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Portfolios - Connect to your prospective clients

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Jon Bon

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Owner/Founder
Introduction
In many fields ones total comprised body of work is often referred to as a 'portfolio'. In the art world it's an attache of ones best or most notable work. More often then not the portfolio owner will fill it with commissioned work, work they have been paid for. Because the purpose and design of Bon Ink is to help indie artists/creators get their foot in the door, often times they have nothing that has been commissioned. This can create a 'catch 22' where the artist doesn't really know how to proceed in order to get paid work. This guide is to help those that would like to pursue a field in making their own online portfolio despite their lack of experience.


Design Phase
When you are designing your portfolio you need to decide what you will focus on based on how much material you have.It's generally speaking best to have one portfolio per trade (skill/talent). As an example if you are say an artist and a programmer, you may want a separate site for each one. Since both could comprise an entire site and are generally exclusive in their trade use. However always remember to keep like skills together into one trade. As an example, if you say to photography, painting, graphic design, sculpting, those could all go into one portfolio with different categories.

The thing to keep in mind is since you are indie and just starting out, you are likely not going to have that much material to post. If you were say a 20 year veteran in one field you may want a separate site for photography then sculpting because by then you may have sub categories for each such as landscape, portrait, commercial, etc.

Ultimately the overall design, look and feel is up to you, but you will need to remember that this is a site you intend to present to people who will want to pay you for your services, design it with that in mind and as efficient as possible to navigate and see relevant information. In other words if someone wants you for your art skills they may not want to see what you are able to program. With that said there is no harm linking each together in an 'other work' or similarly titled section to showcase your other portfolios.

Here is an example of my portfolio which has everything I currently do revolving video game development, as well as a bit about myself. The main focus of my portfolio is to showcase my overall skills in video game design and development, rather then one specific skills, such as graphic design or programming, etc.
http://jonbonsportfolio.weebly.com/
You should notice a few things I purposely included.

  1. Little words as possible
  2. Main categories at the top, with sub categories beneath
  3. At least 3-5 pieces minimum in each category, with a foreknowledge that more exists but not in completion
  4. Nothing posted is incomplete, and the majority represents my current skill level
  5. Although some is poor in quality (hand drawn) I posted it anyway as I am continually getting better and it will show my growth over time as I update and change it.
The best thing I could say to anyone who is trying to make it in one trade or another is to make a portfolio as soon as you have something to put in it. Who cares what the quality is, or how much you can fill in it, if you are truly dedicated it will only get bigger and better over time. The point is you have to start somewhere, why not start now with what you have and get it out there. If no one likes your stuff when you apply for teams/jobs etc, after looking at your portfolio, that's a good thing because then you know you have more to improve on.

Execution
Unless one of your trades is programming and you have skill in html you are likely not going to know where to begin when it comes to your website design. My suggestion would be to pick a free provider who offers an easy to use drag and drop or point and click interface, which offers domain registration afterwards at an affordable cost. This will allow you to design your site for free, host and show it at no charge, and if you eventually become profitable you can buy the domain from them and have your site instantly go live with an official .com.
My recommendation is to use weebly.com, they have the least obtrusive ads, as well as a very affordable and comparably inexpensive service for domain purchase.
In any case which ever provider you choose, it's best to be comfortable with using the system and being able to pay them to allow more options to your liking in the future if that is what you desire.
If you need help using weebly or suggestion on your portfolio, let me know through pm or email and I will give you all the help I can give.

Conclusion
A portfolio is a great gauge of your skill, and if you are truly dedicated something you can use as a permanent proof of product of what you make. The best part is it only gets better over time, and you can remove old work as time passes and edit the style and feel etc. It's a forever changing online representation of you the artist/creator and I would strongly recommend to those that don't currently have one to get one started as soon as they have something to put in it.
Thanks for reading!

View user profile http://boninkcreations.weebly.com/

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