Need Help with Website Decisions!
Hey guys, I need some external input on what pieces I should get rid of from my portfolio.
You can see the pieces I'm currently choosing to show here:
Let me know which of these you think should be removed.
And also which (if any) from other pages should be moved to the main portfolio page.
Here are other pages on my site:
Folktale Week Story
I'm realizing that I really need more kids in my portfolio, so that is something I'm actively working on and honestly, it feels like my portfolio doesn't stay the same for more than 2 minutes, which I guess is good but also a little frustrating sometimes.
Okay I'll stop blabbing, thanks in advance for your critiques and feedback!
Hey @Kristen-Lango , thanks for sharing your portfolios with us!
As I assume you aim for picture book illustration I would put all pink rabbits together as one single work: a sheet of characters of the bunny world. - Additionally one might argue that maybe (I really don't know) an art director is not as much interested in character sheets as in illustrations that tell a story.
So I would either put them all together as ONE piece in your portfolio or get rid of them.
Same for the two character illustrations of the blueish-grey-green artist. BUT I absolutely love the character design, so ... for HIM/HER I would recommend to add some background for both pictures and add some visual storytelling so he/she can stay in the portfolio.
I would also put away the second illustration of the witch (?) cat with the worm. The left one is funny and tells a story and I love the hand gesture and facial expression of the woman. But the pic with only the cat standing in a stiff posture with the worm in one paw can't catch up with the left illu, so it should be removed. It looks a little bit like you exactly knew what you wanted the facial expression to look like and also how the paw with the worm should look, but for the rest of the intire body you had no idea and just draw anything. - That's why that piece is weaker than the left one. It would have been something completely different if you had put the other hand at the cat's hip, letting per push out her breast in pride or anything. Then the rest of the body would emphasis what head and one paw are telling. And to add consistency it would be good to also show her ears poking out of the hat. (Maybe you want to do that piece again to have two illus of that character in your portfolio, that's why I'm suggesting how you could improve it.)
And lastly I would remove the picture with the chocolate sea. The idea of the illu is really nice, but in regards of drawing style the humans you drew look so very different from your other humans to me.
But of course that's all only my personal opinion, I'm not an AD. Please wait for also other forum members wrote down their opinion!
Jeremy Ross last edited by
Hi @Kristen-Lango, your portfolio certainly has consistency in style! Very playful and colorful characters created traditionally, which is cool.
I would disable the pop up on your homepage; that might not be appealing to agents and prospective clients.
On your environment page, I would definitely lose the sketches with perspective lines and stick with the final piece.
Finally, you might consider the detailed portfolio review that SVS is going to launch soon. That’s probably the best thing for you to get advice from the pro’s.
Sarah VanDam last edited by Sarah VanDam
@Kristen-Lango I’m curious: Who are some of the artists that you look up to and would like to emulate?
Chantal Goetheer last edited by
@Kristen-Lango your website is like a treasure trove to browse through. So much to find!! But also very different styles when I went through different subpages. Maybe more focus and try to set a limit of images you want to include? And also limit you menu. Right now besides the about and shop there are 15 or 16 pages.
I do really love your chocolate sea illo but it does have a very different style. A selection criteria of your many works would be, which tell the most story? And what do I want to demonstrate as a style?
The bunnies are super cute, but don't tell a story. I also came across patterns and also points and abstracts (that are still very recognisable you).
That pro review is a great idea, also then you probably have to choose what part to review.
Good luck with selecting!
@MimiHecher Thank you so much Mimi! I couldn't agree more with everything you said, thanks so much for bringing my attention to the weakness of the second cat witch illustration. You're so right about the pose being flat.
And yeahhh the chocolate sea one is a piece I'm disappointed in myself because I liked the idea but I wasn't so crazy about my execution of it. I've thought about removing that for a while now.
Thanks again! I really appreciate your help!
@Sarah-VanDam Hmm good question! Here are some artist I really love:
@Jeremy-Ross Thanks Jeremy! Yeah that pop up is something I added recently and I'm not sure how I feel about it either. I think you're right about taking the ax to that haha
Definitely good advice about getting rid of the sketches with the perspective lines.
I've been thinking about doing that detailed portfolio review. I really want to, I just need to justify the money spent haha
@Chantal-Goetheer Aw thank you Chantal! I really appreciate all your feedback. Ohh yess the many pages haha this is something else I've been meaning to trim down, and I just always get stuck on which ones to chop. I'm thinking about getting rid of "Past Projects" and maybe the "Sketchbook" and "Fan Art" and maybe condense the two abstract art tabs into just one page.
Yes definitely agree about the bunnies. They are actually also on the character design page, so yes I'll definitely remove them from the main portfolio.
It's so interesting the both you and @MimiHecher thought the ice cream chocolate sea illustration is markedly different from the others. I think I'll certainly be removing that.
All your feedback is making me realize something I sort of already had an inkling on, which is that I really need to make more story based pieces. I guess that's why I'm here!
