Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Ctn Portfolio Reviews

Photo copyright Stuart Ng.

At Ctn I saw some great portfolios. I have a few notes about getting your stuff reviewed there:

"You are as good as you are right now." Words of wisdom told to me by the talented Tang Heng, DreamWorks Art Director. He explained that it doesn't mean you're not going to get better, it means that you have to accept that as an artist you are always working on your craft. You're better today than you were a year ago and in a year you'll be better than you were today. I met quite a few people who were scared to show their work because it wasn't good enough to show at Ctn. Listen to Tang.

Be upfront with your portfolio. If you are a student, say so. What do you want feedback on? When you are able to give the reviewer specific direction on what you want feedback on it helps both of you. You have a character turnaround? See a character designer. Have color keys? Go see an artist who's great at color. Ask them specifically about that. Have storyboards? You know what to do now. Ask them specific questions about those pieces.
Take everything with a grain of salt. Consider the artist's background and how it informs how they interpret visual media. Everything is an opinion because art is subjective.

Everyone's exhausted by Sunday. It's better to get fresh Friday eyes. (From personal experience, I was tuckered out on Sunday and I'm sure my feedback was better on Friday. Saturday was a madhouse and Sunday all I could think of was taking nap. haha)
If you happen to get your portfolio reviewed by me, send it back to me in 6 months - 1 year. I'd love to give you feedback again.
Also, I have a graphic design background and whole heartedly assume there are better artists you could get artistic direction from. So I tried to focus my feedback on the best way for you to showcase the artwork you've got using layout and design. So if you did get reviewed by me & are confused, or just want to clarify, shoot me an email/fb message. I don't bite :)

Last note, keep working and improving as an artist. You can only get better! And at the next Ctn, you can follow up with people you met last year and show them how you've improved and get more feedback. It's a cycle, but it should help.


  1. Great notes Alishea! :) Yeah, I think the most clear reviews I got were when I had the clearest understanding of how that Artist could apply their specialty or experience to answer a specific question I had. They can give more actionable feedback ^_^

    And ditto on the Friday feedback idea :) I was exhausted by Sunday and I'm sure my feedback/crits were progressively less coherant hahaha

  2. I agree with everything you said! Everyone has heaps of energy not the friday and ready to hit the day, saturday takes all the wind out of you, before Sunday where I purchase my last art pieces and watch some amazing panels
    How amazing was CTN!