Art Biz: Mini Portfolio Book

Like most illustrators, I keep a flat file. Not even a fancy, lovely flat file though, but a plastic storage box that fits under the bed. I've no room in my studio for a fancy, lovely flat file, but the storage box under the bed works just fine at the moment.

Whenever I finished a project, I gather all of my sketches, notes, reference materials, and printouts of the final illustrations, clip them all together and store them in said storage box that lives under the bed. I like to drag it all out from time to time and have a good ramble through all those pages of art.

That doesn't happen as often as it should. I find myself forgetting about work that I've done and sometimes I find that I stray from a good path I was on, style wise. Or stick on a not so good path when I should move on.

To combat my seemingly endless forgetfulness, I've started keeping a mini portfolio book of sorts. Just for me, for quick reference of the work I've been doing.

For my mini portfolio book, I use a small 6 x 8 photo album, with ring binders so I can add and remove page protectors as needed. At the end of each month, I make a quick list of everything I've worked on during the month, then I print out small versions of each illustration, ranging in size from 2 x 2 inches to 6 x 8 inches.

After cutting those down, I just slip them into their page protectors and add them to the album. My plan is to have a new album for each year.


For me, this is more convenient that dragging out my flat file, because I can keep this mini portfolio book right on my desk, for quick reference. I can grab it if I'm feeling uninspired, or if I want to take a quick look at how I drew a certain thing for a certain project. I can use a quick flip through to gauge recurring patterns in my work, good and bad. Am I being lazy at something that I could easily improve on? Am I doing a pretty kickass job at illustrating animals? And it's a good way to get excited about old work, and maybe remember a subject matter or format that I'd like to explore more deeply.

What's your favorite way to keep track of your artwork or other creative projects?