A persuasive portfolio- Fig Taylor

Okey after today my brain is in bits. That was the best organisation of “Making a living” week so far. The whole day was filled with useful and practical workshops.

First part was a workshop “A persuasive portfolio” with Fig Taylor who works for Association of illustrators. She is a person right of my street. Honest, straight to the point, talking how she wants to without being worried that people with make judgements. Often people like that are misunderstood. It’s a fun coincidence how only yesterday I signed up to a membership with Association of illustrators and looked at portfolio consultation and today we are having Fig Taylor who works for AOI talking about portfolio presentation. I absolutely haven’t got enough work to present but for £25 consultation I can also get a career advice and ask for an honest opinion about where do I fit in the industry. I am very much prepared for any type of criticism as I need to be realistic with myself.

Today’s workshop made things so much clearer.

Style doesn’t have t mean:

  • overtly stylised
  • corporate prostitution
  • youthful or youth-orientated
  • only applied to one kid of subject matter

There was loads of advice given to us:

  • keep it as simple as possible, consider why you put the artwork in, too much going on in portfolio will switch the clients off
  • spell put the obvious, they can only judge by what they see, if it’s not there they will assume you can’t do it
  • clients normally prefer to see one strong recognisable style
  • good portfolio will simply say “this is who I am” “this is how you can use me”
  • tutors have different criteria than practitioners

Take out work that is:

  • weak
  • stylistically misleading
  • un-deliverable
  • unenjoyable
  • irrelevant

Many people ask this question: How many pieces I should have in my portfolio? Well if your artwork is very detailed maybe 20 pieces if less detailed 40-60. There is no number that can be set for everyone.

It’s also crucial how you talk about your work and yourself as an artist. Fig gave as an example of overly confident guy who said “After seeing me your day will get better” and someone who had no confidence in themselves and after graduating from Central Saint Martins it took them 5 years to start launching their career as they believed they are not good enough. I would say I am somewhere in between when it comes to my work. I believe that the style I have adapted is unique in it’s own way and I can confidently talk about it but I lack skills and my work is not professional enough. It’s important to recognise both positive and negative aspects in your work just so as you know what needs improving.

I haven’t included all the advice she has given us but I never took so many notes from a single workshop. I feel like she has covered pretty much everything leaving us with very little questions to ask.

I really do appreciate workshops like this because the very first physical portfolio I had to create was when I was applying for university. At the time I didn’t even have enough work done and never had a sketchbook as I made a rapid decision to go back to education while still being in full time employment. I literally had a month to put everything together and I wish I had this type of help and advice at the time.

For the interested here is some more advice from Fig Taylor

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