5.6 Presenting yourself

The purpose of this exercise was to reflect on the work you have produced so far on this course and pick out a range of pieces that best express who you are as an illustrator.

Key words from the brief:

  • Find a suitable way to present this body of work as a portfolio.

My portfolio requirements

Purpose of my portfolio

  • My portfolio is a showcase of what I can do
  • It demonstrates my credentials and establishes me as an Illustrator


Given where I am in my development the audience for the portfolio will be:

  • Existing industry contacts/colleagues/ex-colleagues
  • Potential clients
  • Tutors and students

User stories

  • As a industry contact I want to see the range and quality of work so that I start to think about how I can employ someone with an agile delivery and creative/visual skillset for either a specific piece of work or contract.
  • As a potential client I want to see a range of relevant high-quality creative work so that I have the confidence to make a commission.
  • As a potential client I want an easy way to contact the illustrator so that I can make an email enquiry without having to think.
  • As a user I’d like to see information about the illustrator so that I can build a picture of the artist, whether I could work with them and the kinds of commissions they’re interested in.
  • As a tutor I want to see the range of work in the portfolio so that I can better advise and direct the student through the later stages of the course when the work becomes more self directed.
  • As a tutor I want to see a portfolio so that I can advise the student on how to better promote themselves.
  • As a user I want to access a digital web based portfolio so that I don’t have to expend much effort or time in accessing the work.
  • As a user of the digital portfolio I want to share the link with other contacts so that they can also see the work that I think may surprise or interest them.
  • As a user I want the digital portfolio to be easy to use (consistent design) and responsive so that the work displays well on whatever sized browser I’m using.
  • As the website author I want a digital portfolio that is easy to create and maintain and cheap to run so that I can rapidly test and learn.
  • As the illustrator I want the digital portfolio to demonstrate a range of work in areas that I find interesting so that any future commissions will be more likely to be doing work I’d like to get involved with.

Potential solutions

Given that the solution has got to be cheap, quick and easy to use I’ve identified three possible options:

  1. AOI Folio – Is a free 20-image folio hosted as part of the AOI website. I don’t feel my work is sufficiently developed or cohesive enough to put onto such a ‘professional’ platform. This is definitely one for later in combination with other platforms.
  2. WordPress – I could develop a new WordPress site. I already use WordPress for my Learning Log so am familiar with set-up and maintenance. The downside is that there would be some cost involved and the plan I’m currently on doesn’t allow use of 3rd party plugins so the user experience would be poor.
  3. Adobe Portfolio – Simple to use and free as part of Adobe Cloud. Tailored specifically to creatives that want to showcase their work. This is the best solution to meet my current needs.

Criteria to select the work

This is really interesting because I am almost exactly halfway through the Illustration Degree. Looking at my work I can see how far I’ve come but I’m also now aware of how far I have to travel – I now know what I don’t know.

My work is changing and evolving all the time so whatever I present in a portfolio will change regularly.

Best practice

  • The contents of a portfolio should present:
    • Creative practice
    • Ideas
    • Design
    • Conceptualisation
    • Technique
    • Visual language
    • Drawing ability
  • Quality overrides quantity
  • Show your work in context

Creating the portfolio

I used the Adobe Portfolio service to create the portfolio.

What was interesting about creating the site was choosing the work and trying to think through what it is that I actually do or how I should characterise my work.

I decided to make it a virtue and rather than hone down on a small number of areas I’ve just gone for featuring a range of work.

The site is at: www.whoshugh.com


What went well

  • Adobe Portfolio was incredibly easy to use and meets the requirements I set myself.
  • I was pleased to secure the whoshugh.com URL.
  • The content will grow and evolve quite quickly and in line with my development as an illustrator.

What I would do differently/better

  • The work needs to be more focused so that potential clients are not too confused by what it is I do.




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