Developing Your Best Portfolio for Art Licensing | Ronnie Walter | Skillshare

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Developing Your Best Portfolio for Art Licensing

teacher avatar Ronnie Walter, Artist, Writer, Artist's Life Coach

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Welcome to Developing Your Best Portfolio


    • 2.

      Determining the Best Approach for your Portfolio


    • 3.

      Artist #1: The Generalist Illustrator


    • 4.

      Artist #2: The Pattern/Surface Designer


    • 5.

      Artist #3: The Art Brand


    • 6.

      Tips and Tricks for Your Most Marketable Portfolio


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About This Class

Presenting your best designs in a well-done portfolio is a key skill for anyone who wants to succeed in the business of Art Licensing. Successful licensed artist and coach Ronnie Walter walks you through steps you can take (along with a few insider secrets) to make your portfolio—and your designs—stand out in the marketplace. Whether you're a seasoned Artist, Illustrator, Pattern Designer, Art Brand or just getting started, learn how to showcase your unique vision and voice to attract the clients you've always wanted.





Meet Your Teacher

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Ronnie Walter

Artist, Writer, Artist's Life Coach


Hi! I'm Ronnie Walter. I'm an artist, author and coach for creatives. I license my work on all kinds of cool products like greeting cards, fabric, giftware, books, plus 17 (and counting) coloring books for adults.

I am frequently caffeinated.

I love what I do and I particularly love teaching and coaching artists to help them move further on their journey no matter where they are! My goal is to help you calm the overwhelm feelings that are bound to come up when you are building your business, discover your unique gifts, and make a game plan where you can actually see progress! I can't wait to add more classes so you can do just that!

And I have a simple guide to Art Licensing you may find helpful as an addition to the information in some of my classes. You can learn ... See full profile

