Dear conceptart.org community.
I feel that I am in need of some professional advice.
I'm currently in the process of finishing up my BFA in fine arts at a State University. I had my BFA show this past spring and now it's becoming all too apparent that the cocoon of academia is quickly dissolving. Anyway, I've only had a couple freelance gigs, illustrating book covers for some small-time publishers. These jobs pretty much fell into my lap and aside from them I don't really have any professional experience as an illustrator or concept artist.
My employment as of late has consisted of fairly cushy jobs such as digital image restoration, assistant curator to my university's image library as well as the assistant to the Arts Promotions Director here. However, as these jobs have only been open to students, I have no illusions that I'll probably end up in some retail position on the outside to hold me over. Local gallery jobs, graphic arts jobs, and photo finishing jobs are few and far between and very competitive amongst an already experienced base. With this in mind, I plan on pursuing my MFA after taking a year off from school so in the future I'll at least be able to supplement my income in some academic setting. And really most of my plans will only end up holding me over till something else comes along. On my own, I've been working on my portfolio, trying to get whatever exposure I can locally and online, but without any significant monetary results thus far it's hard to keep myself going.
I guess what I'm finally getting at is the question, where do I begin? I've just started applying and sending samples of my portfolio to a few freelance job postings found on these forums but with little luck. I'm afraid that I'm simply a terrible entrepanuer and know of know where else I could be looking. I'm a little unsure of what I should be searching for as well and what I can expect to find. As far as what I want or think I can manage best at this point, I'm still more of a creature/character designer. Though I'm trying to expand into a broader range of subject matter with the intentions of becoming more versatile. My clients thus far have been small publishers seeking cover illustrations and bands independently producing self-released albums. The pay has been nothing substantial but it's all served to produce portfolio fodder. I'm really keeping my options open to any possibilities in order to expand my artistic horizons and I have no intentions to specialize in any one thing this early in the game. However, I find the notion of diversifying my portfolio for the sake of diversifying it a little tough to grasp as I’ve always been the type to handle assignments as they come. The question is, how do I find them?
Any advice would be much appreciated.
At this point, I'm still more of a creature/character designer through I'm expanding into broader context and range of subject matter with the intentions of becoming more versatile. My clients thus far have been small publishers seeking cover work and bands independently producing self-released albums. The pay has been nothing substantial but it's all served to produce portfolio fodder. I'm really keeping my options open to any possibilities in order to expand my artistic horizons and have no intentions to specialize in any one thing this early in the game.
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Alright. This is blunt, very un-opinionated first reactions, as if you were someone I had never known.
I went to your website. The spash page looks very messy and blurry. I couldn't tell if it was supposed to be anything or not. From what I have learned, spash pages are no-nos, period- but if you are going to have one, for whatever reason, it should be able to meet certain benchmarks;
-Shows instantly the quality of your work
-Shows instantly what you are good at; Characters/Creatures/Enviro, Fantasy/Fine art?
-Is simple and clean. A full page spash can confuse any audience member, but one that is obvious, that matches with the rest of the site, etc. is much more effective and gives the "formal look" that a splash page should have.
Past the spash page; The text is aaaalll squashed and squished and mashed and different sizes and aaaaaaaaagh. More often then not, uniformity, even if it's uniformity in an unorganized or rough way- is appealing and shows class and proffesionalism. Also, the fonts should really speak about you, and if you must, make your own- maybe not type face, but make custom images of the words you need. The background should probably be played down a little, there is enough contrast to steal my attention, which a BG shouldn't do.
Also, the lightbox kept messing up and I had to refresh.
The art icons are presented very nicely, but to tell the truth- This design reminds me quickly of anime fansites... and I'm not trying to be harsh but it does, and the biggest difference is your audience. You are looking at people with no time on their hands, they have 87 portfolios to sift through between 10 and 11 o'clock. You've got under a MINUTE to capture their attention.
How do you do this?
-Make your work accessible. No less than 2 clicks away. (you did this one.)
-DO NOT SAVE THE BEST FOR LAST. This is no feature presentation. If they see your first for WHAM!!!! paintings then they want to see the rest. If they see some rough quick sketches with slight charm to entice them further, they will say "no time." and move on. (You will have to judge the quality of your own work)
-Resume/info page should list in no more than 3 sentences; what makes your work better, what makes your dream higher, what makes you more motivated than your competition? WHY SHOULD I CHOOSE YOU? Art Directors (AD's) are not concerned with a life story, no matter how entertaining.
More focused critique;
It looks like you are going for something grungey or edgy, but to be honest you've always struck me, and your work strikes me, as more of a fine-artist. Formal, punctual, poised, respectable. I'm kind of going to do a quick "mock up" of some suggestions... I don't want to lead you to my way of thinking or anything, but just some offerings to help you out a little, because I would hate to have just gotten out of college and not being able to find good work.
Please don't sue me for this
again it's only a suggestion for a simplistic design. Having your art as your homepage just makes it that much easier to get to!
also if there is any way possible, GET DREAMWEAVER. (and I mean, -ANY WAY POSSIBLE. Once you poke around in it and look up some tutorials, it's easy, and when used effectively, nobody can even tell you used it. I spent like 2 months designing my site, came up with 5 different layouts. each of the first four were allllmost done... but I realized how ineffective or pretentious they were and canned em till I came up with the KISS one- you know, "Keep It Simple, Stupid!"
anyways, probably not the best color combo but I hope it helps you!
OH AND SOMETHING I FORGOT!!! I learned this the hard way when I made my site.
If you have your art show up in a new window each time, there are sort of 3 ways you can do things; the easy way, the difficult way, and the "Gonna have to do it over" way.
Make the very last, lower right piece page "page1.html", then have the pages increase to whatever your most recent is; "page22.html". This way when you want to add a new piece, you can move the thumbnails in order, change the HTML on page22.html's "previous" button so that instead of going back to page1.html or gallerypage.html, it will go back to page23.html. Uploading takes a matter of -minutes-.
If you have a unique name for all your pieces, you can name the pages that way- "Themonsterandthesquid.html", or "Poopinthehoop.html", but then when you are searching through the HTML to change it, it takes alot more time.
You have a body of work.. you start with your best piece, and making it's .html page. YOu name it page1.html. Do not do this. Then your last, worst piece is page22.html. Then you go to update... "page23.html"... then you realize that the html will be all messed up and it will confuse YOU and anyone looking at the html or at the URL at the top of the pages. I recommend the first way.
Last edited by Justin.; August 15th, 2007 at 06:46 PM.
Thanks Justin. Yeah, I think it's safe to say that my site's in a constant state of flux. I did away with the splash page and made the primary gallery the index. I'm still detirmined to get lightbox to work and it may be much cleaner and smoother once I get around to resizing my images.