Monday, June 3, 2019

Portfolio Showcase at IRIS London

It was lovely to be invited to participate in a Portfolio Showcase last month at the offices of IRIS Worldwide. The event was arranged by The Association of Illustrators (AOI) and the Association of Photographers, who had selected 15 illustrators and 15 photographers to take part. The open plan offices were on the north side of the Thames, with a fantastic view of London including Tate Modern, The Globe and the river. 

A large area had been set aside, with each of us having a designated space to show our work. I took my portfolio along on my iPad, plus some business cards, postcards and maps. It was only the second time in eight years that I’d shown my work like this so it was a very useful experience! 

The AOI had suggested we have a question or two ready to ask the creatives looking at the folders and I was interested to know where a design and marketing agency, such as themselves, looked for illustration and illustrators. Apart from the AOI site and Illustration Agencies, the one place that surprised me was Pinterest. I knew from looking at my Etsy shop data that a lot of traffic for that came from Pinterest, but I hadn’t really thought about the fact that design professionals would use it just as much as individual buyers.

Useful feedback I received included:
  • Limit your portfolio to about 15 pieces. (I had about twice that amount on the evening)
  • Viewers need to come away with one strong impression of your style
  • Keep the 'wonky lines' and lose the 'neater' work. Emphasis the hand-drawn qualities.
  • End with a favourite piece

I managed to do a few quick sketches of some of the IRIS team between showing my work, which you can see above. It was also great to talk to some of the other illustrators and photographers on the evening. I’m very grateful for the AOI for inviting me and to the IRIS team for hosting the event.

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