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Monday, March 16, 2009

Art Day: strengthen the weak spots in your portfolio

I’ve heard many art directors and editors say, “you’re only as good as the weakest piece in your portfolio.”

With that in mind, I’ve decided to work on some of the weak spots in my portfolio. I’m going to give myself assignments (like the 14 week novel writing project). You can do the same assignments or create your own assignments to address your needs.

The first thing I’m going to tackle is background. A strong or interesting background can add depth to picture book illustrations. It’s also a nice contrast to my simple character based images.

Portfolio Assignment #1: A one-month study of backgrounds and landscapes, broken up into 4 week-long categories.

The goal for the first three weeks is to do lots of quick sketches (at least one a day) of each subject, while paying attention to composition. Think about your portfolio goals while sketching. Gear the size, shape and composition of the sketches towards what you want to illustrate (picture books, novels, covers, graphic novels, etc.).

The goal for the final week is to put it all together and create sketches that you can use for portfolio pieces.

Week One – Cities and towns
Week Two – Country landscapes
Week Three – In the house (kitchen, living room, the MC’s bedroom, etc.)
Week Four – Add characters (Create a finished sketch in each category. Use your previous sketches as starting points if you want. Leave room for titles or PB text, pay attention to composition, and watch out for the gutter.)

Anyone else need to work on their backgrounds? Or maybe give yourself a different assignment?

Next month I’ll be working on expressions (because nobody is happy all the time, even if they were in my portfolio when I first started).