A guide on making an art portfolio.
|55 min read
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By Suzanne-Helmigh   |   Watch
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Published: August 11, 2016
Hello! Very often people ask me to review their portfolio, often enough to detect a certain pattern of wrong choices that cause potential proffecional artists to sit longer on the side bench than necessary.
The following article serves as a guideline but in no way it it the absolute truth or only route into getting yourself a concept art position or illustration job. See it as a checklist, before approaching your dream job.

It's the big artist dream to simply paint what you like and be able to sell that and make a ton of money so you can simply keep making what you like. Even though there are some artists out there that are pretty much living this dream reality, it is incredibly rare. 
When you want to be an artist working for commercial things like: movies, video-games, tabletop games, tv-shows, graphic novels etc, you have to inevitably compete with tons of other great artists. A lot of those artists don't know how to market themselves though.
(The art featured in this journal is either my own or that of friends or people I admire, completely unrelated to this journal's content and only here to bedazzle you)

Into outer territories. by Suzanne-Helmigh

I make a lot of articles and here are some in the past that could add additional info on this topic.

Where to get started before you can apply for workThere is no such thing as suddenly knowing when you are ready to turn your
passion into your profession. But there is a way of measuring your chances on being
able to get work and eventually sustain a living from it.
Accepting commissions or freelance for low payment won't help you. You can think any penny counts, but it will lower the worth of your work and damage the market.
:bulletblue: How to measure that you are ready?
You probably have high goals, but they are usually not your first step. You must search out the clients who can be that first step. Often found in the card game industry, book cover illustrations and smaller game company's. 
Look at the artwork shown by a company such as the card game company: Fantasy Flight games. Compare your skills with the average of their artworks. If it matches yours, you will have a chance. However, keep in mind that those artworks had been done in a limited timeframe, usually within 12 hour
  Are you being honest with yourself?As part of becoming good at something you need to be able to reflect upon yourself. Judge your own abilities and work and consider the possibility that what ever you have been doing it wrong all along. Or perhaps you're actually being to hard on yourself and you're better than your conscious is telling you. (This is bad too because it leads to insecurities.)

Signs that you might overestimate your current skills.
Do you often feel these things when you look upon work from good artists?:
I can totally do this too.
This is not so hard, I can do this faster.
My work is way more interesting.
It's not fair that this person gets way more attention than I do.
Why am I not being recognized for my skills.
This other technique is cheating! (photo-bashing, using reference, filters, effects etc)
I don't need to draw and learn all day to become this good.
I spend 2 hours on a painting, Masterpiece!!
Signs that you might underestimate your skills.
Do you ofte
  How to deal with or get feedback.Getting feedback or critiques may be hard for people.
Some people want it really bad but can't seem to get it, at least not from the people he/she is hoping for.
And other get it all the time but feel a little attacked or bullied by it.
Pretty much anyone with eyes and some intelligence is able to spot mistakes or irregularities in someone's work. This person doesn't have to be more skilled than you. 
However, this person... might be wrong.... 
:bulletpurple: How do you judge a critique?
You initially made your artwork according to the knowledge you currently have. Leaving room for mistakes in the elements you're not trained or knowledgeable in. Or perhaps you think you know something and you are not aware that it's wrong.
When someone gives you feedback, even though it might feel incorrect. Take a little time to do some extra research on the matter. 
:bulletblue: You can ask others if they agree with someone's feedback.
:bulletblue: You can search online (with anat
  So tired of not achieving what you want?So tired of not achieving what you want?

Everyone has something they really want dearly, a career, to have a certain loved one, to be able to make certain things...
The most common one among us artist are:
- I want to be able to draw better
- I want to be able to draw like "this"person.
- I want to earn money with my drawing.
- I want to be able to draw what I imagine in my head.
- I want more people to appreciate my art.
- I want more feedback from artists I admire.
- I want more..
- I want better....
All this wanting.. dreaming of... hoping for.
How about doing it!! With these sort of "wants", it's a matter of DOING IT!
How? You ask?
There are many ways, but the usual and only answers to those desires are: 
- Spend the most time you have on drawing/painting.
- Go and ask people for help, it is okay to do so!
- Look at that amazing artwork and try and figure out how this person made it, perhaps he/she will tell you? Perhaps this person has made a video or tutoria
  Achieving your dreams. Before during and after.It’s been on my mind for 5 years now, started as a whisper in the back of my brain, hardly believing that I am capable of achieving it. Than slowly it developed into a goal, something that I might be able to achieve after all … perhaps.
I want to illustrate for my favorite realm in the world: Magic the Gathering.
Phew, feels heavy saying it. The notion warms my chest and raises my heartbeat ever so slightly feeling the rush of adrenaline coursing through my veins. I’ve witnessed my boyfriend and some friends do work for them for 2 years now while I was too burned out from Studio work (concept art for computer games.) and honestly, too insecure about my own capabilities to make attempt.
Now recently I have ended my time at a studio, any studio for that matter, because in order to achieve this secret and exciting goal I will have to work hard and precise to train my skills and create examples of what I have to offer.
I’ve had goals before.



You have to do research on where you want to work to be able to provide a portfolio suitable for that end. Hey lucky you, I'm here to give you some basics on that end! You're welcome :)
I'm dividing it in following category's, although some places may overlap these category's bit and perhaps I am leaving a bunch out. The one's in red are not clear enough to me to feel confident enough to share info on with you. But! when I do, I will update it!


:bulletblue: Wizards of the coast, Paizo, Fantasy Flight games or other card/board game company's.
:bulletblue: Movie and tv-show production houses.
:bulletblue: AAA realism based game studios like: Naught dog, Ubisoft, EA.
:bulletblue: AAA game studio's with a slightly more sci.fi and fantasy aspect such as: Sony Santa Monica, Sony Guerrilla, Project Red etc.
:bulletblue: AAA highly stylized game studios as Blizzard, Valve and Riot.
:bulletblue: Mobile developers.
:bulletblue: Indie developers.
:bulletblue: Bookcovers and other book illustrations for individual writers or publishing houses.
:bulletred: Comic book and graphic novel studio's.
:bulletred: Merchandise company's like Lego and Hasbro.
:bulltered: Children's book illustrations.
:bulletred: Educational or scientific illustrations.
:bulletred: Industrial practical designs. 



