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Looking for Advice on Portfolio

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  #1  
Old 08-06-2011, 05:35 PM
FoxRain FoxRain is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Anaheim, CA
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Looking for Advice on Portfolio

Hello. I have been working on a portfolio for some time now and have only recently added a retouching section. Before, I was focused completely on Graphic Design for entertainment. Though, I don't have a degree in the arts (I got mine in Psychology). To make a long story short, I am struggling to find any work and feel like there is something I am doing wrong. If anyone can offer some advice, it would be greatly appreciated.

My portfolio: http://www.treasureatlas.com
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  #2  
Old 08-06-2011, 11:02 PM
Siciliana Siciliana is offline
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Re: Looking for Advice on Portfolio

My advice to you, is that if you want to get hired as a graphic designer, you need to highlight the fact that you have solid skills. That is to say that if you are designing for print, you need to have samples of brochures, booklets, mailers, cards, etc. in 4-color, plus some duotone and monotone designs. Remember, graphic design is about conveying information, in addition to dreaming up pretty images. You need to show that you can represent ideas graphically, and that you can organize information in a way that leads the eye to the most important ideas first. You need to show that you understand how to set type well. Good logos are great to have in your portfolio--logos that work in color and black and white and that are scalable.

If you are aiming at web, you should have links to websites you've designed. In your resume, I would list specific skills you have, which software you use, your skill set within that software, demonstrate that you have the skills you have to do the job required. For your portfolio, I think you need to show a broader range of design skills. You need to show that you are skilled in the use of typography. Normally, a client has copy that they need you to set somewhere. Try looking at other online portfolios for small design firms and look at the kind of work they are doing and try to replicate that. If you don't know how, learn by doing and submit your designs for honest critique from someone you respect. If you are not familiar with how to color manage documents, manage fonts and output print-ready files, study up on that. If you can afford a few bucks a month, you can learn a lot from online subscription classes. Overall, I would suggest trying to get an internship and build up your practical skill set. You have a lot of passion and creativity but that probably will not win you a job. There are a lot of graphic designers in CA and the economy isn't great, so if you want to get hired you need to be very competitive and technically skilled. People want to hire employees that have very solid skills and don't make many mistakes. If you need practical experience, try to start somewhere where you can get that. If you plan on working in print, you might be able to work in a small print shop where you will get valuable pre-press skills that will be an asset to getting hired. It looks like you are having fun with it, which is great, but your skills do not look to be that advanced (yet). I know we all have to pay the bills, even while we are learning. You might think about some other parallel industries to get your foot in the door. I have a friend who became a highly skilled designer for web and print, but it all started when he worked at a screen-printing shop designing T-shirts in Illustrator. Get your foot in the door with anything graphics related where you can work under someone who has good skills they are willing to teach you. If you don't have any art background it will serve you well to take some art classes to learn about composition and the use of positive and negative space within an image.


That's my two-cents. I didn't go to school for graphic design either. You can teach yourself a lot and you can learn from other's who know what they are doing. Follow your passion but be humble and realize that there are probably areas where you need more depth. These days, employers want to hire people that can wear many hats. You might be really talented at one thing, but at least know a little about the others so that you can speak the language and hand off quality assets to other team members.

Follow your passion and keep learning wherever you can. Good luck to you!
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  #3  
Old 08-07-2011, 10:19 AM
FoxRain FoxRain is offline
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Re: Looking for Advice on Portfolio

Thank you for the extremely helpful advice Siciliana! I have been going away from graphic design as I think it may not be what I really dreamed of anymore. I have taken a look at other portfolios and noticed mine being quite different. The reason why I didn't make a broad range of designs is because I was following the advice of someone designing movie posters who said that my portfolio should show what I want to do. I got into things without realizing exactly what they entail, I would love to learn from a professional with an internship but that requires me to be enrolled. I have considered going back to school though so I can do an internship.

I'm actually thinking about pursuing retouching instead. The reason being that I think I have a better attitude towards it. Sadly with graphic design, I only want to work in TV/Film advertising and I know that could make me seem like a brat but it is the honest truth. With retouching, I look to work anywhere and take more time to learn about technicalities rather then just doing whatever I want. I don't have much work up yet, but I am working on improving each day. Again, thank you so much for the advice and encouragement.
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  #4  
Old 08-07-2011, 01:42 PM
ItsOscar ItsOscar is offline
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Re: Looking for Advice on Portfolio

Hey Foxrain. I'm no pro editor/retoucher by any means but it seems as though not much attention to detail or time was put into your portfolio. Unless, thats exactly the look you were going for. For example, "Ceres: Horroculture", "Steam City", "Noir Hedera" and "Carnival". To me, they just seemed like a person that was just messing around with Photoshop created them. I only bring this up because you said, "I am struggling to find any work and feel like there is something I am doing wrong." So, that might kinda be the problem.
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Old 08-07-2011, 03:58 PM
FoxRain FoxRain is offline
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Re: Looking for Advice on Portfolio

