The Art of Creating the Perfect Portfolio
How you present you artistic work can make a huge impact on recruiters. Experts share helpful tips for your next portfolio review. By Dominick Domingo
it evolves over time, taking stock periodically and asking the big questions can result in a brand that speaks to people, that makes an art director wish to bring you on and share its magic on their project. While it’s nearly inarguable that standing out from the crowd is an asset, there are plenty of positions that call for versatile, adaptable artists who employ tried-and-true conventions, replicating an existing brand and staying “on model.” A rigid personal style (as opposed to a storytelling sense or a strong voice that infuses “life” in the work) will invariably limit an artist to those directors and projects who respond to it!
Branding My Art Center students design a personal logo that captures their essence and brands everything from their portfolio pages to their business cards, leave behinds and websites or online portfolios. Whether a humorous caricature or a conceptual graphic that engages in an interactive way, a pneumonic image may stick in the mind’s eye of those with the power to hire you, especially if it reflects your voice as an artist!
The Myth of a Catch-all Anima
tion Portfolio Even a Visual Development generalist usually leads with props or character design, or specializes in story beats and color scripts. A portfolio that seems to have no understanding of the production pipeline or the departments therein can be alarming. My best recommendation is to do the research. Know what niche in production you are best suited for and ca-
comps in his sleep,” or, “Man, this guy loves to draw!” However, less is indeed more if all the work is not equally competent. Which leads to... You’re as Strong as Your
Weakest Link Each new piece in a portfolio can and should demonstrate a new skill set or flavor, without redundancy. In that way, flipping through a portfolio can be thought of as a journey, an experience over which you have the control. You manage the pacing, the flow and the rhythm, the first impression and the final, lasting impression.
Start with a Bang, End with
a Bang! This phrase gets thrown around quite a bit, and is akin to the sayings “first impressions are indelible” and “leave a lasting impression.” If both are true, does one just “cruise” on mediocre work in between? And if you’re only as strong as your weakest link and the caliber must be consistent, what falls between your first impression and your final “bang?” It’s simple: What’s usually meant by the elusive “bang” is simply a large, full color piece, maybe even one that spans the gutter as a double-page spread. Even trained artists are captivated by shiny objects! Creating and Organizing
Content Once the dream job has been identified and portfolio requirements researched, there are often gaps that must be filled in a portfolio — more storyboards, more color story beats from those storyboards, more props, vehicles weapons or other assets. I recommend taking night classes as a structured opportunity to
Many of the trailblazing women who brought pencil drawings to dimensional life at the Mouse House and other studios finally get their due in this timely book by Johnson. Rich with archival material, never-seen-before photos and artwork, this masterful work highlights the contributions of women such as Hazel Sewell, who oversaw the evolution of the Ink & Paint department at Disney; Dorothy Ann Blank, a former journo who developed early story treatments and wrote dialog for Snow White; Luisa Field, who edited the music on Fantasia; and Barbara Wirth Baldwin, the head of the airbrush department — as well as LaVerne Harding, who worked with Walter Lantz.
One of the first tips any animator will give you is to carry a small sketchbook with you everywhere, and draw, draw, draw any chance you get. This cool Pixar- branded sketchbook is comprised primarily of blank pages for you to fill in with ideas, storyboards and sketches. It’s divided based on the core preproduction stages of Concept, Color, Story, Characters and Worlds, and each section begins with a brief introduction, some inspiring quotes from Pixar artists and a few key examples of related art before launching into blank templates. If Woody, Nemo, Remi and The Incredibles can’t get you to draw more, then nothing will!