As I have mentioned before, as well as being an illustrator I am a graphic designer. They are two professions that go hand in hand, and having a basic knowledge of graphic design will help us as illustrators. That is why I want to make a series of posts on this blog with some tutorials and tips that will help us improve our image and the way we present our illustrations.
One of the main ways to present ourselves professionally as illustrators is the portfolio. Although nowadays we have digital platforms to show our work online (Instagram, Behance or Domestika, for example) I think it is important to have a selection of our work in a portfolio, physical or digital. And if it is well designed, polished and has a good presentation, so much the better.
Before starting to lay out, we must sit and think (I usually do this with a notebook to take notes and with access to the internet for research). And that’s because before starting our portfolio we need to decide a number of things, for example:
- What specific sector of illustration do I want to aim to?
- What do I do best? What do I have to improve?
- Which commissions have I made for clients and really enjoyed?
- Which projects define me best as an illustrator?
- Do I have a unique style? Is it important to have it in my sector?
Based on this we will decide which way to go and choose which illustrations we include in our portfolio, in what order and if we have enough or need to do something new. For example: if I like editorial and product illustration, I will make two different portfolios focused on each sector (or at least I will separate them very clearly).
I know this requires a lot of information and knowledge about our profession, and there is no correct way to do things (every potential client has his own way of working and will look for something different in our portfolio), but we can get a little closer if we know the specifics of the sector we are targeting.
I am not going to explain much more about this since my experience is limited and specific, but I recommend that you follow other illustration professionals to learn more: read their blogs, follow their YouTube channels, listen to their podcasts, look for books on illustration, design, entrepreneurship and creativity … it all helps! And what I love about this profession it is that illustrators very often share their experiences and help each other.
I am going to recommend some resources that I follow and that have helped me a lot:
- Ilustrando dudas (in Spanish): on this website, Io Bru is dedicated to collect ALL the information available on the world of illustration, curating it and offering it in a clear and understandable way. She has several articles on the portfolio and also offers online mentoring sessions – a gem!
- El club del dibujo (in Spanish) in this podcast, the illustrator Andrés Sanchís tells us about his experiences as an illustration professional and has in each episode other professionals as guests who talk about specific topics, very interesting and also entertaining! Since it’s a podcast, it is ideal to listen to while we draw.
- Frannerd’s YouTube channel: In this channel, illustrator Fran Meneses tells us about her daily life as an illustrator, her favorite materials and also about the daily problems of the freelance. In addition, she usually uploads great comics to her social networks so I recommend you follow her there too.
These are only three resources, there are a million more out there but I didn’t want this entry to become eternal, if you are interested in learning about other resources on the world of illustration and design, comment or write to me via email or on my social networks and I will prepare a post on the subject.