Fig Taylor – 9/12/16

Last week’s Lecture was being held by Fig Taylor.

Starting out as a Graphic designer, Taylor soon found out that it wasn’t for her. She then moved onto being an Illustrator agent. She now works for Association of Illustrators as a Portfolio Consultant.

Every second Monday, Fig Taylor holds portfolio consultations in the AOI Offices. For a full hour, she will (without mercy) edit and advise on how to best promote and present your portfolio. – AOI website

So this Lecture, Taylor went over the briefs of a successful portfolio and portfolio interview. I’ve leant a lot from this lecture. One important note is the seriousness to a professional portfolio. Making a portfolio can take up to a year, if you want to get it perfect. I was not aware that there were so many do’s and don’ts to having one. For example; commissioners want to see that you are ‘perfect’ and that you never go wrong, this shows you are reliable, where as teachers and lecturers want to see everything including your failures as it shows you are being critical and have experimented with different ideas.

Another point Taylor felt strongly about was the consistency of the content.

  • Make sure you fill your portfolio with work you like. She, and commissioners can tell when you do not enjoy your work, and they want you to like the work as there is more of a chance you will put more effect and enthusiasm into new wok similar to it.
  • On the other hand, be critical with your work. Take out anything that doesn’t represent you or the work you would like to do. if it is not what you want to take further, don’t leave it in, even if it is published work. As if you leave it in, the commissioner could want you to do it again, even on a bigger scale possibly, and you will not enjoy the work at all.
  • Tailor your work in the portfolio to theΒ commissioner.
  • Do not put old work in there.
  • Do not put anything in there that you cannot replicate.


Fig Taylor talking with an Artist.


it is also important to have the ‘right’ portfolio.

  • Do not have a portfolio bigger than A3,Β its difficult to carry, and difficult for the commissioner to look at on their standard size desk, often full of paperwork. Use something lights and portable.
  • Do not ‘mount and mount things’ onto your portfolio. it is not an art gallery, it is not necessary, and it just makes the whole thing heavier.
  • Put work in plastic folders. Taylor told us of horror stories of coffee on desks accidently getting knocked over and ruining work. It’s just safer to have it all in plastic folders.
  • Do not take originals because of said horror stories mentioned above and others of accidently leaving portfolios on trains and in taxis. if that is originals, that is a lot of work gone. it is better to bring copies. Commissioners can see the work, they understand the work and there is no danger for work.

Touching on Digital Presentations too, as half of portfolios are seen as digital.

  • Use a Tablet, it works as well as a ‘print’ presentation, unlike a laptop as they are less reliable and do like to do ‘software updates’ at the worst times.
  • Any back up work should be easily accessible, so you are not keeping the commissioner waiting.
  • You should have a wide ‘online presence’. you should be on social media sites such as facebook (have a facebook page for your art), Instagram and you should more importantly have a website, with contact details and a CV type page.
  • You should have links to everything in your ‘Bio’.

Taylor’s Lecture has been the most insightful and helpful lecture we have had so far, and more importantly, it applied to all of us, as we all at some point should have a professional portfolio at some point. The points she made were interesting and well worth taking in. I would hope that we will have more lectures like this.



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