How To Get A Portfolio Critique From An Entertainment Industry Professional

I choose to be really accessible for a lot of reasons. One result of that accessibility is the inundation of critique requests.

Unfortunately, there’s just no way I can critique the portfolios or websites of everyone who asks.

The best advice I can give for getting professional and/ or experienced eyes on your work is to build relationship and add value.

Join Twitter, the blogs and the other communities where these professionals hover. Respond and comment. Be helpful and answer questions, provide recommendations, encouragement and never pester them. That’s how you get on the radar.

After you are really on their radar, you can build a real relationship with more of the same and eventually ask for a friendly favor – a critique.

It takes time but so does becoming a good artist.

Also – look for the artists who are good but less-well known or who have less people asking them for critiques. Any artist that is better or more experienced than you will be helpful in your creative journey.

…and it never hurts to just send a brief, personal, polite, well-written email with a link to your site… …maybe you’ll get lucky with perfect timing!

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Scott Wiser

Great bit of advice…I’ll be putting it to action soon! I’ve also been looking at the Paper Wings program you have going on…I think Dave Wilson was doing that with you and I may be interested in the near future.

Keep up your inspiring momentum!



Thank you, Scott. Hoping to increase the momentum, actually.



This is what I’ve been telling all my other artists friends for awhile too. It’s good advice.

…anyway, with that said, hi so hows it going? :)



GOOD! Thanks, Chris.

It’s going GREAT.

I’m not sure if you’ve subscribed to my newsletter but I’ve been sharing about it there…


Malgorzata Arska

dammit, I was just about to ask for critique :)



That’s hilarious.

In all seriousness, though, a LOT of folks ask me to give them feedback on their portfolios so I’m working on a way to meet that need.

I have a few other higher-priority things in the queue right now but I’m hoping to implement something real by the end of the year.

Stay tuned!


Chris Birnbaum

That’s good advice. It makes a lot of sense. Thanks for the reminder. Sometimes it gets discouraging when you feel like a little blip on the map full of pinball machine lights and spinning gears.

Will be implementing that idea from now on. :)


Chris Oatley

Yeah, this is why you give and give and help and help. When you’re just out there helping people, these things happen organically.


Ana Karenina

Hi Chris! I was just wondering about this, thanks a lot!
I’m actually kind of lost, but thanks to your articles I’m getting a better idea of how does the art industry works, being a latinoamerican it’s hard to know about this things, so I hope someday I can help people as me that are interested in this area; that’s why I joined the Magic Box… well, just wanted to say hi! : )

Ana Karenina GarcĂ­a


Lisa laubach

I am aspiring to become a children’s book illustration career going, and I am wondering:
A. how do I get my portfolio work professionally critiqued?
B. how do I go about gaining clientele?



Hehee. It’s fun reading this as I’m actually doing it on my own. But to be honest, the first few episodes of the ArtCast inspired me of how to do it. As soon as you find out what you have to offer to be fun to work with, it’s surprisingly easy to stay in contact with pros once you got their attention.
I think it’s also important to have open eyes for a pro,in terms of who is a pro you maybe didn’t think of. That was the case with several of my friends on dA, and of course those guys are an easier starting point than,let’s say, Alan Howe (one of the concept artists for The Lord of the Rings trilogy).

Translated to



Translated to movies,I wanted to add, it owuld be like trying to get critique as an aspiring moviemaker- and begin with asking J.J.Abrams or Steven Spielberg.


Devious Squrl

I actually do this a lot. I follow individuals artwork that are doing concept art for a living. Usually on portfolio sites. And I email them for advice and my situation, and I have gotten a few good replies. Some even follow me back. I think it’s important to see how their journey has taken them to end up where they are now and for inspiration, and to also create a plan for myself. Though it seems my plan, it hasn’t worked out for me much in getting work lol.


Merry D

Chris, I’ve been listening to your podcasts for the past couple of weeks, and I just gotta say, I leave work (because that’s where I listen to them) feeling so incredibly inspired to get home and start drawing my heart out. Thank you so much for not only the inspiration, but all of the Amazing advice on literally All the things! I just can’t thank you or praise you enough. I’m finally following my dreams, and you have played a large part of it.


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