Saturday, June 19, 2010

Also Included: Photos of the Design I Shaved into My Cat's Fur

I am an aspiring illustrator I am currently putting together a portfolio. Over the past few years I have painted a a few murals in childrens' rooms and for some elementary schools. Would it be inappropriate of me to include pictures of these (original artwork, of course) if I feel that they showcase my talents as an illustrator? Or is it best to stick with book specific artwork? Thanks in advance for your help. Great blog btw.
I suppose if you could manage very good quality images of the murals, that might be ok . . . but if you want illustration work, don't you think you should show us examples of the media we'd be getting from you?


Adam Rex said...

I think I'd avoid the murals entirely. With all due respect to EA and her ilk, I don't think any good ever came from asking an editor (or art director, or art buyer) to use her imagination when looking at your portfolio. She doesn't really have to–someone else will give her a full portfolio of book-ready images and assuage her fear of hiring an untested artist.

Maybe take a little time to recreate your favorite murals in a print format. At least you won't have to worry about doing a lot of preliminary sketches–you've already figured out your composition.

Susan Adsett said...

If you are projecting outline drawings onto the wall, that might be a good thing include - they'll be more to scale.

You can find some great advice on creating a portfolio at (actually, all her advice is good)

If your stuff veers more towards fantasy/gaming, you can't miss

and Escape from illustration Island has a great series on building your portfolio as well:

good luck!

(oh, and sign up for SCBWI or your local equivalent - you can get great advice - including portfolio critiques - from them, too!

Editorial Anonymous said...

Take Adam's advice. I'm certain he knows more about it than I do.

Erin McGuire said...

No employer likes to take a leap of faith, I agree. At the animation studio I work at, it's hard when students show us good work that we could never use (like, really nice figure paintings or still life paintings, we have no possible application for that specific work).

The applicant probably has the SKILLS we need, but that's asking us to take a bet that they can do the WORK we need.

Here's an idea, for your website, have a nice picture of yourself taken in front of the best mural you've done, and stick it on your "about" page.

In addition to the links Susan mentioned, Irene Gallo is a must read-

Sadako said...

I totally want to see the cat fur pics.

Susan Adsett said...

Jon Schindehette, Senior Art Director Dungeons & Dragons® Wizards of the Coast, just posted a brilliant piece on what to include in your portfolio at

Kirsty said...

Of course, you could illustrate a book with pictures shaved into a cat's fur.

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