Data #6: Mistakes To Avoid in Portfolios

On one of my previous blog entries, I talked about how you can start building a good portfolio. Now, I want to go more into detail about building and polished portfolios, and I would like to share more tips I have found.

This blog entry will cover some of the mistakes that artists may make when building their portfolios.


  • Not putting your best artworks first. First impression matters when you present your art portfolio. Employers have so much job applications and art portfolios to review in a limited time. They may only look at your works for a few seconds before they either pay attention to your works or move on to the next person’s art portfolio. Put only your best artworks. Be selective of which artworks you want in your portfolio.
  • Not focusing on what specialized job position you want. It would seem logical that artists who are good in all types of art skills would have a better chance in getting a job, right? Not necessarily. In some cases, you will need to specialize in a certain field, especially if the company you want to work for is a large company like DreamWorks SKG or Pixar Animation Studios.
  • Not putting relevant artworks in your portfolio. If you want a job position in 3D modeling, your portfolio should contain more 3D models than your digital paintings. Again, focus and narrow down specifically what you want to do, and put relevant artworks that show your talents for the desired job position.
  • Not putting contact information in your art portfolio. This would lead the employer or a job recruiter to a dead end. At the very least, put your e-mail address as your contact information so people can communicate with you.

For more information about how to avoid making mistakes in building and presenting art portfolios, take a look in the source links below.


  1. Burke, J. (2010, February 6). Jessica Burke Art Blog: The Six Most Common Mistakes Artists Make When Approaching Galleries by Jason Horejs. Jessica Burke Art Blog. Retrieved March 26, 2011, from
  2. Holden, C. (2006, August 31). General: Your Portfolio Repels Jobs – Game Artist Forums. Game Artist Forums. Retrieved March 26, 2011, from
  3. Industry Portfolio Answers for Aspiring 3D Game Artists | GameCore. (n.d.). 3D Game Engine, Development Tools & Web 3D Social Gaming Platform | GameCore. Retrieved March 26, 2011, from
  4. James, T. (n.d.). 3 Mistakes Illustrators Make in Their Portfolios « Escape From Illustration Island — Illustration Resources and Community. Escape From Illustration Island — Illustration Resources and Community. Retrieved March 26, 2011, from
  5. Top Five Portfolio Mistakes – (n.d.). Art Schools and Art Degrees – Design Schools and Design Degrees — Online Directory. Retrieved March 26, 2011, from

1 Comment »

  1. Amanda J. said

    Hi Susan,

    Your posts have been very informative so far – I’ve learned a lot! In particular, the portfolio explanations have been wonderful. The mistakes to avoid are ones I would not have thought of, and your overall explanations are very good.

    Also, you have emphasized connections and networking. I agree that it is important for UTD ATEC students to network. However, I’d like to know if you have any recommendations about where to start. As in, do we speak to our professors, and pour out our ambitions in hopes that they know someone who can “hook us up”? I know that sounds funny – but that’s what this whole idea is – getting better jobs and opportunities because we know someone on the inside.

    For your blog overall, I’d like to see if any of this advice has been helpful to you. Have you started on your own portfolio yet? Have you made any connections to professors or people in the field? Maybe one of those connections you have would be willing to become my connection too (“my” as in all of us readers!). 🙂


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