THIS YEAR I DID PORTFOLIO REVIEWS AT CTN
I'd like to shed some light on the experience.
I go tough on portfolios. I could care less if it's discouraging to tell you that your portfolio is never going to get you a job. In that moment, I'm actually the best friend you've got.
#1. Your instructors are discouraged from being overly harsh or completely honest and many art schools don't allow the instructors to fail the students that don't deserve to pass. This is because if your instructor failed all those that deserved it, at least half the class would be gone or more. That does not sit well with the school executives , who want to line their pockets with as much loan money as possible. Your instructor would in some way be reprimanded or let go. However, you should be seeking the toughest critique you can. This business is tough. If you want to survive (more less make it) you have to have thick skin.
#2. Everyone and their cousin wants to be a character designer. Be honest with yourself. There are only a handful of those jobs and an overflowing sea of peeps that want those jobs. The odds are against you, even if you are good.
#3. Everyone and their cousin, mom, in-laws and dog want to work for the big, feature film studios. Look at the little studios, I found them to be more fun, relaxed, and even offer better pay and benefits.
#4. Nobody wants a generalist anymore (yet they do once you're hired. Weird right?). Your portfolio should be focused on the one job you want - i.e. background design, children's book illustrator, layout, etc. which brings me to my next point
#5. If you don't want to work in mobile games, don't have a portfolio full of isometric mobile game art. 1 or two is ok if they are really cool designs. Same goes for anything. Do what you love and only show what you are proud of.
#6. That mediocre piece that you feel rounds out your portfolio really brings the whole thing down. Less is more, cut it out.
#7 Presentation is over-rated. Nobody cares if your portfolio is hardbound on premium glossy paper if you can't get your proportions right on your figure drawings.
#8 STOP COPYING YOUR FAVORITE ARTIST'S STYLE. Why do I have to say this? Study what they do, but keep your stuff original.
#9 Some of you need to get ready for a life of paying bloated student loans with a job that is not art related.
#10 Last but definitely not least. MASTER the fundamentals. Practice them every day, all day, forever. Do that, and maybe you have a chance. As the saying goes, luck favors the prepared.
I hope this helps some and discourages others. Happy THANKSGIVING!