you got the consultation with Alison Branagan, was it a portfolio consultation or a business consultation? Just wondering if your response above meant that sometimes she does portfolio reviews and sometimes business consultations and I should just wait for the portfolio reviews to become available again. There are portfolio reviews available with Fig Taylor. Thanks!

  • @LauraA I’ve just gone through my old emails and it was a business consultation sorry not just a portfolio one. Sorry had I forgotten that part.

  • SVS OG

    @lizardillo Ok.Thanks for letting me know quickly, though!

  • Hi Laura,

    I have a portfolio crit booked in with InkyGoodness tomorrow at 11.

    It's only 30 mins so quite short for £30. I will let you know how I get on just in case this is something you would be interested in.

    There are still slots available for tomorrow and Weds 28th April. you have to book a ticket through Eventbrite.

    The times are UK time (BST)

  • SVS OG

    @lizardillo Thanks! Just signed up for next Wednesday!

    BTW, I have started meeting with Giuseppe Castellano as well (two sessions so far) and I really like working with him.

  • @LauraA Brilliant!

    I was looking at him too. I think I need a more varied and stronger portfolio before I go to him. I'm still in the graphic design/illustration switchover so all of my past illustration work is too business-y and corporate at the moment (and also hidden as it was for agencies). I don't think I'm children's book material so I need to find my niche, I'm hoping tomorrow will help.

    Good luck with your crits.

  • SVS OG

    @lizardillo In the mentorship, Giuseppe has you start new work, so once you're ready that too can add to your new portfolio.

    Good luck with your evaluation as well!

  • SVS OG

    So, @lizardillo, how did your critique with Inky Goodness go? I just had mine today. I thought it was useful, if for no other reason than to get me used to talking to people who are evaluating my work. She actually encouraged me to start an email dialogue with publishers. The thing that surprised me the most, though, is that she asked me if I wrote my own stories, because there was obviously storytelling ability in my images. Inside, I did a silent cheer, because I do want to tell stories, but didn't realize it was coming through!

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    @LauraA We are launching our new "Chilren's Book Pro" within the next few weeks and it will have a mentor option. I'll be teaching there. As will Will and Jake and a whole host of other teachers. Maybe this will work for you?

    In addition, we will be offering live workshops for our foundations too. This was put on hold while we built the children's book classes. Lot more on the way here, so hang tight!

    Stay tuned to find out more! : )

  • @LauraA Hi Laura,

    That sounds great, and really encouraging. I hope it has helped with what direction you want to go in.

    Mine was ok too but I didn't get the link to the form until the evening before so I don't think there was enough time to prep beforehand. I had created my PDF in anticipation but not realised I needed to send the PDF beforehand but that makes perfect sense now! She had looked through my website beforehand though.

    She also asked me if I wrote my own stories as my images show storytelling too. I said that I really struggle with getting words out (I'm dyslexic) and I am better describing things with pictures and I feel I would be better working with an author. I feel some of the tutorials here have helped me with that but I'm not sure my work is children's book material.

    We spoke about how some of my work might be good for licensing (food illustrations rather than children's illustrations).

    All in all I felt the zoom chat was a bit short, mainly because I have trouble being concise with my points, but she said she will be following it up with notes and suggestions afterwards, I'm still waiting for those but looking forward to them.

    I am starting a 4-week art licensing course she is running that starts on 5th May and Ilm quite excited about it.

  • SVS OG

    @Lee-White Thanks for letting me know about this, Lee! In fact, I was on the verge of writing you guys an email because I wondered what had happened to all those options mentioned about a year ago. I have really been needing them this year! Right now I am doing a mentorship with Giuseppe Castellano, but I am definitely interested in the Children's Book Pro live option, and it's just a matter of how much stuff I can do at once. I feel like I'm almost there but the last steps require custom advice.

  • SVS OG

    @lizardillo Hmm, that's interesting because she mentioned educational for me. But I would really be more interested in storytelling. She also said that she wasn't really a children's lit person. But it was still good to get another opinion!

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