One of the most important practices in improving and growing your business is to make time for personal pieces that are crafted with intention and driven by your goals. Above all, you are creating what you truly love and that is wonderful! Here are some reflections on that process I hope will be helpful and encouraging!
Create with Intention.
Personal projects are especially key for illustrators in their first few years of work where the body of client work is still quite broad and may not yet align with the specificity of the illustrator's vision or intended niche. By proactively showcasing artworks that are tailored to the illustrator's strengths and chosen market, the foundation is gradually being laid for a step in that targeted direction.
Make that Dream Project Come True!
Is your portfolio full of content that reflects the kind of work you hope to receive? It is probably difficult to secure your dream project without showcasing your capability to do so in your portfolio. While it may be easy for illustrators to imagine various applications for their art, prospective clients may be more pragmatic and require more visual reassurance. Along the way, working on dream projects is a great learning exercise and can even open doors for existing clients to try something new.
Work with the End Product in Mind.
Take one step further, and envision how an artwork might be applied in a real-world scenario. For example, instead of just showing an assortment of characters in your portfolio, perhaps you can integrate them into a children's learning poster. Or if you are interested in product design then create mockups, or produce illustrations for events and create a conceptual render of how it might look on location.
I am guilty of putting too much in my portfolio and I think many illustrators struggle with this too! Mentorship and peer review are invaluable. Be sure to seek advice on the overall user experience too.
The Technical Stuff.
Keep in mind margins and the viewing + navigation experience for both desktop and mobile. Optimize your SEO and make sure you can be found on Google easily.
Thanks so much for reading till the end! I would love to hear your insights too. We can all learn from one another! Come say hello on instagram: @natalie.illustration