After a year of trying out some of the online portfolio sites that promise more visibility and clients, I have seen how much of a hit or miss they can be. As an illustrator, there are a number of options with listings online, in annuals, and also the traditional route of snail mail. The one thing in common though is to find a solution that works the best and on the best budget.
Now most of the online sites that offer portfolios or directory listings have a small fee for the most basic of information like website info, some images and the contact info, but you can quickly make that number skyrocket to close to a thousand or more for the advanced placement at the top of the listing and a limitless amount of images. Where do you draw the line though? Is it always best to pay to be at the top? or should you come back to your sense of marketing ability and pay for a medium sized portfolio and market the crap out of it to your possible clients. With that, I decided to try and start at the lower end of things and see where it was to go. For the best responses, I have found that being apart of an arts organization or group like the Childrens Book Illustrators Guild (CBIG),d Elk River Arts Alliance, and Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators can really generate alot of traffic to your site and the fees are only the annual dues for each with can range from as little as $20 to $60 a year. If you are looking for strictly an online portfolio presence, places like Children's Illustrators, Minnesota Creative and the TheISpot can be a place to pay a nominal fee and have a fairly decent amount of traffic for your illustration portfolio. So with all the different options out there for getting your work in the hands of potential clients, I would recommend doing your homework, finding out what kind of budget you have for advertising as a whole, and try a new approach to the traditional snail mail. It is amazing what you can do when you combine the two!