Professionals selling portfolio reviews
I'm at a point in life where I'm feeling like mush. I'm expecting my first kid in a month and a half and I've picked up a second job at Target to help prepare. My illustration dreams are seemingly slipping away but I can't give up. I struggle with never feeling ready or good enough and feel like I've lost direction. At this point I think it would be best for me to get a professionals feedback.
Does anyone know of professional illustrators offering portfolio reviews for 100-125$?
Ps. If anyone wants to view my site http://jondanielsolomon.com and give constructive feedback please feel free. I know everyone is busy and critiquing is not always fun but if you want to critique my work, go for it!
kirsten-mcg last edited by
@Solomon-Designs I'm so sorry to hear that you're feeling this way. I don't know of any professionals offering critiques at the moment, but other people here might. I do have a little advise on continuing with your art through the craziness of parenthood though!
Just to warn you, there will probably be several months after your baby gets here that you don't have much time, energy, or focus for art, and this is ok! Give yourself the permission to step back and focus on parenthood for a while, and if you have time for a little sketching on the side, go for it, but if not, don't worry too much. For me, the first 6 months of the "baby year" were the hardest, but after that life seemed to settle back into somewhat of a routine and I was able to have some time for myself again. So just be aware of this and realized that you will eventually have time again!
I've also tried to look at this time when I have really young kids running around the house, and feel so overwhelmed and busy, as a time to lay the groundwork for a future successful illustration career. If I focus on just improving skills with what little time and energy I have, it really helps. I do what I can, when I can, so that someday when I find myself with more time, I can be ready to hit the ground running. Every once in a while on 3PP they do a podcast on starting a career "late." there are plenty of successful illustrators who have started their careers in their late 30s, 40s, and even 50s.
I'm not a professional, but I did take a look at your portfolio. I've got a few thoughts. Feel free to use or discard!
It looks like you've got some good things going on in your portfolio! Your animal characters feel the most natural and appealing to me. For some reason your human characters seem a little less appealing. Maybe styling character design a little more might help with this? I think the illustration of the fox with a key and the chest is one of your strongest pieces. I love your use of color and the composition. I also love the character design of the fox at the table with the bird.
The picture with the farm animals and the cow with the electric guitar is a piece that you might want to consider reworking or removing. The concept is fun, but the design is a little confusing. The one of the iguana painting is also really fun, but I feel like the contrast between the light and shadow is a bit too strong. You could try bringing some warm blues into the light, and working some muted oranges into the shadows, not so much as to change the overall feeling of light and shadow, but just to take the down the contrast a bit.
Overall I love your textures! I think you just need to keep going, learning and improving little by little. You've got a book in your portfolio, which is awesome! That says a lot about your ability to finish a project. Maybe set an achievable goal for yourself every month so that you can see that you're making progress. But please above all be kind to yourself and don't give up!
Griffin McPherson last edited by
@Solomon-Designs looking through your portfolio I think clarity is something you could focus on to improve. In some of your illustrations it’s hard to tell what’s going on because of lack of clarity in the composition and values. The illustrations with the birds in particular.
Other illustrations are looking a bit messy because of shaky lines, unbalance values, and too much texture. The illustrations of the boy and the creature, and the one with the Bigfoot creatures as well.
So let’s break that down.
Linework: because the lines you’re using have no variation in line weight they should either be as neat as a pin or very intentionally messy (but still controlled). Without falling into one of those categories a drawing will likely just look messy and unfinished.
Values: values are still something a struggle with so take this with a grain of salt but I think my understanding of values is at least good enough to give some pointers. My general approach is to fill everything with a mid to light tone. From there I pick another that’s lighter or darker than the previous and I fill in any areas that I want to stand out just a bit more. Then I pick a final value which is usually the brightest and used most sparingly. This is the 60 30 10 rule of design. 60% primary 30% secondary and 10% accent. From there you have a good framework to build on and you can add more value in between. That’s where it. An get tricky and I personally struggle with balancing values in those smaller ranges but I hope this helps nonetheless.
