The wonderful Fig Taylor came into our college to offer some very useful advice on Illustration as an industry, putting together portfolios and how to 'tailor make' your approach when making industry contacts.
Fig Taylor has worked as an Illustration Agent for many years and has seen many, many portfolios, illustrators and understands the industry inside out. Fig began by talking about portfolios and how to build a strong portfolio that communicates your style in the best possible way to the client. In an interview with commissioners that she conducted as part of her research for a book she wrote, 75% of the people she talked to explained that they want Illustrators to have 1 strong recognised style that runs throughout the portfolio, as clients can get confused easily due to the amount of people they see and what their needs are at that time. She also explained that separating styles if you have more than one is the way forward as you can approach certain clients who use work that is 3D for example or collage based and does not confuse the client.
Fig went on to discuss marketing yourself effectively, for example 70% of the clients explained that they received work from illustrators that had no relation to the subject matter they work with or the style of illustration that they would typically feature in their magazines etc. Networking, researching your niche such as looking at magazines to engage with they style of work they use and always trying to stand out of the crowd in the way you approach clients will always go in your favour and paint a great impression.
Fig mentioned that it is important to constantly work on your portfolio so that it appears less like a student graduate portfolio and more like a professional portfolio, I hope that in 6-12months time my portfolio will have changed dramatically and be more refined and stronger. Showing work in your portfolio that you either can't produce due to lack of facilities or work that you are not able to do should not be shown as this can be misleading.
Fig explained how a good portfolio should have a good running order that reflects the needs of the clients you are showing work to, she mentioned that producing a mock up of an article such as gardening if that reflects the subject matter you are interested in as it can show to the client visually how your work would look as an example. ''Who am I'' and ''How can you use me'' are two key things that I should always be asking myself when building a portfolio.
I really enjoyed this talk and found it extremely useful in terms of thinking about how I can apply my work in the industry.