Your research should answer the following questions.


:bulletyellow: 1. What is their concept art/ design preference?
:bulletyellow: 2. What are the strengths they prefer in their artists?
:bulletyellow: 3. What are the software's the company prefers you to be skilled in?
:bulletyellow: 4. What s the general overlapping feeling of their product that you should capture and inspire in your portfolio work?
:bulletyellow: 5. Is this dream company actually the right place for you after all? Or do you simply like their product rather than being part of making it? 
:bulletyellow: 6. Is your current skill level and experience adequate to the job you wish to have, or do you need to use a few detours to work yourself towards it? 

I cannot answer the 5th and 6th question for you. But here follows my effort to answer nr 1-4 on these for the categories mentioned earlier. 

Lady by Smirtouille

:bulletblue: Wizards of the coast, Paizo, Fantasy Flight games or other card/board game company's.

1. Their design preference has an illustrated feel but with a very realistic rendering. Mostly avoiding the use of photo's. Focus a lot on narrative and having the image be readable at a tiny card format as well as bedazzle you with awesome when seen big. 
2. The strengths you should display for this portfolio are: a strong sense of composition, color and light, characters interacting with their environment/side characters/ or objects. They want to see you understand the premise of the worlds they base their games upon.
3. They don't seem to have a software preference, as long as it looks illustrated. It can be done with oil-paint's, photoshop, gimp etc. You can even use any 3D skills to strengthen your setup, but again, only when you are able to make it look illustrated.
4. MTG has a new feeling in their illustrations every time they switch planes, but you can take any of the ones they already have out there and make images that appear to be in that same universe (do call it fan art). FFG owns IP's such a Star Wars, Game of thrones and Lord of the Rings, which kinda speak for them self. Avoid using the likeness of the movie/tv'show actors and actresses and create new versions. Paizo has a very unique set of characters, from their elf to their halflings and gnomes. They want to see a good balance between colorful stylization and realism.
Additionally, you can try and keep to their formats. Card art has a particular size ratio and when you inspect cards from MTG you see a whole set of themes: spells, creatures, artifacts, planeswalkers etc. While Paizo has loose items and characters, as well as portraits, half page and full page formats.

Teach Me the Angel's Song by noahbradley

:bulletblue: Movie and tv-show production houses.

These are very tough to get into, but with the right contacts you may just have a chance!
1. There are a few different type of concept artists that appear in the pipeline for films and tv'shows. You got the ones that create the feeling and mood, they are usually a bit more free and rough in their work. Then you also have the one's that can also work in 3D software and get the concepts very close to the actual special effects, they often provide the SFX teams with the models they created for their concept art. For creatures, guns and costumes they often hire specialists in those particular fields. Another common one is the concept artist that designs the HUD or other graphical features in science fiction.
2. You have to be insanely specialized and fast, or very cheap and fast. Fast is the keyword. Lots and lots of concept art and iteration and a pretty much 24/7 availability to get approached for alterations. Every different field requires their own strength. Practicality and functionality get balanced out with what is possible and exhumes everything that's awesome. 
3. Get good with photos bashing/manipulating, 3D sculpting, 3D rendering and be super strong with narrative and functional design.
4. To get a grasp of the feeling you need to emulate, you simply watch a movie and analyze it's common traits. Want to work for a historical movie or tv-show, get your self some matte painting like scenes of castle and fantastical landscapes as well as battlescenes. Or perhaps you're aiming to be more specialized and fill your portfolio with various types of armor and dresses that match historical accuracy and practicality. 

Reality Smasher by Rhineville

:bulletblue: AAA realism based game studios like: Naught dog, Ubisoft, EA.

1. Lots of character line up's and/or fantastical location concepts with a lead character somewhere in the scene. (Kinda overdone, but the higher-ups love seeing a character in the scene) Show that you make thumbnails and iterate on your design before taking it to the final stage. Simply showing a finished image or design would completely miss out on the chance to show them you understand a game development pipeline. Use photo's to speed up your process and get a finishing feel. But don't let the use of photo's get you lazy or inconsiderate of design. If something in the concept is a key element, you design it. Let's say you are concerting a scene with a shelter build out of scrap metal. You don't just grab a photo from a hut in a slum somewhere and put it in a scene, NO you actually make sketches of different shapes and iterate upon those, as a last step you can use various material photos and build this scrap metal shelter. Some goes for temples and other human build constructions..
2. Functional design, rich exploration and delivering a clear image for a 3D modeler to work with. When working for the company you often need to work on top of a grey-box 3D model and dress it up.
3. Photoshop and if you're awesome, software's like Zbrush, Maya, 3DsMax, Modo, Marvelous designer, Keyshot.
4. In general the feeling of their games is the real world with an edge. Uncharted has got it's fantastical abandoned civilizations that scream adventure, while the last of us is all about abandoned places reclaimed by nature and the recycling of objects. 



