Portfolio Website Thoughts

Here is a new little set of eyeballs that I illustrated with vectors in Illustrator CS4 for a client project. They will be shown at a much smaller size on a mobile device so further detail wasn’t needed. I was pleased with the tools available for illustrating things in CS4 as opposed to earlier versions which have always confounded me. New tools like the blob brush, eraser and knife make drawing in Illustrator as easy as drawing in Flash always has been.

I still haven’t grabbed the time to finish this version of McD Workshop the website because of client work, but all along I have been refining the plan for the final version. The refined plan will largely reshape this partially done website once more, simplifying and making information more direct and accessible.

Part of the power of the WordPress platform on which this site is built is the ability to categorize everything and present it dynamically as the user selects it. Designing my business website with this power initially makes me want to keep categorizing and sub-dividing my portfolio of work into ever more specific groups, just because I can. But too many sections of work can become overkill, especially since so much of my work consists of larger projects that overlap into many categories of visual art. So I am going through the normal, protracted process of over designing the information that I want to present, and then finally pulling back and simplifying again.

Designing the information in a portfolio website also requires a lot of reflection on the subject material. Many illustrators and artists have a simpler task of showing just paintings, photos or illustrations. Portfolios like this really shine in simple, direct websites. My portfolio of work has more in common with many design firm’s portfolios in that it contains different commercial art disciplines that tend to be presented differently such as book design, animation or packaging, and larger project based jobs as opposed to single image based jobs. The best solution does seem to be presenting work as projects, and letting the different types of work intermingle. Visitors to the website are astute enough to focus on the kind of work that they are interested in, and may then stumble on other work as well that could instigate a commission of their own project.

I have built so many versions of my own portfolio website that I’ve lost count and I have built many for other artists as well. As an in-house goal for McD Workshop I plan to be developing an artist’s portfolio theme that can be customized and redeployed over and over again as different artist’s websites in the future, probably based on this site’s architecture once it is complete.

As for recent McD Workshop news: Since the last update there has been the publication of GO FOR THE GOLD! 3 for Meathaus and a new meathaus.com web design, the design and animation production on funny little cartoon animated bits for an upcoming episode of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, animation production on a “story time” segment for another episode of Yo Gabba Gabba, and the design and animation on an upcoming iPhone game app.

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