General Portfolio Critique

  • Hello everyone! I was hoping i could get some critique on here that could help me out with my art portfolio website. Here it is:

    I feel like there are too many pieces in it and i want to narrow it down a bit! Some pieces are DEFINITELY notably older than others, but I'm having trouble convincing myself to delete them because I am still fond of some of their concepts, just not their execution ("Thriving Autumn" and "Peafowl Fox" are examples of this!) I was hoping some of you could offer your opinions!

    I should also note I'm not particularly looking to get hired for anything from this portfolio yet. I simply want to showcase my best pieces on a site other than instagram, haha.

    Other critiques are welcome too, such as on the setup of the portfolio page in general or the "Bio" section of it! Thanks so much everyone!! SVS has been very helpful to me so far and I love the community on here 🙂

  • I have enjoyed your knack with light in your illustrations ever since I first saw your work on this forum - it's something that I think makes your work stand out. It's so cool that you're taking art seriously as a high school student. I'm in my 20s and just trying to become serious now, but I realize that high school was a golden opportunity to progress as an artist that I, for the most part, missed out on. I'd recommend keeping commitment, love for what you do, and a pocket full of humility with you at all times, and your effort will surely pay off.

    I'm sure others might have better suggestions for the layout or content of your site, etc. My two cents would be that I was viewing your art on a phone, and I had to stare for a long time at the piece "hidden" before figuring out what exactly was what on the fox's face (I think mostly because I was trying to see two open eyes). I thought at first that maybe he had something in his mouth. Anyway, that piece may not be as readable on a small screen. Maybe put it further down on the page in case it trips up mobile viewers like me? It may be more clear once someone has gotten a sense of your style from your other pieces.

    Good luck!

    P.s. I think "thriving autumn" is one of your stronger pieces.

  • @amelia-bothe

    Hi Amelia,

    So first of all, your work is fantastic. It's absolutely breathtaking and I'm surprised you're not working for major publishers and companies already. I wouldn't worry too much about having too much work on there. I know the "rule" is 8-12 pieces, but I see lots of phenomenal and successful illustrators with many more (ie. If I were to pick your top five I would say:

    -Sushi Chef Kitty
    -Courtship Duet
    -Thriving Autumn
    -Red Panda Sparrow
    -Leaf and Berry

    You have an excellent sense of lighting, composition, animal anatomy, and giving a wonderful expression to your characters. (My one anatomy critique would be careful not to flatten cat faces in the more realistic pieces)

    If I were to nix anything, I would say the "lion sketch", "cat", and "peacock sketch", since they are more like studies than full illustrations. But really they're so well done I think they're fine left in.

    Regarding your bio, you are incredibly talented for your age (more so than many artists, myself included, probably ever will be). Though it's impressive, I might caution you against putting your age out there though once you start trying to work professionally. People can be very biased and may think that despite how incredible your work is, that your young age may mean you don't have the professional skills to handle a job yet. Additionally they may feel that since you're "just a kid" that they can take advantage and severely overwork/under pay you.

    From a technical standpoint, I don't know whether it's my computer or the site, but after visiting your bio and then clicking "Portfolio" at the top to go back to your work, the link seems to be broken and won't load. Probably just some extension missing here.

    At some point if at all possible I would suggest purchasing a domain name so that you don't have to have such a convoluted url.

    Overall I think you have a beautiful style and are headed in a clear direction. Keep it up and you'll do just fine! 🙂

  • @amelia-bothe For websites, I think it's okay to have more pieces, as long as they are what you consider your best work and what you want prospective clients to see. When submitting portfolios to companies and for review, that's when you'll need to pair it down to the cream of the crop. I recently received advice from a master artist and he said, "The person with the most images wins" and to generate inventory. You made lots of stuff; your website would be a good place to show that off. However, what people see on your site is what they will expect you to do, so keep that in mind when you keep older stuff there. Sometimes you have to chuck things aside you are fond of for the sake of growth. Even if you aren't looking to get hired right now, if you have a website, you are effectively putting yourself out there 😉

  • SVS OG

    @amelia-bothe said in General Portfolio Critique:

    Gee, I think you're going to make it sooner or later! Just dropping in quickly this morning, but thought I would put in my votes for:

    Leaf and Berry
    Sushi Chef Kitty
    Red Riding Wolf
    and perhaps also
    Barely Lit

    and the Irish setter has a lot of character as well 🙂

    I'd say you have two categories of work, since some are more wildlife paintings and others are more illustrations. The peacock one is a nice example of the former. I concentrated on the illustrations that clearly show a character. But also, the illustrations are some of your strongest pieces because they often have a clear image.

    If I could say one quick thing it would be to look at each of your pieces in black and white and make sure they read well even without color. You have a great sense of light, but sometimes the images would read better if the reflected light were still there, but taken down a notch. But you've clearly got a lot of skill at a young age, so keep up the good work!

  • Your work is beautiful! You are demonstrating finely honed art skills as well as an understanding of how to contribute to a story with creative and thoughtful illustration. Wow. Just keep on doing what you are doing and keep on showing your artwork. It truly is outstanding.

