Hello again, friends! This post is doubling as a presentation I'm giving at my alma mater university for the Animation and VFX students there. I was invited to give a talk on resumes, websites, and professional documents in general. I decided to make little graphics to put in my presentation. Some of the tips in this post are more specific to animation-based work, but I feel that a good portion of what I cover can be applied to other professional fields and presenting ones' self in a polished manner.
DISCLAIMER: The information in this post is a collection of advice I've gathered from industry professionals, workshops, and my own personal experience. Feel free to pick and choose what resonates with you and leave behind what doesn't!
For free website building, I would suggest Weebly over Wix for free websites. This blog is created on Weebly, along with my portfolio site and travel sites! Squarespace and wordpress are also common, but I have not tried them out myself.
Look at websites for professional artists you admire! See how they lay out their information and what info they include! (same goes for portfolios!)
Keep your ABOUT ME section professional! Look at example blurbs from other artists!
This statement is not original, unfortunately. BUT THAT DOES NOT INVALIDATE THE ORIGIN OF YOUR PASSION! Rather than talking about the earliest days of your interest, consider talking about how your interest in art became a professional endeavor. This will probably lead you to a more unique about me statement.
Consider having professional and private accounts! Especially if you want to work in children's entertainment, this might be a good idea for you. Use your professional social media accounts for posting artwork and connecting with other artists. Have your private accounts protected and use them...however you want! Beyond filtering out ranting/venting etc, having a professional account means you have a consistent stream of art-related content with no thematic breaks. Once again, this is up to your own personal discretion, and there are many different approaches to managing social media.
How you post can make a big difference in the growth of your following.
Experiment with when/how/what you post and find what works for you.
Here's some specific tips from a comics workshop I attended recently. In general:
Short and specific does the trick! JaneDoeArt / JaneDoe / JaneDoeDraws / JaneDoeAnimates -- something with your first/last name is a solid start for username ideas. If you already have an artist handle or moniker, use that! Consider adding art/draws/etc onto it to connect the account to the kind of content you post.
Identity & Profile Descriptions
Put some time and consideration into what username you choose. It's okay to not know what you want to do yet. It's okay to not have the perfect label for your profession! Many social media sites allow you to change your username.
I suggest gathering all of your information as a plain text document. Then, draw some thumbnails and play around with the space certain sections take up. If possible, try out photoshop for non-linear text arrangement and fine-tune your spacing. If you don't have access to photoshop, consider using text boxes in Google Docs rather than inline text. Also, don't be afraid to change parts of your resume structure based on where you're applying.
XP / Skills Bar Charts ...
Include an interest section at your own risk! The point of an interest section is to show your versatility or give a taste of your personality/hobbies. So, interests you include should be activities outside or adjacent to your art career. Be sure to be specific and concise!
The purpose of a portfolio is to demonstrate the work you have created that best showcases your skill towards a specific profession or ability. RARELY does one portfolio work for every purpose! Don't be afraid to make multiple versions tailored to what you're applying for.
A reel shows work that needs to be turned around (models) or viewed in motion (animation)
Here are some tips from my Pixar portfolio review:
My personal tip: Arrange your artwork from what greatest shows YOUR STRENGTH in your PORTFOLIO FOCUS to what best shows your VERSATILITY.
Interviews are a chance for you to showcase your interpersonal skills and preparedness for a potential job. They may be done in person, on the phone or over video chat.
Find ways to talk about studio properties in a passionate, but professional way!
Especially in entertainment, studios like to hear that you're a fan of their properties. For some studios, participation in their content (like games) is a huge bonus in their consideration. It's important to show enthusiasm for the job you're interviewing for and the content that job will interact with.
However, the pitfall in entertainment (especially children's entertainment) is speaking in a manner that is more fitting of a fan than a professional artist. My biggest recommendation for this situation is to think critically before an interview about why, as an artist, you connect with certain media. Being able to point out an aspect of production that makes you enjoy a certain show or game can be helpful to tie this down.
