Creating an illustration portfolio: Part II

Creating an illustration portfolio: Part II

Once we have learned about the world of illustration and the specific sector we want to target, it is time to curate the content of our portfolio. And that’s when the first questions come to us: what do I include? How many images do I show of each project? Do I make a digital or a paper portfolio? Do I add text?

Many of these factors will depend on the sector you are targeting, for example:

  • If you want to work illustrating books you should have a digital and a physical portfolio, (if you have any published work it is better that you take it to the meetings too). If we present a more finished product to the editor he or she will decide more easily if he or she wants to publish our work.
  • If you want to work in illustration for digital media (for example, apps), it’s best if younhave a digital portfolio.
  • If you want to focus on product illustration, it always helps to include mock-ups (I will make a post about those later on) or models of how the finished illustration will look on the product.

The idea is that you present your work in a way that it’s closest to how it will be reproduced and  as finished as possible. Look at it from the client’s point of view and think if he or she will understand your portfolio and if it will be a useful tool to decide if they are interested in your services.

There is nothing established about the quantity of images, but there is a golden rule: quality is better than quantity. It is better to show a few illustrations that stand out and are really good than to show a lot of mediocre work or one that doesn’t represent your style. The usual is between 10 and 15 illustrations. Bonus tip: do series! Presenting several illustrations on the same topic (for example, several book covers for a collection or some designs for juice bottles of different flavors), this will demonstrate that you have a consistent style and you can translate it into different set illustrations.

Finally and to make this task easier, get organized! It is important that when preparing or updating your portfolio you can easily access the images that you are going to include. That is why it will make your life much easier to have a well-ordered folder system (per year, per customer, per sector …) on your computer. In my case I have it per year and per customer. Another thing I do is, once finished, export the illustration in various formats: in CMYK in high resolution for printing and for the portfolio on paper, in RGB in high resolution for the digital portfolio and in RGB in medium / low resolution for my website or for social media (and in a format that fits them). I also name the files so it’s easy to tell them apart. So, when I look for the image for any use, I don’t have to reopen it and resize it; it is more efficient.

With all this information it is time to choose which projects we will add to the portfolio, how many images per project, whether we will do it a digital or paper portfolio, or both, what format and size works best for us and what approximate number of pages it will have. Also to order the files to have them ready for later.

And that’s it for today, what questions have popped on your mind before starting to lay out your portfolio? Are you having trouble keeping it updated? Tell me all about it in the comments and on my social media! You can find me on Instagram , Twitter and LinkedIn

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