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Jun 4th

Where Can I Get an Illustration Portfolio Review?

Every portfolio review will be different depending on your goals, so come prepared to tell the reviewer what you want to do with illustration, and they’ll be able to help you get there.

Every portfolio review will be different depending on your goals, so come prepared to tell the reviewer what you want to do with illustration, and they’ll be able to help you get there.

What is a portfolio review?

A portfolio review is when someone experienced from the illustration industry looks through your work or website and gives you some feedback. Illustrators often work alone, and getting a bit of advice and an outside perspective can often reveal things that you might not be able to see if you’re too close to the work. 

A review from a more experienced illustrator, an illustration agent, an art director or other industry professional can provide you with valuable feedback on what’s working, what might need improving and offer you a roadmap of what direction you could take your work in, or highlight some opportunities for your illustration style. 

Getting feedback on your work is so important if you want to progress. A portfolio review is a fantastic way to get an experienced opinion on your illustration work. You can learn from it, add new things, change course if needed, or simply get some reassurance that what you’re doing is working!

Who should get a portfolio review?

Maybe you’re a new illustrator looking for some advice on making your portfolio more appealing to clients. Maybe you’re already working regularly but want a second opinion or some ideas for next steps. Either way, a portfolio review from someone in the industry can be extremely helpful in pointing you in the right direction.

Do you need a portfolio review?

If you think you could benefit from letting an industry professional look at your work and give you some tips, then go book a review. If you’re getting loads of clients, you’re really busy, happy and creatively fulfilled, you’re clearly doing something right, you might not need one. Heck, if things are going that well, maybe you should be offering portfolio reviews!

When i was trying to be an illustrator, i never even considered getting a portfolio review. Partly out of fear of getting really bad feedback, and partly out of my own stubbornness. I thought i knew exactly what i was doing (I didn’t).

via GIPHY

Whatever feedback you get from a reviewer, know that they are trying to help you. If they tell you your work isn’t ready to show to clients yet, you’ll probably be disapponted, but it’s better to find that out now, than after a couple of years of trying to find clients unsuccessfully. They’ll also be able to offer you steps to get back on track. Portfolio reviews are always constructive.

How does it work?/what’s the process

When someone looks at your portfolio, they are mainly looking to see if it can help you get hired. They’ll consider a few different factors and talk to you about them:

  • What first impression is your online portfolio giving a potential client?
  • Does your portfolio website function well? 
  • Do you have a style that is appealing to all kinds of clients?
  • Your career goals
  • The order and organisation of your illustration work in your portfolio.
  • How to display the work and whether there is room for improvement
  • Your strengths and weaknesses
  • Opportunities for your style in the industry
  • What you should do more of and what you might want to consider removing

Every portfolio review will be different depending on your goals, so come prepared to tell the reviewer what you want to do with illustration, and they’ll be able to help you get there.

How long will a portfolio review take & how much does it cost?

Typically a portfolio review will be 30 minutes to an hour long, usually conducted over Zoom or something similar. The prices vary depending on length and the individual reviewer, but you can expect to pay somewhere between £25 – £75 in most cases

Where can i get a portfolio review?

The Association of Illustrators offers portfolio reviews from experienced consultants at affordable prices, typically around £30 for members.

Alice Desmond is part of the IllustrationX team: an agent and mentor to illustrators

Fig Taylor used to be an illustration agent and she’s worked in the industry a long time. Fig taught me how to review a portfolio, and she even wrote the book on it! (How to create a portfolio and get hired)

photo of a book cover

Darren DiLieto is a former illustrator and co-founder of Hireillo.com If you’d like a portfolio review with Darren you can find out more at Darren’s personal website (£60 at last check)

Check out the events at 3x3mag if you’d like to get your portfolio reviewed by its founder and art director, Charles Hively. Charles doesn’t pull his punches and will give you an honest critique of your work and some pointers in the right direction. He’s been doing this a long time, and i’ve heard great things about his portfolio reviews from many illustrators. A portfolio review with Charles Hively costs $60 and only take place one day per month, so they go quick! 

Check out my interview with Charles Hively on YouTube. The conversation was dense with great tips for illustrators. 

Neil Swaab has been blogging about the illustration business for a long time. I’ve learned a lot from his articles at Business of Illustration over the years. Neil offers a portfolio review for $225

Agents for Change offer regular portfolio reviews for under-represented groups in the illustration industry. You can apply for a portfolio review here.

Tom Froese is an incredibly popular Skillshare teacher for illustrators, he also has a podcast and Youtube channel. You can book in a coaching seassion with him for $130. But he does do a student discount. Here’s Tom’s website.

Speaking of Skillshare, you can find loads of skilled artists offering portfolio reviews and other 1:1 services at their new Skillshare 1-on-1 platform.

Owen Davey organises a revolving roster of 70+ creatives, illustrators, agents and more, every month. They donate their time for free illustration portfolio reviews to encourage diversity in the industry. Keep an eye on Owen’s Instagram for upcoming dates and the booking form. (i take part when i can)

portfolio review illustrated design

And of course you can book in with me too, i’m currently offering 1-on-1 sessions through Skillshare. You can book a portfolio review with me here

If you want to know what to expect, check out some of these portfolio reviews on The Illustrator’s Guide YouTube channel.

Plenty of other agencies, publishers, artists and creative organisations offer portolio reviews too. Keep your eyes open for opportunities through your favourite illustration blogs, and social media platforms.

Hope this helps!

James

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