How to Up Your Portfolio Game: Advice From the Experts- Part 1

How to Up Your Portfolio Game: Advice From the Experts- Part 1

Let's talk portfolios. Whether you're just getting started in the beautiful world of art or you're a seasoned vet, your portfolio should reflect your experience, preferences, passions, and skill. Essentially, it's your way of communicating with potential studios or employers before they even meet you. Need some help getting started or just wanted to freshen up your current portfolio? 

Here are some great tips from successful Matte Painter and 3D Concept Artist, Marco Iozzi, as well as, well-known studios, Warhorse Studios and Framestore.

Tip 1: You'll be judged by your weakest artwork

While it’s very common to be hired by word of mouth and recommendations your portfolio needs to justify that. Make sure to keep your consistency with quality top notch. 

Uncertain about a particular piece? Cut it. It's better to have a short but high quality portfolio. 

Tip 2: Have your own 'voice'

While you should check out studio websites and forums to get a gauge for the quality of work expected, try not to imitate another's style. Show your own, original voice, as well as, the type of work studios need. 

In an interview with Warhorse Studios, their department lead said this about portfolio reviews:

It’s always nice to see works that are related to our project in both subject and execution. Then I look for something interesting, something I haven’t seen a million times everywhere. Something that shows that the person can think in creative manner, understand the form, and can make a fine-design decision. Don’t get me wrong; if you see that everybody is learning how to do hair or use substance designer, there’s probably good reason for it. 

Tip 3: Speak to the employers need

Showcase pieces that would make a client understand you have solid art foundations and design sensibility that can be applied in different scenarios. Some clients or studios would appreciate sketches, others more photorealistic work.

If you have a specific studio in mind learn about them, what they do, their style and try to prepare something tailor made for that position.

Tip 4: Less is more

Prepare less artwork and make sure the pieces you have are easy and quick to browse. A mix of subjects and consistency in quality shows that you're well-rounded and can adapt to difference projects. 

Tip 5: Experience is key

While traditional school isn't a bad credential, experience is coveted in the art world. If your background is primarily traditional school, utilize a blog, create a page on a platform or community forum to show off your work. This gives you the chance to ask for feedback, see what other artists are doing, and gets your foot in the door before you even apply for a job. 

Tip 6: Take on personal projects

In an interview with the lead recruiter from Framestore, we were given this advice: 

My top advice is to be persistent, keep working on personal projects if you don’t succeed straight away at finding the right job and stay in touch with the recruitment teams as so often in this industry it’s as much about timing your application right as it is about the quality of your work so you definitely shouldn’t give up at the first hurdle.

Check out Part 2 here

Thanks to the following for their contributions:

Marco Iozzi

Warhorse Studios