Texture: in the pieces I mentioned before you have a very dark texture overlaying a lot of the image which begins to look visually confusing. Usually when I have a texture overlaying an image it’s a very light multiply layer on top of all the other layers. This creates a unifying texture for the whole image that is subtle enough that viewer’s probably won’t even think about it, like the texture of watercolor paper. If you want more textures then I would suggest keeping them within the boundaries of objects and not drawing a texture from a table to the wall behind it for example because this is what begins to make it look confusing and flattens the image.
I know for a fact you can do all of these and do them well because your illustration with the fox in the cave uses texture, value, and linework well. That’s a good piece to use as a reference point for your other pieces. I know how daunting an illustration career can feel, it’s easy to feel like it’s over when life slows down our goals but if you can keep at it and keep pushing forward you can get yourself where you want to be.
KathrynAdebayo last edited by
Just want to say - I hope you don't give up. Your work is getting progressively better in my opinion (based on your ig feed) and you have a creative and interesting point of view coming through in your art. I like how much you're pushing your lighting scenarios in many pieces.
I'm not the professional you're hoping to hear from, but as for things to develop in your work, I'd suggest practicing kids' faces and features.
I'm a mom, not a dad, so I may not fully understand that side of parenthood, but there is one thing that I've learned through being a mother that probably applies to dads too. As someone who is passionate about creativity and developing myself as an artist, at first I thought I would and could pack all my interests into my new life as a mom. Eventually I realized that kids grow up so fast, and their future is so dependent on me, that my deep love for my professional interests as an illustrator is actually something that I can sacrifice in the path of raising my children. I don't mean give it up completely. Far from that. I just mean that when I give up painting or drawing and instead spend time with my kids, or teach them to play an instrument, or walk with them in the woods, it's even more of a statement of my love for them.
I've also needed art to maintain my mental well-being as a parent. It's a balance that you'll figure out for yourself, interspersed between the things that life demands of you, like work and caregiving.
Just wanted to bring that up to hopefully encourage you - you can still maintain your artistic development. You don't have to give up your goal. And if you do have to significantly slow down that process because of your family's needs you can consider it a gift to your kid.
@kirsten-mcg thank you for responding. Your advice is encouraging and I think I’m gonna focus on practicing fundamentals for now. Thank you for your feedback. I hope one day to be an illustrator but the response on my post are making me realize it’s not the end all be all to life. I will take a step back mentally and I like what you said about giving my self permission. I think I’ll try to do that. Thank you.
@Griffin-McPherson thank you. You’ve given me some practical things to improve on and I appreciate it. I haven’t considered value very much so thank you for being that up. I will be watching tutorials when I have time. Thank you for your response and giving me clarity for what I need to improve.
@KathrynAdebayo thank you. That’s a great way to look at it. He’s not here yet but will be here around match 1st. I’ve heard when he gets here my outlook on life will be different. Thank you for responding and giving me words of encouragement.
@Solomon-Designs We are FINALLY putting that together now. We have 5 professional illustrators that will doing portfolio reviews. SHould be starting within a month. : )
The cost will be $325 and will be for up to an hour review of your work/website, etc.
Katherine last edited by
@Lee-White Can we purchase a portfolio critique but schedule it in for a time later in the year, Lee? I know it's something I want to do before I start refining my portfolio but I also know my portfolio in its current state isn't ready to be reviewed. It would be an amazing deadline to have too!
@Solomon-Designs Hi Solomon!
It's clear you've worked very hard to create your portfolio! And I can see some great moments there, you definitely have a big potential.
As other said before me, I'm afraid some of your illustrations would need more clarity - in value and shapes and general composition.
for example: I love the textures in the bird story, but overall, the characters are lost in the background.
Which is easily said but hard to do.
My advice, rather then trying to improve these existing pieces would be - create new ones, more simple and less busy and think about composition first. Maybe I am wrong, but I see a lot of very complicated scenes and complex images in your portfolio. Which is a good thing, but when you are just figuring out the rules of good composition, learning your values and shapes and lighting, you can be easily overwhelmed with all of this, the drawing it self eats up a lot of your time, so you spent less time in sketch and thumbnail phase.
It might be better to start with a simpler images and move towards the complex ones?
(Something like the fox and bird illustration you have on your portfolio - no BG, so you can focus on your figures and the shape of your props more. When you are supper happy with your characters and props, add a simple background and really focus and value grouping, colors and shapes, maintaining strong focus. once you are super confident there, try complicated scene with more characters and busy BG...)
