My illustration work has disappointed me.
But! When I look and compare the work I was doing just a year ago, a lot has changed. I have gotten more accurate and I pay more attention to detail. I had thought, and this is a silly thought, that illustration was supposed to be "made up" or something that my mind has poured out on a surface without any reference. Well, it's not too surprising that I thought this. Going to college with many different artists, the fine artists and the illustrators were almost at war with each other in the ideas for what is a true art piece. As a fine artist and oil painter first, I thought that if I used reference the image would be too realistic and traditional to be an illustration.
Again, silly thought and perhaps thinking this way has made my art suffer. Any readers out there, if you have a stable idea of what art is rethink it! You might find a whole new reality.
To keep myself from spiraling down into a dark abyss of the stereotypical, almost archetypal, artist defeated depression, I started looking around for simple explanations for building a portfolio. I found this blog post helpfully breaking down what my portfolio needed to accomplish. I've read this one before however it's still helpful. Both of these illustrators seem to have their stuff together, and if there's any way of learning how to put a portfolio together and be professional, looking at successful illustrator portfolios is the best.
In the end, out of the 23 pieces on my website, and many others not on my website, these three are the only ones that are close to portfolio worthy. That's okay. If I can make three already then I can make three more.