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Portfolio Review Share your work for constructive criticism from us and the community

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Old 01-24-2011   #1
bugjuana
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Join Date: Oct 2006
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Default Looking for some constructive criticism

I have been having trouble finding any work lately and am currently trying to improve my chances of getting a job and so I would appreciate any constructive criticism from peers who think there is a way I can improve either my design skills or even the way my website presents.

I have a website that can be found at www.dalemackiedesign.com

thanks in advance,

D.
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Old 02-21-2011   #2
johncina
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Hello,
I need a suggestion on this topic I am little confuse with it.
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Old 03-10-2011   #3
shrunkendesigner
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Default My take on things.

This is a tough thing to approach and I would really love it if we got loads of opinions on this subject. But let me give you my take on things.

The media reports that jobs are harder to come by, not just in the creative field but in every area, but I'll focus on the creative industry. More people are on look out for work, whether they are unemployed, freelance or looking for a change and now, more than ever, I feel that the talent standard is much, much higher. So fewer jobs plus more people looking for them equates to higher competition.

I left my steady job last year in April, with no commissioned work and no leads to fall back on and in the middle of this tough climate. All I had was my savings and a thirst for it. Jump forward to now and what have I done and currently got?

I sold a small hand full of paintings, designed some logos, provided illustrations for an independent film, done a couple of album covers and done some stand alone illustrations for a few different people. I am currently locked in on a series of computer game projects and have some stage props to design. Now, I am not bragging. I think it is really interesting to note that in the throws of everything that is going on, I am currently picking up work in a number of different fields. What I am saying is that contrary to what people think, there is money and jobs out there and people are landing them all the time.

High profile work is tougher to land and competition will always be hard for work in films and big studio games. But, it isnít impossible to get. I think there is no magic formula to how to get work, nor is there a quick fix, but there are things you can do to help your chances of landing paid jobs.

Magazines will tell you that art directors 'haunt' forums like this one and CGSociety etc, looking for new talent and the truth is, they do. People score work this way all the time but what is important to know is that there are other ways of getting the monies. I like swinging by the forums for inspiration, enter contests and to generally have fun. I haven't picked up any work this way (yet) but that isn't the reason I do it.

How I have landed my work is from learning how to "Pitch" and communicate my ideas to perspective clients, learn how to do things in other fields (like do more than just provide illustration and provide graphic design services too for instance) and I have more than one online portfolio. These things aren't big secrets but they are commonly known.

Having more than one portfolio, or a portfolio you can quickly tailor, means that you can sell your ideas and style to the right people. If you want to get concept work for films and games, there are few remote possibilities but having a portfolio that shows people you can produce technical design work and can draw lots of different things (that would range from fantasy, science fiction and the here and now, to people to animals, to machines to plants, to weapons to buildings and sets etc) will show people you are capable.

I was told in this instance to be a jack of all trades and a master of one. Itís not the saying I know but let me explain. Being able to do anything to a good standard is good and will help you land the work but to land the work you really want to do, the master of one will be something you specialize in. For instance, you maybe a capable designer but be a master of Robot design. So, with a portfolio of half super awesome robots and half showing you can design anything, you will increase your chances of work but also Robot Design work. This is what I have read and been told.

This is the same with other fields. If you want to do childrenís illustration, you tailor one folio to show art directors you can do that sort of work (in this case show work you have done and create some work that is like a fake book to show you can deal with that kind of sequential work).

Once you have a number of folios that shows your work in a clear and accessible way, you have to start putting them under the noses of people who will hire you. This is the big key to it all.

This is where you have to send emails, go on freelance websites and pitch and generally pound the pavement. A lot of people deplore the freelance sites as it drives prices down but, you donít ever have to sell yourself short. If your idea is really good and you have the goods to prove that you can do it and execute it well, then you can easily justify your asking prices. Donít get greedy, just be real. If people don't want to pay you for your good work, they don't get it and will have to go to someone who won't provide as good work for much less money.

