Having a solid portfolio that represents your work is essential for any artist. A portfolio is a selection of the best pieces of your work that showcase your versatility and skill.
A portfolio is usually handed to funding bodies, galleries, potential customers, clients and employers so that they can see exactly what it is you do.
In order to develop a good portfolio it is important to have your work published in, or displayed by, as many different platforms as possible. For instance, as well as maintaining your own blog and/or website you can also build your portfolio by submitting contributions to independent magazines (online and hard copy), student magazines and local newspapers. Established venues, markets and festivals are also great ways of showing or distributing work. Not only can they help you to gain a larger audience or customer base, they are excellent additions to include in your resume.
The format your portfolio takes will depend on what you do, whether it is writing, photography, film or painting. It is important to understand the variety of options and choose the one that best displays your work. Being creative with the format of your portfolio is another great way to stand out and make your work and style more recognisable.
Some of those options include (but are not limited to):
Show-reel: A collection of short film bytes of previous work.
Demo: A sound recording of tracks or other sound-based work.
Folio: A collection of artworks, photographs of artworks, pieces of writing, illustrations, graphic design etc. A folio can be a physical collection of work or a digital collection organised on a website, blog, or in a digital document.
When putting together your portfolio it is important to represent all facets of the work that you do in order to demonstrate your range, style, consistency and quality. If you have a website, then images of your work will act as an online portfolio that can be accessed by anyone, organising them well and ensuring that they are up to date, relevant and of high quality will give any visitors to your website the best demonstration of what your work is all about.
The contents of your portfolio will change depending on what you are using it for, but having a body of work from which to draw will enable you to customise your portfolio as needed.