Even in this digital age, real-world, real-time portfolios are still al the core of self-promotion.
The first rule is to invest money in something that works well and looks the part. Using a battered plastic folio is fine if you are a student ferrying work back and forlh from your room to art school studio. If you wish to be taken seriously, however, and aim to compete with the bigger fish, then you need to give your work Ihe best possible presentation.
All good graphic-art material suppliers stock a range of products that will fit any budget, but spending money here is a good investment. A zipped, leather, ring-bound or loose-leaf book with perfectly clear translucent sleeves is not cheap, but it will stand the test of time and it will perform in an admirable fashion on your behalf. A good comfortable handle is important, as is a ptace to put your contact details on the outside of the book. A ring-bound book with sleeves will grow with you and adding more work becomes a simple process. Bear in mind that leather improves with age and plastic doesn't, and that getting the right Size for your work is crucial too; if in doubt, seek advice in the shop. Remember, the portfolio is as important to the freelance illustrator as the limo is to the chauffeur, so this is not the time to economise.
A great portfolio is only as good as the work within. Buying a fantastically expensive Italian leather folio will be a wasted investment if the work inside is not up to scratch. Making the right decisions on what to include and what to leave out is a tough call for a newcomer and expertise comes with practice and a little trial and error. Seek advice from clients, ask their opinions of your portfolio and adjust accordingly.
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