Art Practice


A portfolio containing a consistent and developed body of artwork is essential for any artist wishing to pursue a career as a freelance illustrator. In a way, an artist’s portfolio will determine largely whether the artist succeeds or fails as a freelance illustrator. Awards and exhibits are often commended, but it is an outstanding portfolio that ultimately captures the attention of prospective clients.

Over my attendance at GVSU, my professors have been preparing and guiding me to create pieces of artwork that are satisfactory for a professional portfolio. I have developed a recognizable style and technique that is suitable for children’s books, of which I am primarily interested in pursuing as an illustrator. While Prof. Ed Wong-Ligda and I are confident that I have developed a strong portfolio for the children’s book market, we’ve decided that my style would also be appropriate for additional genres of commercial illustration. By expanding my portfolio to also include editorial and/or decorative illustrations, I will be giving myself more opportunities for freelance projects. However, as of now my portfolio consists mainly of children’s illustrations which could possibly deter clients interested in hiring for editorial work.

I am proposing to focus on editorial and/or decorative illustrations for my senior thesis. Editorial illustrations consist of artworks found in magazines, articles, and other editorial publications. Decorative illustrations include pieces displayed on greeting cards, notebooks, and stationary. Following completion, my goal is to have a secondary portfolio that I will be able to present to publishers outside of the children’s book market.

Additionally, I will be practicing faster turn-around times to prepare me for illustration projects that may have immediate deadlines. This will allow me to accept projects confidently with the knowledge that I can deliver the final product on time. Ed has warned me that the majority of editorial publishers often require completed illustrations within several days, so in addition to focusing on appropriate subject matter I will also try to simplify my style and technique so that my work can be executed quickly.

I intend to select a variety of published editorial articles to illustrate as well as examine and research greeting cards and stationary to form a basis for any decorative illustrations. The articles I select will vary in subject matter to show that I am capable of illustration numerous topics, such as scientific, political, environmental issues, etc.

Ed and I will schedule meetings where we will discuss the articles selected, completed or in-progress illustrations, and any troubles I may be facing regarding technique and turn-around times. We will correspond via e-mail more frequently and schedule additional face-to-face meetings if necessary.

My completed project will include 10 illustrations (editorial and decorative), a bibliography, and complete copies of the articles chosen to illustrate.