Thank you all so much, you've been incredibly helpful!
Phew, okay you guys I think I've made all the changes you suggested:
The only thing I didn't take off of the main portfolio page are the two blue green characters only because someone important in the kidlit world once told me they really like them haha, but other than that I've removed everything you guys suggested and consolidated some pages, and am feeling good about this fresher start.
Hey @Kristen-Lango you are fast!
I wrote my feedback before clicking on your additional pages with illustrations, so I have to add a note on them:
From your watercolor sketches I absolutely LOVE the first one, the two mice with the mouse matches.
I'm not quite sure whether they fit to the portfolio, as they style is more scribbley (does this word exist?), BUT if you ever decide to do one or two additional pieces in that style I would recomment to put the mouse matches into your portfolio, together with the additional illus. To me this style would fit perfectly to early reader's books.
@MimiHecher Aw thank you Mimi! This is so nice to hear! I've heard similar things about the mouse matches, people seem to like them a lot I know what you mean about the scribbly-ness haha it's a word in our world. I actually did that piece so fast and intuitively and am a little scared to try to take those characters and do more with them because I don't know if I can replicate it but you know what, you're giving me the energy to try
MimiHecher last edited by MimiHecher
Oh, I absolutely understand that fear of not being able to replicate something that "accidentely" went right!
Maybe you can soften the fear if you plan it like this: As soon as you have the time to do it, give yourself FIVE attempts to replicate that style. Each of that attempt has to be a true, really felt attempt with effort. But you only "judge" the fifth be comparing it to the mouse matches.
To not let it become boring, make it 5 different illustrations, not repeating the same thing 5 times. Or decide for a story to tell and tell it from 5 different povs.
So the first 4 will only be the way forward TO replicating the style and don't discourage you.
And who knows... maybe you will love all 5 illus in the end.
@MimiHecher This is a great idea Mimi! I will definitely be trying this!
@Kristen-Lango Hi Kristen! Okay—So, first of all, I agree with several people that your blue-green people (especially the one reaching up) and your design of the girl looking shocked at the cat with the worms are my favorite things you’ve illustrated. Even though the blue-green characters are much more simple, their gestures and designs are interesting. The girl’s expression and hand gesture is also well drawn—while stylized, it has good spacial awareness, and it’s really fun to look at.
When I looked up the artists you are interested in, I could see some things that inspired you, from stylization of characters to vibrant colors:
Here’s where I personally think you go from here: Do you remember that 3PP episode where Will Terry talks about getting a critique from illustrator David Small earlier in his career? He essentially asked Will “Why do you have to use so much #*!@% color?” He essentially made the point that, if everything is really saturated and colorful, you can’t create good focal points or tell effective stories. That’s where I think a lot of your pieces are right now: You have a lot of fun with the colors, but it’s not well controlled yet. Even David Catrow reigns in his colors and creates focal points of highest contrast and saturation.
I have an idea for a challenge for the month, and I’m wondering if you’d be interested it: Have you ever done a master-copy before, where you pick one of your favorite illustrators and then try to exactly replicate their work? I’m going to do one of those this month. It could even be just a section of a piece you want to study. And then, the next month, you do your own piece but in their style to apply what you’ve learned.
For example, this was several years ago, but I tried drawing a character in David Catrow’s style:
Anyways, happy March! Hope some of this helps.
@Sarah-VanDam Oh my gosh thank you so much Sarah! This is extrodinarily helpful! And I loved that you took the time to include images from my favorite artists
Ahaha yesss that episode haunts me. Its crazy you bring that up because that quote that you mentioned from Will has stuck with me ever since hearing it.
I totally agree with you about the focal point issue and not being able to control things yet.
Its so funny you mention master copies because I'm actually in Children's Book Pro right now and just finished some which have helped me to learn a lot about the short-comings in my own work.
Goodness it's like you're reading my mind hahaha it's crazy you included a study of Catrow because I literally just sat down to do studies from his book "Monster Mash" They are just sketches (and I did do more full color studies of Beatrice Alemagna which was life changing haha) but here are a few of them:
Thanks again! This was so helpful, and I appreciate you taking the time to respond so thoroughly! Happy March to you too
@Kristen-Lango Oh, WAY TO GO!! This is awesome!
@Kristen-Lango Awww, awesome copying! O_o
I'm really happy for you you are taking CBPro at the moment! I miss being part of it, took it in October 2022.
I'm sure you will love the whole course! Would be interested in seeing your upcoming homeworks as well!
@MimiHecher @Sarah-VanDam aw thanks guys!! I'll definitely post my homework for the class on this thread as well.
Yes I can totally imagine missing the class/group dynamic when it's finished. I'm hoping our group will stay active on the discord.
@Kristen-Lango I hope so for you, too. I took CBP a year ago, and my Discord group has really died down. I’m grateful for the forum here.