7 Sick Illustrator Portfolios

If you’re an illustrator, a portfolio is incredibly important. It’s your calling card to the world, showing who you are and what you do. If you want to increase your chances of getting commissions or selling your existing work, you need to get your art online.

Getting your work out there is easier than you probably think, and there’s no need to have your own bespoke portfolio. Services such as Behance, Format, and DeviantArt do a great job of providing simple to use platforms to showcase work.

A bad portfolio is about as useful as having no portfolio at all, so it’s important to get it right. We’ve rounded up seven of the sickest illustrator portfolios out there right now, and have explained why they work so well.

jungho lee

Based in Seoul, South Korea, Jungho was the 2016 winner of the Overall Winner Professional award at the World Illustration Awards. He’s been working as an illustrator since 2007 and his distinctive style has won him fans all over the world. His surreal work can often be found in books, and much of his more recent art actually incorporates books as visual metaphors.

Jungho’s portfolio is so successful because it almost feels like there’s a narrative within the images he’s chosen to show. The stark white background lets the art, which is laid out in a traditional grid, speak for itself, and that it certainly does. There’s a real cohesiveness to Jungho’s body of work, which is a major plus-point for clients: they know exactly what they can expect from an artist that has such a distinct style.

anna kovecses

Rated by top illustration agency Handsome Frank, Hungarian Anna is well-known for her innocent, child-like illustrations. Her use of simple yet bold shapes is her calling card, and she states her inspiration as being her Eastern European upbringing combined with her current home by the Mediterranean Sea. Anna has secured numerous commissions for global magazine, agencies and brands, but has always taken care to ensure that she has time to experiment and to work on personal projects.

Anna chose to move away from the traditional white background for her portfolio, and the gentle peach tone she settled on compliments the delicate naivety of her work. There’s an overall feeling of innocent softness to her work, and the pastel background mirrors this feeling. The entire site feels cohesive and somewhat emotive, and gives the viewer a greater sense of the artist herself.

3. Michael C. Hsiung

michael c hsiung

This LA-based illustrator boasts a huge back catalogue of work in several different mediums. He deals in drawings, videos, and also tattoos, and he also has a passion for the merman: something that grew from his annoyance with the character’s underrepresentation in mythology.

With so much variety in his work, Michael’s portfolio needed to have a high level of navigability to avoid losing his audience. Created using Format, Michael chose the Grace theme to showcase his work and guide his viewers through his various mediums in a logical and simple way. The homepage actually feels like blog, which is an interesting tactic for an illustrator’s portfolio. But, by taking this brave direction, the viewer is welcomed directly into Michael’s world, which feels like a real treat.

nate kitch

Award winning Nate is a UK based illustrator who possesses a distinctive style of collages, photographs, and layered textures that has made him popular with clients including Wired and New Scientist. Nate draws inspiration from everything he finds around him, and his subjects vary wildly from jazz musicians to psychological patients.
 
Nate’s choice of dramatic tall rectangles create a bold and eye-catching grid effect, which produces a real sense of immersion. The boldness of his work is reflected in the website header, which is also playful and colorful, and this immediately gives the viewer a sense of cohesiveness from this artist. The entire portfolio emits a sense of fun and experimentation, which is who Nate is as an artist. 

lizzy stewart

Lizzy is another UK-based illustrator, but her style couldn’t be further from Nate’s. Drawing inspiration from folk music, the sea, and anything that makes her feel sad, Lizzy’s work is both nostalgic and dreamlike. As well as creating several zines and comics, Lizzy is probably best known for her children’s book, There’s a Tiger in the Garden.

Lizzy’s portfolio really demonstrates her scope as an artist: a scroll through her website and the viewer can easily see what this artist is capable of. From simple sketches on white backgrounds, to photographs of framed prints, there’s a lot of content for the viewer to enjoy. With so many styles and mediums on display, it would be easy for her site to become cluttered and difficult to digest, so it was a smart choice to go with the most minimalist of templates to counteract this.

alvaro tapia

Chilean Alvaro is an acclaimed illustrator, art director and film editor, whose signature style can be recognized by his combination of traditional techniques and contemporary digital image processing. His abstract portraits are incredibly distinctive and have won him admiration from the likes of Rolling Stone and The New Yorker. Alvaro’s early focuses were monsters from classic horror films, and he credits artist L.S. Lowry with inspiring him to inject more character into his subjects.

Alvaro’s portfolio is as bold as they come, with just one striking image on the homepage. His chosen background is black, adding drama to his already powerful visual, and the bright red menu options down the left-hand side bring structure to the site. Alvaro’s work really packs a punch, so it’s only right that his portfolio delivers the same feeling to its viewers.

mariana_rodrigues

Marked as one to watch for 2017, according to leading illustration agency Jelly London, Mariana is making waves with her clever way of deconstructing things. Often using nature as her inspiration, this illustrator has a brilliant knack for reimagining and reassembling scenes using delicate patterns combined with bold symmetry. Her distinctive style has proved successful in drawing in clients such as Vogue Japan and Country Living.

Mariana wisely chose a simple and stripped-back look for her portfolio, laying her work out in a classic grid on a white background. The detail in her work could easily become overpowered by a more hectic template, and it’s refreshing to see the work itself stand up and do the talking.

About the author

John Thatch

John Thatcher is a computer science educated artist. He uses technology to solve artist problems. His friends don't like it when he speaks of himself in the third person. But John does it anyway, because he's a rebel.

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