:bulletblue: AAA game studio's with a slightly more sci-fi and fantasy aspect such as: Sony Santa Monica, Sony Guerrilla, Project Red etc.
1. Lots of character line up's and/or fantastical location concepts with a lead character somewhere in the scene. (Kinda overdone, but the higher-ups love seeing a character in the scene) Show that you make thumbnails and iterate on your design before taking it to the final stage. Simply showing a finished image or design would completely miss out on the chance to show them you understand a game development pipeline. Use photo's to speed up your process and get a finishing feel. But don't let the use of photo's get you lazy or inconsiderate of design. If something in the concept is a key element, you design it. Let's say you are concerting a scene with a shelter build out of scrap metal. You don't just grab a photo from a hut in a slum somewhere and put it in a scene, NO you actually make sketches of different shapes and iterate upon those, as a last step you can use various material photos and build this scrap metal shelter. Some goes for temples and other human build constructions.. Studio's like this often still work with linework exploration too, generally for characters, because it's faster to iterate upon.
2. Functional design, rich exploration and delivering a clear image for a 3D modeler to work with. When working for the company you often need to work on top of a grey-box 3D model and dress it up.
3. Photoshop and if you're awesome, software's like Zbrush, Maya, 3DsMax, Modo, Marvelous designer, Keyshot.
4. In general the feeling of their games is fantasy or sci-fi, sometimes with a realistic edge or often enough completely absurd and god-like. Where God of war emulates the grandeur of the ancient gods with huge structures, beasts and touched by magical abilities weapon designs. Games like Assassins creed try to stay more true to history, but with a small twists into the fantastical here and there. The design of Assassin's Creed first protagonist Altaïr was very well thought through, with this nice mix of monk's clothing to fit the era and blending options and falcon like shapes to hint at his fast and acrobatic life. He was not simply put into a medieval tunic, so when you design your characters think about narrative.

Victreebel Unleashed by CrystalSully

:bulletblue: AAA highly stylized game studios as Blizzard, Valve and Riot.

1. Colorful exaggerated shape language to make the characters, items and environment be readable and distinctive in a small top-down view of the game. The cinematic department of Blizzard has a much more realistic rendering than the in-game features, so both those things require a different approach. Perhaps you can even show off that you can do both? Iteration is till key, and capturing the shape language and likeness of their already established universe and characters. 
2. The strengths they look for is split in two: Blizzard cinematic's: Drama, lighting, realism, the translation form the cartoony style into a realistic one. And the in-game departments of all 3 studio's want to see lively, expressive, color full things in your work. 
3. Photoshop and if you're awesome, software's like Zbrush, Maya, 3DsMax, Modo, Marvelous designer, Keyshot. 
4. The feeling is always, happy. Even in the Diablo games they never went full dark and scary like a Silent hill game would, it still has this bubbly edge of humor in their style.

Resting ever so vigilant. by Suzanne-Helmigh

:bulletblue: Mobile developers.

1. Working for a mobile dev often requires you to be multidisciplinary. You after design the concept art as well as the in-game 2D and or 3D elements. Some cool workplaces even let you pitch game ideas and have you be part of the story or game design. Being able to work in vectors and animate things is a giant plus! Show this in your portfolio!
2. The strength they want to see is your ability to make a finished usable asset for the game and have an open mind towards multiple development stages. So you gotta want to create candy, sparkly-eyed cute creatures, UI designs and well as worldmaps and animation effects.
3. Photoshop, Illustrator, animation software's. 
4. The general overlapping feeling is a clear and colorful design that is readable and enjoyable on phone and tablet screens. 

Into hell. by Suzanne-Helmigh


:bulletblue: Indie developers.

1. This one is completely free range as they are insanely diverse. They can cover any of the aspects mentioned in the other category's. But one of the main ingredient that makes indie developers so appearing is that they tend to be more creative and artistic. Less driven towards the big masses and money but rather catered towards a typical audience. But just like mobile developers, being multidisciplinary is a great benefit, as teams are limited.
2. The strengths you can show off here is that you have a unique vision and a great sense of working in small teams where everyone wants a little say into things (although having a strong hyrachy is usually the key for a solid structure without arguments and wasted time).
3. ALL the software's! Be adaptable and open to learn new software where the need arises :) 
4. The feeling of indie games are completely free range. From furry fetish games to epic space exploration games, to how-to-make-your-homework games.

The Beast slayer returns. by Suzanne-Helmigh


:bulletblue: Bookcovers and other book illustrations for individual writers or publishing houses.

1. They want you to be able to translate they mind-baby as vividly as they imagine it. Author's can be very specific, form the color of the eyes to the tiny scar on the back of someone's ear. Good communication and a steady list of needed information at the ready you can create something wonderful together. Show them a style and art form that captures the eye and makes people want to read the book. So a strong sense of narrative and mood is important. 
2. Strengths in this field is having a unique and likable style and the skill to capture the beholder with a single image. You often need to advice the writer on what is best to show on their book cover, as not all of them know how to market their product well. (would be sad to see a masterful novel bite the dust because of it's badly advertised cover people judged the book upon).
3. Traditional and digital can both be used here, as long as the delivered file is good for print (300dpi, preferably in CMYK) and has a bleed region on the edges and allows space for a title. Sometimes you need to design or place the title too. 
4. If you want to get into this field, show a lot of portrait shaped images in your portfolio that could pretend to be book covers. Narrative, mesmerizing, intriguing. 

Pack Mother by LeeshaHannigan

:bulletgreen: General pointers on your portfolio.

:bulletblue: Only show your best work, even when that means you don't have a lot to show.
:bulletblue: Show how you got to the end design with making a concept art portfolio (or for illustrations show your sketches and iterations).
:bulletblue: Studies should only be displayed in a separate folder, or be left out completely.
:bulletblue: When doing fan art, clearly mention it is fan art. Don't put a company or product logo on the work. 
:bulletblue: Do you have multiple project to show? Give them tabs! With your best ones first. 
:bulletblue: The second someone clicks on your portfolio link, they need to be welcomed with your most intriguing image. 
:bulletblue: Keep you Bio short and light. Nobody need's to know that you just gradated, know karate or worked in a game's store for years.
:bulletblue: Keep your CV relative too, leave out those jobs, skills and achievements that have nothing to do with art.
:bulletblue: Send it out often, spread your chances. You get a 100 no's for every possible yes.


I stream on twitch! Where you can always drop in for a portfolio review!

At random day's and time, give me a follow and you will get a notification in your inbox when I got live:
MY CHANNEL SUZANNE_HELMIGH


On the Adobe channel

Wednesday   GMT+1 20:00 - 22:00 (PST 11am-1pm)
Saturday     GMT+1 21:00 - 00:00 (PST 12pm-3pm)
Sunday      GMT+1 19:00 - 21:00 (PST 10am-12pm)



Want to support me?! Buy any of my artworks as a singed print (with a chance of getting a surprise traditional drawing with it) Send me a note :) 
They are 20 USD for one, and another 10 USD for any additional one after the first one. (This includes the sending costs)



Let me know if you have any questions or additional info you'd like to share!
Here are some more artistic journals.

