How to Make an Artwork Portfolio

by on September 3rd, 2014
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If you’re looking to market your illustration skills, you will first need to assemble a professional-looking portfolio of your work. There’s a lot more to this process than just putting your best creations in a folder.

Skill and Talent

A great art portfolio needs to be able to do more than simply show that you can draw, but demonstrating basic ability is its most important function. You should choose artwork that showcases your ability to draw complex arrangements. But you will also want to include work that shows your ability to draw common forms like human figures.

Your portfolio should also include work that illustrates your skill in drawing different textures, such as metal and cloth. Be sure your portfolio selections are also free from errors. Even if you think a piece of artwork is one of your best, if it has visible mistakes, it can severely damage how potential employers see you.


Besides just demonstrating your drawing skill, you also want your portfolio to show a variety of drawing talents and perhaps even styles. While it is important to establish your unique style in your artwork, it is important to show your flexibility.

If you have great-looking artwork in various mediums (pen, pencil, charcoal, computer imaging, etc.) then by all means include it. Try to show your ability to work in different styles as well. You can illustrate your diversity by providing artwork that is realistic, as well as stylized or cartoonish.

You should also try to include work that covers a variety of subject matter. Even if your specialty is super heroes or landscapes, you may want to also include portraits and cityscapes. In providing diversity to your portfolio, be sure to play to your strengths. Don’t provide variety for variety’s sake if you cannot pull off successful, diverse artwork.


When choosing artwork for your portfolio, make sure it is current work. There’s no point in including work that is so old that your style has evolved to the point where you can no longer produce similar efforts.

When presenting your portfolio to prospective employers be sure that the contents are appropriate. This means that if you are interviewing at a fashion design company, your portfolio should be filled with fashion drawings.

While advertising agencies and book illustration companies will appreciate diversity in subject matter, some employers want to see specific types of illustration. You can still show diversity in the way you handle the required subject matter and the style and tools you use. Just make sure that what you are bringing to interviews is relevant to what that company is doing.

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