Six Elements for Successful Portfolios by Tony Bancroft

The first step to landing the job of your dreams is to ensure that your portfolio is the best it can be. Tony Bancroft explains why the portfolio is so important and how to ensure yours stand out.

With over 30 years in the animation industry, Tony Bancroft has been creatively involved in almost every position making an animated film, video, commercial, or short film. He has worked at studios including Sony Pictures, where he was the Animation Supervisor on Stuart Little 2, and Disney Feature Animation, where he spent 12 years animating on such films as Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King and The Emperor’s New Groove. Also at Disney, Bancroft co-directed the animated feature Mulan.  

The Importance of a Good Art and Animation Portfolio

Getting your portfolio right is critical to landing the job at a big studio like Disney or Pixar.  In this video, Tony Bancroft describes what you need to do to ensure that you increase your chances of getting the job or into art school. 


Six Elements for Successful Art and Animation Portfolios

1 Always Put Your Best Foot Forward

Your artist portfolio should only contain your best artwork. This is your opportunity to display what you are truly capable of to whoever you decide to share it with. Use your newest material that is undeniably the most professional of your work. Display your work in a well organized order so that your best work is presented first. Sometimes the most crucial moment of someone reviewing your work is in the first thirty to ninety seconds.

2 Tailor Your Work To the Job You’re Apply To 

Display your portfolio in a way that you believe will showcase how your artwork aligns with what the company is searching for. You want to make it easy for employers to see how you would fit into the dynamic of their workspace. Show them that you know what it takes to be hired into that position, and that you have the capability to successfully fill the role. 

3 Let Your Artistic Voice Come Through

What is unique about you and your individual art or animation style? Take this opportunity to show that in your portfolio, so that you can tell an employer what sets you apart. By doing this you allow an employer to understand what you could bring to the table that others would not be able to. What is it that you like to draw? What techniques do you prefer? Don’t be afraid to take this opportunity to share your preferences; this will be what puts you “over the top”  and will more likely land you the job! 

4 Include the Basics

Include your resume so that employers can get a sense of your experience level, and where you have worked in the past. Using credits from movies or television shows can be particularly helpful when applying for certain jobs that are similar to work you have done in the past. However, beyond your resume be mindful to include the most essential basics which include your name, and contact information. Although this sounds redundant and straight forward overlooking this step will automatically put you at a large disadvantage and may even cost you the job. 

5 Stay Up to Date

As time changes, your work as an artist is constantly evolving; therefore you should cycle through new material so as to stay current.  Make sure you are displaying your best work. “Keep it fresh, keep it new, keep it all about you!” 

6 Get Your Portfolio Online

There is no longer any excuse not to have adapted to this new digital era. Therefore you must have work that is accessible on mobile platforms. Using a blog, website, or pdf of your own that displays a wide variety of your work is very important. Showing off your portfolio this way can garner more opportunities for you as an artist and allow even more people to learn about you and what makes your work so special. It also allows for sharing your work to be as easy as one click. By having an up to date website you can freely share the link with employers without needing to carry around a paper portfolio wherever you go!

Bonus Tip – Ask for Constructive Criticism

Ask people within the industry to review your portfolio and give you constructive criticism. Sometimes having a fresh set of eyes from someone who knows what a portfolio should look like can make a big difference! Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask.