Websites and Online Portfolios

  • @NessIllustration There are some boilerplate and bootstrap WordPress themes out there where you can determine your layout and content and adding plugins like Elementor or Beaverbuilder to add content and site structure without getting bloated with stuff you don't need for an Portfolio website. My site using it. Its not 100% but I keep building it out as I go.

  • @carlianne Oh I love your full name! I was thinking how lyrical your name is! It matches well with your sweet illos.

  • @carlianne I think it actually works in your favor. People are going to be more likely to remember it and the word "tipsy" has funny, but pleasant connotations rather than if your last name was "Drunk". πŸ™‚ Art directors and agents are humans and as adult they would find it amusing enough to recall your name: a plus over more generic or harder to pronounce names. Its not the kids you have to sell to but adults.

  • @carlianne Thanks, yeah, I don't know why IG would detract from a portfolio (like why would anyone be checking up on all your accounts?), but that was the idea I got from a friend that had a portfolio review from someone at 3X3 magazine. Somehow I only looked at your website from the featured student thread and missed your IG account, so I'm pretty happy to see how you balance the two in such a fun way. I need to find a way to relax about sharing my work because almost all of the time, my work isn't anything I want to share.

  • @carolinedrawing I mean I'm sure there are SOME people who might do that, but again unless you're actively going for a job it shouldn't matter anyway. And thank you so much! I started doing the art tutorials just on a whim and it's been really incredible the amount of great engagement I've got from it. But I wanted to still have my art there, so I feel like by doing half and half you get cool tips followed by inspiration??? But I get the feeling of worrying that your work isn't good enough. I some times don't post stuff for that reason too. But in general my personal philosophy is that I'll never really feel fully ready, but it's better to start trying and make mistakes than not try.

  • Moderator

    @Geoffrey-Gordon Start a new post and teach us. I would be interested in reading that. πŸ‘

  • @burvantill That is a good idea let me put some thought it and write it out as a detailed post. It may be quite lengthy but I will break it down into sections to make it easy to follow. It will be purely WordPress based however, not any other platforms.

  • @Geoffrey-Gordon I am transiting from Squarespace to WordPress within this year to cut down the running cost. I would be interested in following your thread if you are doing it.

  • SVS Team SVS OG

    I think we should all go back to using microsoft frontpage.

  • SVS OG

    This was a super interesting episode. I've toyed with the idea of creating website before. And, I've been asked if I have one. To me, though, the website, much more than social media, says "Here I am, I'm ready for work." And, that's the reason I haven't built one yet. I'm not ready to take jobs or sell anything. Even if I have my 10 pieces I'm not ready to market something I cant deliver. If that makes sense... I'm just plugging away at learning and leveling up, so that when I'm ready, I'm ready.

  • Pro

    @Pamela-Fraley I think you're overthinking it a bit... For one thing, when we build a website we then have to drive traffic to it. We have to send the link with job applications, agency applications, blast it everywhere on social media. Just building the website won't automatically bring people overwhelming you with more work than you can handle. And if you get a project that's too hard for you, you can always refuse. But also, it's good to remember that there is work out there for many different skill level, from barely decent to expert. You don't have to be at Norman Rockwell level to even start looking for work. I started doing little gigs in college when I was a looot less skilled than I am now. But doing that work taught me a lot of things I couldn't have learned just practicing by myself. I looked through your Instagram and you have such beautiful work. There are a lot of professionals working in the field right, getting regular work, who are your level or less. Now normally I would just say that you can wait however long you want until you feel ready to get work... But if you're that good now and still don't feel ready, when are you ever going to feel ready? It's more of a confidence and perception issue than a skill issue.

