There are numerous ways artists can post their portfolios online for potential clients to find. However, there is a method to posting the right images and the right number of images if a freelance artist wants to attract clients, get jobs, keep busy and stay busy with bigger and more profitable clients.
"The biggest mistake I see beginning artists make is posting too many art samples in a portfolio," says Cartoon Studios art director Aaron Warner, who began his freelance art business drawing for newspapers when he was only 17 years old. "Artists like to show every image they have ever created, thinking this "shotgun approach" to attract a client's art preference will attract a wide variety of jobs. However, this is actually the biggest job killer. What art directors see in a portfolio with too many samples is a desperate artist who is willing to try anything, and the editor does not want to hire an unpredictable artist to create their thousand dollar book cover or magazine illustration."
Now after 30 years of having created syndicated comic strips, comic books and children's book imagery, Warner shares his insight with members of www.CartoonistForHire.com, a site his company developed to put freelance artists in touch with clients directly.
"Art directors have a limited amount of time to shop for a new artist. When they review a portfolio, they will see great work, but they are actually looking for the worst image of the bunch," says Warner. "This gives the editor an idea that not every image the freelance artist produces is going to be great, and the editor runs the risk of their assignment looking like the worst example within the portfolio. If an artist has posted 100 images in their online portfolio, the potential employer has more chances to see a bad example of the artist's work than if the artist had only posted ten images. If all ten images look great and all ten images are within a similar art style, the employer wants to hire that artist. The editor wants to feel confident in what the end results will look like after having seen the ten samples that are exactly what they envision for their assignment."
"The biggest secret about selecting images for a portfolio potential employers will see is: Less is More," says the illustrator and creator of numerous comic features including Adventures of Aaron and A College Girl Named Joe, among others.
And for artists who work in a variety of styles, Warner suggests posting different portfolios that focus on different art styles, not trying to jam all the artist's work into one mixed bag portfolio showing varying degrees of style and technique.
"At www.CartoonistForHire.com we offer a variety of portfolio categories just for this reason," says Warner. "We want our artists to get the most jobs, and to stay busy, so we built the site with a freelancer's interest in mind, and with the insight we have learned working with art directors directly ourselves for over 30 years. They want easy and reliable. They have deadlines and budgets and an unpredictable artist is not an asset when it comes to deadlines and budgets."