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1. Welcome to Developing Your Best Portfolio: Hi. Welcome to developing your best portfolio for art licensing. My name is Ronny Walled her. I'm a licensed artist, a writer, and I'm also an art business coach. I license my artwork on all kinds of products, like fabric, giftware, stationery, greeting cards. Let's just say all the fun stuff, and I've been doing it for a long time, and I still love it. I still have designing product, and I still love coming up with new concepts and illustrations. If I've learned anything over the years, I've learned the importance of having a really strong portfolio that showcases your work and your voice and vision. As a former agent and now our coach, I've helped dozens of artist craft the best kinds of presentation for their work, and that is your portfolio. It's the linchpin of everything you do in this class. I am going to walk you through the steps to do exactly that. I've identified three different ways that an artist might approach their licensing portfolio, and we will walk through them in detail as we go forward. I'm very happy that you are here. I hope you get a lot out of this class and you know you can reach me at any time. Just ask any question. I'm here for you. So let's get started. 2. Determining the Best Approach for your Portfolio: Hi. Welcome to developing your best portfolio for art licensing in this section. I'm going to go over the three ways that I have identified in which an artist may come to decide that licensing their work is a great option for them and how you might develop a portfolio based down the kind of art that you do. There will be many more details to come for each of these pathways in upcoming lessons, this is just a overview. For now, the first way that you might approach her art is as a generalised illustrator. These are the kinds of artists who have a style or a range of styles that are often representational, and these artists generally working collections that can be used on all kinds of typical licensed products, including home to core holiday decorations, stationery, greeting cards, decorative flags and lots more. They spend most of their creative efforts on developing designs appropriate for typical subjects, occasions and seasonal designs. And this is an example of what I mean. These are representational. You can see them on greeting cards and on very typical kinds of products that we see in this market again, I will go into lots more detail on this later in the class. The second way an artist may approach their portfolio is because they develop surface designs and patterns appropriate for license products. These artists, primarily working pattern collections that are often in repeat to be used in obvious products like fabric and gift wrap. But they can also be used in a pattern mixing look for home to core stationery and the like . These artists are often very trend driven and are very aware of color and design trends. The final pathway that you might take as an artist is if you are what I would call an art brand and your artist very concept of it. So if you're this kind of an artist, your point of view is the driver, Whether your work is inspirational, Scripture base or even humorous. In this case, the art becomes the delivery method for the message. Also in this category are artists who have made a name for themselves and other venues like publishing gallery work, a blogger, public speaking, and they have an enthusiastic audience that is attractive to manufacturers who want to piggyback on that artist success. This is not to say that you might approach your work in all three pathways or your work my evolve one way or the other as you continue through your career, so understanding all of them is helpful. So I would encourage you to watch all of the videos in this class so you can start to see where you fit right now, where you might aspire to or what you know you don't want. We're going to go into a lot more detail, and it's really going to help you develop the right presentation for your artwork to land the right kind of clients. 3. Artist #1: The Generalist Illustrator: Okay, Remember when I told you we were going to go into a lot more detail where we're getting started now? So let's start with a generalised illustrator. The generalised illustrator is really the backbone of license product. This illustrator generally hits the mainstream customer, and there are lots of opportunities for a wide range of product categories. This is the typical illustrator we think of when we think about licensed art. So let's go into a little more detail about this particular kind of artist. This artist is able to produce work consistently and constantly, I might add. They normally show a wide range of topics and subjects typical to the licensing market. They are aware of trends in design and color. They generally have strong illustration skills. They can work in a single style or in a range of styles. They're also it's very important to be skilled in graphic programs like Adobe Illustrator and Photo Shop. Let's take a moment and look at the kinds of subjects and topics that a generalised illustrator would work in. They would generally do a lot of everyday designs, florals, pectoral scenes, food. Ah, lot of the typical products that you see every day. They would also work in life events baby bridal and birthday for the big those of the three B's before greeting cards and those kinds of products and all kinds of paper table where things like that. They also might do some designs that are relationship based, particularly for greeting cards or giftware that they would hit the mother, daughter, sister and friend categories. They also are very strong in holiday and seasonal designs, particularly Christmas and Halloween. But it could also be Autumn Valentine's Day, Fourth of July, other events that happened throughout the year. But Christmas and Halloween, for sure, are very strong categories for this artist to pay attention to. If you are a generalised illustrator, here's the suggestions of how you might develop your portfolio. The first option is to work in collections. This is very typical in the licensing world, and what I mean by a collection is you would have a unified fame with a consistent art style. You will often work in sets of four or using one central image that's a more complex piece of artwork, and then you will also develop supporting patterns, borders, icons and maybe hand drawn type that you would use to build your collection. You would also develop selected mock up so that they can see how all of these supporting patterns etcetera would work with your central image or with your sets of