Reveal Your Creative Process in Your Web Portfolio
Graphic Courtesy of mondopanno, Flickr
Thomas James | Escape from Illustration Island
In previous parts of this series, we’ve focused on how to make the most of your website design, image gallery, and About page, as well as the benefits of including testimonials and a blog.
Now we’re going to explore the reasons that you should consider using your site to educate your potential clients on your creative process. You can also read a related post from the series How to Educate Your Clients that deals with explaining your process.
The Process Page
In addition to marketing your portfolio website to seasoned Art Directors, it’s a good idea to cater to potential clients who may have never worked with an Illustrator before. This second group of individuals includes self-publishing authors, business owners in search of a logo design, musicians in need of album cover art, etc. These types of people may be uneasy about trusting an Illustrator with their project, as well as uncertain about how the process works, how much it will cost, and how long it will take.
While you may not be able to answer every question your visitor has about their particular project, an outline of your creative process can help to make them more comfortable with the idea of working with an artist, and possibly even more likely to hire you.
A Transparent Approach
The idea here is to start a dialogue with the potential client by lifting the veil of mystery while sharing some vital insight about what it might be like to work with you. The fact that most Illustrators don’t take the time to do this will automatically help you to stand out from the crowd of other professionals that they’ve been considering.
By shedding some light on the steps involved in working with an Illustrator you can win points with your visitor because you are already providing a valuable service for free. Education is an aspect of the Illustration business that is often overlooked by most, partly because we spend so much time in our own little worlds that we tend to forget that the Illustration process isn’t necessarily common knowledge. You may remember that before you started out, you probably had no clue yourself as to how this industry works, or what an Illustrator actually does.
What Should Your Process Page Say?
It’s important to keep things simple when outlining your process, remembering that you can go into much greater detail when you meet with your client for the first time in person or over the phone.
In general, you should share the basic steps that you take in order to nurture a project from concept to completion, such as the initial meeting, creation of concept art, revision stages, completion of final artwork, followup, etc. You can of course take your own personal approach to the way you want to share your process, and you can include it in your About page or designate a specific place for it on your website.
Here are two examples of different ways of sharing your process:
My Process page at ThomasJamesIllustration.com
Holly DeWolf’s About page at HollyDeWolf.com
You can see that these are two different variations on a theme, but the intent is the same. On my website, I have even chosen to go a step further by beginning to write an educational series called How to Work with an Illustrator. This is because I feel that there is a lack of this type of information available, and because I consider educating and consulting my clients to be a major part of the services I offer.
Greasing the Wheels
Including a description of your creative process can go a long way to presenting yourself as a professional, increasing your chances of landing more projects, and smoothing out the experience of working with your clients. When both parties are clear about what to expect from a working relationship your job as an Illustrator will be much easier, and the potential for a successful project will be far greater.
Next: The Call to Action→
← Last: The Blog
Do you agree with these concepts? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.
This article is part 6 of the series entitled “7 Elements of an Effective Portfolio Website,” which aims to encourage Illustrators to consider some crucial features when building or refining their portfolio websites.
You can find the rest of the series here.
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