Regardless, try your best to read the room and the energy when you start an interview! Some interviews will feel very formal, and others less so. Being prepared with the kind of questions you may answer will help to adapt to either situation.
Business cards provide a quick format to exchange contact information at conventions, interviews, or chance meetings. When traveling and meeting people I usually end up giving out at least 1 business card to stay in touch with someone! It's worth it to have a couple tucked in your wallet.
Invoices & Pricing
When creating a pricing sheet, look at how much people are charging for that skill or experience level! Browse on twitter, tumblr and instagram in tags like #commissionsopen.
Regardless of whether or not you share your commission prices online, I'd suggest making your own personal guide for how you price your work, be it an hourly rate, rate per characters, color for illustration, etc. Use this guide as a reference to make sure you price yourself fairly.
For commissions, I have my own invoice form I fill out and send to clients. I also highly suggest Mishlist, which allows you to make several commission types for people to submit via the website. Money processing services like Paypal also have their own invoice-makers.
It is worth it to get used to documenting and keeping track of your freelance work early on!
This was a lot to cover! If you made it to the very end, congrats! I hope some of you reading this found this information useful, or at least interesting. As I said in my disclaimer at the beginning, there are many different ways of going about professional documents. To me, there is something very satisfying about making a cohesive set of work that showcases professional skills to the world. The art and animation communities are very unique, so if you have an insight you'd like to share with me, feel free to send me an email!
Greetings from the word of full-time drafting. I've been keeping my head down and focusing on writing recently. Today, slightly unplanned, I took some time to rummage around my Notion page for my chapter book and clean it up a bit. I reviewed my wiki for characters and places, edited some wording for mechanics and made a more overarching decision for one of the settings. For those of you who haven't seen the home page, it looks like this:
I'll give a few notes about some of the more general sections.
Writing a first draft has been much more about overarching plot changes than word choice, prose, and finicky details. I don't worry about overusing words or repeating dialogue tags. It's interesting to make changes to an overarching aspect of the world and then figure out how to weave in that change through various details and dialogues over multiple chapters. Did that make any sense?
Anyway, there's a peek into how I'm organizing my project and keeping track of a world's worth of info. Have a great week and keep an eye out for a new post this Saturday!
A popular explanation for the clutter of one's house is the owner's lack of organizational skills. "I'd keep it cleaner, but I'm just not organized." It is perfectly fine to not enjoy organizing. To those of you out there that could take or leave labels and categories, I have good news for you: You don't have to be organized to be clean. And unfortunately, the inverse is true as well: people who are organized don't necessarily keep clean houses. In fact, people who obsess about organizing (like me) often have a harder time with minimizing and staying clean!
Change your habits for accumulation.
Monthly photos on your phone.
Every month, I go through all of the photos on my phone and delete anything I don't want to save. Once I'm down to the bare minimum I need to upload, I log onto Google Photos (where my phone albums are backed up) and download them onto my archiving hard drive. I try to be good about doing this once a month so I keep storage open on my phone and review my photos often.
A quick easy disposal regimen for mail.
As far as mail goes, I have a "deal with it now" policy that I enforce if taking action will take less than 5 minutes. Mail that I need to deal with goes on my desk keyboard so I'm forced to interact with it. Junk mail goes right in recycling. This way, there's no mail buildup from day to day in our living room or kitchen. Avoiding "for now" piles is a great way for less organized people to get through tasks without needing to categorize.
If you finish a book and don't think you'll read it again, donate it to a used bookstore or give it to a friend who may like it. If you're anything less than 100% sure you won't read it again, I urge you to donate it. Worst case, if you are overcome with a burning urge to reread this book, you can buy it again or get it for cheaper on kindle. ( I DARE YOU MIKHAIL )
When everything has a comfy place, the sensation of clutter fades.
My favorite example for this is shoes! Shoes, when in excess and without the right "organization" to seperate them, can be a huge source of stress. They're an object in which the force of habit can be very strong, and so we hide away shoes we never wear but might need at some point, and at least if you're me, wear the same 3 pairs of shoes every day. If we feel motivated to bring more shoes in the open in order to encourage wearing them more, the result can be a cluttered space full of guilt fighting habit.
