Portfolio reviews will be held in the Main Hall from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and will be conducted by several special guests.
Reviews will be limited to five minutes per person. Have six to eight pieces ready for review, and be sure to thoroughly read the guidelines below before showing up.
What follows are some suggestions to get the best response possible if you are interested in taking advantage of the Vegas Valley Comic Book Festival’s portfolio reviews.
You can be friendly and engaging but try not to be pompous. Leave your ego at the door, keep an open mind, and don’t talk the reviewer’s ear off. Try not to get defensive and, possibly the best advice that can be given, is to listen. Even if what you’re being told is the last thing you want to hear. Sometimes that’s the most important piece of information you’re ever going to be offered. It’s not always easy and it’s definitely not always fun, but it could be the difference between doing so-so work and doing great work.
Keep in mind the more thorough the critique, the more grateful you should be. It takes effort and energy to describe the problems in a page, none at all to say “nice job.” Whatever criticism is offered, do not, under any circumstances, offer an excuse. Say “hmm,” and nod sagely and maybe ask for clarification.
Try not to show every single piece of artwork you have ever done – keep your presentation short and slick. Between six and eight pieces that you feel are strong is enough to show your abilities. There’s a time constraint on reviews, so not overwhelming the reviewers means they won’t have to rush through your work to get to the next person.
Depending on what kind of work you’re interested in doing; your portfolio should reflect whatever style (or styles) you are looking to do. Display at least two to three sequential pages if you want to be a penciller, and make sure you include the pencils you inked from if you want to be an inker. Always have clean copies of your work and avoid traipsing around with originals. If you work at an unusual size reduce down copies to at least 11″x17″, otherwise your portfolio is going to be unwieldy and a problem to view. Do yourself a favor and invest in quality copies or prints. If you’re going to show off your work do it in the best way possible, otherwise what’s the point?
There are a few things to keep in mind on an artistic level for portfolio reviews. Flashy does not always mean “good.” It’s much better to display a clean, simple, easily-read set of sequential pages than to go insane (and therefore confusing) with your layouts. Even if your style is exaggerated, try for some kind of plausibility in your anatomy. Style does not make up for substance, and it definitely won’t make up for not knowing how a body is properly put together. If you’re not sure how something works, look. Contorting figures and breaking bones to make a shot are simply not worth it and chances are they’ll point it out in a review.
Vary your characters. Old, young, thin, fat, pretty, ugly, tall, short and they need to have distinctly different faces. If you show that you are capable of drawing more than just a well-muscled physique, it’ll help you be considered for all kinds of work instead of just pin-ups.
Once you’re done with your portfolio reviews and if you still have some self-confidence left, take stock of what you’ve been told. Try to go over it as objectively as possible and make adjustments to your work. All artists are constantly growing and evolving and that’s especially true if you’re working on it all time. Don’t give up, keep working, and you will get published. Just remember to listen, practice, and persist.
For more advice on how to survive a portfolio review, check out this sweet article at Sequential Tart.