What to put in your portfolio

I suppose every art student gets confronted with questions like ‘What makes you special as an artist?’ and ‘Wmakes you more special then other artists’. These are all commercial questions. How do you earn a lot of money?
I am aware of the fact that you have to earn money as a freelance artist. But I think I can say that youdid not choose this job because you wanted to become rich. Hello reality check: you will not become extremely rich. In this case you have to read rich as earning a lot of money. But it will make you rich in the way that it will make you proud and happy.
Of course you have to sell yourself as an artist to keep on doing the thing you love and makes you happy. So how are we going to do this? You probably are looking for this magic formula. A doctor finishes his school and knows what makes you sick and how to heal you. So you have to know your literature and know it good and then you are a good doctor. The more you know the better. So now we can do a shitload of art studies and become a technical miracle at drawing. Oh! And we know photoshop and all the other programs as the back of your hand! Damn now we are successful.
Sorry, no we are not. Because what do you want to show your future boss with your portfolio? That you know the programs and technique or do you want to show them that you like what you do and what  you like to tell? That is what you put in your portfolio.
What I firstly did when I finished art school is forget the things I learned there and do what I loved. I used the technical studies I did to draw the things I would like to draw. But what do I want to draw? What does anyone want to draw? I think the artwork every artist wants to create is an artwork that contains a bit your personal life or thoughts or feelings. That sounds a bit like sitting on this romantic artist sitting on a pink cloud and being poor but happy kind of story but it is not like that.
You have to put something you want to tell in your project. That guy you want to show you your portfolio wants to see a few things:
  • ·         You should be able to draw and know the technique. (So yes it is important to know how to draw and make choices in this spectrum. Use your knowledge of the basics.)
  • ·         The thing that makes you special is the depth in the drawing. Expressions in body language, face expressions, atmosphere, and storytelling. Every artwork communicates through these expressional features.
  • ·         Show the fact that you are unique. This is both the easiest part as the hardest part. You already are unique so you already graduated for that. You are a person! *yaay* But now show that through your art.And this is the same thing as making friends. You don’t like everyone and not everybody likes you. And that is the thing that makes you special and the art piece you made is an extension of you and that is why that future project fits you and people like or dislike your art.
  • ·         Be consistent. I have one huge rule for me as an artist. Every drawing has to be better than the last one. Now you are going to say: that is not very consistent! Well it is. It is an consistent line of becoming better. And for me this is a promise to the person I am sending my portfolio. ‘I promise you that your project is the best thing I ever did!’  And I always go for that. That is consistent.
So these are some guidelines of what to put in your portfolio and make good art you like. And don’t worry when people say that you are not fitting the project because that is not an attack on your qualities as an artist. They probably found another artist that would fit the project better.
Keep on drawing, always be critical on your own work, and don’t make any excuses.

Kind regards,



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