CAT NIP: moving onto “WHAT”…..

Now that we’ve talked about WHY you might need and want a ‘portfolio,’ let’s examine WHAT a portfolio actually is! And begin to talk about WHAT goes into/onto it.  An online  website portfolio is an absolute MUST in today’s markets = showcase of your best marketable work.  Not a blog (though that’s good too) or Pinterest (also good) or a collection of artists grouped together (though that too is helpful) or your AGENT’S SITE (also MOST helpful.) You need a site of your own.  There are free ones and many that only cost $20 or so a month, and you can control what’s on them easily and directly. Talk to artist friends about their experiences with website companies. Buyers want to see that you are professional enough to know you must have a WEBSITE today….that’s linked to all the other places you might have work. Even your agent will want to link to your site so clients can get to know you and your work better. A note…. clean and simple and big enough to see easily.  Don’t make us work too hard!  Editors and ADs and Agents are often over worked with little time for the FUN job of looking at samples of talented artists! MAKE us want to turn the page!

A physical portfolio today is really only used for visits with clients when you travel to NYC for instance.  You’ll need one if you plan to showcase work at an SCBWI conference type event also.  In both cases a nice simple 11×14 leather or plastic carry ‘book’ is a lovely size…not too big to be annoying as you push ‘slush piles’ off some editors desk, or hog the entire display area at a show, but big enough to nicely show copies (only) of samples in an actual ‘picture book’ size.  You can also attach an actual dummy to this size easily for shows. (No oversized or boxed ‘student’ types.) For mailing or ‘drop offs,‘ (when you can’t get IN to see an editor or AD but they do take ‘books’ overnight)  an inexpensive 9×12 black plastic clear sheeted display book works very well. (lots in Office Depot and Staples etc)  They come in 6 or 12 pages….no bigger is needed to house the 10-15 GREAT sample copies you’ll put in them. Loss happens and you don’t want your expensive real-leather-with-logo imprint to be lost! Keep it simple and clean looking….no ‘boxed’ painted or with cute ‘hang offs’. That’s annoying and distracting!  You only have ONE CHANCE TO MAKE A FIRST IMPRESSION.  Make it be a professional, neat, business savvy impression. REMEMBER….the ART does the talking.  Not you so much; not clever ‘books’ or envelopes (tho’ fun for a thank you later!); not “more and bigger is better”!

Now you have your online and in-person portfolios…. WHAT do you put on/in them!?
This will take several CAT NIP sessions to chat about.  I want to start now by asking you to think about one of my favorite phrases:  PORTFOLIO PORTENT.  “pro-tent” = “something that foreshadows a coming event.”  Like a wordless picture book, your portfolios will talk to the buyers.  The sample pages foreshadow what they can expect from you should they hire you to illustrate a project.  THINK ABOUT THAT!

And it better be foreshadowing/saying the RIGHT things!  Think about that till the next ‘WHAT- b.’ part of our CAT NIP series!

(foreshadowing!= ‘content’ for your portfolio’s samples pages)

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CAT NIP…small teasers to motivate



‘I promised in my last post to write a series about portfolios and promoting your artwork. Last weekend’s SCBWI FL event prompted me to see the need for an informational update on these subjects, and I’ve decided to call the series CAT NIP - an appropriate way to use our agency logo brand! (Christina Ann Tugeau) These will be little ‘teasers’ to help motivate artists to rethink or reorganize themselves promotionally.  I hope to help you better understand the WHY, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN and HOW of it all.

Let’s start with the “WHY” of a portfolio.  I already mentioned last blog that today your WEBSITE is actually your best portfolio.  It’s hard to get ‘in’ to see buyers, but if you want to be hired …you have to be SEEN That is the “WHY”.  Buyers need you.  They constantly require new, unique art for their story manuscripts and educational programs. They are always looking for new visual styles and approaches.  Your samples presented on your website and in your physical portfolio needs to show them YOU…the professional, dependable, talented, unique, consistent YOU.

Another way of looking at this = your website, blog, mailers etc. are your resume if you are corporate…your audition if you are a musician, dancer or actor …your head shot if you are a model.  It’s ONLY PURPOSE is to show off your talent and style to potential buyers you hope will hire and pay you to do a job for them.

