Portfolio Site Review?
I firstly apologise if this is the wrong bit of the site to put this in, and secondly if theres an existing thread this should have gone in.
Anyway, basically I graduated last week, and now I really need to get into looking for employment. I've had a site up for a while now, but I'm feeling quite tentative about sending a link off to anyone.
Basically, I'd like as thorough and detaileld contructive criticism on it - both the site and the work on it as possible, just because I really want to get the whole thing polished for maximum effects.
Please don't pull any punches, as it helps me in the long run if you don't!
The address is www.alexjholt.com
Thanks in advance!
I'll start with the art first, I think you should change the "home" image, the one thats a bunch of images put together with your quote. I think one large view of your best piece would be more effective. My first impression when I saw what's there is "wow that's alot of buttons" because I though the row at the top were buttons too.
2nd I'd suggest removing the "Traditional Art" section entirely, it doesn't help you, your other work is stronger and they look like school assignments. You should consider replaceing it by splitting your digital paintings section into Creatures and Environments since those are your specialties.
Remember your porfolio is all about the art, I really don't think you need the "news" section on the right, you've already got a blog for that.
You could consider adding a resume somewhere on the site (leave out your real address). Along with putting somewhere on the site what type of work you're looking for.
Anyway I like your work , especially your environments, very well done. Hope this helps.
Thats exactly the kind of advice I was looking for, so thankyou!
All that makes a lot of sense, and I'll admit that the main reason the News section was there to begin with was because I had space to fill, but as I'll be restructurign things anyway, that'll certainly help.
Would you say leave the 3D section as it is though? I'm not looking for a 3D job persay, but I thought it might be something useful to show just incase?
I agree with what Amber said, get rid of the news and the traditional sections. I'd say that the 3D stuff is your strongest, but if you don't want a job doing it then why is it in your portfolio? Only put in your port what you want to be hired to do. After looking at your portfolio site I'm not sure what it is you want to do. There is an age old argument about specializing vs generalizing your skill set in order to best get a job. Some people are really good at a number of things so they can get away with generalizing. Some people aren't - I aren't, that's fo' sho'! If you want to be a jack-of-all-trades then you can't afford to be a master of none. You have to be a master of all. You have to be really damn good at everything you do.
Like I said earlier your 3D works looks good, probably of professional quality, tho I'm no expert there. Your painting skills are amateurish, you'll need to dedicate some time to get those skills up to par to compete as a 2D illustrator. I don't think the speed paint section is doing you any favors. Grab the latest copy of Spectrum and flip though it. That's who you're entering the field with. Now that you're done with school it's time for you to really start studying!
With all that being said my website is guilty of all of that too... :-/
All you really need are 8-12 of the best damn things you can do (2D or 3D) on your site and email addy. The rest will work itself out. Best of luck!
The site itself is quite nice, well spread out and easy to navigate. The color scheme could use a little work, but other then that a very inviting site to post your work.
The artwork is good. Your digital paintings are expressive, and they have good color schemes to them. Not too blocky, and good textures. The traditional work are well sketched, and you seem to have a good skill for capturing poses. The 3D work is very impressive, and i think you should work more on some other types of models, such as humans and other creatures to improve your skills.
All together, id say you need to get more artwork up, and show more diverse art, to show that you can switch styles and looks.
So just a quick checklist of things here -
- Scrap digital/traditional categories and replace with 'Environments' and Creatures/(characters?)
- Scrap News Section entirely
- Cleaner front page - one large image, and perhaps just name of site, my name and that I'm an artist?
- Make sure its only my absolute best stuff going up (get rid of anything I doesn't feel is even slightly not up to scratch)
- get my resume in there somewhere
and of course, carry on doing as much work as possible and hopefully getting better
Mark: While I'd certainly greatly prefer to go into concept art or illustration, a lot of the job descriptions I've seen seem to be suggesting that a good knowledge of max would be helpful to applicants. Also given the current job market, I thought it would probably a good idea to leave my options open if possible, given that if something comes up which does involve max in any way I'll probably want to take it. Not sure if it's the best idea ever, but seemed logical at the time.
and don't necessarily get rid of sketchy looking work, in fact some people looking to hire love to see the sketchy stuff, it shows thought process and that you practice different things. Even some of my stuff i post is not my best, but there are parts in the sketch that point to what i was working on and what i was going for.
And for art categories, just generalize it, you got 3D which you are good at, Environment stuff, again good at, and then have something for other artwork, whether its animals, people, random creatures you made up.
