Before I get started, I just wanna say good for you for already thinking about and prepping for CTNX! The sooner you can get that ball rolling, the better, and it’s such a wonderful expo.
The answer is kind of more complex than one might think.
The first thing you’ll want to do is ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you interested in vis dev for animation, video games, or live action? These are stylistically quite different even though they can pull ideas from each other. It’s important that you can see these differences and gear your portfolio toward the look of the one that interests you, because it will be the look of the field you’re trying to get into.
- Once you have that figured out, what do you want to do in vis dev? Do you want to design characters? Environments? Props and vehicles? Color? There are definitely jacks of all trades in the industry, but typically when you present a portfolio, you’re showing what kind of artist you’d be for that company, what you could do for them, what your goal is. When you have a little bit of everything scattered everywhere, the person looking at it probably won’t know what they’d hire you for. You want to make it as clear to them as possible why they’d want you as an employee and what you’d bring to the table.
- What company do you wanna work for? These questions help you specify your focus. Different companies, even within the overall field of something like animation, have different looks to their studios. Pixar doesn’t look like Sony, etc. For you personally, it’s good to know what style you’re interested in so you can aim for a company you like, but for your portfolio, it’s good to know the differences so you can gear the portfolio TO the studio. People typically have different portfolios to show different places, unless your portfolio has a sort of general mass appeal about it.
As for some organization for your portfolio: ONLY put in your best work. I think sometimes people try to shove in everything they’ve done that shows different sides of them - but only show the BEST. Organize it so that your front-most pieces are your strongest AND the ones that most clearly show what job you’re after. For example, having life drawings in the front doesn’t give people a clear idea. And putting a bunch of characters in the front if you’re most interested in environments is confusing. The majority of what you show should be the stuff related to what you want to do. You can always devote a small section in the back to great pieces that show a different side of you.
Hope some of this helps and let me know if you have other questions! :D