Advice on Portfolios

“Don’t spend lots of money creating something with clever wizardry – the simpler the better”

Helen Parker, Head of Illustration at Blink Art

With so many more accessible ways to find and view work, presenting your work in the right way is now more important than ever. In this gloriously digital age, everyone is expected to work faster and get more done; sadly people have less time to spend looking at work, and this means you have to stand out more. 

Here is my checklist of dos and don’ts for presenting your work:

Create a website or Tumblr page. Don’t spend lots of money on creating something with clever wizardry – the simplest sites are the best. Take a look at Tom Clohosey Cole’s site for a shining example. If you have both stills and moving-image work, separate the disciplines so it’s easy to navigate.

Edit your work down. You don’t need more than 100 images on a website – the more you have, the slower the site will be. Equally, don’t freak out if you don’t have 100 images – don’t put work up that you are not happy with to make up the numbers. 

Keep images to a similar size. An orderly page will give each image visual potency. This was a particular challenge with Stevie Gee’s page on our website as he works for such varied clients with multiple end uses. But after some careful editing and cropping, the results are so satisfying.

Don’t shy away from printing a portfolio. We are all so glued to screens these days that seeing work printed out at a decent size (A3 is best) is ultimately more pleasurable, even if the original was produced digitally. If you create artwork by hand, take sketchbooks along to show clients, agents or art directors. Personal work is always the loveliest to see.

Create printed marketing material. A postcard is still the most effective thing to leave with someone after a meeting. If it’s an image that really resonates, they will almost certainly put it on their wall and then you will always be there reminding them that you’d like to be commissioned. Stickers are great too, and surprisingly cheap to print. My laptop is covered in stickers by my artists. Tote bags, if you’re feeling flush, are also great. 

For any further advice, you’ll have to come and see me for a cuppa and a chat! 

Helen Parker is Head of Illustration at Blink Art, a creative agency representing photography, illustration, set design, film, animation and installation.

Posted 25 May 2017 Written by Helen Parker
Collection: Portfolios
Disciplines: Illustration
Mentions: Blink Art


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