Illustration Portfolio Critique

Art Prof Clara Lieu and Teaching Artist Alex Rowe critique an illustration portfolio by Julie Kitzes. They provide a detailed critique of the overall portfolio, followed by critiques for each individual artwork.

Prof Lieu and Alex highlight what aspects of the entire portfolio and artworks are working well, and recommend concrete strategies for how to make progress.

Featured Artist

Julie Kitzes

“I grew up in a remote wooded area of western Canada where I became accustomed to living in the wilderness and developed a deep respect for animals and the environment. I’ve loved drawing and creating since the time I could hold a pencil, and would often take inspiration from observing the natural world around me.

I originally set out to study veterinary medicine, but when a neurological condition left me too ill for the physical demands that entailed, I decided to pursue art seriously. After enduring six brain surgeries, I graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration in December of 2017.

I love to create work depicting animals, as well as anatomy and botanicals, and often work with individuals on pet portrait commissions.

My creative process always begins with idea generation and discovering a pleasing composition, but then often diverges depending on what medium I’m working in. I enjoy both traditional and digital media, but definitely have more experience working traditionally in watercolor, ink, and colored pencil.

My short term goal is to start getting more illustration work from publications and companies, with the long term goal of having steady enough work to support my family.

I worry that much of my work doesn’t look like the stuff I see getting published in books, magazines, or on products, and I wonder if there is a place for the art I’m currently producing or if I need to alter course to match the industry.

I also worry that I don’t have a consistent style or direction and that my work hops around too much to lend confidence to art directors who might consider hiring me. I’d love to know what areas I’m deficient in, and how I can improve my work to really grab the attention and confidence of potential clients.”

Julie Kitzes