Last year I went to the NESCBWI conference feeling quite content that I had at last created a portfolio that I felt good enough about to enter into the Portfolio Showcase. I placed it on the table and planned to relax and enjoy the rest of the conference. The next morning they announced the winners of the Showcase and I was gobsmacked to find that I had won! It’s still hard for me to believe. The affirmation that I received from that award and the warmth I felt from all the compliments from attendees changed my life. Feeling confident about my ability allowed me to make better work. I stopped questioning every mark I made and started feeling that that chances were pretty good that I’d draw something decent!
This year, I have lots of new work in my portfolio and I’m looking forward to showing it to the attendees and faculty. Once again, I am happy with what I’ve put together and look forward to getting feedback on how to make better and better work.
So, if you’re entering the showcase for the first time, my advice is to set your portfolio on the table, relax and enjoy all the fabulous work on display. You’ll be one of dozens of incredibly talented illustrators and we can all learn something from each and every portfolio. Enjoy yourself!