Have a Good Portfolio Show

CG Cookie was recently invited to populate an art gallery exhibit at The Illinois Institute of Art - Schaumburg which I am an alumni of. It is a pretty humbling experience to display the art created by the talented crew from CGC at the college I got my start at. As I was hanging foam core printed renders and chatting with my past instructor, I continued reflecting on my time at college; all the late nights working in the labs, life drawing classes, my first 3D Model, Saturday mornings watching CG movie trailers while enjoying a honey bun and coffee. Oh man those were good, and of course remembering the “portfolio crunch” leading to the job fair. Your portfolio is the single video or series of prints which you have to represent your recent efforts in school, or what your potential will be in the coming years. How can an artist decide what to put in here, or worse yet how can other artists judge you on this?

What should be in your portfolio?

Now that I am fortunate to be on the other side of the table, I’ve discovered I have a go-to personal favorite qualification question or GTPFQQ for short. :) Every time I am interviewing or visiting a portfolio show I ask...
Could I see your personal projects?
Seems like a harmless question, though it has become my historically accurate interrogative which will gives me the greatest insight into a young artists aspirations. Instructors have crafted very useful and intricate assignments for you to create, think through and overcome. Though the goal of these tasks is not replication, but applying what you’ve learned into your own creative endeavors.

Have a successful showing

It doesn’t start in portfolio class or in the final weeks before your show. It starts at day one of you getting hooked on it. The key is “getting hooked”. Check out Kents recent blog post on this very thing If you are not hooked then you will be less motivated to spend your early years doing tutorials, reading manuals and putting your artwork out there. Heh, nevermind your later years spending nights doing tutorials, reading manuals and putting your artwork out there. ;) I always used to poke fun at myself, “At night my wife was reading fictional dramas, for some reason I was reading Mental Ray shader books”. Which isn’t too far from the truth. :( emptyshell_13_L However I couldn’t get enough of it, I craved to understand nodes and spent weekends modeling my house, or sketching out new story ideas for a racing snail, or creating new characters, modeling tires, anything in 3D. At the end of the day, personal projects are a symptom of a self motivated human. This industry is so competitive, at the graduate level of college you will be competing with industry veterans for the job, other hopeful students and artists around the world.  
So get out there, get involved in the community, forums, meetups, engage in contests to challenge yourself and create that new snarflat star wars lightsaber swinging alien which invades the master control program to save the princess from the evil predator your instructor didn't assign to you.
- Wes

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