Showcase your expertise with a standout portfolio
Are you an aspiring artist or game designer looking to curate a standout portfolio that captures attention and showcases your expertise? The art of presenting your work isn’t just about displaying images, it’s about narrating your creative journey, demonstrating your skills, and resonating with your desired audience.
In this Tactile Tips Series, we delve into the key elements that elevate your portfolio, whether you’re an experienced professional or just getting started. From refining your art portfolio to unveiling the complexities of game design presentations, we’ve gathered insights and tips from our industry experts to help you craft a portfolio that helps you land the job you want.
Art Portfolio Tips
Quality over Quantity
Instead of flooding your portfolio with a lot of pieces that don’t really show your current skill level, focus on centering only the works that exemplify your expertise. While it can be useful to see your progression over time, some of your assets might no longer represent your current level. And as much as the person reviewing the portfolio should look past that, it could show some past weaknesses that you don’t have anymore, but once you see it you can’t unsee it.
Organize & Navigate
Consider categorizing your work based on styles, themes, or mediums. Use clear titles and sections for easy browsing. An example could be dividing your portfolio into sections like “Character Animation,” “Environment Art,” and “Storyboarding” to assist viewers in finding what interests them quickly.
When presenting a project, explain not only what it is but also your specific contributions. For instance, if you worked on a scene consisting of environmental and character art and animation, make sure to name your and each team member’s individual contributions.
Treat your portfolio as a living document. Add new projects and skills as you develop them. If you recently mastered a new technique or software, integrate it into your portfolio to reflect your current abilities.
It’s all about storytelling and composing a coherent scene. If applicable, place your character in a scene that makes sense dramaturgically. For instance, when you illustrate a messy, chaotic character, their representation should be coherent with their surroundings. If they drive a car, the car should look dirty and messy too, or if they’re chilling in their home, it shouldn’t look too clean and tidy.
Consider adding a personal statement or a brief narrative explaining your artistic journey. For example, describe how your love for mythology influences your character designs or how traveling inspires your environmental art.
Game Design Tips
Prioritize Released Games (if you can)
Feature your top 3-5 fully released titles prominently. For example, if you’ve worked on mobile games, highlight the ones that garnered significant downloads or received positive reviews. It also can’t hurt to add some information on the games’ tech stack and your individual contributions.
Context, Context, Context
Demonstrate your understanding of game design history and trends. For instance, you implemented a unique mechanic inspired by classic games but reimagined it in a modern context. Make sure to explain how you merged nostalgia with innovation to create a fresh gaming experience. And don’t forget to add information such as feature goals, challenges, mechanics, test iterations, feedback, results and your lessons learned.
Offer in-depth insights into your game design process. If you created a game mechanic that significantly impacted player engagement, walk through its evolution—from initial concept to playtesting iterations. Highlight how player feedback influenced your design decisions.
Metrics and Analytics
Share specific metrics to validate your contributions. If your game experienced a high retention rate or received industry recognition, quantify and detail these achievements. For instance, provide retention percentages or awards received for game design excellence.
Make it easy for viewers to access and play your showcased games. Include direct links to playable demos, app store pages, or web versions. Ensure these links are easy to find on your portfolio.
Tips for Juniors
Don’t hold back on exhibiting your personal projects to show your diverse interests and ambition to create. For instance, if you’re exploring various animation styles, feature short animation clips demonstrating your experimentation with different techniques. For seasoned professionals, it’s interesting to see juniors dabbing in different areas/types of animation because it gives an insight to their curiosity and eagerness to learn.
Don’t hesitate to show sketches in your portfolio. They offer a glimpse into your creative process and can often communicate your unique and exciting ideas. For example, we once spoke to an artist who showed a lot of polished, final assets but we were lacking an illustration of their creativity, so we asked them to show some sketches that were exciting and fun to look at because they showed raw creativity and playfulness.
Display your versatility by experimenting with various types of animation or design. If you’re a junior game designer, showcase projects where you explore different genres or gameplay mechanics.