    Not only that, I feel that the only way to become ready to work is to do work. It might seem illogical, but how do you gain the experience of working on a children book (for example) other than doing a children book? How do you get communicating with art directors without communicating with them? They're not skills you can learn by yourself. I'd wager that if you took one children book job, by the end of it you would have learned more from it than a whole year of practice by yourself. Doing these professional gigs IS practice and there's nothing else as good to teach you the ropes. In a way, by waiting to feel ready to accept work (or even just build your portfolio), you are thwarting your own progress... I see it everyday, illustrators who are SO good, like twice as good as both of us combined, yet they're not getting work and I am. It's so incomprehensible to me... But the only reason that is so is they're waiting until they feel "ready", until they feel "good enough" which will never happen because we are always improving as long as we live. They are forever creating new pieces for their portfolio but never feel it's good enough to send to publishers or agents so they sit on it, keep practicing and practicing. I would hate for that to be you, when you have so much talent!

  • SVS OG

    @NessIllustration Thank you! Its encouraging that other working artists think I have the skill to do it. I admit that confidence in my skill level is at least part of the issue for me. I feel extra behind because my art education didn't go beyond high school till I found Will Terry's Youtube and SVS.

    But, the bigger issue is more of a practical thing. I just don't have time to commit to paid art work right now. I have done a few sales events... fundraisers and some craft fairs, but its always such a big interruption to our family that it isn't a realistic option for me to be doing it consistently yet. My family is encouraging and supportive, but I co-own my husband's construction business and I do a large part of the admin things. And, we have 5 kids. No one does very well when I lock myself away in my office, so I kinda just make time here and there when I can. Its much more than it has been since my youngest started school and that's encouraging. But, I feel like I cant take work, because it would pretty much be committing to a client that my family wont need me, and that's the minute they'd all get hit with a stomach flu, or something ridiculous. I'm trying to keep at it as much as possible so that when I have the time, I wont have forgotten how to hold a pencil. I'm not wasting the waiting if I can help it. And I know that the time with my kids is precious. But, I also agree that diving into a job would probably be an incredible learning opportunity.

  • SVS OG

    @NessIllustration your art is beautiful by the way! Congratulations on your book. It’s adorable! ☺️

  • Pro

    @Pamela-Fraley Wow 5 kids and a company, I'm surprised you have time to draw at all! You're doing amazing, girl πŸ™‚ Things will work out for your art eventually, I know it. You will have your day!

    As for art school, I feel like this is such a big part of the confidence issue. A lot of self-taught artists feel that somehow they missed some big art secret by not going to art school, that they are missing crucial training and therefore aren't good enough... When you've gone to art school you know, there is no big secret and self-taught artist can know just as much as diploma holding artists. Sometimes in college I used to think "that's it? There's not... more to this?" Nope, it's knowledge you can get anywhere these days (online classes, books, etc) combined with lots of practice. But if I hadn't been to college (and also was hired by a studio afterwards) I don't know that I'd have the confidence to pursue freelance illustration as I am today. Confidence is a really tricky thing!

  • Pro

    @Pamela-Fraley Aww thank you, that means so much!

  • @Geoffrey-Gordon and fellow artists,

    Do you know any trusted source/tutorials which have a detailed guideline for how to optimize images for SEO (including how to properly name the image, and wirte alt-text and keywords for each image). There is a lot pops up with a google search, but I have no way of varify which source to trust.

    I am re-organizing my website right now, and thought I might do a clean up, especially with the image names.

  • SVS OG

    @Geoffrey-Gordon Did you ever make any progress on doing a tutorial/class on this? I am looking into a website at the moment and I would love to take such a class!

  • Today, for illustrators,...I think we can get away without one.

  • "Dreamweaver? Nobody uses this any more."

    I haven't heard that name in a long time, Haha. I remember trying to use Dreamweaver way back in college. Website development wasn't really my thing.

  • SVS OG

    @jsnzart In my opinion though, I think it's still vital to have one. It shows your client that you are invested in this job that you're willing to pay a few bucks to get yourself out there. Of course, there are social media platforms but a personal portfolio website just says professional.

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