The Portfolio

Well I've put the finishing touches on my folio and I'm ready to rock into the SCBWI conference in Sydney on Sunday.

I put a lot of thought into my folio this year, and I thought I'd give you a run-down for anyone who might be trying to do the same and not knowing where to start!

Which illustrations?

Deciding on the pieces you are going to include is naturally the hardest part. The best piece of advice I have heard about this is: Less is More. And: only put in your strongest pieces. Don't fall for putting something in just because it was published once. That doesn't mean it's your strongest work. It's better to omit weaker pieces than to have a bulging folio filled with mediocre work.

I chose to put in about half published work, half personal work. Often personal work is where our joy, love and passion come out the most anyway.  

Keep it flowing

Once you have made your selections, arranging them in a sequence that flows is paramount. Think of it like laying out a book and you should have no problem!

The Book

Next, it's time to put them all together. Your display book should have a professional look about it. These days I think an A3 size is fairly standard. I also feel that a binder system which lets the pages sit flat is really important. Some of them have a bit in the middle that clasps shut which makes it hard for the folio to sit open, and could even potentially damage the prints. I actually made a dash out this morning to buy a new folio to avoid this problem!

Here is mine:

My new little black book - 'Colby Art' A3 portfolio.

My new little black book - 'Colby Art' A3 portfolio.

And here's how my folio looks:

(I have made notes on each image as to some things to think about so if you're interested make sure you scroll through!)

I hope this gives you some insight into putting together a successful (I hope!) children's book illustrator's portfolio.

I would also suggest looking at these posts from illustrators who have won, yes WON the international SCBWI folio contest:

Juana Martinez-Neal

Molly Idle


Have fun!