Have you read all of these yet? There is more from fellow artists on project discovery that get's updated every week!:  project-discovery.com/all-entr…


The 5 bullshit myths of concept art.Concept art is getting bigger and bigger. More people know what it is nowadays, it gets shown in the media more often and more books get released. This automatically results into more people wanting to become concept artists. So many artschools are now creating special courses all towards game art or concept art. (Game art can also include UI design, 3D modeling etc.).
Yet it is a fairly new thing to most people and the idea of "becoming a concept artist" has grown rapidly over such a short time that a lot of people who are new to it seem to get a lot of misguide info. I am going to try to list this misguided info and direct you to the correct info.
(Again I would always advise you to do your own research and form your own knowledge and not just simply agree with what you read online, not from anyone, not from me. Even though i'm right ;) .. ofcourse. :P *wink *wink )
  
  Are you on the right track? + Fuck Talent!Am I on the right track?
This is a thing people often wonder and think it's a complicated to find out, but it is actually pretty simple. It's a different question you need to ask yourself based on different topics.
As for: Fuck talent! You'll find it if you scroll down :P
:bulletblue: Topic 1: Am I on the right track to becoming a better artist?
Does your work from today, look closer to your initial goal than your work from last week? (this needs to be both in skill and idea.)
:bulletgreen: Good skills: Honing your technique, training you muscle memory, being more knowledgeable about your tools and art rules. With art rules I mean: Perspective, form, light, texture, composition.
:bulletgreen: Good ideas: Storytelling, characteristics, charm, emotion and design. Not just making things look polished but also convey something more, something that brings it to life and speaks to pe
How to win Art-contests! (+ Caldyra winners!)Let me start by saying how incredibly happy I am with all these amazing and inspiring entries! This definitely calls for doing another such contest soon!
Most of you have really tried their best and it shows! I couldn't have asked for better or more, choosing the winners among these was already aching my brains.
This journal will show the winners and the special mentions but also a bit about how to higher your changes on winning contests (maybe good for the next one).
This was my contest for those interested:

How to win contests?!
The change on winning a contest always gets smaller based on the amount of people joining in, however this doesn't mean that your work will be diminished by the numbers.
Here is a list of tips and tricks to make sure that your work gets into the top 10 !
:bulletblue: Triple read the contest's description. Make sure you got every detail right.
In this case it was pretty important that the Skyworm loo
A big black hole called: Procrastination.Procrastination is an infinite cycle that becomes bigger and bigger the longer it's there and the time wasted being sucked into it is a dark matter of nothing.
:P hahah I figured this was the most dramatic way to put it, but yeah, it's real and it sucks.
For those who don't know what it means: Procrastination is the practice of carrying out less urgent tasks in preference to more urgent ones, or doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, and thus putting off impending tasks to a later time, sometimes to the "last minute" before the deadline.
We all suffer from procrastination. It is pretty innocent when you have it with household chores or packing your suitcase before you go on a holiday. 
But it becomes a serious problem when you do it with the important things in your life. I take it you're an artist if you're reading this and the biggest aim of being an artist is to be an even better one.
As shown in previous journals there are many
What to do as an artist in training.There are many ways to Rome they say. But I meet a lot of aspiring artists lost and asking me for guidance
and this is what I tell them.
(This is a revisited version of an old journal with new and updated guidelines/info)
Find out what you really want to do with art, there are so many different professions or hobbies to take on.
Graphic designer, Concept artist (mobile and high end), Illustrator of book covers or for card games and so much more.
Once you can make your pick, or at least pick 1 or 2 you must do research on the most valued artwork from that niece. 
Find out what makes the best artist of your favorite field the best artist. What do they paint? How do they paint it? With knowing this you can find out about the things you need to study.

The most basic study aims are the following:

:bulletblue: Lighting.
What forms of light art there? And how does it influence things?
The book Color and Light by James Gurney will
Where to get started before you can apply for workThere is no such thing as suddenly knowing when you are ready to turn your
passion into your profession. But there is a way of measuring your chances on being
able to get work and eventually sustain a living from it.
Accepting commissions or freelance for low payment won't help you. You can think any penny counts, but it will lower the worth of your work and damage the market.
:bulletblue: How to measure that you are ready?
You probably have high goals, but they are usually not your first step. You must search out the clients who can be that first step. Often found in the card game industry, book cover illustrations and smaller game company's. 
Look at the artwork shown by a company such as the card game company: Fantasy Flight games. Compare your skills with the average of their artworks. If it matches yours, you will have a chance. However, keep in mind that those artworks had been done in a limited timeframe, usually within 12 hour
This is why you (and your art) get ignored.People often get the sense of being ignored in the art-scene, especially here online. We all try so hard to get our foot in the door, it's like trying to stuff yourself in an overfull bus like a sardine in a can.
Sometimes you just want to socialize with other artists you admire and you seem to be talking into a brick wall or perhaps you've send your portfolio to a company over a dozen times and still don't even seem to get the smallest response or feedback. I will try and tell you WHY you get ignored and HOW you can get noticed instead.
I will go through the following cases of being ignored:
:bulletgreen: Your comment.
:bulletgreen: Your art.
:bulletgreen: Your Portfolio.
:bulletyellow: Do know, that even though being ignored feels very personal it's hardly ever personal at all! 
:bulletblue: Your comment(s) gets ignored.
It happens ever so often. You notice an artwork or a discussion and you weigh in with your opinion or admiration, perhaps even some feedback? T
The problematic behavior of online artists.There is a bunch of things online artist do terribly wrong on a regular basis. Some of it might be directly aimed to you and some might be things you from others. 
Shortlist:
:bulletblue: Way too little time spend on painting/practice.
:bulletblue: People making nit pick pointers.
:bulletblue: The extreme fuzz about labels and methods.
:bulletblue: Witch-hunting/ talking smack.
However I'd like to start with a totally opposite note:
This year I've also experienced great support from the art community for which I'm dearly grateful for.
:icontituslunter: got me an amazing birthday gift(video), made by him and fellow awesome artists:
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10203399746211607
And the support I've had this past week with the event of my sisters death has been incredibly helpful. (Thank you for all the donations, there are no more worries about money anymore thanks to you awesome people!)

