Hi Laura!! Can I first just say you are an inspiration to me! The fact that you didn't go to art school really gives me alot of hope for the future! I do have a few questions though? Since Ive never gone to art school, whats a proper way to build a portfolio? What kind of content should I be putting in it, things art jobs might be looking for? I admit I draw a buncha of anime bcuz of my commissions but shouldnt there be something more? Thank you so much if youre able to answer! Love your stuff!!
hi! wow thanks so much!
so for a portfolio, make sure you have a focus. decide what you love to do most (character design, layout design, background paint, visual development, prop design, storyboards, prop/character paint, etc.) and make your whole portfolio about it. If you love a couple of these, I say do both! my portfolio has a focus on visual development and character design, so the main jobs I do now are background paint (because of my environment visual development paintings) and visual development for characters.
it sounds like you want to do character design, which is a very technical skill. push shapes, personalities, and acting in your characters. fill your portfolio with 5-point turnarounds for symmetrical characters, and 8-point turnarounds for asymmetrical characters. this is what companies want to see! being able to draw a unique character is cool, but drawing that character from every angle makes your portfolio golden in the industry.
it’s fun drawing in an anime style, but there aren’t really jobs for it in the US at the moment. anime is a good jumping off point for venturing into other styles though. try to draw in lots of different styles. animation studios want to see versatility in a character design portfolio, because designers need to adapt to the style of whatever series they’re hired on.
the most important thing for your portfolio in my opinion: only put things in it that you would want to do on a daily basis. if doing an 8-point turnaround of a character makes you cringe, then why would you want to do that for 40 hours a week every week?! character designers on tv series do a LOT of turnarounds! so make sure your portfolio is only what you’re most passionate about doing. my real world example: I interviewed for a job at a big studio when I first moved to LA, and I had several isometric views of a room in my portfolio. They took me forever, and I hated doing them, but I thought it made my portfolio look impressive. It turns out the studio wanted me as a visual development artist specializing in accurate isometric drawings of interiors. It wasn’t my passion. I turned it down and took a background painting job at Nickelodeon instead. I ended up loving background painting and now I’m a background painter at Disney.
I hope this helps! ❤️ Decide what you want to do, work really hard, then apply!