Art Business and Marketing



A peek at some of the illustrators browsing one the portfolio tables.

It was a busy weekend with a full day at the SCBWI Portfolio Bootcamp on Saturday.  It was a real eye-opening experience.  One thing I’ve missed is having critiques by knowledgeable people, so I eagerly soaked up everything the speakers shared about my work as well as the works of others.  So, what did I come away with in regards to my portfolio?


– my recent “portfolio-ready” pieces really aren’t portfolio ready – the “all dones” need more work/changes.

– work that doesn’t appear to be part of a narrative probably shouldn’t be included in the portfolio.

– push gesture, expression, and descriptive detail a bit further.

– be more selective in the attention given to the main subject (or areas of importance) vs. background or areas of lesser importance.  In other words, create contrast in treatment of different parts of my drawings.

The funny thing is that I ‘thought’ I knew what the presenters would criticize me for (such as having more than one style, since I hear many talk about the “one voice” thing).  Also, they picked two pieces that I didn’t expect as the ‘strongest’ in the portfolio – both were last minute additions – none were the ones I’ve done recently.  Go figure…

But, what this event really helped me with was recognizing what pieces I should use (create) to flesh out my portfolio and what the work I’ve been doing is missing.  So, it’s given me a clarity of direction.  In other words, I have a revised plan.

– keep working on and refining the portfolio

– keep working on the picture book sketches and dummy that I’ve started

– find a mentor or more opportunities for high-level critiques (wish SCBWI offered more of these events)

– save up over the next year in order to take my portfolio to SCBWI’s Los Angeles Convention in Summer 2015

In short, for the next year, my goal is to up my game and have a professional level portfolio by then.  The challenge is to find the right balance of work on that goal, meeting the family needs, and not getting distracted by other interests.

Bring it on…


2 thoughts on “Clarity…

  1. Thanks for sharing this Deb. The tip about contrast is a really good one. Now that I am “back in the saddle” as it were, I too hope to have a portfolio ready in the coming year. Best of luck with yours!

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