:bulletred: (most of) You seem to spend way to li
Don't let the crap of the internet brainwash you.warning: This journal is my opinion and my view on things. I support open-mindedness and the possibility of anything.
The internet is full of it: People with strong opinions. Usually about 'how to do things' and 'how to absolutely not do things'.
Ask any given person this question: What is good art?
They will all give you a different answer and some of those answers are waaaay to specific for their own good.
Meaning they have a very specific view on what is good and see other work that does not meet up those qualifications as: bad, fake or cheating.
It is natural to have a preference toward certain topics or techniques when making art, but it's wrong to push those ideas upon others as a set of rules. (kinda like forcing someone into a religion)
Art should be a free medium for people to express themselves, even if this means their work goes against your standards or deems unpleasant for your taste.
(Child pornography, animal cruelty etc not included, there are limits to

The stuff that artists go through.There are so many pro's and con as to being an artist, professional or as a hobby. 
It feels nice to be able to express yourself through something you make and when that something turns out to be looking good we get this sense of accomplishment. 
Most of the time though there are bad feelings mixed with the good ones.
:bulletblue: Not being understood. Those moments where your friends or family does not understand that you have to desire to be alone and work on your art. Those copious amounts of hours you spend working and they wonder why you wouldn't rather be outside relaxing in the sun or hang out with your friends.
The only people who will ever fully understand this are other artists or simply very understandable people. It's important they they will eventually understand so there wont be any hurt feelings. Try to explain ti as calmly and rational as you can, perhaps with using examples in terms they would understand.

:bullet
  Overcome your unfair obstacles.We all have certain obstacles that gives us the feeling of: 'This is so unfair!.'
To me it's one of the most annoying feelings in the world because in general we don't really know how to deal with it. One little part of us says: 'Don't whine about it, you are just being jealous.' the other part of you tells you: 'If I didn't have this obstacle or disability I would rule the world!!'
So you bounce around anger, sadness, hopelessness and envy. 
If you were just sad about something or simply angry it would be a lot easier to deal with, you cry or you just vent a bit towards a friend. 
But how to deal with he feeling of unfairness? 

:bulletblue: There are many things that can form this unfair obstacle for you.
Physical obstacles such as: MS, Lyme disease, Arthritis, Color blindness, missing fingers?
Mental obstacles such as: Depression, being a procrastinator (yes I'm naming it because it's a mental blockade that keeps you fro
Fast lane to becoming a better artist.I often get this very question: How did you get this good this fast?

Now as I consider myself not being as good as people tell me, even struggling quite often with being an artist in general. 
I do know how to get better and how to reach it fast. I'm still growing as I go and it's the main thing that keeps me going.
You need to get into the right mindset and the rest will follow. With the rest I mean:
1. Willpower.
2. Endurance.
3. Positive energy.
4. The NEED to draw.
:bulletblue: Seeing growth in your work gives you the courage to work harder. You know that feeling when you're just about done with an image
and feel like this image is better than your last one, that great feeling. Use it!
:bulletblue: Do studies! Lots of them!! Make film shot studies, live object studies, master-painting studies. They will teach you a lot about composition, lighting, colors, shapes storytelling etc. 
You will hardly notice that you are learning thing
Why it's so important to unite as artists.We are with many though yet we are with few. We're all divided over little subgroups such as, fantasy illustrators, concept artists, comic book pencilers, photomanipers, techartists, anime drawers, realism sketchers etc. You might even find your place at multiple sections.
I found that the biggest united groups on Deviant Art are mostly evolved around fan art, such as Sonic, or My little pony. 
Observations aside, I think the good thing about those groups is that they serve for companionship. Being an artist all by yourself with no one to share/talk about/discuss your work with can feel rather lonely. And that lonely feeling is not encouraging at all. Most of us keep a lot of things taboo as well, like techniques or rates. If we were more openly with these the changes of being underpaid or missing out on a job because someone else does it for hardly any money at all will grow slimmer. People should know what they are worth and not be afraid to ask for it.
When I joined Deviant Art
Are you being honest with yourself?As part of becoming good at something you need to be able to reflect upon yourself. Judge your own abilities and work and consider the possibility that what ever you have been doing it wrong all along. Or perhaps you're actually being to hard on yourself and you're better than your conscious is telling you. (This is bad too because it leads to insecurities.)

Signs that you might overestimate your current skills.
Do you often feel these things when you look upon work from good artists?:
I can totally do this too.
This is not so hard, I can do this faster.
My work is way more interesting.
It's not fair that this person gets way more attention than I do.
Why am I not being recognized for my skills.
This other technique is cheating! (photo-bashing, using reference, filters, effects etc)
I don't need to draw and learn all day to become this good.
I spend 2 hours on a painting, Masterpiece!!
Signs that you might underestimate your skills.
Do you ofte
When someone brings your art down...Putting our art out there makes us very vulnerable, especially when you've made something close to your heart. Perhaps something of your own fantasy, a story, a fan fiction your passionate about?
As much as most of us really want to improve, we also simply want to make art because we love it and when we share it there is a slight hope there is someone out there who will love it too.
There are all kinds of ways other people can bring you down by saying something about your art, or by doing nothing at all! Perhaps YOU are even part of making someone feel down and you're not realizing it!