Quote:
Originally Posted by ItsOscar View Post
Hey Foxrain. I'm no pro editor/retoucher by any means but it seems as though not much attention to detail or time was put into your portfolio. Unless, thats exactly the look you were going for. For example, "Ceres: Horroculture", "Steam City", "Noir Hedera" and "Carnival". To me, they just seemed like a person that was just messing around with Photoshop created them. I only bring this up because you said, "I am struggling to find any work and feel like there is something I am doing wrong." So, that might kinda be the problem.
Hi ItsOscar. You bring up a good point that I was afraid might be part of the case. I actually put a lot of time into the designs I put up. Here is an example showing my process for Steam City: http://www.treasureatlas.com/style/i...eamPunkCar.gif

It's not the whole thing, but just to give an idea of what went into the creation of it.
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  #6  
Old 08-07-2011, 05:53 PM
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Repairman Repairman is offline
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Re: Looking for Advice on Portfolio

Bear in mind Fox that most commercial retouching requires the core skills (in no particular order) of draughtsmanship, knowledge of input/output processes, imagination and discipline. Add to that the ability to take and interpret a brief and deliver the goods on time and within budget. Oh yeh, artistic ability helps. You don't just acquire that skill set by drifting into photoshop. Of course you can learn this stuff but you're a ways off yet judging by your samples. No one is interested in looking at whacky images per se - you need hard nosed samples of colour correction, complex montage, detail enhancement etc. Take a look at some of the folios on this forum and you'll see what clients will pay good money for. Good luck in your endeavours - if you want it bad enough it will happen.
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Old 08-07-2011, 06:27 PM
ItsOscar ItsOscar is offline
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Re: Looking for Advice on Portfolio

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Originally Posted by FoxRain View Post
I actually put a lot of time into the designs I put up. Here is an example showing my process for Steam City: http://www.treasureatlas.com/style/i...eamPunkCar.gif

Maybe I worded that wrong by saying that it looks like you don't spend much time on your images. Let's face it, anyone can spend 20 hours putting a bunch of layers together and have a composition that looks like crap. For example, take your image "Noir Hedera" (not that I'm calling it "crap") but look at it. Seriously, just look at it. Do you really want this to represent some of your finest work that you would like to showcase in a portfolio? Start with the image quality issue of the model's face. Is it supposed to be burry? Is it supposed to look like it was crudely cut out of another image with a lasso tool? Look around the hair. Now look to the right at the collection of pre-made downloaded vectors you slapped on there. I just don't get it. Is this what you were going for?
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  #8  
Old 08-07-2011, 06:45 PM
FoxRain FoxRain is offline
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Re: Looking for Advice on Portfolio

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Originally Posted by Repairman View Post
Bear in mind Fox that most commercial retouching requires the core skills (in no particular order) of draughtsmanship, knowledge of input/output processes, imagination and discipline. Add to that the ability to take and interpret a brief and deliver the goods on time and within budget. Oh yeh, artistic ability helps. You don't just acquire that skill set by drifting into photoshop. Of course you can learn this stuff but you're a ways off yet judging by your samples. No one is interested in looking at whacky images per se - you need hard nosed samples of colour correction, complex montage, detail enhancement etc. Take a look at some of the folios on this forum and you'll see what clients will pay good money for. Good luck in your endeavours - if you want it bad enough it will happen.
Okay, thanks. I'm most likely going to remove my designs and basically start over and just learn retouching. I haven't been doing it long, so I know I have a ways to go. One of the reasons I wanted to ask for advice is because I had seen a few portfolios of retouchers who are currently working and I am confident I can replicate what they have done (not referring to portfolios I have seen here, which look more advanced). From the looks of it, my 'wacky' images are attracting most of the negative attention and so they gotta go.

Last edited by FoxRain; 08-07-2011 at 07:09 PM.
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  #9  
Old 08-07-2011, 06:50 PM
FoxRain FoxRain is offline
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Re: Looking for Advice on Portfolio

Quote:
Originally Posted by ItsOscar View Post
Maybe I worded that wrong by saying that it looks like you don't spend much time on your images. Let's face it, anyone can spend 20 hours putting a bunch of layers together and have a composition that looks like crap. For example, take your image "Noir Hedera" (not that I'm calling it "crap") but look at it. Seriously, just look at it. Do you really want this to represent some of your finest work that you would like to showcase in a portfolio? Start with the image quality issue of the model's face. Is it supposed to be burry? Is it supposed to look like it was crudely cut out of another image with a lasso tool? Look around the hair. Now look to the right at the collection of pre-made downloaded vectors you slapped on there. I just don't get it. Is this what you were going for?
Hahah yeah that was an early one and it shouldn't be there anymore. The client liked it a lot so I kept it up. I will be removing everything soon, thanks for taking the time to look at my work.
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  #10  
Old 08-07-2011, 07:44 PM
ItsOscar ItsOscar is offline
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Re: Looking for Advice on Portfolio

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Originally Posted by FoxRain View Post
Hahah yeah that was an early one and it shouldn't be there anymore. The client liked it a lot so I kept it up. I will be removing everything soon, thanks for taking the time to look at my work.

Who was the client? Helen Keller? JUST KIDDING! All jokes aside, don't remove all your hard work from your site. I say keep it up and keep posting new work to watch your work grow.
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