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September 22nd, 2011 #1
Semiprofessional: Eric Quigley Portfolio Review
Hey guys, my name is Eric Quigley and I'm trying my hardest to get a start somewhere in the sci-fi/fantasy illustration business.
I've been told that it takes a while to get started in the business, but my received COMPLETE lack of interest is starting to develop into some serious frustration, so I decided I'd try and get a better idea of what people are seeing when they look at my portfolio. I got some interest, work a couple of freelance jobs, and then NOTHING.
I'll post my portfolio images here, but if you'd like to visit my site and tell me if it's working etc. etc. I'd listen. It's purposefully bare (maybe the bio section needs a lot of work) to try and make it easy to see my art and contact me, as was advised to me while I was in school.
Thanks for your time everyone and anyone.
Last edited by Quigleyer; September 22nd, 2011 at 05:27 PM.
Hide this ad by registering as a memberSeptember 22nd, 2011 #2
I love the mammoth
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September 22nd, 2011 #3Registered User
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I love your loosse painting strokes, but you could use at least a piece of two that shows a tighter render. The fact that you have only one environment and no architecture is probably also ruling you out of a lot of jobs. Is the area you're in hiring a lot? If not, are you willing to re-locate? There's a LOT of things that are completely unrelated to portfolio that could stop you from landing a job and my bet would be on one of those (Unless you only apply at the studios who have the highest standards). Your portfolio is nice, and would definitely fit in a lot of studios.
(BTW, your "complete lack of interest"? Don't you mean people's lack of interest towards your portfolio?)
Last edited by freiheit; September 22nd, 2011 at 03:05 PM.
September 22nd, 2011 #4
It's not necessarily in-house jobs I'm looking for. Most of my stuff is geared towards what's considered illustration than concept art (though the two are often very closely related). Though an in-house job is what I really want to do those seem harder to get in this field than freelance work, so here I am (I'd be almost willing to bet that companies hire freelancers they've worked with for their in-house jobs regularly, but that statement is uneducated). I can work from anywhere at the moment, and I'm pretty sure this is a pretty common way to go about doing things. Damn competitive market, though.
Thanks for correcting me there . I'm very interested in my art, just not art directors .
September 22nd, 2011 #5Registered User
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I like your images. They have an old school dungeons & dragons feel to them with the limited color pallete you use.
You enviro/landscape image is cool. Would like to see another one.
Not sure why you have the black-n-white image included. Either finish it or replace with an environment image.
You do demonstrate a good level of skill and knowledge so I am not sure why studios are overlooking your works. Are you getting any feedback? Have you requested feedback?
My suggestion is to just keep adding more images to your portfolio. Try different character poses, different viewing angles (like from the sky or the ground), and create a couple images that have a little more detail to them, and vary your color a little more. Push yourself to improve.
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September 23rd, 2011 #6
The black and white character was actually put in there because one of the companies I sent my portfolio to was Fantasy Flight games, a publisher that specifically mentions they pay for black and white interior work. I agree it needs to go (as two portfolio sendings later I imagine Fantasy Flight is just not interested either), and I'm currently working on images to try and replace them. I agree I need more work, but won't include any more until I feel it's to the quality of what I've already got or better.
I honestly think I need more sci fi stuff, that would probably expand me a lot. And some happier scenes . Thanks for your words man, I'm gonna try and add some more work/replace the weaker work here in the next month or two.
September 23rd, 2011 #7
Good pointers there on the matter. Make it just a scrollable list of images. Make filenames in the format of Yourname_Illustrationname.jpg.
Also, more pieces, more variety, more epic landscapes and more design in characters!
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September 23rd, 2011 #8Registered User
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I've always admired your postings in the critique forum and I respect your work ethic and willingness to learn and improve. That being said, I am afraid that the realities of freelance illustration (especially in a competitive field like fantasy art) is much more harsh than you might imagine. I was a freelance artist for many years (not in fantasy art) and so I know what it feels like when it seems like no one is interested in what you have to offer. It is important for you to remember that illustration is the BUSINESS of making art for money. You will have much more success if you offer something that many people want to buy.