:bulletblue: The harsh critique.
This person might want to help you or simply likes to bring you down. In either case this person will write in length about your lack of technique, uniqueness and/or skill. 
:bulletred: Respond option: Thanks but no thanks! Tell this person you appreciate the time spend on their post, but you rather hear constructive c
How to deal with or get feedback.Getting feedback or critiques may be hard for people.
Some people want it really bad but can't seem to get it, at least not from the people he/she is hoping for.
And other get it all the time but feel a little attacked or bullied by it.
Pretty much anyone with eyes and some intelligence is able to spot mistakes or irregularities in someone's work. This person doesn't have to be more skilled than you. 
However, this person... might be wrong.... 
:bulletpurple: How do you judge a critique?
You initially made your artwork according to the knowledge you currently have. Leaving room for mistakes in the elements you're not trained or knowledgeable in. Or perhaps you think you know something and you are not aware that it's wrong.
When someone gives you feedback, even though it might feel incorrect. Take a little time to do some extra research on the matter. 
:bulletblue: You can ask others if they agree with someone's feedback.
:bulletblue: You can search online (with anat
So tired of not achieving what you want?So tired of not achieving what you want?

Everyone has something they really want dearly, a career, to have a certain loved one, to be able to make certain things...
The most common one among us artist are:
- I want to be able to draw better
- I want to be able to draw like "this"person.
- I want to earn money with my drawing.
- I want to be able to draw what I imagine in my head.
- I want more people to appreciate my art.
- I want more feedback from artists I admire.
- I want more..
- I want better....
All this wanting.. dreaming of... hoping for.
How about doing it!! With these sort of "wants", it's a matter of DOING IT!
How? You ask?
There are many ways, but the usual and only answers to those desires are: 
- Spend the most time you have on drawing/painting.
- Go and ask people for help, it is okay to do so!
- Look at that amazing artwork and try and figure out how this person made it, perhaps he/she will tell you? Perhaps this person has made a video or tutoria
Avoid getting ripped off by a client.As a freelancer most of your business takes place online, which makes it really easy
for people to rip you off. How many times have we seen the following scenario's:
1- Someone offers a descent payment for your artwork but wants you to do an art-test first.
after the art-test you're being told you're not good enough. Later you find out that other people
got to do different art-test topics and also weren't good enough. The client clearly ripped people off to get free artwork.
2- Someone offers good money for your artwork. The sketch gets approved so you continue working. Right when it's done the total image suddenly becomes a great disappointment and the client ends up not paying you.
These were just 2 examples of situations that happen a lot to freelancers. There are many more like it.
:bulletblue: How to detect if a client is a bit fishy...
Does their email address look professional? Some legit people may use their Gmail address, with their real name or nickname, those are questionabl

The emotional shield that prevents hurt.Being an artist = Being sensitive.
We all know it. Making something and then showing it out there makes you very vulnerable, emotionally.
What if people think it's shit? What if they think it's weird... what will they think? Will that reflect on how they think of me as a person?
I know what some of you are thinking right now... 'You should care less about what people think of you or you art.'
In a sense you are right.. than again, you SHOULD care what people think of you and your art! They are your market and potential clients.
It's easier when you're already doing your dream job and couldn't care less for other potential directions... but most of us will always stay interested in new opportunities.
They= Everyone who see your personality and/or artwork.

Being an artist = Being lonely.
Artists of a certain type tent to stick together. Industry veterans seems to ignore the public eye and the internet fully. Some artists in the making clut
Being a miserable artist = being a bad artist.I recently felt it being one of the most important things, not just for an artist; being happy with what you do. No one wants to get up every morning thinking.. shit .. another work day. Of course there can be days, maybe even a full week of that, but the majority of your time you should be feeling content and happy even.
With that lack of love and enthusiasm it is most likely reflected into your work.

Now it's not always your own fault that your work doesn't make you happy and doesn't feed your creative monster. But it can be in these cases.
You make your OWN workday miserable when:
:bulletblue: If you don't speak your mind and stand up for your opinion and values.
:bulletblue: If you're not open minded regarding feedback and new techniques.
:buletblue: If you don't aim for improvement. (though aiming for perfecting all the time can be stressful)
:bulletblue: when you allow yourself to work under stressful circumstances for too long.
These are
Timing fucking matters.Time does a lot of things, it makes you older, it gets you to places, it never stops going forward. However you control when and how you use it!
Everyone makes choices on a daily bases, most of them are actually done with your auto-pilot function out of habit.

Most people usually sit in the same spot on the couch, chooses what to wear based on previously made combinations and so on, unless they consciously become aware of their action and might decide it's time for a change. It can be a small thing that makes people aware of their options
You can count that pretty much every person out there works like this and YOU often depend on THEIR choices.
My point of this journal is saying: Use this in your advantage!
Time can be compared to a diet. Eating to much bad stuff will make you unhealthy and feel bad, while eating healthy things will keep you going and feel good. So time can either make you feel stuck in one place, maybe even going backwards (ageing already does that for you) or
Things I learned at: The Industry Workshops 2014Holy shit amazeballs... this past weekend....
But let me start of by shortly telling you what the industry workshops actually were.
(The artwork in this journal are from some of the lecturers.)
:bulletblue: What is: #IW_14?
The Industry workshops took place last weekend August 29 to 31 2014, at 2 venues both located at Hoxton Square, London United Kingdom.
It was organized and hosted by a group of industry professionals in the fields of concept art, matte painting and illustration in film, games and freelance.
Let me name the people that profited the lectures and demo's from 10 in the morning to 8 in the evening, ending with a 1+ hour QA session as seen on the picture below.

(Not in the same order as the picture)
Alex Brady, Alex Heath, Alex Negea, Andrei Riabovitchev, Björn Hurri, Dave Neale, emrah elmasli, Jama Djurabeav, Jon McCoy, Jonas De Ro, Kan Muftic, Levi Peterffy, Mark tompkins, Nadia Mogile
When inspiration is far to be found...We all get these anoying times when we really want to make something cool, get inspired and work that magic. We see everyone around us (online) do it, but how come we are not?
So we look for ways to get inspired, we ask around, find these usual answers: go watch a film, listen to music.. take a walk...
But even when we do that, we still end up stuck most of the time.
Part of the solution is knowing WHY we get stuck and this is my theory.

