Recently I was asked how to put together an illustrator’s portfolio to send to art directors for illustrating children’s books. As you might imagine, there is more than one way to put together a picture book portfolio. Generally, it helps to remember that a picture book illustrator’s portfolio is quite different from a portfolio assembled for submission to a gallery or exhibition.
Jennifer Laughran presents an excellent summary of what is recommended. Read her November 6, 2010 post at:
(Copy and paste into your internet browser)
Keep in mind that it is also very important to visit the publisher’s web site or other resource that lists what a particular art director wants to see. Remember, you are not just selling your ability to draw or paint, but also your ability to tell a story visually and to use the visual elements you create to expand and add subtext to the words in the picture book. You are demonstrating your style, your versatility and your ability to interpret words throughout 32 pages of the (average) picture book.
This makes you different from a fine artist, illustrator or graphic designer, though it doesn’t hurt to have skills in any or all of those fields. Illustrating children’s books requires something of all those elements and more. So take the time and effort to assemble the best possible picture book portfolio and it will be worth a thousand words.