IDEA Academy IDEA Academy

As most people are already aware, the first step to getting a job in the industry is having a solid portfolio. Despite this, many students and aspiring artists still struggle to understand how to present their work in a professional way. Cartoon Brew has invited IDEA Academy to share some important advice.

IDEA Academy is an international teaching center for digital and traditional arts aimed at turning students into professionals in the creativity and entertainment fields. IDEA’s courses cover a wide variety of topics such as video games, 3D graphics, concept design, cinema set design, storyboarding, and illustration. IDEA’s teachers are renowned professionals with extensive experience in all the major international studios, entertainment companies, and publishing houses including Disney, Pixar, Lucas Arts, Blizzard, and Riot Games.

1. Organize your artworks in projects

A mistake many people make is to have a multitude of unorganized artworks with very little or no cohesion. It doesn’t matter how beautiful an illustration or a drawing is — studios and recruiters will most likely not be attracted to it if they cannot put it into a context.

Showing that you took the time to go through all the steps involved in developing your own projects can be a great asset in allowing recruiters to see that you are familiar with what it takes to create a new IP (intellectual property). This will definitely set your portfolio apart from many others.

IDEA Academy
When helping our students, we make sure to guide them through their portfolio projects and presentation.
2. Show your creative process

Don’t be reluctant to show the exploration and sketches you did to come up with your original artwork. On the contrary: make sure you do everything you can to illustrate your understanding of the workflow. This can be a big advantage, as it will make studios understand that you are already familiar with how things work, and can therefore be trained more quickly and efficiently by your perspective employer.

IDEA Academy
Showcasing variation and exploration for any design is usually something that gets positive attention.
3. Tailor your portfolio to the studios and position you are applying for

Preparing more than one version of your portfolio might sound like a lot of work, but it’s definitely worth doing. It can encourage recruiters to look at the whole thing, rather than stop looking after a couple of pages.

Recruiters are often swamped with work. When they go through portfolios, they are more likely to stop and move to the next one if they don’t see artworks presented in a style and manner that is relevant to their company. Make sure to do your research on what the studio you are applying for does, and what style or styles it uses, so that you can be sure to have something relevant to show.

IDEA Academy
Try to make extensive use of dynamic, eye-catching poses.
4. Make sure to explain clearly what you are showing

As simple as it may sound, this aspect is often overlooked. You may have spent weeks — if not months — getting your portfolio together. You’ll know its contents very well. But others will not be as familiar with what you are showcasing, so make sure to give your work the right context.

5. Get feedback!

Before you send your portfolio to studios and recruiters, getting some professional feedback will go a long way in making sure everything is in order. IDEA Academy offers free portfolio feedback via video conference.

If you are interested in a review and want to know what your portfolio level is, just send an email to with your portfolio (as either a file or a link to an online version), and we’ll get back to schedule a video conference meeting.

To learn more about the IDEA Academy, follow the school on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
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