In addition to updating my website in preparation for this weekend's SCBWI conference in Fitchburg, I have also been reviewing my portfolio and printing up my best work to carry with me in my little leather folio.
As I was doing so, I started to wonder/worry about what I was putting out there for the world to see. Does this work represent who I am as an artist? Is this truly my best work? Should I (and could I) have done more to prepare for this weekend? So much depends on The Portfolio. And the stress of it all began to bubble up to the surface.
I had to stop and remind myself that, first of all, stress isn't good for anybody. So stop it right now!
And also that if I look at the entire spectrum of my art career, I have only been in the Children's Book business since Fall of 2009, when I signed up for classes at RISD. There is a reason why my portfolio needs so much more work. I'm still learning! I have plenty of non children's book art, and plenty of school-assigned pieces, but not a lot of things that are really mine. Things I've created just because I wanted to, and for the love of the craft. Well of course not- I have been a busy student, still working, and now blogging, and still having (somewhat) a life.
So with that information in the front of my brain, I looked again at what I had to offer the world. And you know what? It made me happy and proud. Yes, I could have done better on some of the projects we were assigned, had I given myself enough time (or watched one less movie with Hubby). And yes, I know not all the images didn't print or scan the way that I would have liked. And, yes, I know there are WAY better artists out there that will get the job instead of me.
But my current portfolio is proof that I'm heading in the direction of my dreams. I am doing what I love to do! It means I will be spending more time illustrating and writing, and getting better at it with each new project. It means I've got a grin on my face that can't be wiped off by my own insecurities, because I know I'm doing the best I can with what I've got.
So, take THAT, Stress, and take your worries to someone who cares. :)
And take this, Readers- some tidbits I've found on building one's portfolio. Maybe they'll help us all shine a little brighter, and do our best a little best-er!
Tips from artist Tony Sansevero
Tips from artist Nina Rycroft
Tips from artist Phyllis Pollema-Cahill
Tips from Harold Underdown
Tips from artist Chris Tugeau
Three Mistakes Illustrators Make in their Portfolios
Selecting Images for Your Portfolio