four. Here is a very simple collection that I developed to show you what I'm talking about. For instance, I developed this little grouping This collection, if you will. I named it sweater men and develop this cute little logo. Very simple. To go with it, I developed one central image, which is the holiday greetings where we have the whole crowd of snowmen and their red and white sweaters. But as you could see on the left side of this slide, I broke them into four different individual designs, so those could be used. I brought in a border and some cute type, and these could turn into safe or ornaments or cocktail napkins. They could also become magnets or single greeting cards so you can see how you can build a collection and show your client how it can become different things. I've also put together what we would call a toss pattern, which is the pattern of all of the snowman tossed around on that page, so that could be fabric or gift wrap. Or it could be the pattern that might be on the outside of a box. Something like that. I have also developed some backgrounds for my client to use when they're building product, so we have the stripe. We also have the dot pattern that's behind the guys in the toss pattern, and we also have a swirl pattern. So what you're doing is building kind of a kit for your potential client so that they can see how your work might fit onto their products. Now, just so you have a little bit more understanding about how this might work is, I might present this collection exactly as you're seeing it now, and they may look at it and think, Oh, that's really cute. I like what you're showing me, but they may decide that they're going to make them into three D. Characters may be out of Ceramica resin or something like that, or they could even become a soft character. They could become a decorative pillow or some sort of soft toy, which would be super awesome, or they might put them on a coffee mug or some product that I haven't even thought of yet. But I'm giving them a lot of options and a lot of opportunity for them to understand how the work could be used. And one more thing. I might have 20 of these or 30 of these that are all different topics and subjects in seasons so I might have a Halloween collection. But I might handle differently than this one, but I'm giving them enough components to work with so they can really start to envision what my artwork could look like on their product. And that is the whole thing you're trying to do with your portfolio is to help them understand how you two could work together in a really clear, concise way. Another option for a generalised illustrator is to work with Onley. Standalone designs. These designs are normally with artists that have a very pictorial, more of a fine art look that can be used on things like puzzles. You see large jigsaw puzzles there, one central image. They don't really have borders and icons and type that goes with them. They may use a single piece of artwork for wall art, maybe a decorative pillow printed Afghans that have one giant seen on them. Or you could have a calendar that's built from 12 of your standalone designs that all relate because of style or subject matter, usually style, for sure, and and may be subject matter. Say you're doing 12 farm scenes or 12 cute towns or something like that. Generally, this kind of an artist is going to have a strong, recognizable and repeatable style that can be used across a variety of subjects. And when I show you this sample, I think you'll understand that a little more. The style that that illustrator is working in could be classic and traditional, or could have a more contemporary slant to it. But generally they are complex. Our work that is really just a lot of things going on. In general, the style could be very classic and traditional. It could be more contemporary, but usually these are very complex designs, with a lot of details in them. Now this is an example off a standalone art style, and obviously this is not my artwork. This is my friend David Hillman's artwork, and he is a master illustrator, Incredible craftsman. And shockingly, all of this is done in photo shop, which is just a whole other deal. But David's work is an example of what I mean by a standalone style. Let's take the dog art on the left side of the screen. He has a big pile of dogs in a sled being, you know, careening down a hill with one of the dogs driving. And he has the dogs on the fire truck with David has done is composed these very complex illustrations that would be awesome on puzzles. I believe they've already been licensed on puzzles. They could be compiled together into a book calendars. They could be cards, but they really don't. They don't lend themselves to having other icons and backgrounds and things like that, like I showed in the Snowman example from earlier there. Just a really wonderful pieces of decorative art. Now his Santos are in that same vein, beautifully highly illustrated, complex art, but has a decorative feel to it. They would be wonderful as greeting cards. They would be fantastic puzzles, and they relate as a collection because they're basically the same Santa. But they're doing different things the scale is different, and so he could continue to do this same Santa over and over and over, doing different things, standing by a tree, really fine art, but still decorative for this market that it doesn't require all of those other components . It's just a beautiful, stand alone piece of artwork, and there's lots of opportunity here if you're this kind of an illustrator. Oh, and I think David from the bottom of my heart for letting me use Hiss artwork because this is just so not me. I could not give you an example from my own artwork. So thank you, David. And if you want to go to his website, he has awesome stuff. 