A portfolio is crucial for artists. It's also one of the hardest things to put together. How do you represent everything you've done in a handful of pages? What defines your art and how do you show that to someone? To me, making a portfolio is less about gathering bits of who you are and more about getting rid of everything you're not. The process of cutting work that doesn't fit add to your vision is a process of getting to the core of your artistry. When I was approached by Blurb to build a mini portfolio of my work, I was both excited and nervous to go through this process of getting to my core. You constantly have to ask yourself: what's my perspective?
The first part of the process in building the book was deciding what type of portfolio I wanted to create. I ultimately went with a "mini portfolio" to show a select collection of my work rather than the entire range of my art. Through editing some unpublished pictures of my travels and creating some new studio work, I built a small photo book that gives a reader a quick glimpse into what the world looks like in my head. It's meant to be a conversation starter, rather than the whole conversation.
The second part of the process was actually building the physical book itself. To my surprise, Blurb made this surprisingly easy since each step followed seamlessly into the next. I first received a sample packet in the mail with all of Blurb's paper and binding options, something I'd highly recommend you review before making your final material decisions! There is quite a range in paper choices — from thickness to physical texture to image lustre — and, most importantly for my colorful imagery, detailed descriptions and examples of how colors will be affected on each paper type.
No matter what type of work you're showcasing, every detail of the book adds to the viewing experience; someone will see, touch, and hear your images flip across the pages. It builds an entire set of feelings around your work and what I love is how Blurb lets you customize that experience entirely.
Since my work is generally low in contrast with soft colors, I ultimately went with matte printing on premium paper to match the flatness in my images and to ensure the colors held true to their vibrancy on thicker paper. Next, I created the design of the book, including the cover and title pages inside, using Blurb's Adobe InDesign plug-in (which is a godsend since I can design right within InDesign!). As a hyper-perfectionist, I absolutely need to have complete control over how everything will turn out in my work...shouldn't I have the same with how I present that work? That's what you'll get through this plug-in. If you're a beginner in the design realm or have no idea what InDesign even means, there's no need to fear. You can opt to build the book right on Blurb's site or use one of their user-friendly options with built-in templates so all you have to do is drag and drop. Again, there's so much flexibility here and having that freedom to choose is really valuable.
Have you built a portfolio yet or struggling to? Let me know your thoughts below!