Your portfolio: The images you currently have in your portfolio show ability and creativity. However, the body of work leaves me with the impression that none of the images are 'finished'. I know that you have put a lot of work into these images from your posts in the critique forum; so I know that they are not 'just knocked out'. But the looseness of the style hurts more than helps the images, as far as professionalism goes. The executioner piece is your strongest. Ideally you should have a portfolio in which that is your 'weakest' piece.
In my opinion, the rendering style and technique of your images overshadows the content. As an example: in the beholder image the clothing of the figures reads as paint that represents clothing, rather than clothing that just happens to be painted. I am not sure if that is clear enough but I am unable to articulate it much better, so I am sorry if my comment is vague.
Including an image that appears to be a speedpaint (the mammoth image) may not be a good idea. Speedpaintings tend to be impressive to ourselves because we were witness to the inspiration and creation. However, it only registers as a weaker piece to someone viewing your portfolio for the first time.
My advice would be to look at the artwork that Fantasy Flight games buys, and find the best example. Then update your portfolio so that your 'weakest' piece is stronger than their best.
I don't mean to discourage you; rather I hope this information helps you prepare. I have seen absolutely stunning portfolios go across some art directors' desks only to be rejected for some mundane reason, so as a freelancer, your first impression has to absolutely floor anyone who sees it.
This message is most certainly not all gloom an doom. I think that if you spend some more quality time on the pieces you currently have in your portfolio, that you will be called back, and often. Spend some time looking at Spectrum etc. to see what REALLY sells. It is nice to make artworks that other artists are impressed by, but often what art directors and art buyers are paying for, is quite different than what we find impressive. Keep up the good work man. Determination and persistence are a freelancers greatest assets. I truly hope this helps.
September 24th, 2011 #9
Kauil- Thanks man, those are good ideas.
Javier- haha, man- that's EXACTLY what I was posting to get. Please don't ever feel the need to worry about how I'll take a critique- I honestly have always been rather thick skinned and try to remain humble towards the advice given by others, especially people who have been where I want to go.
I had the general idea that "stuff wasn't good enough" from the lack of interest, so I've recently (like very recently) begun to try and really turn the studying up a notch, and plan to make a regular regiment of this. One of the things I set as a goal in my art for this "period" is to gain a better understanding of surface control and object "specularity" (put in quotes because spell check says it isn't a word?). One critique center thread not too long ago dpaint came in and advised me that I needed to get a better grasp of this because I treat all surfaces the same. I do believe this is what you were referring to as well, at least closely related- and I have to agree that my surfaces are weak.
I also have a weird "you're good"/ "you're bad" combination in relation to advice on color. I believe my color is one of my weakest points (which I believe you also have expressed before) and am also trying to get a better grasp of this. Luckily all I have to do is look at things and paint to hopefully get better at both of these things- that's not so bad .
My "finish" is always a more frustrating topic for me, not because I want my paintings to look like that- but because I'm trying to get them NOT to. It has to all come down to skill and time management- I think I need to improve my ability to better render things (and paint my materials better), but I think I need to be exploring other workflow methods while I do my studies. Somewhere down the line I am taking WAAAAAY too much time building my paintings and really losing some enthusiasm and time for my "finish".
So I guess I have goals and a general "leaping point" to begin from in re-building my portfolio. This will take time, and all the while I will be looking for freelance work, but I do understand that what I'm doing here is far from where I want to wind up.
The first image I want to replace is the mammoth one, as I agree with what Javier was saying about it. The second piece would be the black and white one, and then I'll re-assess from there. I honestly feel like the beholder piece is one of my stronger ones, but it might just be too fresh for me to properly judge it.
On a lighter note I just got approval for my first actual freelance job. I did a card for Legend of the Five Rings TCG (Alderac Entertainment Group) and have recently gotten a few quote requests. They never follow up after the quote, but at least they're asking . Thank god this is fun, or I'd never make it!
