At the D&AD education day last Wednesday, they held a 'Portfolio Surgery' where we could take our portfolios to be looked at by various industry professionals from different design agencies.
We were all allocated a 20 min visit with a professional, and my visit was with Manchester based design agency Dorothy (there was some confusion over whether this was the name of the person or the company, but I can confirm the chap I spoke to was not a Dorothy). He was in fact James Quail, and was really nice to speak to.
As we went through my portfolio I told him a bit about each piece of work, and he was very positive about it. As we came to the last piece he said he was actually disappointed that it was the end as he would have like to have seen more, which was really nice, but probably also means that I could do with maybe a few more pieces in there, as I've only got about 8 in at the moment. Hopefully I'll be able to create a couple more decent bits of work to put in there.
He liked the variation of different ways I'd applied work, i.e. books covers, editorial, posters, etc. It seems people like to see a bit of diversity so that they can see how your work could work in various settings, and again he commented on how its good to see things in context, so either in print, or dropped into some sort of layout in your portfolio. I'd definitely recommend that to everyone.
Overall he seemed really positive about the work and thought it was a strong portfolio. I asked him about the different ways that they find illustrators at Dorothy, and he mentioned looking at different blogs (I know I follow a few that show great work) and I talked to him about how submitting work to blogs can be a great way to get exposure.
He also said that having a web presence for your work is a must. So making a site is definitely important, and places like Cargo are popular for that, or even a portfolio site like Behance or even Flickr is better than nothing.
So, it was a good portfolio visit, but I think a few more pieces of work would improve my folio a bit, and I also need to think of better questions to ask next time! I go completely blank!