4. Artist #2: The Pattern/Surface Designer: Okay, let's talk about how you would approach your portfolio if you are a pattern designer or a service designer, and those two terms are used interchangeably. If you are a pattern designer, you designed coordinating patterns that might be a floral, a stripe, a dot all kinds of coordinating patterns. Your designs might be geometric or representational like cute icons. They might be very pattern based, like Platt's and dots and the like. The basic design principles apply to pattern design like scale, contrast, balance and repetition. So if you are the kind of artist that does pattern and service design, your work is probably very trend oriented in both subject matter and color. You may work in a range of styles, from classic to trendy, including water color, graphic styles, more vector images. It really depends on your personal style. When you are doing pattern design, it's a good idea to think about other product applications besides things that just have patterns like fabric or gift wrap. Now you need to have the ability to develop coordinating patterns. That is an expectation. When you were a pattern and surface designer, you will have more than likely one main pattern that will be the driver of the collection. It's the basic subject matter. It's your topic, and then the other coordinates will support that. So you might have coordinating stripes or dots or a toss pattern that you're using just the icons in a different way than you did in the original one. So the coordinates are really important, and that is what bills ah, service designed collection are all the patterns that coordinate with each other. And frankly, you probably gonna have to like math, which is why I don't do a lot of patterns because sometimes you are expected to do the repeats or you choose to do your own repeats. And that's really important that you have an aptitude for math and you should have a thing for surface design. You should like doing patterns. It's not for everyone. It's not my go to place for design. But some people just love doing patterns, and it shows in their work. Having said that, if you go back to the generals illustrator and you saw in the sample that I showed you with my snowman, I still need to do some surface design to help build out my collections, but it's not. My collections aren't based solely on patterns. They are used as a support system for my illustrations. And, of course, you should be skilled in graphic programs like Illustrator and Photoshopped. In fact, you should be really skilled in these graphic programs like Illustrator and Photoshop. If you want to spend a lot of your time in surface design, if you are a pattern and surface designer, you will use a lot of the same subjects of topics that we find in art license, so you'll use them all the time, including everyday designs like baby, juvenile and adult designs. Lots of holiday and seasonal designs. Because so many of the patterns and up on gift wrap and holiday fabric and things like that , there would be some life event designs, depending on the product applications. But mostly it would be every day and holiday in seasonal designs. You probably would not do relationship designs in a repeat pattern because there would be no application for that. So keep in mind that not every subject and topic lends itself to pattern and surface design . Here are a couple of portfolio suggestions if you are a pattern or surface designer. Like I said earlier, you will work in collections with probably one main pattern that is, the driver, the subject of the collection, and then the other pieces are active supporting patterns to go with that main pattern. It's a way to build the entire look for yourself. Thoughtful mock ups are really important for you to help your clients and potential clients envision your work on other products besides the obvious, like gift wrap fabric and maybe abetting collection. You could, for instance, put together a stationary collection using your patterns and where you would have AH, journal cover that has several of your patterns on it, or a border of a stripe, like a stripe on the binding or something, and then a floral pattern, maybe a stationary set with a note card. That is one pattern, and the shopping list has a different pattern, so you can start to show clients how your work can look in a lot of different products. Another option that you may consider is to show each of your patterns in alternative color ways so you might have a floral that you do in very springy colors. You could also show that in a fall palette something like that. So it's very important, particularly as I mentioned before, since you are going to be very proficient in illustrator and photo shop. Showing alternative color ways is easier than it used to be, for sure. So you may consider showing alternative color ways for your patterns when appropriate. And here is a very quick portfolio sample of my work where I did a really sweet pattern of a lot of coffee cups, and I show it on the three patterns that I show. I show one with multiple colors on it, one as a black and white, and one how it would look with brown with the white coffee cups. I also gave it a name. I'm calling it coffee klatch because when they start to pull together products, sometimes they give it a little name and that just they may not keep that name. But it also shows your client that you're thinking about product and thinking how they might present it to their customers. So I showed it as a coffee cup, which is a pretty obvious product sample, but you could also have a very cute pattern one of your patterns that would be on cosmetic bags or tote bags, something like that. And then to go into a gift type product. The background say That's a little wall art plaque. You could use your pattern in the background, pull out one to feature one of the cups and then do cute type with a saying that is a way to help your client make. That leap from All I see is a pattern to look how many uses there are within all of this artwork in this collection that you could use in other ways. I will say there are a lot of pattern designers in the world, and so if there's a way that you can show potential clients how yours are not just patterns but can be used on other surfaces, that's just a little advantage that you can have in the marketplace. And one final thought about pattern design and service design. I am just scratching the surface of this part of the design and licensing world. There was a lot of information, even right here on skill share that can help you develop patterns for licensing as well as just pattern design in general, and I would suggest that you take those classes because I, like I said, I'm just scratching the service on this. I want to give you an example of if you are a pattern designer, that you will make your portfolio slightly different than the other two ways that you would present your work. So take advantage of the fact that you are on skill share and there's all this information available to you, so go learn about that. 5. Artist #3: The Art Brand: Okay, let's talk about the kind of artists that might develop artwork that's either concept driven or would be considered an art brand. And what I mean by that is this artist has an authentic message, and the visuals are intertwined with that message. So the concept is the driver, and the artwork is the delivery system. I think you'll understand that a little more as I go into more detail. But generally this artist has a single art style. They have a distinct point of view. Ah