Working as a cartoonist for hire for over 30 years, freelance artist Aaron Warner is often asked by fellow artists about finding success in the art business. A recent question from a beginning freelancer was, "Should all the sample art in my portfolio be in color?"
"I always encourage artists to offer artwork in their portfolio which represents the kind of assignments they want to get," said Aaron. "If you want to offer full color art services and be hired to work on full color assignments, you should certainly post full color samples in your portfolio.
"Consider your portfolio is bait as you are fishing for a specific fish. The correct "bait" should be specifically selected for acquiring the specific type of fish you are seeking."
The creator of The Red Zone Warrior continued by explaining, "It is very common for a freelance artist to make the mistake of posting all of their best artwork and then sit back, hoping the "right project" comes along, possibly having never fully imagined what the "right project" would be for them. In truth, what they should be doing is posting the kind of artwork they want to be hired to create more of. For example, if I created a great image of a car, but I dislike drawing cars, why would I use this image for attracting more clients who want cars drawn? Post art samples of the type of job you want to be hired to do."
But isn't it true a freelance artist must be flexible?...and prepared to draw subject matter outside their personal taste?
Aaron answers with an enthusiastic, "YES! Realizing that being a successful freelance artist is more about business than personal taste, the freelance artist most of the time may need to set aside their personal likes and dislikes in order to earn money from a wide variety of clients. If this is the case, a slightly altered version of the same rule may apply. Instead of posting art of subject matter you personally like, the freelancer should be knowledgeable of the type of art that is commercially popular and show samples of what will attract the most business."