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Portfolio Critique for a portfolio that's slightly odd

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Rungen

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Hello everyone!

New to the board, though I've been browsing the past couple of months to gather your helpful info on all things illustration.

I'm in the process of setting up my online portfolio and I'd love to know your thoughts on it. I've been working to find a balance between what's commercially viable, and my own slightly-odd style of imagery and storytelling.

www.joeyelkins.com

Looking to see which pieces work, which I can cut to make it stronger. And how the website viewing experience plays out/loading time etc.

Your thoughts would be much appreciated, thanks!

- Joey
#1 - March 12, 2013, 12:51 PM

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Very interesting work, Joey! I came right to this post because, well, I like odd.  :grin3 I see different "personalities" emerging in your work. Some images are full of whimsy, others have a wonderful darkness about them. I personally don't see the slightly-odd as not commercially viable--I think immediately of the top hat and crow image, or that wonderful red creature on the moon, and one of my favorites, the cover image with the top secret box. I think the portfolio is shaping up beautifully. My only advice is don't hold back on the odd.  :goodluck
#2 - March 12, 2013, 01:31 PM

Rungen

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Thanks for the response! And glad you're a likewise fan of odd work.
The "top secret box" image came from a daily 15 min "stream of consciousness drawing" habit I try to keep. Just scribbling whatever comes into my head, no matter how strange it is.
I think one of the biggest challenges of developing a personal style is reconciling the kind of work you want to do with what you *think* is expected and traditional in the field.
#3 - March 12, 2013, 03:51 PM

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I think one of the biggest challenges of developing a personal style is reconciling the kind of work you want to do with what you *think* is expected and traditional in the field.

I could have written this about my own work (writing not illustrating). I can tell you I have had no luck trying to do the work I *think* is expected and traditional in the field and have decided to embrace my outside the container thinking even if it means  :cliff:goodluck and keep us posted on your progress!  :yup
#4 - March 12, 2013, 05:47 PM

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Hi Joey!

Your odd character on the first page did make me curious...I clicked the box to see if yet another oddity popped out of the box. Alas, no.... :)

A quick look through your portfolio, and my only suggestion at the moment...maybe provide one or two sample sets of the same character that could be from the same story or picture book, but in three different settings and poses?  Also post your URL in a discrete fashion on each image (not as a watermark). That way, if/when art directors save one of your images for their "artist of interest" file, they'll know when they're looking through their files who did the art and how to find/contact you.

One definite concern: when I clicked the images and they popped up, the images were initially very blurry on my screen which surprised me.  I thought maybe the images were "fit to screen" and small/low res sized so they were stretched for viewing on my large monitor. But then when I right-clicked instead and opened the link in the new tab, I realized that the images were rather large PNG files which may be an issue for some...especially the long load time to see each individual image.  You might want to compress the images further and load them as JPG's for faster viewing instead.  Just a thought.

Hope that helps!

- Tanja

#5 - March 12, 2013, 10:37 PM

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Odd and quirky seem to be in style currently. Go you!

I had a quick glance at your web site. it is nicely laid out and you have a nice combination of visuals.

That being said, I think you need to hone your draftsmanship. The pieces are inconsistent in their level of (can't find the exact right word) finish. Some of the color pieces look like sketches compared to others they are displayed side by side with.

The images themselves are quite charming, but they tend to be all the same. Work on including environments, crowds, people interacting with each other and include a series of one character doing different things. Show a range of emotions, a range of perspectives and a range of close-up and distance images as well.

Be true to yourself and forget about "what is commercially viable," illustration has trends just like any other creative outlet. Do the best you can at what you're good at and you'll find a home for your art somewhere.

Get yourself to a book store or library and find books illustrated in a style similar to your own. Study them. See where you can improve your art.

PS. You have a typo on your blog button you might want to fix.
#6 - March 13, 2013, 06:35 AM
patreon.com/wendymartin
Animal Totem Mandala 2016
The Story Circle 2016 (PiƱata)
Color and Conjure 2017 (Llewellyn)

Rungen

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Thanks Tanja and Lyon!

I was concerned early on about the image resolution so I've re-uploaded them all as smaller jpegs.
And good call to have a character-series image, as well shaking up some of the what's shown with more people interacting, emotions etc.
(and the blog button is a play on my name - en JOEY ables - but good eye :-)
#7 - March 13, 2013, 09:35 AM

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Nice work, Joey! And I think your site is looking really good. Agree about having the character series! Right now my favorite piece is the dog on fire running through the trees with the child running behind. It has great movement and expression, and the use of perspective gives it a lot of visual interest, as does the reflected light on the trees from the fire. It really seems to tell a story.

(and the blog button is a play on my name - en JOEY ables - but good eye :-)

You might want to write it as enJOEYables then ;)

Also, where it says Book WIP and is password protected, depending on why that's there you might consider not having that on the menu and just keep the page hidden. I used the same sort of function for my dummy when I queried, and after I got my agent she asked me to change to a hidden page for when we sent to editors. Asking a busy editor to perform an extra step is annoying for them. That might not be what you are using the page for, but just thought I'd share my experience.



#8 - March 13, 2013, 10:23 AM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken

http://cyndimarko.com
@cynmarko

Rungen

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Thanks for the response, glad you like the fire dog. I like that one too (despite my dislike of doing backgrounds, haha)

Re: the WIP page,  I'm still deciding whether to include it or not. We'll see...
#9 - March 13, 2013, 06:33 PM

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I couldn't tell you despise backgrounds because It looks terrific. I want to keep looking at it like one of those Bev Doolittle scenes with the horses and aspen trees . . . only a dog on fire/child in tow gives a bigger contrast and piques my curiosity. :applause
#10 - March 14, 2013, 07:09 AM
« Last Edit: March 14, 2013, 09:32 AM by Cynthia Kremsner »
Fur Balls & Feathers & Fins, Oh My! Animals Are My Kind of People
 www.cynthiakremsner.com

Rungen

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Thanks, Cynthia!
#11 - March 14, 2013, 12:00 PM

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Joey, I looked at your site and really liked what I saw. Great header and creative home page. I personally like the way you featured sketches. This shows your thought process. There may be a few drawings that were not your strongest, however, each piece is fun and shows your style well. I would not change anything right now. It looks great. Good work!
#12 - March 27, 2013, 06:33 PM

Rungen

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Hi Jeff, thanks for the response. Yeah, I did consider removing some of the images that weren't artistically/technically the strongest, but I'm keeping them in favor of style and entertainment value. Might as well play to my strengths.
#13 - March 27, 2013, 10:05 PM

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