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Part of being a successful artist, apart from creating beautiful artwork and showing it to the world, is keeping your portfolio up to date. How much has your portfolio changed over the last couple of months, or even years? Although you want your portfolio to reflect your overall work and stress the fact that you’ve had a lot of experience over the years, this doesn’t mean that you can’t take old work out and add some fresh content to it once in a while.
Are you keeping focus?
As a professional artist, you probably have a clear focus and a good sense of what you would love to achieve in the future. If not, it’s probably a good idea to determine your focus first, and then make your portfolio reflect accordingly. What clients would you like to attract? Put previous work for similar clients in your portfolio and make them stand out. What pieces of work would you like to sell? Make sure the majority of your portfolio contains that what you’d ideally market to potential buyers. If you haven’t done any work in the area you’re aiming for, put some time in creating pieces especially for this purpose. If you’re building towards a different approach and perhaps even a different style or profession, don’t be afraid to kill some darlings along the way and remove old work that doesn’t reflect your ambitions anymore.
Don’t put too much in there
Another common mistake is to put too much material in the portfolio. Clients, gallery owners and even buyers only have so much time to look at your portfolio. Save them some time by keeping your portfolio simple, and by putting your best work up front. Make sure to ‘wow’ them with your best piece on the very first page to leave a great impression that invites them to keep on browsing your work.
Take a good look at your portfolio and see what fits your current focus and what doesn’t. After you’ve freshened things up, show your portfolio to someone you know and ask them what they think your focus is. How would they describe your work? What clients do they think would hire you, or what buyers would your work attract?2 responses
Now that the Christmas presents are all unpacked, 2013 is knocking on our door and it’s time to not only prepare for new year’s eve, but also to get some systems in place that will help boost your artistic work in the coming year. The goal is to have you wake up in the morning with an absolute passion to get started on the things that will improve your artwork. If you’re like me, some days you can’t get anything done, because you keep hesitating what should be the best thing to work on that day. Too much choice will paralyze you in the end, so keeping focus can help you improve the quality of your day tremendously.
Creating an ‘editorial calendar’ for yourself
All television shows, radio stations and magazines in the world work with them: editorial calendars. There is not a reporter in the world that get’s up in the morning in a state of absolute panic, screaming: ‘wait, ANOTHER issue of our newspaper is coming out tomorrow?!’ The reason they’re not panicking, is that they work with an editorial calendar.
Artists usually don’t have to publish a daily newspaper, but what we can learn from reporters is the fact that they think ahead. They have regular meetings about what will be covered when and keep referring to the calendar when they start working. This could also apply to us, artists, when we want to set goals for the coming year and want to make sure we stick to it. This is why writing your goals on an editorial calendar can be useful.
How to do it:
Create small and fun recurring tasks for yourself
Think of small goals you would like to achieve in the first couple of months of the new year, and make them recurring. What skills would you want to improve? What made you proud last year, that you could repeat in the next? What mistakes do you want to avoid?
Think of them as small tasks. Some things you could do on a monthly, weekly or daily basis are:
- Emailing your best clients to keep in touch with them and keep the conversation going
- Reflecting on your work, analyzing what works and what doesn’t, asking friends or colleagues what they think of it
- Experimenting with new work and materials
- Reading books that will help you improve your work
- Finding new like-minded people to connect with through social media
Now, write these down on an actual calendar and stick it to the wall you face when working on your art. If you’re into digital calendars, make them recurring appointments with notifications set up to remind you of your task.
When you’re done planning the first months, try to think of the months after that. What would be important to do in that period? What will make spring incredible? And how are you entering summer?
Remember, don’t make these goals huge, they should be done in about half an hour to an hour every week (or day, or month, but I prefer weekly so I can make Tuesday ‘writing day’ and Friday ‘catching up day’) and they have to be fun to do. Don’t make it a weekly goal to work on your administration, because you will quickly lose your interest. Have fun with it, plan ahead, and you will have an action plan for the coming months.4 responses