The Art of Cre­at­ing the Per­fect Port­fo­lio

Animation Magazine - - International School Guide - By Mindy John­son (Dis­ney Edi­tions, $60)

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!

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