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What do I mean when I say portfolio?
What an illustrator’s portfolio is in 2022
When I say portfolio, I mean 3 things.
Did I plan for it to be that way, not really, but that is how it worked out.
A portfolio is not a CV, it’s proof that you have the skill and knowledge to do a very particular job
Twitter, Instagram and a website combined become the proof.
Twitter is where you prove your knowledge of the industry, you laugh to show you get the insider jokes. You stay silent on things that are best to stay silent about. You elbow your way into conversations without looking too embarrassing. You be helpful and you ask for help, giving and growing your knowledge in the process. Make yourself a valuable part of the community.
Instagram is where you show your work and skill. You work in public, for yourself at first and then for clients. Art challenges show clients how you handle creative briefs. I see it as completely pointless to complain about algorithms or the ill effects of social media on those very platforms. Instead show up and show your work. 1 great piece won’t get you hired, unless there are more like it. Instagram is the part of your portfolio where you can put up hundreds of pieces of work and show the work of how they came to be. Show that you can create quality output consistently over time the more output over less time the better.
Yourname.com (a very particular job)
When you hire a plumber we expect they will know exactly how to do a job. It’s the same with illustrators. It’s on the illustrator NOT the client to know exactly the kind of job that they will do. Yourname.com is where you prove that you can do that job, and that you even know what that job is and that you know who the right clients for you are. Show and tell the viewer exactly the kind of job you will do.
This is what seems to have worked for me, so when I think of a portfolio I think of these things.
I’m writing a super long post about everything I know about putting together a portfolio. With an emphasis on the few things that drive the biggest results. It will cover style, taste and the pieces of work that worked for me and why.
It will only be available for paid subscribers. So if you want that go ahead and subscribe.
Paid subscribers enable me to write all the public posts, “The Monthly Long Posts” is one of the ways I can say thank you!
An if you’re already subscribed, here is an additional thought on what I mean when I say portfolio…
You’ll need to link instagram, twitter and your website seamlessly. Here are some ideas:
Cross post, post your tweets on instagram
Share links to instagram in your tweets
Use linktree or some similar service to keep all your links up to date
Use the same username if it’s possible
And the same profile picture
Portfolio might mean something else for you, but this mental model of a portfolio has me booked up for what looks like a couple of years of dream jobs.
As you’re part of the tribe I’m happy to answer any specific question you might have, just hit reply and please make it as specific as you can, give lots of context. Or you can wait for the long post of everything I know about putting together a portfolio.