clearly identified audience as well, and the way they develop a portfolio is different than a portfolio that would be developed by either a pattern designer or a generalised illustrator. And you will see that as you go through this part of the lesson, and this artist must make sure that your concepts and visuals are presented Clearly, this is the most personal method of developing a portfolio, and you want to make sure that your eventual potential client that looks at it really understands it. So it's really important to get it right now. As I mentioned with this kind of an artist that does concept driven artwork or is an art brand, their visual support, their message. There is no disconnect between the artist and the artwork. They have the ability to develop engaging artwork that supports that message that they have , and I don't mean a message that's always a really heavy handed message. It could be a the humor based artist. It could be someone that does motivational kinds of messages. It can be very light hearted, but there's no disconnect between that artist and that our work, they kind of are who their artwork. ISS. Also, this artist may have another platform that supports this concept. Maybe they have published. Maybe they're a motivational speaker. Maybe they have done other things gallery work, and they have a very large following and with some sort of message based. And so they already are a brand that they will bring toe licensing. Another aspect of this is that they may have multiple concepts at the same time. Some artist work from the concept and work out from there, and I would put myself more in this category now with the way that I work, that I think of my concept is really the driver. If if it's friendship or motivation or support. I start there and the artwork comes along with it. I once I understand the concept and the message I want to give. Then I decide. Whether should this be in my humorous style? Should this beast more serious should it be type driven? And so I start with the concept and work from there now, Depending on your concept, your subjects and topics may be different than the previous two ways of developing a portfolio. Often this kind of artwork is relationship driven. It's about two people. It's about friendship. It's about support. And so it may be weighted toward that. And it also may have life events, birth, marriage, the big topics, the big life events that happen and then holiday and seasonal may come later in the development of your brand, where you have established a lesson sing program and you have audience that is following you and is really enthusiastic. You might add holiday and seasonal items later on into your program. So when you develop your actual portfolio, your presentation to potential clients, you're going to do things a little bit differently than the other two ways of developing a portfolio. I have samples of this coming up, and I think that will get bring you a little more clarity to understand that. But basically, these are the components that you would want to have. You want to develop a logo and a simple branding program so that it connects with what the artworks going to be about. It may be ah named Collection. You might have a cute name for it, or it could be your own name, particularly if people know you by that name. If they connect with you because of something else that you are doing, either you have some celebrity status in some category, or you have a book or whatever that may be. Sometimes that's your name, or sometimes it's the name of the collection. But at any rate, any time you have a concept driven idea, you should have a logo and a simple branding idea of what that's going to look like. You should have a short paragraph so that your potential client can look at it and really understand what you're about. That paragraph can be truly three sentences. You don't have to write a giant artist statement to get the point across they want to know what the collection is about. That would be your theme. It's about friendship. It's about motivation. It's, you know, whatever that IHS. It's about mothers and daughters. Whatever that collection is about, put that front center. What is it about who is your intended audience and why are you qualified to do this? Not qualified because you went to college. You did this or that, but because you understand your customer, so your intended audience. And please, I'm just going to tell you this. Your intended audience is never everyone. You want to make sure that you are very specific about who your intended. Audiences craft that a little tighter when people say it's for everyone, that usually ends up being for No. One because you haven't specified who that is for and these potential clients. These manufacturers want to be able to speak exactly to that customer. And if it's their customer, oh, all the better and you want to make sure they know why you, because you have trouble this road because you have developed this idea, and whatever your reasons are, they need to know that. But simple, simple, simple you'll want to include any information about your following. If you have a large social media presence, if you have book sales, whatever that maybe you'll want to tell them that if you don't, that's okay. If the concept is strong enough, not having a huge following is not necessarily a deal breaker. If you do have a large following, all the better. But don't let that stop you. If you have a compelling idea, don't stop yourself from showing it to someone because you don't think you have enough of a following to do that. That's how you gain them when you have compelling, interesting artwork and you want to show enough artwork so a potential client can understand the concept. Do not bombard them with the 150 drawings that you did all about this subject. You want to give them a representative sampling of the artwork so they get to understand the range that style the colors you're using, but you don't want to overwhelm them. And one of the reasons you are doing all of this when you are putting this package together is that your potential client, the person that you have contact with who was probably in our director or creative director . They then have to show this to other people. They have to take this to a meeting and say, Oh, I got this really cool thing from this artist. I won't explain to you They need to be able to paraphrase what you have said to their people before a decision is made. So if you've made it really clean and clear about who you are and who your audience is and what the collection is about, it's just going to be that much easier for them to sell that internally and for them to talk to their own