Yesterday I had my final portfolio visit with Stuart Price from Thoughtful. Their studio is now based in Stockport College so I merely had to walk down to the meeting! Having already met Stuart after his lecture I wasn't too worried and felt confident as I talked through my work. The only thing that had me slightly concerned was the fact he set a timer for 20 minutes, I was a bit anxious I wouldn't be able to fill the time but in actual fact it was fine and we spoke right up to the alarm!
From the start Stuart said that because he wasn't an illustrator he wouldn't comment on the actual style of the work, but he'd look at it from a commercial aspect. I think this is actually a good thing as it's designers such as Stuart who will commission illustrators, so it's great to hear their opinions.
Stuart really loved the Wellspring image on the first page saying it was a really strong design. He asked how I created it and was impressed when I said it was done on Illustrator as he said he found it quite difficult to use. He liked all the elements and said even though they were digital, you could tell I'd drawn them first - they were personal to me.
Like Helen Taylor he also liked the graphic nature of the 8x8 spot illustration. It was interesting to see that all of the designers I've seen liked similar things. He said the two images worked well side by side and were very confident. He loved the colours in the main illustration saying they were quite striking.
Like Craig, he also liked the type on the Russia and India pages from the Zine book. He was particularly impressed with the Russian type, as he said it complimented the image really well. A lot of Russian fonts can be quite harsh but he said this one was well adapted to suit the illustration.
Next up was the Music brief and he liked that I'd included a picture of it installed on the glass. He said it looked professionally done and the design was really tight and together. He liked the concept behind the image and thought it was a well thought out piece.
Stuart was also impressed with the paisley pattern, simply because it's very detailed and he looked closely at it to see how I'd done it in Illustrator.
Moving on from this, he also really liked the 'Lonely' castle and was interested how I'd converted it into an Illustrator file to fit in with the rest of my portfolio. This led on to us talking about the process of my image making. I talked through how I sketch ideas and then trace over them in Illustrator, which he said was a good way of working.
We then came to the James and the Giant Peach book cover which he really loved. This was the first visit where I've had such a positive response for this piece, so it made me very happy! He liked the type and said it fitted well into the design. One thing he mentioned was that I perhaps didn't need a photograph of the book as it wasn't showing anything different. He suggested only photographing pieces that were in a different setting (such as Music) or had type surrounding it (such as 8x8). I hadn't really thought about it like that, but hearing him say it made perfect sense!
Flicking back through the portfolio, Stuart said he really liked everything - in particular the Wellspring, 8x8, Music, Zine pages and James and the Giant Peach. He liked the layout of the portfolio and said he didn't want it to stop, which is always a good sign. He also really loved the fact that I've got a pink portfolio saying that he saw a lot of black ones and it was nice to see a bit of personality. He said it suited my work and would immediately be noticed and remembered.
Overall this was a very positive visit. I got some great feedback and advice from Stuart which I will definitely take on board. He also said to keep in touch and to show him any new work as I did it - he said I could pop in any time which was really nice of him.
These portfolio visits have been so useful and not nearly as scary as I first thought! Each one has built my confidence and I've had some great tips on how to improve my work and portfolio. In each one I think I've improved when it comes to explaining my work and they've all been good practice for next year when things start to get 'real' and I'll hopefully be looking for paid commissions.