Perfecting Portfolio

Book cover design

Book Cover Design, Rule 1:

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Perfecting Portfolio

March 15, 2017

I have recently saw a Will Terry´s Perfect your portfolio class at SVS (The Society of Visual Storytelling). Great class, Will :-) 

They presented us viewers with a list of 100+ items a portfolio should include in order to attract an attention of the art director or publishing house and encourage them to hire the artist. And provided samples for each items on the list along with an explanation of the reason why that particular item is important, too. 


Here is my summary of the items Will mentioned:

  1. different formats and sizes (full spreads, single page, vignettes, spot illustrations...)

  2. colour schemes

  3. all ages and genres (especially children for children book illustrator)

  4. character consistency (have the character in different scenes to prove you can be consistent in drawing the character in variety of situations, both content and drawing wise)

  5. active images (show action in your portfolio, no portraits and still images. Action creates more space for hooking the viewer and pulls the viewer into the situation, creating an emotion)

  6. variety of animals, creatures (not too realistic unless for non-fiction projects)

  7. don´t forget about transportation (popular theme these days in PBs)

  8. variety of environments (can help if you invent a storage of props that you use to set up these environments, so both inside and outside items)

  9. seasons, weather, time, (lighting situations)

  10. surfaces (make a wide range of textures and believable surfaces to be included in your work. Shiny, matte, textured, furry, rough, rocky, watery, etc.)

  11. don´t forget about emotions (very important)

  12. scales and camera angles (huge, big, medium, small, tiny - in variety. Close up, distant, high angle, low angle, dynamic or profile...)

  13. complex images (like draw 50 things challenge. Because not many artist are proficient in these so it gives more opportunity to get the art director interested. Plus it shows skill to design a complex image successfully)


(for full list you will have to go and see the class. I highly recommend it, be the way. You can see it here:



I took a bit of time to analyse my portfolio and when I compared what I have learnt to what I had in there I realised I had some work to do myself to take the portfolio to the next level and achieve a bigger diversity in my work. 

I started with little spot illustration of two kids, because there were definitely not enough of children in the portfolio and I had this drawing in my head for quite some time. Also that ticked a few boxes in the list (children, different ages and genres, a bit of action - well more of an after action in this case, and emotional load coming from the situation presented), so I was happy about that. 


 After that I had another idea. Underwater scene. When I was kid I enjoyed our family holidays at Croatia´s many islands and we did a lot of swimming, snorkelling and even a bit of light diving there.

I used my memories as an inspiration to this image and I am looking forward to colouring it in later this week.

I decided to go with same characters for the scene, with addition of one more girl to give more interaction to the image. Again I tried to include more then one item from the list into the illustration. I guess that could check at least the action, kids, interaction, consistency and environment, don´t you think?





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