Search
  • rkhbartstudio

The Evolution of A Portfolio

Updated: May 20, 2021

In the late 1990's I began my second career as a children's book illustrator. Or at least I tried to.

I was a full time primary teacher and I loved it. But I also wanted to draw images that were more than sketches in a book. I wanted to create images with a purpose and a use. I wanted a career in art. I wanted to be a children's book illustrator.

In those days there wasn't the paperwork demanded by principal, school board, and government like there is today. So after I had prepped for the day and marked all the students' work I had time to draw. I began to create samples of work to put into my portfolio to present to publishers.

I discovered a book that listed publishers who would accept unsolicited art portfolios. These portfolios consisted of colour photocopies, a cover letter, and a stamped self-addressed envelope for the return of my art and any correspondence. I was on my way.

Colour photocopies were expensive in those days and could only be run off at box stores that had colour copiers. But I created a stack of art to send. I had my own black ink printer so the cover letters were easy to produce. I bought a box of brown envelopes to post my images in.

And then I hit a snag. The majority of publishers were in the United States. Where was I going to get American stamps to put on my self-addressed envelopes? There wasn't the online options of today. The only place to get the stamps was in an American post office and I was in Canada.

I ended up buying American money at the bank and hunting down anyone I knew who was going to the States. "Please could you buy me $20.00 worth of US stamps", became my plea whenever I heard of someone heading to the USA. Gradually I accumulated a stack of stamps and I began to mail my portfolios.

I only was able to try to get my illustrator career going for a few years. Teaching demands on my after school time began to grow and my father passed away leaving my mother in my care. Any time I had for art dwindled away to nothing.

I can say though that two publishers did keep my portfolio and the rejection letters were kind.

Here I am now in 2021 and my portfolio is this website. I must say this is easier than the mailed version. But I do miss the thrill of the hunt to secure US stamps.


5 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

I love going to school. K to 12 was great, university was super, and art classes are awesome. And then along came Covid and going to class become impossible for me. However, new opportunities arose

It sounded so easy. All I had to do was create an online portfolio to send to children's book publishers. Selecting a website builder was straight forward, choosing a template for my site was a littl