Portfolio advice?

Has anyone got some portfolio advice that they want to share with us here? I'm working on mine at the moment, although I'm not sure of how much is considered a good amount. I am aware, that 30 seconds of good stuff is better than 3 minutes of average stuff...

However, a fair portion of my work is 2d as I'm looking at concept art and texture art. From the advice I've been given I've been told to have:

- Environments
- Characters
- Machinery

I'm also doing some 3d stuff to show my textures off - that will be on the reel. How many models/textures are considered a good number? What about for concept sketches? 20? 40? 10 of each? Is it a good idea to have an accompanying sketchbook?

Any helpful hints - I'm mainly interested in how much work to show. Assume that the stuff I'm showing is of very good quality (just so no one says the old "it's better to have 30 secs of greatness than 3 mins of average" chestnut ).

Bunny's picture

NO lens flares, flying logos, school projects or anything that doesn't show off your potential. If it's short don't try to fill it out, just stick to your best stuff. There's no magic number of items, but too short is probably better than too long. A demoreel with 40 pieces is definitely too long. 10 is probably good but go with what feels right. That "30 seconds of greatness" chestnut can't be said enough. Make sure every piece has a purpose and demonstrates some skill. Even if all of your stuff is great some will be better, so put it on a looping .wav and listen to it while you decide what to use. :p

If you're focussing on texturing and 2D maybe lots of slow pans, wipes from concept art to finished project, that kind of thing. Show off what you're good at and hide your crappy bits. Slideshows are good for 2D stuff too. The sketchbook is a good idea to carry around and show off but you need something they can take away with them.

JonathanKerr's picture


What I've got is 2 (or more) folios.

One is for:
- Print Based media. ie - illustrations, concept, designs. This is in an originally designed folder all done up nicely. Any sketches that I feel are worth including are in here (scanned and some coloured).

- The reel itself - home for the 3d stuff and now some of those pan/wipes you mentioned. I don't have Adobe Premiere but I assume the wipes/pans can be done in Video Post in Max? Admittedly, my post production skills are a tad rusty.... hmm

Now my only prob is what to do with my sketchbooks. I'm into my second A3 Bockingford so I'll show my fancy folder first, and if they want to see the skody sketchbook, they'll be on hand, I guess.

JonathanKerr's picture


Originally posted by Bunny

Slideshows are good for 2D stuff too. The sketchbook is a good idea to carry around and show off but you need something they can take away with them.

What I'd like to know now is: how to present the print based stuff.

I've got this idea for how I'm going to present my folio and reel (but I'm not telling you guys yet ;) ) but do people want to be able to look at (say) mounted boards and be able to arrange them on a desk in any way they like OR would they prefer a booklet that they can leaf through. The mounted boards/booklet would be secure in the packaging that I'm designing, but it's how they are presented OUT of the packaging that interests me.


So basically it's 'bound' vs 'free'.

Daemin's picture

Also I am pretty sure that there should be no SpaceShips, or simple space scenes, because anyone can create spaceships really.

JonathanKerr's picture

Can anyone help me out with the Free vs Bound possibilities? I kinda need to know as it will partly determine the costs of printing and the layout of the designs and pages.

Thanks to those who've replied so far.