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It depends. For freelance illustration? No. For a staff concept art gig? Maybe. For school admissions? Definitely.Here's something: Plain ol' figure drawing/painting. Does it ever have a place in a portfolio? I noticed a lot of that from my fellow hopefuls over NYCC and didn't feel it was MY place to knock it, but to me it created the impression of unnecessary filler. No matter how pretty, there's just no content.
Always tailor your portfolio to the particular situation. There's no such thing as one-size-fits-all. And nothing in it should be filler of any sort, no matter how pretty.
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Crash Course for Artists, Illustrators, and Cartoonists, NYC, the 2013 Edition!
"Work is more fun than fun."
"Art is supposed to punch you in the brain, and it's supposed to stay punched."