For example. I love your illustrations with the Yeti or Big Foot family, I see you put a lot of effort in that piece. However, it lacks a clear focus and the characters are a bit wonky. I saw your Monkey character sheet (Oskar, I believe?) and I loved that execution! There are some confident lines and shapes. I think it might be because it was easier task overall, so you could spent more time on the drawing it self and really think it through?
Hope it helps a bit! I would love to see more of your stuff, if you'd like to share your progress with us!
Kim Rosenlof last edited by
@Solomon-Designs Giuseppe Castellano also does an hour-long portfolio review or an emailed portfolio review. He was an art director at Penguin at one point, I think, but now he does The Illustration Department which does classes and a podcast. I have never done a review with him, but if you search it in the forums, I think there are some that have done mentorships and other things with him.
Mia Clarke last edited by
@Kim-Rosenlof I did an emailed portfolio review with Guiseppe, and it was really, really good. He gave tangible, actionable feedback, he didn’t hold back, and after I implemented the changes he suggested I started getting offers of representation from agents (after two months of all rejections). I really recommend it!
AngelinaKizz last edited by
@Lee-White this is very exciting. Can't wait to hear more about this
Julia Hegetusch last edited by
@Mia-Clarke Hi Mia. Could you tell me how many pieces he reviews or does he look at all of your portfolio pieces? It doesnt say on his Website. Thanks so much!
Mia Clarke last edited by
@Julia-Hegetusch In my review I sent him my online portfolio, and I think he probably touched on half of the pieces in it, going into detail in like two or three. I had specifically told him I needed to understand why I was getting rejected by agents, and so instead of focusing on specific pieces so much, he spoke more about general problems he was seeing throughout my work. Before the review you get an email where you can tell him more about what you want him to look at, and I’m sure you could tell him which pieces you would like him to focus on. The review itself was 25 minutes, which at first I thought was not enough, but because the feedback was so concrete, I found it super useful.
If you’re thinking of getting a review, I suggest you take some time and think through what you want yo achieve by getting it. Do you want feedback on your technique and advise on what to study or practice to improve, do you want to know which pieces are your strongest, do you simply want to know if you are good enough to get work, or is it something else you’re after? I found that because I was able to ask for quite a precise thing, I got an answer that was helpful to me.
Julia Hegetusch last edited by
@Mia-Clarke ok thanks for your in dept reply. That is very helpful. Yes 25mins sounds short so it makes sense to think about what you want from it bevor hand.
Wish you all the best going forward
Jeremy Ross last edited by
Hi @Lee-White, that’s great news!
Few questions for you, please.
- Is the price of $225 for everyone, including members?
- Do current students (say 1 or more years enrolled) get a loyalty discount, say $100?
- Are follow-ups included? For example, “I fixed these pieces as discussed, am I on right track?” For clarity, I understand this can be tricky and time consuming; however, I’m thinking bulk upload single review, similar to what an instructor would do at Uni.
Hi everyone, Sorry for the lack of response about the portfolio reviews, we have been crazy busy around here! Here's a little more details about them.
We have upgraded what we were originally going to do so now the review will consist of two parts, a very specific video crit of your portfolio that will last around 30 min. Then there will be a follow up one on one zoom with your instructor that lasts another 30 min.
The total cost will be $325 for this in depth review. That is the absolute lowest we could make it and still pay the pros who are doing the crit and also pay our admin and costs here at svs. They will be rolling out slowly over the next few months and seating will be extremely limited in the beginning.
The teachers on board so far are:
- Me! (for a short time)
- David Hohn
- Yas Imamura
- Shane Hunt
- Vesper Stamper
- Anna Daviscourt and others to be announced soon.
@Jeremy-Ross I would LOVE to offer an in depth portfolio crit for $100! But the truth is, for that cost we would never be able to give the feedback that will truly change your work and plans. SCBWI offers those kinds of crits. 10 min of someone barely glancing at your work and giving an quick opinion never actually works. This is what we wanted to avoid. So we are priced for professional illustrators to spend the time looking at your work and helping you come up with a plan.
@Katherine yes! Once the link is live you can schedule as far out as that teacher has made available. : )
Jeremy Ross last edited by
Completely understand @Lee-White, thanks for the follow up!