Friday, 30 September 2011

Illustration 101: Portfolios (Part 3)

Welcome back to our mini series on portfolios. Today is our third portion of this segment. So far we look at what to put in your portfolio and online/physical portfolios. We are concluding the mini series with when to update your portfolio.

Erica: Obviously this is going to be tailored to your personal preference, so I am only going to outline some suggestions. Everything about this depends on how quickly you work, how much you output in a given span of time, and a thousand other variables.
If you aren't updating your portfolio (blogs and other sites are the same with this) then people may think you are inactive. If you are a blogger junkie, this probably isn't going to be an issue for you, but there are those of us that are not blogger junkies. For those quiet souls it is a good idea to plan out when you want to devote the time to updating everything. You may just be updating images, but there are times where you will have to update a lot of other information such as resume, cv, bio, etc. Obviously this can take time, especially if you are updating a large number of images at the same time. I try to update everything once a month if I'm not going crazy with projects (in which case I'm updating much more frequently). That way I don't have an enormous task in front of me that could take up way more time at once than I am willing to devote. Updating websites and making sure that information is spread evenly is not something I enjoy trying to do, but it has to get done.
At worst, I make sure I will update everything every three months. A lot can change in that time and even if I only add one new image, I still set aside the time.

Aside from my main portfolio I try to update other sites on a more regular basis. Especially sites with prints and product. It's not very effective to unleash a lot of product at once, people will see a flood of new product and may think you are spamming.  For sites like this I wouldn't release more than one a day. Or if I released more than one, I would only announce the general update or one product

Jo: With anything like this there's no right or wrong way of doing things, in my opinion it all depends on how much time you have. We all have jobs and other commitments outside of illustration so it's totally understandable if you haven't got the time to do this! So as long as you get into the routine of doing it then it's fine.

So your main portfolio (website) for instance could be updated like every month or so? Whereas if you have a blog, Society6, Flickr etc. then try to keep them fresh at least once a week. Set aside some time so you can do this, perhaps keep a note at what you've been currently working on and then spend and afternoon or an evening writing up a post.

The worst thing you can do is to promote so much of your work like every day that it's just spam! I find that a bit annoying and it puts me off following someone. There needs to be a fine balance; not enough updates could suggest to people you're not doing any work and too much is, well, information overload.
I find that towards the end of the year I want to change the layout of my website plus my portfolio. Mainly because I get board of looking at the same thing!

Please tell us what you do and if you have any advice, we'd love to hear from you.

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