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February 28, 2010

Inside Comics: Check Out MY Portfolio!

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Written by: jeffbalke
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One of the best things about the comic book business is that there is SO much talent in out there, it always brings new and upcoming artists and their work out into the open.  If you want people to see your work, you can post it to websites, blogs, and show your portfolio at comic book shows or signings.  But many people get discouraged when it comes to “critiques” of their work.  Critiques are different for everybody (it just depends on how personally you look into it).  You’ll show a lot of people your portfolio and most likely get a different critique every time. I know, because it still happens to me.

Wanting to get into the business, you have to get your name out there somehow.  Everyone has their own way of doing so. But the #1 way for the artists and editors (or whomever) to see your work is by showing your portfolio at shows/conventions.  At one show or convention, you can show your portfolio to about 50 people.  Thats great!  Thats what you want to do, “get yourself out there”!  But you’re not going to get all the “kudos” you want all the time.  Meaning you will have some hard critiques (very nit picky) about your work from different people.  And, you will also have some praise and “WOWs”!  Dont just focus on the WOWs (thats called getting a big head), you want to focus on the hard critiques too.  But don’t take it all to heart, it’s not personal.  Everyone in the business has gone through the hard critiques at sometime or another in their career (it comes with the territory).  You just learn from them, improve and keep showing your work to people (even the people who’ve critiqued your work already).

I’ve noticed a lot that when someone asks me to check out their portfolio, their guard goes up right away and is already telling me what they have to improve on and what they don’t like.  DONT DO THAT!!  Because then you’re giving the other person doubts about your work.  Just let the other person check out your work, look it over and give you some (what I call) helpful hints.  Dont give them a reason to not like your work.  But then at the same time, don’t talk yourself up like your the “POO”!

If you do get some “hard critiques”, again, don’t take them personally.  It’s their opinion.  What one person said about a panel or page or picture you created, another might say the exact opposite.  It’s all based on personal opinions and what that artist likes (sometimes).  I’ve shown my coloring work to a lot of different people over the years and have received both good and bad critiques…lol.  The bad ones, you just take note, work on it for the next time and keep pushing forward.  Don’t let one person discourage you from wanting to become an artist and DON’T let it eat away at you!  Keep plugging away!  And by all means, show your work to other people that same day you get the bad critique.  I know it’s hard, but trust me, later on down the road you’ll be thankful (in one way shape or form).

If you’re an artist, inker, colorist and so on, by all means show your work to anyone you can.  You will get both positive and negative feedback, but don’t let it get to you.  Especially if it’s negative.  Just take it as helpful hints, work on them and keep showing you work.

Stan Lee and me.

As I was told a long time ago by the BIG ONE in comics “Keep going true believer, it will happen!”

Jeff Balke



  1. billy

    Very insightful JB. Nice work!

    • Thanks Billy =)

  2. DecapitatedDan

    Oh man flashbacks to art school! NOOOOoooooooo…….

    I like it Jeff! I think you did a nice job of pointing out some good points of how it is just one opinion and the next can be totally different. Well unless you draw like me, then it’s just a “NO! Get out of here, we don’t want pics of dead naked women!”

    Awesome stuff man. Thanks for sharing the insights!

  3. Kristin

    Did you work on The Innocents, Jeff? You’re not listed in the book, so I was wondering if that was your work you posted up there.

    • No I didnt. That was just something I had some fun with. “Play Coloring” =)

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