Once you have done some work, keep those clients mega happy and always do a little bit more that what they ask for. As you drift through existence, picking up jobs here and there, you want to ensure that those clients will come back to you time and time again. You always want to look for new clients but having a large back catalogue of returning clients will always mean you have work.

Plus, I love working with people I have already worked with because its like building a friendship. You must always be professional but it becomes more fun when you can joke and eat lunch with people who pay you.

So I think I have covered everything that has got me work in the last 6 months. In short:

● I diversified my skill set to get jobs in different fields and provide different services.

● I learnt to sell my ideas through words to clients through emails and on freelance websites.

● I built more than one portfolio to show to different clients depending on the work they were after.

● When I landed work, I treated the clients professionally, with respect and made sure they were over the moon with the work I did for them. Not all have returned, but some have already.

The other key component is to be fucking tenacious. I mean you have to make sacrifices in your life and have to spend many of your waking hours hammering work out, pitching, hunting, convincing and being the best, kindest and honest person you can. Eventually, Iíve been told, finding work becomes easier as more and more people find you for who you are and your brand. But, I think it is dangerous to think like that and I think you should always be prepared to hunt for some work.

Those who donít hunt, either scavenge for scraps or die hungry in my opinion.

I should state that I am no expert and this is my humble take on things. I am sure there are many other professionals who will say otherwise and may tell me I am wrong but I welcome open discussion. We are all learning the business side of things as we go along and if anyone else has some stuff to add or say, please chime in!


RE bugjuana:

I have looked at your website and I must say you have some impressive work and some good film credits to your name. I think you website looks good and but I think I would say, to improve your site, I think you could organise your work into clearer catagories. Either by what has been designed (objects, landscapes, characters) or by project (the owl film, that film, etc.) OR both but have the sub catagories listed down the side.

So a person clicks on Gallery and then they are taken to your work that is 'unsorted' if you will. But, down the side, you have it listed by catagory. So if an art director is looking for weapon design, they find your site and enter the gallery, they can look at the weapons you have done and get and idea of what you can do.

Also man, you have left out one of the most important things EVER on a portfoilo website. A way for people to contact you. Imagine an art driector finds your work, likes it, wants to hire you and try to email you. Where is your email address man? Saddly, they would be unlikely to look else where on the for a way to contact you and simply just click away.

If you are sending a link to art directors then they will already have your email, but the key to web design in to make it as simple as possible.

I hope that helps.
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Old 03-10-2011   #4
RHStillwell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shrunkendesigner View Post
This is a tough thing to approach and I would really love it if we got loads of opinions on this subject. But let me give you my take on things.

The media reports that jobs are harder to come by, not just in the creative field but in every area, but I'll focus on the creative industry. More people are on look out for work, whether they are unemployed, freelance or looking for a change and now, more than ever, I feel that the talent standard is much, much higher. So fewer jobs plus more people looking for them equates to higher competition.

I left my steady job last year in April, with no commissioned work and no leads to fall back on and in the middle of this tough climate. All I had was my savings and a thirst for it. Jump forward to now and what have I done and currently got?

I sold a small hand full of paintings, designed some logos, provided illustrations for an independent film, done a couple of album covers and done some stand alone illustrations for a few different people. I am currently locked in on a series of computer game projects and have some stage props to design. Now, I am not bragging. I think it is really interesting to note that in the throws of everything that is going on, I am currently picking up work in a number of different fields. What I am saying is that contrary to what people think, there is money and jobs out there and people are landing them all the time.

High profile work is tougher to land and competition will always be hard for work in films and big studio games. But, it isnít impossible to get. I think there is no magic formula to how to get work, nor is there a quick fix, but there are things you can do to help your chances of landing paid jobs.

Magazines will tell you that art directors 'haunt' forums like this one and CGSociety etc, looking for new talent and the truth is, they do. People score work this way all the time but what is important to know is that there are other ways of getting the monies. I like swinging by the forums for inspiration, enter contests and to generally have fun. I haven't picked up any work this way (yet) but that isn't the reason I do it.

How I have landed my work is from learning how to "Pitch" and communicate my ideas to perspective clients, learn how to do things in other fields (like do more than just provide illustration and provide graphic design services too for instance) and I have more than one online portfolio. These things aren't big secrets but they are commonly known.