If you are not ready, or are not interested in being hired, you do not need a portfolio!   Again, it’s only purpose is to SHOW your work to buyers by letting the ART DO THE TALKING….. and to get you hired to do work you are paid for.  All else comes after an understanding of this simple fact.  Put your business hat on when you are choosing the images that will be seen as ‘you’. (more on that later)

Websites make it easier for buyers to find you. Understand that buying this sort of assignment art creates a dilemma for the buyers! They can not see the actual art before it is assigned to an artist…  It has not been created yet! That’s also what is so exciting and wonderful about this industry. It is a huge LEAP OF FAITH for them to hire you as their artist.  Your website portfolio must show them what they need to know…. that they can trust you to take a manuscript or specs and turn them into just what they are needing. (their job depends on it too!) So your portfolio must give them this confidence to hire YOU (and not another artist) for their needs.  This is the ‘WHY’….and leads us into the ‘WHAT’.  Tune in for more CAT NIP soon!  (and spread the word…the WHY of my doing this series is to help artists…get the word out, please!)

Chris Tugeau 3 (3)portfolio reviews during the Bonita Springs Artist Afternoon Feb. 21 2015 with SCBWI members from FL and Chris Tugeau, rep and owner CATugeau Agency LLC

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PORTFOLIO POW! in Bonita Springs FL

Sat Feb 21 in Bonita Springs FL…public library with some of Florida’s SCBWI artistic talent to talk about portfolios…the ins and outs (literally) and what ‘portfolio’ means today, and a group review of every one’s work!  That’s me, Chris, in the middle with denim shirt (has cool artistic back panel!) and my brave and fun group of 14. (blue, white and gray seem to have been the ‘colors of the day’….been chilly even in southern FL this past couple weeks!)  Thanks Linda Shute (far right) for getting this all together!  I plan to write an article for this blog…or a series of them perhaps… about what I said there and always say, and what others say too about this all important part of presentation.  Main Point…. GET A WEBSITE!  this IS your portfolio today to be honest!  You can’t get hired if they can not FIND and SEE your work!  So tune in for more info on the “what, where, why and how. “ Coming soon……..

FL portfolio day 15

port day Bonita

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and an unusual other!

couldn’t resist adding this image from Melissa Iwai to our ‘lovin’ ‘ send out earlier.  RED PANDAS?  not your everyday hug!   ;)

panda red cop2 (3).jpgIWAI

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Lovin’ for all year long….

valentines 15

Please click on images to see bigger or go to site and see MORE!  HUGS!

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FREE Artist Event Op in FL

I’m happily presenting a fun portfolio centered artists’ FREE event for SCBWI members Feb 21 about 1 PM for a couple of hours at the Bonita Springs Florida Public library (north Naples).  If you are interested see below and contact Linda Shute at to register.  I will also be giving individual, but to group, portfolio ‘look see reviews’…kind but helpful!  Do join us if you are in southern FL… love to see you there!!!

OH and the agency IS looking for new special talent!  :)

SAVE THE DATE! Feb. 21st, 1pm till 3 pm. Bonita Springs Public Library (north Naples)

PERFECTING PORTFOLIOS AND PROMOTION — General and individual insider information from a long time rep, Chris Tugeau of the CATUGEAU AGENCY

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A NEW BEGINNING…using the old

Don’t you just love this time of year for new beginnings and promises?  Though it’s after the 15th so you might already be disappointed in the promises you haven’t kept. But each day is a new beginning…that builds and grows on the foundation of the old.

Recently I was catching up on some older PW’s I’d missed (promise to self) and keep seeing week after week, how the Children’s Publishing books are always on the plus side…they are basically carrying the publishing biz!  All year! Adult readership and buying is down across the board, but children’s and YA sales are up and up consistently!  So we don’t want to ‘start all over’ with this trend do we?  This is great and should inspire you all to add to the gains.

I also came upon a quote I’ve been wanting to share with artists and writers everywhere who might not have seen it….but do know of it’s truth.  It was from an indie book seller actually (sorry,  no name), about the book business generally. “It may not be a good living, but it’s a good life.”  So so true.  At the beginning of the new year we might want to reexamine why we are all in this business.  People who are artists of any sort know the difficulties and most often low financial rewards of their chosen fields, but they also know they want this ‘good life’.  The chance to add beauty and wisdom to the world in whatever their method and style.  It’s giving ‘back’ and ‘forward.’  It’s expressing the inner ‘you’ who won’t be silent.  There are so many ways to make a living.  Not so many to living a truly ‘good life.’  I’ve felt blessed to be an artist, and for 24 years a rep, and to pass this love and opportunity on to my son Jeremy, my daughter-in-law Nicole, and now my partner/ daughter Christy.  We’ll be sticking with the old and moving into the future together.

I wanted to also welcome our NEWIST artist to the agency… Holly Hatam from Canada!  We’re thrilled to include her in our group/family and giving us all a boost to the future! I’ll close with a wintery image from Holly…. onward into 2015!


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