I see a lot of portfolios online and I get a lot of portfolios forwarded to me as well.
But here’s the thing. Anyone can just post up their work online and hope for the best. Some of them have work that isn’t even theirs. Hundreds, if not thousands of artists and illustrators have works that are literally on a virtual shelf just waiting to be perused. So what makes me (or anyone for that matter) want to take a closer look at yours? What will separate you from the rest? How can we separate the copycats from the true artists?
It’s simple – start a blog.
I don’t mean telling people how you go about making your artwork (not if you don’t want to!) I’m talking about sharing with people why you made it. It’s not surprising that when I am at your portfolio page, I search for links to your blog next. Why?
Because I want to hear your voice.
I see artwork and portfolios all the time. Sure – it’s pretty and all that. But I’m not looking for pretty. I’m looking for meaning. A story. Something that I can connect to. Isn’t it ironic though that sometimes artists choose to draw so that they can avoid talking (or writing for that matter?)
I want to read your opinions. I want to hear about the process of discovery and the thought processes that went into an artwork. I want to see how your brain and hands connect and work. I treasure being able understand what it is that you want us to see. I want to be able to see that you aren’t afraid to dig deep to create.
Because let’s face it – I’m not a mind reader. On a very basic level I seek to connect and to identify – and while having work that will make me understand at once what I’m looking at is great, a lot of the time interpretation of the piece, together with an artist statement (or in the case of illustration – reading the article that went with the illustration) will shine a light on the subject matter better than any standalone image.
A picture is worth a thousand words, yes. But a short paragraph will open up a bridge to those thousand words.
Rinse and repeat.
Creativity is a muscle that needs to be flexed everyday. Much like drawing has become a habit, so will writing be when you put in small doses of effort over a long period.
Just be genuine, sincere and keep an open mind.
Who knows who will be reading?