Building my Portfolio

  • So, here is where I am:
    wannabe-illustrator but not much time for it right now, so my main focus for the moment is to improve my art and make about 10 strong illustrations to build my portfolio.
    I feel like I have learned a lot in the last few months, taking Will Terry's classes and plan to learn some more when I can afford to subscribe to SVS (in a few months hopefully).
    My weak points, I think, are colours, I definitely need to work on that a lot, and also get better at perspectives. I would say my strong points are shapes (actual drawing) and I don't think I'm too bad at compositions and characters expressions (hope I'm not fooling myself there! :p )
    Here are 2 illustrations I've made so far, which are part of a serie of portraits (3 or 4, not sure yet)

    And another illustration I'm working on, I'm on the first stages of colouring now

    Please don't hesitate to tell what you think, good or bad. I need a neutral eye on what I do. thanks!

    Apart from this project, I'm taking the Jake Parker's "design 100 somethings challenge" , I've decided to draw 100 children. 2 done so far, 98 to go! 😃 I might also colour some of them here and there

  • @audreydwg Hi Audrey, lovely to meet you. Wannabe? Nobody is a wannabe. so never downsize yourself. You are very talented. and I love your style. I really love your mustage-man! You are already on your way becoming a professional. Illustrating is so much fun, take your time! Its fun here and there's very much to learn, people here are very inspiring.

  • Wow, what wonderful work your doing, don't put yourself down you have a great sense of style. I would recommend doing the subscription as it is cheaper than paying for courses individually. You get access to all the course and workbooks. Cant wait to see more of your work.

  • Your work is incredible! I would think you were already publishing as good as your characters are and they are unique!! You are going to do very well!

  • Your work so far looks very good. What I've found is there are no shortcuts...only lots of hard work to get where you want to go. I agree with Steve that the subscription is a deal. Oh and welcome and thanks for sharing.

  • Good stuffs! like they way you stylize your characters.

  • thank you for your replies! big boost of confidence today
    working hard is definitely the plan 🙂
    I'm looking forward to taking the subscription as well. happy to have found this site: for people kind of stuck at home, it's a real gold mine

  • SVS OG

    I saw that SVS shared your distinguished gentleman on their facebook feed yesterday. Nice job!

  • @Rich-Green I saw that this morning, it was a lovely surprise to see it on my feed! 🙂

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    This work is very lovely. If you are building your portfolio, character building is a great way to start.

    If I could offer a suggestion, don't use the character design pages as portfolio pages. For your actual 10 portfolio pieces, you need to show story telling, not character design (although that is a part of the process). You can show this development work on your website though.

    I'd say this is a good breakdown for a portfolio:

    1. Show three images from the same story. Try to highlight character interaction and get a sense of emotion and story.

    2. Show 2 images that highlight environment. You can have some characters in there, but make sure the environment is the main thing. Will does this extremely well so poke around his website for inspiration.

    3. For the remaining 5, try to vary the stories and how you show the story. Be specific to the type of work you want to get.

    4. Leave room for text in at least 75% of the work. I typically put the text in there. It shows art directors that you understand the business that we are in.

    5. Have fun! Don't put too much pressure to get 10 perfect images right away. Shoot for painting 20 or 30 and then picking the best 10 out of that.

    When I was leaving school, I did two things for my work that helped get the all important first book deal. I did half my portfolio on classic fairy tales from around the world which was a blast. Then I did the other half doing images from current magazine articles in kids lit (highlights, Spider, Cricket, etc.). This worked well. On my first trip to NY I landed an agent and a book!

    Let me know if you have any questions. : )

  • @Lee-White thanks for the advice lee, I will take it into account!

  • Audrey I think your work is incredible and obviously you are on your way to something special! When you get your 10 portfolio pieces done will you share them here?

  • @Lee-White Wow I wish I had heard all this before now! Going to my first SCBWI regional event in a few weeks and I'm not nearly prepared...

  • @tallison7 oh thanks! of course, I will share them as I go along 😉

  • here's where I am with my illustration.
    there has been great progress, but lord it's SO slow!
    I can't wait to improve to the stage where I can work faster. My portfolio will be ready in 10 years time at that pace 😕
    any feedback on this, while I'm at it?

  • Lovely composition! I like it 🙂


  • Just know that, even if it is (painfully) slow, you are on the right track. I happen to be a pretty slow painter and that's what I have to keep telling myself. Also I have to keep reminding myself that if I don't get up at 5:30am everyday to paint for 1-1.5 hours my portfolio will never ever get done.

    This is very good work!

  • 5.30!
    I'll go crazy if I sleep any less 😃
    I manage to squeeze some time most afternoons. I wish I had more time (story of my life ^^ )
    thanks for the support
    I love your work matt

  • SVS OG

    Sweet illustration! I really like how you depicted that bush the bunny is hiding behind with those variations of blue.

    My suggestion would be to add a more distinct contact shadow where her legs and bum are making contact with the grass. I think it will give more of the illusion of something heavy kind of pressing the grass down. Not that I think she is heavy...

    Also, because I like that blue bush so much, I think it is making the ferns and the leaves in the foreground feel out of place. The intricate linework of the leaves and ferns give it more of a feeling of "exactness" while the bush has more of a feeling of whimsy and playfulness. Hope that kind of makes sense, lol 🙂

  • yes perfect sense 😉 I'll take your suggestions into account when I get to these. thanks!

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