Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Preparing for an Editor Review

Thanks to SEQA, portfolio reviews are slightly more accessiable to me than they may be to many aspiring comic artists. Editors are brought in from a variety of companies for Editor's Day in the spring, and students are coached on how to behave, dress, and prepare a portfolio. Students present their portfolios to companies that share an aesthetic, and are given useful criticism and advice on how to tweak their work to better fit the company. Editor's Day at SCAD rarely leads directly to a job, but it helps the students develope a relationship with editors that they may one day work with.

Last year, I met with editor's from First Second and Oni Press in group reviews. While I did not get any one on one time to present my work, I was able to learn a lot from the group review, taking notes on criticism that my groupmates recieved in addition to my own. I've made it a point since that review to work on improving areas where I am weak.

One of the reasons Sarah, Heidi, and myself were so excited about attending New York Comic Con is that there would be portfolio reviews. During our time there, we were able to participate in two types of reviews- an impromptu review with Top Shelf that came about because we asked/nagged them to look at our work, and a con scheduled review with Oni Press.

I'd brought along my working portfolio, which includes everything of any merit that I've worked on in the past year. It's fairly heavy, as it has inks, pencils, and thumbs, and it's a lot of pages to look at, with the newest stuff at the back. For our review with Top Shelf, we approached their vendor booth and simply asked if there was any way we could convince them to look at our work. Leigh, one of the younger editors, looked at mine, and though he seemed interested, he didn't get to the back of the portfolio (just way too many pages), so he didn't see my newest work. He encouraged us to send in samples for their webcomic program, and seemed interested in working with us in the future. When I returned from the con that evening, I removed everything that I wasn't fairly proud of and rearranged the order of the remaining pages so that the newest was first.

For the Oni Review, we showed up an hour early and dressed professionally. Our work was at 11x17 (so working size originals) in portfolios, and we were polite and eager. During my review, I took notes, and afterward, I thanked Jill for her time.

If you're going to have your work reviewed by an editor, you should keep the following in mind:

You are working on developing a professional relationship. You should be polite, grateful, and courteous, EVEN IF YOU DISAGREE WITH WHAT THEY TELL YOU. You should take notes, and thank them for their time afterwards. You should keep any disappointment or disagreement out of your voice and behavior. They are not there to argue with you.
You should dress professionally. If you are at a con, do not wear your cosplay to a portfolio review.
Your work should be neat and well presented, organized and easy to flip through. You should show your best work, and should try to keep it at a manageable size.
You should show up early, and shouldn't complain if they run out of time before seeing you. Sadly, this is how it goes. You wouldn't want everyone in line to be cheated just so every person gets seen, because that'd make the reviews worthless.
Don't go in complaining. Just as you've had a long day at the con, they have too.
Prepare in advance.