Here are short answers to frequent questions asked by students, about building a solid portfolio.
Is there a specific genre that is in high demand right now and companies are looking for?
No, and never follow the trends. Because they are just that- trends. They will come and go, and you may miss them entirely. Instead figure out what you love drawing, then find the companies that make those things and get them to notice and hire you.
What should I show in a portfolio? Should I show my specialty or should I show them that I can do everything?
Well, that really depends on how impressive your “specialty” is. If you are really good at that one thing, and have enough images to make a portfolio, then that’s the route I would take. If you don’t, then make more, or go the generalist route.
Would it hurt my chances if I showed something different in my portfolio from what the company is expecting/ looking for in a candidate?
Usually, yes. But there are exceptions. First, you need to know who you are dealing with. If you are applying at a first party studio that only makes one thing, then showing them artwork outside of their niche is probably a waste of time. However, if you are applying to a third party studio who puts out numerous products in various genres, in those cases it might be beneficial.
How polished should the images in my portfolio be?
A good portfolio will demonstrate the full spectrum of design. This means taking the same object and showing the process and progression from rough thumbs, to full color renders where possible. Companies want to see all of the in-betweens because they want to evaluate your thought process and see how you problem solve. That is not to say that you can’t have more fully rendered images than line drawings, but try not to overload you portfolio with one or the other. The goal is to show enough so they get idea that u can produce a lot of ideas very quickly.
If you have questions that are not answered here, leave a comment below, or send a spell checked email to firstname.lastname@example.org. It may take some time, but I will do my best to respond.