Shoes are a great item to narrow down to your absolute favorite pairs for each occaision. Push comes to shove, when that party comes around, I'm going to wear that one pair of heels that don't hurt like crazy. I'm going to wear my converse, sneakers, or docs to work. I keep all of our shoes under the bed just at the edge, so they're out of reach of being tripped on but are easy to grab. These days, I can reach under the bed at a certain location and know the pair I want will be there. The distress and guilt I felt about owning a giant shoe-bag full of shoes I never wore has faded away, and I feel a comforting sense of familiarity with the 6 or so pairs of shoes that are still in my life.
Organized clutter is still clutter.
Too many books that you organize by color, genre, and type, are still too many books. You can check out my tidy trilogy post for more info on this. In addition, less stuff means less of a need for labels, file systems, folders, and containers. If you decide to discard your collection of NatGeo mags, that means you don't have to figure out a place and a system for keeping them organized.
Open spaces are easier to clean.
A giant rack full of DVDs or books is a challenge to clean or dust, since you must take out all of the books, wipe them down, wipe their surface down, and put them all back.
In Fumio Sasaki's book Goodbye Things, he talked about minimalism making cleaning three times faster.
To clean a table with a bunch of knick knacks on it, you need to:
To clean a table that has nothing on it, you need to:
This principle can be applied in many different places in the house at varying degrees. When thinking about how you want to structure your space, you will always benefit from thinking of the upkeep it will require. And less stuff will always equal less upkeep.
There are overlaps between this post and an earlier post of mine, which covered the difference between Minimizing, Organizing, and Tidying. What spurred me to write this post was thinking about the tidy material I've seen that talks about organizing like an immovable pillar of the perfect lifestyle. I think that outlook is a bit unfair to people who may not be suited for organizing, but still want to live a tidier life. The prospect of reducing the need for organization is honestly a huge relief for myself, as I used organizing as a band-aid for excess for many years. Minimalism, in my mind, is the critical thinking key to creating a space for yourself that you enjoy.
I hope y'all find these thoughts helpful! Until next time!
Minimizing, Organizing, and Cleaning are my triforce of Tidying.
By identifying the uniqueness of each activity,
we can better understand how to strengthen our tidying skills.
The Importance of Distinction
What matters is not thinking you're doing one when you're doing the other.
Some actions can be both!
Both Organizing and Minimizing - Going through your closet and donating old stuff.
Both Minimizing and Cleaning - Taking out the trash.
Both Organizing and Cleaning - Drying off and putting the dishes away.
How I "Tidied" For Years with No Net Change
I tidied my own room as a hobby since childhood, but my criteria for minimizing was too weak and didn't have a goal beyond "remove junk." I organized the same amount of stuff without discarding much, and I bought enough to replenish the things I threw away.
Think about the AWESOME people that commit on no-waste living. They are breaking the cycle of throwing away as much as they consume. A minimal lifestyle is a similar idea.
Minimizing works best with:
The Minimalist Step
Similar to my Spring Cleaning post, imagine you're going to tackle a room or area.
Without some consideration for minimizing, you won't increase the simplicity of your space.
Without these minimizing steps there is no net change in the simplicity of your life.
Organizing is NOT Minimizing.
Throwing things in drawers is not tidying, and it's not cleaning either.
It's hiding the problem. Putting something back to its home base (or any random obscured space) is not reducing its presence in your life. For the things you're happy to own, this is less of a problem. For things that feel heavy in your life, it can be a huge issue.
Organized junk is still junk.
Going through your pens, throwing out 2 broken ones to feel good about yourself, but keeping 40 more pens than you need is not minimizing. One person's criteria of junk may be different from the other, but be careful not to assign worth to something just because it has labels, categories, or a "dedicated collection shelf."
Minimizing is Critical Thinking