Graduate advice: AOI's Fig Taylor on great portfolios

The annual student degree shows are almost upon us and while it's a time of celebration, with a nod to the future and potential success, it's also a time to take stock. Education offers the raw tools and foundation to build a career but the real learning starts when you leave college.

Creating a portfolio of work traditionally or online is your calling card: “This is what I do and this is what I can do for you.” It should be an ever evolving collection that reflects not only your creative development and your current skillsets but also the needs and interests of your potential clients.

You can refine and adapt a traditional portfolio for each and every client visit, remove, add and edit as you go. Often it can be down to what you leave out as much as what you put in. Fig Taylor, originally trained as a graphic designer, has been resident portfolio consultant for the Association of Illustrators (AOI) since 1986. Prior to this, and for much of that time, she has worked as an illustrators' agent.

In addition to her work for the AOI, Fig operates a private consultancy for non-AOI member artists and lectures extensively on professional practice for illustrators on BA and HND illustration courses throughout the UK.

Fig is the author of a forthcoming Laurence King book, 'How to Create a Portfolio'. We caught up with her to discover how best to win clients with a carefully considered portfolio.

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