customers about your idea. So here is a portfolio sample of one of my collections. This is a concept driven collection that I developed that I had a very specific idea of what kind of products I thought would be appropriate for and who I was speaking to. So if you could envision this on the left is an actual page that it would be the front cover off my presentation, which would be the the first page of a pdf that I would send to a potential client. It has a very clean design clean presentation. I have developed the logo so perfectly and perfect, and I've also given it a tagline called Gentle lessons to remind you that you've got this. So just in that logo in that tag line, they already start to understand what this is about. But I go into it on the on the right is the paragraph that I wrote really simple. I think it's three sentences four since I was just going to read this because I want to dissect a little bit when I'm finished. So I start with your just perfect Oh, really? Let me tell you about my flaws. So I'm saying that's a little conversation that two women are having. Writer and artist Ronnie Walter has been on both sides of that conversation with most of the women in her life, but her new collection reminds us that yes, of course, we want to do better. But right here, right now, each of us is perfectly imperfectly, with a fresh art style and light. Supportive messages perfectly in perfect is perfect for giftware, while art greeting cards and stationery ah book and calendar will be introduced in January 2018. Let's dissect this a little bit. First of all, by having that little conversation, your just perfect. Oh, really? Let me tell you about my flaws. They already know that it's going to have a light humor. It's not going to be a heavy handed message about how wonderful you are. It has this light hearted, conversational aspect of it. They already know that, by the way, that I wrote that they know that I'm a writer and artist and that I am aiming this at women . I'm saying my new collection so they know I have other collections that I have been around , that I have some credentials and they could find those later cause I'm going to tell them about them later. And then I'm really explaining what this is about through this collection. I want to help people accept the fact that we're perfectly in perfect, and that's OK. But right here, right now, we're good. Then, in the next sentence, I tell them about the artwork. It's a fresh style. It's a light, supportive messages, and I'm giving them some ideas of what the kinds of products it could be placed on. And I just told them that the book of calendar is coming, and so they already know that there some somebody else has said, That's cool. They already know that there are some credentials behind this line, and I'm also telling them that there are two categories that are already licensed. And if I know anything about this business, I know that many clients really want someone else to do it first. They they often don't want to be the 1st 1 out of the chute. So if you have some credentials of what it has been before or its success, you want to put that out for them. These are examples of four of the pages that I would put also into the pdf that I would send to my potential client. And what this does is I've given them a nice little representational sample of what the artwork looks like. What is the tone of the messaging and so they could start to see Okay, well, it's this cute watercolor she uses hand drawn type. They are really lovely, supportive messages, and they get the attitude they get the artwork. I simply show them 4 to 6 pages, or 4 to 6 designs that they can see and say, Okay, I get it. Yeah, I'm sure she could do more. I'm sure there are more. And, yeah, this is cool or they'll say, not right for us, which is always a possibility. Another page that I might add to this pdf that I'm going to send is I might put a page together off mock ups. Very simple mock ups. Really clean, really simple markups air a big topic in this world, and there's lots of classes on scale share about making mock herbs. I am a fan of really clear mock ups. You don't have to show things that are obvious, like, you know, when people show. But this is the throw pillow. It's a square like, Well, most people can figure that out. So, yes, mark ups are important. So here's a quick little tip about mock ups. All the mock ups in the world will not sell a concept that is not fully formed and have some compelling authenticity to it. So if you're going to spend time on your artwork, work on your concept, work on your artwork and make your mock up simple and supporting the rest of your message. I've seen some really incredible mock ups of artwork that really could have been improved. So make sure that you're spending your time on the concept on your artwork. That's the important part of this whole thing. And this would be the last page of the portfolio of the last page of this little pdf that I'm gonna put together again. It has my logo because that came through on all of the pages and I chose a photo of myself that is very friendly. It really feels like the person in this photo is the person that developed this line. I don't want to feel any disconnect from that. You know, I do have head shots that air, a lot more corporate looking that are more grown up, if you will. But I wanted to have this very friendly photo of myself. It felt like, Oh, she is she Is this because, frankly, I am this. I am perfectly in perfect. I gave them a very light and easy bio, and I want them to know who I am. I live in a little house by the water with my husband and this rescue dog. Larry and I ended this tag line at the bottom specifically so that they can connect back to my concept and me where I say, I am completely aware of my own in perfect perfection. So at the end, I'm leaving them with It's uplifting feeling off. Oh, she is this I am that and want to continue that conversation and then I just end it with for more information or to chat about licensing opportunities. Contact running running walter dot com. It does not have to be a giant, overwrought, overthought portfolio. You just want to lay out your case, tell them who you are, what it's about. Here's the artwork. Let's work together. So that is basically how you would put together a portfolio. If you are an art brand and you know somewhere way more complex, obviously, and you might do a little more work on that. You might if you do come from, you know you are super popular or you have a very popular book or, you know, giant Social Media following you might want to add a page in there that is bullet points about those things. I have sold 25,000 books in the last six months. I have 150,000 Instagram followers, whatever that may be. Bullet points again Really important. They can really identify who you are and what you're doing. In this case, I chose not to do that. I probably will, actually, when I when I developed this line further, and I have more credentials where I can say the book came out. It sold X amount over the third quarter of 2017. The other thing is that this pdf can change. If I got a few more licensing deals on this, I could add those and send it to other kinds of clients, you know? Or if that my book takes off and I'm doing events, I can show pictures of me engaging with people in events, those kinds of things. You can always update your portfolio when you have new work or new clients. 