Welcome to Dear Art Director’s Online Portfolio Review platform. Portfolio Reviews are one of the most powerful tools artists have to get honest feedback on their work, and to ask questions about their industry from people hiring artists and pros who are at the top of their field. Traditionally Portfolio Reviews have mostly happened in person: in Art Director’s offices, at Conventions, and at Industry Events. However, not everyone has access to in-person events – and this year, due to the pandemic, most in-person events have been cancelled. The team of Dear Art Director Secret Agents, and the founders of Drawn + Drafted couldn’t let an entire year go by with no artists being able to access this valuable guidance. We have built this platform to simulate that in-person experience. We are adding reviewers all the time—both Art Directors and Pro Artists who are known for their dedication to education and teaching artists. Join the Newsletter to be notified when new reviewers are added to the site.
What to Expect
Below you will pick the type of review you want. Then you will be taken to a page where you can see all the Art Directors and Pros offering that style of review. Each Reviewer is in control of the open time on their schedule and how much they charge for their time. Make sure to read the notes with each Reviewer. They each have different industry experience and styles of reviews. Remember that you are picking Reviewers for their experience, you are not signing up for a review with any companies that Reviewer may be currently working for. There is no guarantee of work or continuing affiliation from a review.
You can see the Reviewer’s open slots on the calendar a month in advance. Once you pick the time slot and check out you will receive an auto-generated calendar appointment for a Google Meet. You will accept and add it to your calendar. On the day and time of your session you should log into the Google Meet “room” a minute or two before your appointment. Once the Reviewer starts the review you will be let into the room and the Review begins. It is a video call in which you can share screens, and add text and links into the meeting chat. We recommend doing the review on a computer or iPad but under duress a phone will work, it’ll just be a bit hard to see everything. At the end of the review a Reviewer may give you their contact information for follow-ups at their discretion.
The Different Kinds of Reviews
Below you’ll pick either a 30min Traditional Portfolio Review or a longer 60min Career Counseling Session.
A Portfolio Review simulates the experience of meeting with a Reviewer at a convention. You will say a little bit about who you are and what you hope to gain out of the review, and then the Reviewer will look at your website portfolio or a PDF. You will be able to share screens so that you can simultaneously see the work. The Reviewer will give you their opinion of the portfolio and feedback about where you are in relation to the goals you stated. Some concrete next steps and things to work on will be given. Advice might be given on career path, what companies to apply to, etc. but it will be brief. This session is mostly about your work, the website containing it, and how your work is aligning to your goals.
A Career Counseling session is a more holistic view of your work, your social media presence, the path you are on, and how to align where your work is now with your career goals. If you have questions about where your work fits, what industry you should be working in, how you can find work in that field, and what steps you need to take to get there. This conversation is what you want to make of it. You can make it as formal or as casual as you want. You can ask as many questions as you want. If you are lost about where you’re at and where you should be headed, this is the review format for you.
What to Prepare
Make sure your work is in a format that is easy to view: uploaded to a website ideally, but at least on a social media platform. Think about what you want out of the review in advance. Have a few questions written down to refer back to, and make sure you are ready to take notes – Reviewers will probably recommend companies to research, other artists to look at, and resources to look up later.
Even with the friendliest of Reviewers, it’s easy to get a little nervous. Don’t worry, no one is here to discourage you. We only accept Reviewers on this site who are known for giving Constructive Critiques. The Reviewers will be honest with you about what they think, but they will not be mean to you. This is about helping artists move forward in their career. We are all here to help you get where you want to go.
A Note on Money
Depending on the industry, some portfolio reviews are paid, and some are unpaid. At Dear Art Director and Drawn + Drafted we teach that artists should be paid for their time and we feel the same way about the Art Directors and Pro Artists offering their time. Giving a good constructive review is hard work. Some Reviewers may choose to donate their fees to charity and the details will be in their individual descriptions. In those descriptions they may also offer discounts to certain groups of artists they choose to call out for support or discounted rates. If you see this denoted in their description, email your message to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will pass it along to the Reviewer and they will contact you.
We feel confident you are getting your money’s worth. If you have a review and you feel otherwise, please email us at email@example.com. If the wifi gods are not in your favor and there are technical difficulties disrupting the review beyond salvaging then the Reviewer will contact you for rescheduling.