:bulletblue: ADT - Attention Deficit Trait.
'Experiencing an inner frenzy of distractability, impatience, difficulty in setting priorities, staying focused and managing time. Those are our biggest enemies as they all end up cluttering your head and keeping you from spending quality focused time on a singular topic.
Everything we do now a days is based around multitasking and it is giving us a constant overdose of information. Let me elaborate.
How many of you travel daily by public transport and don't look away
A simple guide on: Commissioning an Artist.It's often not as simple as one wants it to be when both artist and client want it to be: Cost efficient, time efficient and quality efficient.
I've often spend my time discussing the best way to handle commissions with clients and artist friends that I came to the conclusion that clarity and understanding is key.
I will divide the guidelines I work with based on 3 commission types.
:bulletblue: Character commissions.
:bulletblue: Book covers ( or illustrations)
:bulletblue: Concept art.
Reading all 3 parts will give you the full scope as a lot of it applies to one another as well.

:bulletgreen: Character commissions.
:bulletblue: 1. Reference board.
If you as a client have very specific characteristic features all set and done for your character it can be very useful for the artist if you'd make them a reference board of art and photos that portray these things.
:bulletblue: 2. Personality.
The artist does not wish for a life story of your cha
The Key to keeping yourself motivated properly.Let me start off with telling you what motivation is and why you need it.
A motivation is a reason behind doing something a certain way to work yourself up to a certain goal. Just having a goal but no understanding of how to get there, means you have no way to motivate yourself and your goal will be hard to reach. 
Therefore motivation is needed desperately in order to become truly good at something.
The motivation to eat is the feeling for hunger and the end goal of ending the hunger and feeling healthy and energized. This type of motivation is a feeling. 
Which brings me to: Intrinsic motivation and Extrinsic motivation.
Shortly explained:
Intrinsic motivation: Is a drive that comes from within the person itself. It's a self-desire to seek out new things and new challenges to see how far you can reach to observe and to gain knowledge. This person can enjoy the struggle towards a goal absent the reward. 
Extrinsic motivation: This is a motivatio
How fear motivates my art.:bulletred: When I first saw Jurassic Park in 1993 I was four years old. The animatronics they build had me convinced real and the cinematography was amazing. All from the toilet scene to the dismembered arm to the kitchen scare had me high on adrenaline. This was the first time I had felt scared enough to pee my pants but I loved it! The fact that these dinosaurs were scaring me was the same reason why I was so fascinated by them. The oldest toys I can remember were tiny plastic dinosaurs and my bed sheets had a lovely 'Land before time.' print on it. Every day of my childhood life was dedicated to dinosaurs (and perhaps a bit of Indiana Jones and Power Rangers too). 
:bulletred: The biggest thing that scared me as a kid was the dark. I think this one is very common. When the lights went out and I had to sleep, my imagination would set loose and my dinosaur decorated bedroom would be filled with ghosts, witches, vampires and an evil pine-tree (yeah.. long story). I would hid
  Tenacity is your ultimate super power!100 no's and 1 yes means YES! :P
Applying for jobs in the art/commercial industry is not hard you simply need to know what to do and how to do it.
(Concept artist, Illustrator, 3D artist, UI designer, Mattepainter, SFX artist, Lightingartist, Designer.)
Often when I have a back and forth with artists 'trying to break through' I ask them where they applied and with what. A common respond usually indicates they send out their personal portfolio to 1-5 places at the most. This is exactly what I did as well when I tried the first time.
Let me paint you a hypothetical situation:
You worked hard and long on your artwork and it somewhat reached at state that you're quite okay with your work. You always disliked your own work, but now not so much. Though you're still very uncertain of the quality. You see that your dream company has the job opening you were looking for, perfect! You send your portfolio website and write a nice email about how motivated you are
Achieving your dreams. Before during and after.It’s been on my mind for 5 years now, started as a whisper in the back of my brain, hardly believing that I am capable of achieving it. Than slowly it developed into a goal, something that I might be able to achieve after all … perhaps.
I want to illustrate for my favorite realm in the world: Magic the Gathering.
Phew, feels heavy saying it. The notion warms my chest and raises my heartbeat ever so slightly feeling the rush of adrenaline coursing through my veins. I’ve witnessed my boyfriend and some friends do work for them for 2 years now while I was too burned out from Studio work (concept art for computer games.) and honestly, too insecure about my own capabilities to make attempt.
Now recently I have ended my time at a studio, any studio for that matter, because in order to achieve this secret and exciting goal I will have to work hard and precise to train my skills and create examples of what I have to offer.
I’ve had goals before.
Are you a cheat or the real deal?Let’s talk a bit about using references and other media for your (digital) paintings. Everyone has a right to their own opinion, however there are some assumptions that people make that we are better off clearing up.
Often during my Twitch streams people ask me:
:bulletblue: ‘I want to paint characters from imagination, how do I do it without copying from a reference?’
You have to train yourself with reference before you get the information memorized in your brain. That's why we do anatomy studies with live models, 3D models, photos of naked people etc. When doing these studies you must try and understand the thing you are studying and not just blindly copy what you see. If you understand how the body moves, what muscles are used, proportions, curves etc, you will have a much easier time sketching out the human figure without reference. But even then, depending on the purpose of your work, you do well with checking your sketch for mistakes
 