6. Tips and Tricks for Your Most Marketable Portfolio: in the final section of this class. I wanted to talk to you about some other things about your portfolio, things to keep in mind things to do. I think they'll save you some time in the long run and help you to not feel so overwhelmed by the process. So let's get going on this part. The first thing I want to remind you of is that portfolios are dynamic, meaning they're constantly in motion, not an obsessive sort of way. But you need to be aware of. Once you get your portfolio to where you like it. I know that there are going to be times when you're going to update it. There are several reasons for this one You change your are today. On my change, you may drift to a different direction, and your art no longer defines what you do. So you will move new pieces in and move old pieces out, and because of the fact that you're are changes and you change, the other thing that's changing is the market is changing and culture is changing. So what you once thought was really great for your customer may not be so great anymore. so you have to be aware and know that this is going to be a moveable feast. If you will, you're going to change things. You're going to keep the current. You want to make sure that you don't have. Let's just say tired designs that too many people have rejected or they don't really say who you are anymore. So you want to keep it current, Keep it fresh all the time. And my three best words of advice are. Edit, edit, edit. And that means you want to make sure that all of your portfolio when you look at it as a giant group really expresses your voice and vision. Often, I've looked at portfolios where I see a portfolio, and I think, Oh, this is really cool. What's this thing over here? And it's something either a departure or something you've been trying out. But it doesn't really build the big picture of who you are as an artist, so make sure you keep your editing hat on, and if you have a hard time doing that, it's totally normal because we are so close to our own artwork that it's really hard for us to see it sometimes Get some help, get some fresh eyes on to your portfolio. You can do this with a nart friend of yours who might understand this business a little bit , and they can say all that looks a little off. That one doesn't really say who you are. Get someone else to help you do that. The other thing you can do is you can hire someone to help you. You can hire freelance art director. You can hire coaches in the licensing space. People like me, for instance, I do have a program where I help people really, really look at their portfolios. And of course, you can link that through my website. I love helping artists craft their portfolio. We want to make it authentic. We want to make it dynamic, and we want to make it interesting to potential clients. That's the whole deal. You want to be in a place where they look at your portfolio and look at you and say, I really want to work with that person. Keep in mind that this is always going to happen. You don't finish portfolio and figure. Okay, well, that's that. It's going to change as you change and as the market changes, one thing I know for sure about a portfolio is organization. Truly is your friend when you are showing your portfolio to someone, and this would include sitting down with them, looking at it on ah tablet or in a binder, or if you are sending a link to someone to look at it on your website, you want it to be easy for your client to see exactly who you are and what you dio, so make it easy for them. Keep it organized. Sometimes artists will divide their artwork by subject and topic. Here is all my Christmas. Here is my baby. Here's my everyday design so that if they have no interest in Christmas, they can move on and see what they are looking for and make it very easy to see what you do and who you are. Often artists have multiple styles, and that is a big discussion. Of course, my opinion is, if you have multiple styles, why would you not show your multiple styles if they are good? If their market ready, don't throw in a style that you're like kind. I'm working on this not really sure. Leave it out until you are sure, but you can on your website. Or if you're having an in person meeting, divide your work into these categories, so it's very easy for them to see. So if you say this is my watercolor style and then I also do, ah, more vector look, or whatever those two styles might be or here on my cartoons, set those up in separate sections so that it's easy for them to look at. The final point I want to make about organization is that you need to develop a system to number your work so that you can keep track of it and so that your client can keep track of it. So here's how I do it. I give it a three digit number. So let's take the snowman example that I did earlier that little group of snowman called Sweater Man. I would call that are W 123 sweater men, and that would be the main illustration. The whole group off the snowman and each individual pieces that go along with that would be called R W 1 23 sweater man stripe, and I might give that an A 1 23 a 1 23 b is this world pattern. 