  • SVS OG

    Hi, @amelia-bothe
    I love the way you use light in your art. Very nice. You are so talented.
    My favorites are:
    Leaf and Berry
    Sushi Chef Kitty
    Cat and the Fiddle

  • @kathrynadebayo

    Thank you so much! I am so incredibly thankful that I have people in my life who have encouraged me to start take art seriously early in life, I'm sure i would not have done so without them!!
    And thank you for the feedback, it has been noted! I have moved down "Hidden" to lower on the page, and i'll watch out for that issue in the future, with some pieces reading better smaller than others.
    Thanks so much again!!!

  • @juliekitzes
    Thank you for the feedback! I agree, i think the lion sketch shall be taken out since it was more of a test piece than an actual painting.
    And i agree about the bio! The only reason I put my age is because it's such a common thing to do on social media sites like Instagram, but i agree it's not so at home on a portfolio site haha.
    I'll see what I can do about the Portfolio tab not working, hopefully that's an easy fix, thanks for pointing it out!!
    Thank you so much for your feedback and tips 🙂

  • @teju-abiola
    Ohh that makes sense! Thank you for pointing that out. I think once I'm ready to start looking for work generated from this portfolio, I'll narrow it down to only the illustrations/wildlife paintings/ whatever job i'm hoping for at the time! Thanks so much for your thoughts!!!

  • @lauraa
    Thank you so much for the feedback!! I agree with everything you've said here. And i'll definitely check the values in my paintings more...i indeed tend to go overboard with lighting sometimes haha! Thank you again!!

  • @larry-whitler
    Thank you so much for your words of encouragement, you are incredibly kind and sweet! ❤

  • @maureen Thank you so much for your kind words and feedback! 🙂

  • Some beautiful work! I adore your style. There is some great feedback here.

    I'll throw my 2c in here to. Firstly, I'm going to come from a marketers point of veiw and give feedback on your website based on your goal of becoming a freelancer.

    1. Your Bio
    You need to start thinking like someone who is coming to hire you.
    (This one sentence needs to apply to everything you do when marketing yourself)

    What will they want to know and see. Firstly, you need to be more confident and actually present yourself as being a freelancer and illustrator (you are - you just haven't had any jobs yet). Instead of saying "I'm hoping to become a freelancer etc" say something along the lines of "I am a freelance illustrator that specialises in creating indepth, and imaginative worlds for children (or whatever you goal is). If you are not sure what to say, I'll give some more tips below.

    2. Have A Clear Call To Action - Contact Me Page
    Let's say I'm looking to hire. I've seen your stuff, I love it, I want to hire you. What do I do next? People want to know how to contact you. Make it as easy and as obvious as possible. Don't hide it in your Bio or about me page. Make it obvious, and easy to find.

    3. Get A Professional Domain
    This is a little more complicated but is something you should heavily consider. Having a site, or doesn't look as professional as As someone who has hired people from their site before, these little things make me more confident in my decision. Wix should allow you to port your current site to a specific domain of your chosing. There will be some cost involved with hosting etc, but its usually $10 - $20 a month, possibly even cheaper.

    When You Are Not Sure What To Do...Steal
    If you are not sure what to put in your bio, or what your contact us page should include, look at those who are already succeeding. Who are the top illustrators getting all the dream jobs you want? Look at their website. What do they show? What do they say? How do they describe themselves? How do
    they describe their work? Take this as inspiration and apply it to your own website in your own words. You don't want to worry too much about any bells and whistles on the site (so long as it is clean and well presented), but you do want to look at the words and information they include.

    Anways, I hope that helps. Its a different perspective to a problem, but it should be useful 🙂


  • It's wonderful to see all the support you're getting. I hope you don't mind if I post again on your thread... I keep thinking back to when I was 16 and reminiscing about the way life was as an artist before college and kids and a mortgage and so on. It seems true to me that life just keeps getting more complicated as we get older, though perhaps more meaningful too. To me, the beauty of being a young artist, putting lovely work into the world like you are, seems to be its simplicity. I assume you make quality art because you love to do so, not because you have to pay all the bills. (That's the sense I get from your description of your portfolio site, at least.) The opportunity you have to create from the essence of who you are before trying to create to please others, or fit a specific market, or target certain clients seems like a treasure chest of jewels to me. If you're doing what you love at a high caliber, opportunities will surely knock, and you can answer them as you choose based more on heart and less on money.

    Sincerely wishing you all the best... 🙂

  • @amelia-bothe Hi. I know some people here are saying that is ok for your portfolio to have more pieces but I disagree. Is my opinion and I can be wrong, ok?
    I se great pieces in there but another not so great. One great piece can bring you work with a lot of luck, one not so good piece take away work from you instantly. Is like a job interview, you can answer perfectly all the questions and perhaps, with a lot of luck, they can hire you, but one and only unfortunate answer and you are out of question.
    If you can make great pieces, you know which they are and therefore, which they are not. My advice is to let 10, 12 pieces and take out the rest. And I'm sure that no one has to tell you which ones.
    I know that there are great artists with a lot of pieces in his portfolios. First, the pieces usually are all great, and second, they are already in the market, they have work, they have reputation, they have connections, etc. in other words, they can do whatever they want, almost.
    I don't really know (I was desconeced a lot of time) where we are with the domain page. Is always better to have your own, but I don't know if now is acceptable to have a Wix domain for work seeking purposes. I know that a few years ago was like a red light but times change so quickly now...
    Well, great job. Congratulations!

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