Querying Agents/ Portfolio Critique

  • Hi all! I was wondering if anyone has some feedback on my current portfolio. My goal is to add 10-12 new pieces (and maybe replace some) before I start querying for an agent. If anyone has checked out the thread Our SVS Virtual Studio February❤ I posted some spot illustration sketches I am currently working on.

    Screen Shot 2020-02-12 at 1.25.32 PM.png

    Also, If anyone has pics or advice about what their portfolio looked like when they got an agent that would be helpful too :))

    Thanks!! ☺

  • The feedback I recently got from an agency was to add 'kids of all shapes, sizes and nationalities doing more things'. So I suppose make sure you have some standard kids, tall kids, skinny kids, short kids, fat kids, happy kids, sad kids, screaming kids, laughing kids, silly kids, and on and on and on, lol.

    Other than that I'm busy revamping my portfolio for the same reasons you are, so can't give many suggestions 🙂

  • OOO! Thanks so much Braden, thats really good advice! My wheels are turnin. Maybe i'll do a big scene and stick as many kids in there as possible 🤔

  • @Katie-Kordesh Lots of little spots could work, too! I find I can make those a lot faster than full scenes

  • SVS OG

    @Katie-Kordesh hi, Katie! I love your work. I think you’re off to a great start. I think your skills are already professional level. You might even land an agent with your current portfolio. But if you want to increase your chances, here’s my few tips.

    1. Make more multi-cultural Kids. Like @Braden-Hallett said, illustrate various kids of various races, of various shapes and sizes doing various things. When I first signed up with my agent, they also asked me to create A LOT of kids. Publishers apparently love incorporating various races in their books nowadays. I’m currently working on a book with an Indian and Filipino protagonists.

    2. Make Narrative Pieces. A good way to differentiate a professional portfolio from a student is to see if they have multiple illustrations telling a story. Why? Publishers want to see if you can recreate the same character over different pieces. A lot of amateur artists can’t do this. They also want to see how you interpret text into images. My suggestion is to pick at least two classic fairytales ( or any story of your choosing) and make atleast 3 illustrations for each.

    I hope this helps. I wish you all the best.

  • Hi Nyrryl! Thanks so much for the kind words and feedback! Definitely going to plot out some kid centric illustrations. I really like your top down illustrations with a lot of kids doing stuff, and I remember really enjoying looking at illustrations like that as a kid.

    Thanks for pointing out I need to add more narrative pieces. I just realized I have a lot of characters in the middle of the page just sitting there.

    Thanks again! lots to work on 💪

  • Trying to add more kids doing stuff

  • @Katie-Kordesh I love your works!the characters are so lovely, and the color palette is fantastic.
    When I sent my portfolio to my agent, I was first being rejected. Then it took me more than one year to add and tweak my portfolio again. I think what I did is:

    1. Sequential arts, I added some sequential arts to show that I can handle consistency.
    2. Environments, I created indoor, outdoor, fantastical scenes.
    3. Lighting schemes, I added dusk, evening, fire scenes.
    4. More than one spread dummy of a picture book, I made sure that there are spaces for texts and no vital character in the border or more straightforward to say, scenes with texts.
    5. Lots of kids! I know some artists only draw animals, but to increase the chances, I added a bunch of kids with various ethnicities, gender, ages, shapes, and personalities.

    And the most important is, I've had to feel comfortable with the technic and style I used. I understand that after someone signed with an agent, they still able to change the technic and style depending on the projects, but I didn't want to start with something I didn't feel comfortable or confident in the first place.

    I hope it helps and good luck! 🙂

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    @Katie-Kordesh Very nice stuff Katie! : )

  • @lenwen Aw thank you so much for feedback! I am big fan of your work.

    Yeah I can see I have a lot of things to work on. Moving forward I'm gonna work on building out some more complex scenes so I can get more lighting/ scenery and character involved. Also noticing a lack of interesting compositions on my end. I think a nighttime campsite scene with snacks would be so much fun! : )

  • @Lee-White Wow thanks so much Lee!! this just made my day 😊

  • Hi Katie. Wanted you to know your portfolio link in the post goes to a 'We couldn't find the page you were looking for.'. Your link goes to /childrensbooksl rather than /picturebooks.

  • @Shawn omg! thanks for letting me know!! I just changed my url slug yesterday 🤦♀ I think I have updated all my links now

  • Painted! peintrebabiescrop3.jpg

  • Moderator

    @Katie-Kordesh When I blur my eyes, the shoes disappear on the older girl painting , they are pretty close to her skin color. Fun piece though. 😃

  • @CLCanadyArts ok thank you for note!! I’ll make them a different color 😊

  • Moderator

    @Katie-Kordesh You're welcome. I really love it. The other kids are so carefree, while the older girl beems confidence, almost smugness.

  • Hi Katie! I love your work! I got a portfolio review from an agency last year and one of the biggest things was needing to show several sequential pieces with the same characters to show that you can hold the character and take them through a story. You have that with your bat character which is awesome, but probably need a bunch more variety of different characters. Also showing kids of all ages—actually from babies up to grandparent ages so they can see how you handle them. Another thing is showing a variety of viewpoints—like birds eye view, wide environment scenes, close ups, etc, not just a straight on view like they are characters on a stage. I’ve been working on my portfolio for months and still haven’t checked all the boxes—it’s a lot of work! But I’m sure you can get creative with nailing a bunch of things in one illo!

  • @NatLundeen Aw Hi! Yeah I think I am really starting with the bare bones of a portfolio. So much stuff I need to work on and add! I freaking love your donut shop/hardware piece and campfire scene. Definitely need to be more intentional about what views Im showing and adding more characters. I think I haven't been using my brain that much and picking easy design solutions like the straight on view. Thanks so much for the feedback : ) I really appreciate it ☺

  • @Katie-Kordesh oh thank you so much!! If I could I would do every single piece just straight on, it’s fun to work without having to work your brains! 😆

Log in to reply