Recommended Journals
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Tips For Commission Artists
Hello! :wave: I thought of making this small guide, based from my personal experience, to give tips to artists, mostly beginners, to be more successful at selling commissions, since seeing from my previous journal many had difficulty with it. So here are some tips to help boosting your sales. Have your commission info somewhere visible Possibly, people won't even know you are taking commissions or if they are open if you don't put your commission info somewhere they can see. You can do this in a journal, that I mostly recommend, since it will be showing into your watcher's inboxes and most of your watchers probably rarely visit your profi
Some notes on improvement
It was about a year ago that I decided that I should do speedpainting. There's a whole lot of reasoning that made me came to this conclusion. The main reason being that my drawings took too long to render and I was overall dissatisfied with the progress I made (or rather: didn't make). As some of you might know from earlier journals, I suffer from a chronic injury that severely limits my drawing time. I can draw for a few hours on a good day, but not all days are good, and there are days I cannot pick up a pencil at all. As you can imagine this makes rendering a drawing a very frustrating process, because it would take me days, sometimes eve
Comments28
anonymous's avatar
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TheHoneyWolf's avatar
TheHoneyWolfHobbyist Digital Artist
Hi,
Do you think putting commissioned/gift art in my portfolio would be ok?
Most of my artwork is for other people, and I have very little personal work.
Lunalight's avatar
Lunalight Digital Artist
a lot of useful informations iam getting confused what should i prefer to work on.I lost so many years for practice im totally lost at this, when you dont know what is your best discipline. 
Howietzer's avatar
HowietzerProfessional Digital Artist
Great info here. Thanks for taking the time!!! :)
AnnMLoveArt's avatar
AnnMLoveArt Digital Artist
Thank you for sharing this content!
Qissus's avatar
QissusProfessional Digital Artist
Hi, I'm not sure if you've answered this question or not but I want to know if you think it's a good idea to keep your old art to show your improvement or just keep it to yourself? And thanks for this!
oakstudios's avatar
oakstudios Filmographer
Thanks for building this guide. Very helpful  and useful for those looking for a job as an artist.
Kahial's avatar
This is going to be extremely helpful, thanks a lot !
chocnut-san's avatar
chocnut-sanHobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you so much for such a short, yet comprehensive guide. I haven't found any journal/article as specific as this one, segregating one type of work to another, making it easier for us to know which place we really wanted to go. I would also like to thank you for suggesting software, and even mentioning bits of style, format and how we should present it. Thank you so much!!!!
rujiidragon's avatar
rujiidragonStudent General Artist
I have a question thats somewhat related to this, with video games becoming more realistic than real life, will companies demand their concept art to be that way as well? If so, how do we train to draw from imagination an image thats more real than if it was to stand in front of us?
rujiidragon's avatar
rujiidragonStudent General Artist
So, paintings now need to be more real than real life? I understand they used refs but even old english painters had huge deadlines, and the'res I can understand how they did it, though tbh I never liked the old masters. I've seen artists today paint great realistic art without refs though. Even with refs I still don't know how I would personally do it, sounds like the equivalent to a musician to create a song that had notes he couldn't hear or a chef to create a meal with ingredients they couldn't taste. I have no idea how I could do something like this. alexkonstad.deviantart.com/art…  I remember seeing a really realistic dragon painting from the witcher but can't find it now. 
gcaladz's avatar
gcaladzStudent Digital Artist
Many blessings :3 thank you.
Mel1710's avatar
Mel1710Professional Digital Artist
Thank you! Such good practical advice. :)
KuroCyou's avatar
KuroCyouProfessional Digital Artist
You, my lady, are a blessing to this world.
z4m97's avatar
z4m97Student Digital Artist
OH MAH GAUD!
i can buy a singed print?!?! :O
i will not be able to hear you tho :(

haha, sorry for that i couldn't resist, anyway GREAT post, i really learnt a lot, gotta set up my game then :D
Suzanne-Helmigh's avatar
Suzanne-HelmighProfessional Digital Artist
lol XD dyslexia for the win..... spellcheck could not save me from that one.
InkyDeLight's avatar
Yep; eye dew know trussed dispel Czech inn Ms. whirred.

More seriously, have you tried Dyslexie font?  My daughter has dyslexia.  Its typeface actually solves most all of her reading and writing issues.  I didn't know that graphics can cure disease.

And, professionals do use spell check on important things like a CV or portfolio. 
LoLo-is-SeaDoo-ing's avatar
LoLo-is-SeaDoo-ing Digital Artist
Thanks again for an awesome journal, Suzanne!! I've finally decided I'd like to start building a real portfolio and these pointers (along with your other journals) are great reference :D

Do these pointers apply for 3D art though? Like say, to be a 3D character artist, or a 3D environment and/or prop artist? :-?
Suzanne-Helmigh's avatar
Suzanne-HelmighProfessional Digital Artist
I have no first hand experience in that field, so i can't confirm it. But it wouldn't surprise me if they have great similarity 
LoLo-is-SeaDoo-ing's avatar
LoLo-is-SeaDoo-ing Digital Artist
Thanks for the reply! :) Hm, off to researching I go then! :D
PixelArtPaintings's avatar
PixelArtPaintingsProfessional Digital Artist
It'd be nice if you mentioned this was specifically for 2D concept art, as I see you have no mention of 3D or animation-related advice for people who want to be disciplined in those tracks. Sure, a lot of it does carry over, but it helps to actually tell people where your focus lies right in the title. "Art portfolio" is really generalized.
Suzanne-Helmigh's avatar
Suzanne-HelmighProfessional Digital Artist
Although you are right, if people took interest in knowing where I come from they would know what fields I will talk of :) as i mention early in the article, I likely leave some fields out, also because I have no concrete knowledge or experience with it. You'd have to hear from a 3D artist what catagory's and requirements lie in their field. I am a concept artist and illustrator. 
Elvenwyn's avatar
ElvenwynHobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks a lot for this! Although for me the timing is incredibly off because I applied to two companies two weeks ago and I could have really used these pointers.

Besides that, I'm still grateful you put this up, because now I can be prepared for future applications.
RgDraw's avatar
RgDrawProfessional Digital Artist
Great now i want to work everywhere! XD

But more seriously that's gonna be useful ! I'm gonna do some cleaning on mine

BTW i agree about the Books part, currently working with an author and they have really specific things in mind (and they forgot to tell you few of those things xD ) So you also have to be very patient and be sure to not forget anything either xD

The indie company seems like a paradise for artist but i'm gonna aim for those when I'll be more experienced, but for now i need my first real job *^*
anonymous's avatar
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