September 25th, 2011 #10
Love your stuff, always have; you have interesting compositions and lots of interesting action but IMO the main stumbling thing in this group of images is the figures need more or better reference. I can live with the loosness but the inaccuracy of your anatomy pulls me out of the scene when it is off.
The light and shadow divisions could be better too, some of your shadows are too dark and lose effectiveness. Which leads me to the last thing which is color. Your color choices could be better in the lights and shadows. When you want to turn a form think about a hue change and not just a value change from light to dark. When colors shift value they have to shift hue; cooler for shadows, warmer for lights.
Keep up the good work and with a few tweaks and better attention to details I bet you will start getting more callbacks.
September 25th, 2011 #11
Thank you so much dpaint, I'm pretty excited to get hauling ass on my portfolio again. I'm going to try and make a thread in the critique center very soon for my "portfolio makeover" or whatever (right now I'm suddenly really sick, so after this). I've recently begun the practice of shooting really specific references for my pieces, so hopefully I can get rid of some of that "guess work".
Right now I'm scanning websites for people I'd like to work for and seeing what kind of images they buy, as was suggested by Javier. Please feel free to stop by that thread, once it's started, and offer me brutally honest advice.
I'm really glad I started this thread!
September 25th, 2011 #12
I'm not a pro. I usually don't point out what I feel is going wrong with another artist's work, but I understand wondering why work is greeted with silence. I've checked out your devaint gallery and think you've got good skills. However right now I think the major thing holding you back is your edge control. The painterly style is fine, but it works best when it has bold strokes with clean edges. By the way, loved the landscape it is your best work.
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October 1st, 2011 #13
I'm posting this to gauge a reaction. I'm trying to A) create a more light-hearted body of work, and B) trying to get more of a "finish" out of my images.
Also tried to really control my shadows and think about reflected light and how it's going to affect the shadows' values AND temperature. This is all stuff I THINK (always the operative word) I know how to do, but sometimes you just get lost when you're painting for too long without a good whomping. Thanks for the whomping!
Here's the hipster mage. I've replaced the mammoth image with him, not sure if that's a great idea, but I'm going to be shifting my portfolio around quite a lot in the next couple of months, I think. I'm pretty excited and exploring new rendering workflows is showing some real results fairly quickly.
I'm also trying to develop a larger body of environment work. I need to get started on some interiors as well, I have none and have done very few. I'll try to keep updated here, thanks for the help everyone.
October 1st, 2011 #14Registered User
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Hipster mage! I laught so hard! I wouldn't take out the mammoth personally, it's a very dynamic piece that's eye catching. You've got 8 pieces, you're likely to go up to 12-15 if you want to demonstrate the full range of your abilities.
I'm usually very strongly against under selling one's self, but have you ever considered accepting a small gig to do a cover for a book that's been confirmed to be published? 200-300$ might not cover the work, but you'd have at least one composition done to meet technical requirements and you'd have a published work. You could also get yourself published in imagineFX once you've got pieces you're confident with (they try to avoid printing twice the same artist in their feature section).
October 1st, 2011 #15
I actually have one piece that is due to be published. I did a spell card for the Legend of the Five Rings's expansion due out in a few months. I can show it when it gets published, but in light of recent comments I don't think it'll find a place in my portfolio. 200-300 dollars would actually be well above what I usually get or ask for for work. I'm not turning down projects that don't pay what I want, I'm just not getting ANY projects. I finally convinced a guy to give me a job for an e-zine for Rite Publishing (Let's just say the money isn't even worth mentioning) to try and get a better jump on published materials and a client list. If you know of someone who would want to hire me for 200-300$ I would gladly take it... as right now I'd be glad to do any work for any publisher for any small chump change. Rough world out there. Right now the goal isn't to make heaps of dough, the goal is to get and finish jobs so people at least have an inkling of who I am. All of this work and frustration will make it all the more worthwhile though, once I finally can quit my day job. One day...
On my next slew of days off I'm going to the nerd shop to look for more publishers I'd be interested to work for. Hopefully it'll prove fruitful...
Last edited by Quigleyer; October 1st, 2011 at 03:50 PM.
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