Having more than one portfolio, or a portfolio you can quickly tailor, means that you can sell your ideas and style to the right people. If you want to get concept work for films and games, there are few remote possibilities but having a portfolio that shows people you can produce technical design work and can draw lots of different things (that would range from fantasy, science fiction and the here and now, to people to animals, to machines to plants, to weapons to buildings and sets etc) will show people you are capable.

I was told in this instance to be a jack of all trades and a master of one. Itís not the saying I know but let me explain. Being able to do anything to a good standard is good and will help you land the work but to land the work you really want to do, the master of one will be something you specialize in. For instance, you maybe a capable designer but be a master of Robot design. So, with a portfolio of half super awesome robots and half showing you can design anything, you will increase your chances of work but also Robot Design work. This is what I have read and been told.

This is the same with other fields. If you want to do childrenís illustration, you tailor one folio to show art directors you can do that sort of work (in this case show work you have done and create some work that is like a fake book to show you can deal with that kind of sequential work).

Once you have a number of folios that shows your work in a clear and accessible way, you have to start putting them under the noses of people who will hire you. This is the big key to it all.

This is where you have to send emails, go on freelance websites and pitch and generally pound the pavement. A lot of people deplore the freelance sites as it drives prices down but, you donít ever have to sell yourself short. If your idea is really good and you have the goods to prove that you can do it and execute it well, then you can easily justify your asking prices. Donít get greedy, just be real. If people don't want to pay you for your good work, they don't get it and will have to go to someone who won't provide as good work for much less money.

Once you have done some work, keep those clients mega happy and always do a little bit more that what they ask for. As you drift through existence, picking up jobs here and there, you want to ensure that those clients will come back to you time and time again. You always want to look for new clients but having a large back catalogue of returning clients will always mean you have work.

Plus, I love working with people I have already worked with because its like building a friendship. You must always be professional but it becomes more fun when you can joke and eat lunch with people who pay you.

So I think I have covered everything that has got me work in the last 6 months. In short:

● I diversified my skill set to get jobs in different fields and provide different services.

● I learnt to sell my ideas through words to clients through emails and on freelance websites.

● I built more than one portfolio to show to different clients depending on the work they were after.

● When I landed work, I treated the clients professionally, with respect and made sure they were over the moon with the work I did for them. Not all have returned, but some have already.

The other key component is to be fucking tenacious. I mean you have to make sacrifices in your life and have to spend many of your waking hours hammering work out, pitching, hunting, convincing and being the best, kindest and honest person you can. Eventually, Iíve been told, finding work becomes easier as more and more people find you for who you are and your brand. But, I think it is dangerous to think like that and I think you should always be prepared to hunt for some work.

Those who donít hunt, either scavenge for scraps or die hungry in my opinion.

I should state that I am no expert and this is my humble take on things. I am sure there are many other professionals who will say otherwise and may tell me I am wrong but I welcome open discussion. We are all learning the business side of things as we go along and if anyone else has some stuff to add or say, please chime in!


RE bugjuana:

I have looked at your website and I must say you have some impressive work and some good film credits to your name. I think you website looks good and but I think I would say, to improve your site, I think you could organise your work into clearer catagories. Either by what has been designed (objects, landscapes, characters) or by project (the owl film, that film, etc.) OR both but have the sub catagories listed down the side.

So a person clicks on Gallery and then they are taken to your work that is 'unsorted' if you will. But, down the side, you have it listed by catagory. So if an art director is looking for weapon design, they find your site and enter the gallery, they can look at the weapons you have done and get and idea of what you can do.

Also man, you have left out one of the most important things EVER on a portfoilo website. A way for people to contact you. Imagine an art driector finds your work, likes it, wants to hire you and try to email you. Where is your email address man? Saddly, they would be unlikely to look else where on the for a way to contact you and simply just click away.

If you are sending a link to art directors then they will already have your email, but the key to web design in to make it as simple as possible.

I hope that helps.
Thanks for taking the time to dispense the helpful info!
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