Let’s Create Together! The Secret to a Happy Portfolio
The following is a guest post by Ann De Pooter. Ann is one of our favorite clients, with a never ending enthusiasm, creativity, and talent. What’s her secret to a successful and inspiring portfolio? Let’s find out!
I’m soaked in luxury. I’ve been working in the graphic industry as an illustrator and graphic designer for almost twenty five years. I had the privilege to work with leading Belgian companies, and I saw a lot of fantastic graphic creations. I truly enjoy the power of creativity when thoughts are expressed by various means and shapes, other than words.
Five years ago I started my own company, Let’s Create Together!, driven by a simple motto: “Go for nothing less than smiley, happy people.” I wanted my work to give people positive emotions and that nice fuzzy feeling you get when you look at the clear Sunday morning sky. I often wondered what makes a good portfolio. I surfed the Internet for inspiration, and here’s what I learned. No magic formulas, just a few things to keep in mind.
Your creations are the mirror of your mind. BE HAPPY! Pump your positive vibes into your work and spread your happiness to the world.
I started collecting my favorite work to create my private wall of happiness. One day, I decided to open that gallery for everyone and launched my blog. Every two weeks I write something about myself and my work. It inspires me to proceed and keeps spreading the happy feelings.
Okay, I have one secret trick! When I feel stuck, I play Pharrell Williams’ song ‘Happy.’ It always works for me!
Open your eyes
Let the world enter your work by presenting original and humorous thoughts. I’m inspired by Paul Smith’s book, ‘You Can Find Inspiration in Everything*: *And if You Can’t, Look Again.’ Open your eyes! Enlarge your graphic playground, and look for new opportunities. Leave your comfort zone and explore. Go with the flow and catch that dream! Good ideas float in unexpected places and moments, just like dreams. Always keep a little piece of paper and a pencil to catch that dream!
My dream was a children’s book. Driven by this, I convinced an editor to dive into my magical, colorful world of speaking animals. He gave me the opportunity to make my dream come true. This is how I started building my portfolio: by presenting my dream.
© Ann De Pooter – Let’s create together!
This is my favorite illustration. I always wondered what animals would talk about. The idea for this illustration struck me during a conversation with my friend. He showed me his cat and told me her name was Chaussette because of her 4 white feet. Chaussette is French for “socks.” Le chat botté is French for Puss in Boots. You see the picture 🙂
Think outside the box
The edge of a blank paper becomes your starting point. Dive over the edge and FLY! After my book Mia the Cat was edited I spoiled myself with a 3-dimensional version of Mia the Cat. I contacted Little Sunny Studio, a company specialized in creating puppets from children’s drawings…It didn’t take long to bring Mia the Cat to life! She travelled the whole way from the US to my house in a little town in Belgium. She was delivered in a small cupboard box. This is where I got the idea to give Mia the chance to travel around the world in suitcases of my family and friends. Five years in, my book character still explores the world. I receive pictures and write her stories from all over the world, which I post on my blog. Meanwhile, my portfolio grows in a funny, extraordinary way!
Move your focus
Everyone knows the feeling: creating for several hours a day, eyes fixed continuously on the screen, glued to a chair. Go outside and move your focus by creating something else to reset yourself! I created a Blueberry field and started a small Blueberry company called Blueberry Me that brings me diversion and is healthy, too!
You can also go for long walks in a city, park, or wood. For example, a Paris-based Flemish musician and artist, Bent Van Looy, finds inspiration for his music during long walks in Paris. He likes to move and catch the energy of an awakening city to get into the right mood, eyes infinitely staring, looking for the right words for his songs.
I think showing your work-in-progress is a creative and dynamic version of a business card. Present your work in a new, original way, give practical advice, and add some call to action. Don’t forget about Follow Me + Contact buttons. Also, mention clients on your blog, show that you care, and be grateful. Make your customers feel as if they are walking the Red Carpet. Say thank you, because they allow you to do what you enjoy most: create.
Inspiration is a process of collecting visuals in your mind and converting them into something personal. I go for long walks in the woods and love working to jazz music. I am inspired by Helen Dardik’s blog Orange You Lucky! I also love Bored Panda and Patternbank’s blog. I adore the animals’ dialogue in Marc Boutavant’s book, “Around the world with Mouk.”
Learn and collaborate
The Internet is a 5 star all-you-can-eat restaurant called ‘Tutorial.’ I recently discovered Chris Spooner, the guy behind Blog.Spoongraphics. His design tips and inspiring illustrations are certainly on my menu.
Of course, it’s impossible to consume everything at once! Take your time, surround yourself with happy people, and collaborate with the best people in the field. That’s how I started my story, “Let’s create together!”
We hope you enjoyed the read! If you also have a design or development background and feel like sharing your story on our blog, please drop us a line at ads(at)psd2html.com.