Friday, January 16, 2009

On the subject of websites

All this recent talk of website changes had me paranoid about getting mine in ship shape too! So I went through it to hopefully emphasize that it is primarily about the illustration portfolio rather than my previous body of fantasy artwork, although there are galleries for both included. I am not going to toss out the fantasy galleries completely, but I do want to make it obvious for people to get to the illustration portfolio and for that to be the *first* place they look (other than the index page). I was also pretty brutal on my portfolio and tossed out a bunch. Even learned a wee bit of javascript, heh. So.... what do you all think?
http://www.carmenkeys.com
And in the portfolio part itself, I could really use some help about what my weaknesses are and what I should be adding in the future to make it stronger. Should I toss out any that I have there? Just looking at it myself I can see I have a lot of vertical, static type images that don't have a lot of movement. I need more movement!! And more interaction, I reckon. Thanks for your help everyone, I must know what to work on this year to make this as good as I can!

6 comments:

Tiddly Inks said...

Hi Carmen,
First off, I love your site. The branches are lovely and envoke a real fantasy feel, yet not so much that you would think...not a children's illustrator. You really have a lot going on in the licensing department and that is impressive. Can I ask how you started that? Did people approach you or did you attend a conference or how did that work?

Now for the children's illustrations. Yes, there are quite a few static and upright images, but I am not sure that detracts from anything. They are all lovely, and I really like the graphite images. The weakest pieces (not in terms of talent, but in illustrating book strength) would be the dragon and boy in the cattails and the girl with the cat playing the violin. Maybe also the cat in the jacket all alone. I can completely understand redoing things. I threw out all but two pieces in my portfolio as a result of this group. LOL I am starting over, but I think that will be for the better. I just love the bunny in the wind. He is my favorite.
Christy

marikris said...

Hiya, Carmen ~ I think your graphite works are really strong (I think you're entry for Resolve is super dynamic). I can see the narrative and I'm piqued by the slice of story I can see from the drawings. With that in mind, I think your Alice paintings, Foggy Morning and Visit to a Neighbor are the strongest in your paintings. But...I don't feel like I'm qualified to comment much other than that, since I am only in the process of building a portfolio myself, and am resolved to have one before I graduate. So I can't wait to see what the others have to say - I'm learning a lot from you guys ^_^

Carmen Keys said...

Thanks girls! That is helpful -- for the girl and cat playing violin, looking at it now it does seem too licensing-ish for an illustration portfolio. Heh -- what I mean is, images that work for the licensing world and images that work for the illustration world are often very different animals. Like decorative vs. telling a story. Anyway.
Aw, I love the boy and the gryphon one :( -- is there a way I can make it better for the portfolio? I know I'm going to have to be brutal with my work to make it the best I can.
Glad the graphite guys are getting good reviews so far....

Christy, my licensing deals mostly came about from my time in fantasy art though some of the illustrations got in on that too. For the most part people approached me on their own or approached me because we know the same folks, or maybe I knew them personally to begin with. Kind of a big network really -- however, you can also submit work to licensing companies just as you would publishers. It's a bit of a different ball game as I mentioned above about what kinds of images they look for (ie, it's got to stand on its own without a story around it). And, be VERY VERY careful about signing contracts. Very careful to read and understand exactly what the terms are and don't be at all afraid to offer your own term revisions. They'll likely negotiate with you. If you want I have a sample contract you could see that has good terms :) -- I could email it to you.

Anne Jewett said...

"all this recent talk..?"
Who's talking?

marikris said...

There were previous posts asking about online portfolios. Here's one off the top of my head:

http://illustrationboard.blogspot.com/2009/01/its-been-2-years.html

Anne Jewett said...

Got it. I just needed to catch up with the posts. I'll add some new features to mmy site too.

"all the talk" reminded me of a conference I went to that pushed the importance of blogs. Now new things like this group in on a blog. So I'm wondering what the latest thing is on websites.