1 23 c is the guy that says Celebrate so you can see how you need to develop a numbering system. It will make your life so much easier for you and your studio, and it's going to make it so much easier for your client because you don't want them coming back to you saying, You know that one with the snowman and they were in the red. My sweater is the guy with the blab blab, Let you know you want them to come back and say, I don't want our W 1 23 be the snowman that says Celebrate. So work on a number of system. I mean, as you develop more and more collections, you're gonna thank me for that one because you need to do it by a numbering system, and it'll make everybody's life easier in the long run. Every decision you make about your portfolio, you should be answering the question. Am I making this easier for my client to view my work? Keep it organized? Another big question that comes up from artists is should I have a password or no password on my website for clients toe. Look at There are lots of opinions on this topic. And of course, there are pros and cons to each, just like everything in life. The pro of having a password is that you are not leaving all of your artwork exposed to the world for other people to be inspired by your work. I'm using the word inspired by, but you know what I mean. It's probably not a good idea to put all of that stuff out there for the world to see. Also, because when you're putting everything out there again, is that making an easy for your client? Do they feel like, Well, everyone's already seen this? There's nothing special for me, but on the other hand, you can have a little client portal that they need a password to get into. You want to make it very simple for them to do that. Give them a really easy password because if they stumble, they're going to move on. They are very, very busy people, and they're not gonna go. OK, well, was that password make it really easy for them. So yes, having a password is a good idea for them. It feels like this work is special and you're not sharing it with the entire world, and you're also not showing it to every single person who could be inspired by your work. The Khan of having a password is exactly what I explained. If it's complicated, they will move on. If they're looking at 11 o'clock at night and getting ready for a meeting the next day and they can't get access to your work, and you wouldn't believe how often that happens, they will move on. They'll find another artist would go. Okay, I can figure it out with someone else, so it is a barrier. It's not an insurmountable barrier, but it's still a barrier. Another option is to link your portfolio from your website to another hosted site that holds your portfolio, and that way your client only has to know one password to get into this bigger portfolio site. I will link that site to the class notes. The good part is you could be exposed to other art directors that are also part of that site, but the downside is that will be another expense it may be totally worth it for you to do that, but it's certainly an option for you to not have a password on your website or to expose everything that you have but not having a password protected Web site. So here is my solution for you. If you do not want, have a password protected Web site, nor do you want to use 1/3 party site to host your portfolio. Put enough artwork on your website to really get a sense of who you are and what you dio. But don't give away the store. Have opportunities to, you know, somewhere in that portfolio. When you show here on my you know, here's here's four different floral collections, putting a note on their saying I have many more, and I would love to show them to you and then have a contact button where they can go and contact you, and you will send the more The beautiful thing about that is you are making a connection with that potential client. You have an opportunity to have a conversation with them. You can email them and say you asked for these and I'm giving them to you and so it's a really great way to open the door as opposed to please contact me and I'll send you a password. They're like, Man got to do all that and then I have to look. Help me see this faster than going through that process. It comes down to your own preference. Come back to that question. Am I making this easier for my client or my potential client to see my artwork and go from there? Another question that comes up a lot around this discussion is how Maney designs do I need before I am ready to license my artwork and again, lots of opinions on this topic and my answer is now go into this a little more deeply. But my answer is as many as it takes to get the job done. I have heard artists say, and agents say, Oh, you have to have at least 50 collections. You have to have 100 collections. You have to have 200 collections. But here's the thing. If you are just starting out and you hear that you have to have 100 collections before you can even approach a client that is an enormous amount of work before you even know if your work is up to par. If your work is marketable, so why would you spend all that time, which could be years of developing 100 collections before you got any eyeballs on it? My feeling is you're working on your portfolio. You're building your look. You're building your voice and vision, and so you have 20 collections or 15 collections. To me, that makes sense to start sending things out to clients. You will get feedback. You will get negative feedback. You'll get positive feedback. But if whatever feedback that is that will determine what direction you want to go in, if you're not getting any traction after you spent a lot of time getting in front of different clients, it might be your portfolio. But wouldn't you rather know that at 15 collections, then at 100 collections, so I totally believe, build a nice collection? Get some feedback either professionally by hiring a coach or an art director to help you work those through, get feedback from other artists that you know and trust, and start to send it out to clients. That's the only way you're going to know whether it's right for them or it's right for the market. And the people that have 200 collections have been in the business for a while. I mean, there are people with an enormous my artwork, but like we talked about earlier with editing, some of those are going to go away and some new ones are going to replace them and start testing that look out in the market because that's the only place it matters. Your mom can love it. Your friend, who is an artist that does whatever can love it or someone hates it. You don't know if it's marketable or not until some professional fresh eyes get onto your work really important to do that. And one final point you are going Teoh design collections that are never going to go anywhere isn't that good news? And I know this for effect because I have them when I have approached my work for licensing , I really go for I believe in this. I think it's marketable, but you don't really know if it's marketable until you get it in the market, which is sitting with an art director or sending an email to someone and saying, What do you think? Is this right for you? And frankly, I've had many, many collections that never went anywhere. But I keep showing up, and that is the whole key to This is improving. Being clear, understanding your voice and vision, understanding the market and your portfolio will come along with that.