The main site looks VERY cluttered-- which makes me not want to navigate it. I see all the huge buttons and get put off, and then I find out that those huge buttons don't go away? Very annoying.
Your art should be the most important thing on the site, and that means having your portfolio images large enough that you can actually enjoy them. Having them squished into the top half of the page while big buttons take up the bottom is just no good.
I would really streamline your buttons to be text links either along the top of the page or as a sidebar. You want to be able to see the images foremost and not get distracted by a bunch of navigation buttons.
Also, the site seemed to take a bit to load, and I have a very fast connection. Are you saving your navigation images as "save for web" to reduce their size? Or are they just regular .jpgs? If you haven't shrunk them down, I would definitely do so. Just go in Photoshop and 'save for web', and you can get image icons that are only a few kb in size.
As a matter of interest, what screen resolutions are people looking at it in? I'm not experiened enough in web design to know how to do things which compensate for that at all, so what would be best for standard? As it is, I've seen versions where everything is massively stretched out with huge great empty spaces, and versions where it all gets cramped up so you can't see everything properly, and I'm a bit at a loss how to address that? Thoughts?
Hadn't heard of 'saving for web', so I'll definitly do that as I'm uploading the new stuff.
Having them at the bottom was originally a vague plan to have people see the images first, as I'd seen a selection of other sites do it that way, but I can certainly see what you mean about reducing the 'chunk' factor.
Would it perhaps be a good idea if I made mockups of the new site and posted them here for critting before making the thing properly?
Right, after about 6 false starts that I scrapped to start again, and a lot of gettign distracted in the mean time new site done.
The only thing I haven't done yet is reformatting all the images for web purposes (though new images are) but thats a task in itself really.
Any further thoughts would be welcome, and also any notes on any resolution based problems!
Thanks in advance!
I use windows explorer and I usually have my favorites open on the left side of my screen so when I go to your site, instead of moving your page to the right, like every other website does, it just goes on top and I can't see your links. I have to close my favorites bar to see them. Unfortunately I don't know enough about program to know why.
Ok but beyond that lets see, I do like the home page you have, its simple and looks good. I would however, go with a slightly darker background color then the pink. I do think it would look better if the white box that it's all contained in, was centered. Even though your artwork is automatically copyrighted to you, its still good to add in your copyright information at the bottom of the box or under the box.
The other thing I noticed is that when I click on each thumbnail, the main box resizes, which moves the links on the left, it moves them back and forth. That is a bit annoying. If you could make those stationary and just allow more white space around varying sized images, that would be better.
In the character+creatures section I think you should remove the sketch of the woman holding the cup, you definately don't need more then 10 in each section.
In your bio part of it states "... and am currently seeking work. I'm currently based in Northamptonshire but am willing to move for employment. " I think you should remove one of the "currently"s.
But overall i think it looks alot better!
Ooh thanks, thats nice and thorough!
I can fix the extra picture easily enough... (and I just did)
The resizing problem is fixable... I think I basically need to give all the pictures which arent the standard max width (500pixels) a white border on either side which rounds them up to that. I might also try reducing this stuff to say 450 to better support lower resolutions?
The currently thing I'll fix as soon as I've finished this post
The pink is also really easy to fix (tho to me it looks grey... it's actually some scanned paper, best check it out on some other monitors)
How would putting the copyright in the bottom corner underneath the links be?
The two that might be more problematic are the going over the favourites going over the top (not a clue...) and the centralisation.... The slight problem here is that I used two frames so whenever I updated a page I didnt have to update every page... So I probably need to see if theres a way to set the frame border to a percentage of the page size rather than being at a fixed relative place...
Definitly all helpful stuff tho, so thanks! I'll try and get it all tidied up as soon as possible. :)
I viewed your site on a 1152x864 resolution monitor in firefox and I could only see a few letters of each of your navigation links on the main page like this:
(There was no scroll bar along the bottom of my browser to allow me to see more). After clicking the links they moved to the right a bit so I could read them.
Then I brought up your site on my 1280x1024 monitor in internet explorer and couldn't see the navigation text at all. nothing clickable.
Maybe you're fiddling with some code right now?
Your site won't win any design awards, but it is nice and clean now.
I agree with MarkWinters; Your 3D looks professional, your 2D isn't there yet. So leave the 3D up for now, because that's your chance to get a steady job, and work your butt off to get your drawing up to snuff (drawing has to be solid first, THEN painting).