A great artist portfolio is something we all want to have and is the key to landing your dream gig; professional, freelance or honorarium. Below are some tips we’ve learned that may help you land that next project.
1. Show Focus
Often times finding what area you want to focus on as an artist takes time and exploration. You may dabble in visual development, 3D modeling, sound design, rigging, storyboarding, etc. But when it comes time to putting your portfolio together it’s important to show that you are focused.
This means, if you’ve done a lot of different things, step back and ask yourself, “What do I like doing best?” If it’s, say, visual development then find the pieces that represent your best work in that area and put a portfolio that best shows that work clearly. If you also like doing rigging, for instance, then make a separate portfolio that shows off your rigging work.
This will allow creators, studios and recruiters to best understand your work and not make them have to think.
Here are some great examples of portfolios that show clear focus:
- Andreas Russo – Sound Designer
- Laci Morgan – Voice Talent
- Mary Manning – Illustrator
- Phillip Rauschkolb – Character Designer
- Alexander Snow – Animator (note two separate reels for character and vfx work = perfect)
- Sophia Zauner – Rigger
- Jaime Martinez – Motion Graphics Artist
- Pablo Molina – Lighter
2. Less is More
In short, it’s best to have three really strong pieces than three strong pieces and a bunch of not so strong pieces.
As the saying goes, you’re only as good as your worst piece. Of course it takes time to practice and improve your work. But when you’re thinking about your portfolio, you have to be your own worst critic, get real and remove the pieces that are no longer your strongest.
Remember, what is your best work today, may not be your best work in 3 months. Always be cultivating and refining your work.
3. Get Active on Social Media
If you’re not already on twitter, facebook, instagram or snapchat you should consider doing so. That may be a lot to manage, but if being on all of them is too much, then pick your favorite two and start posting your work today. This will encourage you to post more regularly which, in turn, will help improve your work. While doing so you’ll be creating a following of people who get to know your work and who just may have gigs that come up. The more you post the more you are refining your work, showing your passion and improvement.
4. BONUS TIP: Help the Person Next to You
In crowded industries it’s easy to feel nervous, protective and fearful when it comes to getting that next gig. Do you share the news of a great opening with your friends who are also in the same exact field, or do you keep that opening to yourself? When the client says, “your style doesn’t fit what we’re looking for, we’re looking more for X” do you then walk away with your head down or do you turn around and say, “I have a friend who does X really well, let me make an introduction.” Some people call this type of thing “networking” we like to think of it as cultivating a spirit of generosity. Doing something with NO expectation of receiving anything in return is the key. When you cultivate a spirit of generosity you will not only super charge your quality of life, it will give you a bigger sense of purpose and fulfillment.
We believe in keeping things simple and we hope these three tips will help you refine your portfolio and help get you that next project that inspires you and and pushes your work and satisfaction to the next level.