Create A Portfolio On Behance & Join An Artistic Community.
The first thing an artist needs to do in order to become successful is to create an online portfolio. Using Adobe’s Behance one can easily create a digital portfolio showcasing their work and become part of an artistic community. In this article, you will learn how to set up your first project and establish yourself as a professional artist.
What is Behance?
Behance is a social media platform where artists can showcase their artistic creations as well as find inspiration. Founded in 2005 by Scott Belsky and Matias Corea, it quickly grew to become quite a popular platform for creatives. In 2012, Behance was acquired by Adobe.
The company has gone on to publish inspiration books as well as establishing 99U, which hosts a yearly conference in New York City. On top of this, members of Behance from around the world have produced events during their bi-annual Portfolio Review event (including myself).
With the help of Adobe, Behance has gone on to produce the Adobe Portfolio platform. This enables users to share their Behance projects on a platform that can be more personalized.
No matter if you are an illustrator, graphic designer, UX/UI designer, photographer, photo editor, VFX artist or even a fashion designer… Behance is a place where you can successfully promote your work.
How To Get Started…
The first thing one requires to use Behance is an Adobe ID. This is free to anyone, however, if you are already using Adobe software at home then most likely you already have an Adobe ID. If not, then it takes less than five minutes to sign up for one.
Step 1: Create Your First Project
A project is where you showcase one of your creations. For a little inspiration look at the projects published by the following creatives: Peter Jaworowski founder of Ars Thanea, illustrator Steve Simpson and vector graphic artist Orlando Arocena.
After you have created your profile, you will be able to create your first project. Once you log in, you will see a large blue button that says ‘Create A Project’. Give it a click! This will bring you into Behance’s Project Editor.
If you click on Styles, you will be able to select your background color. I suggest being consistent with all your projects. Most artists either stick with white or select black. I have seen artists get more creative in the past, but for this article, we are going to stick with color white for our background.
Step 2: Give Your Project A Title and Describe
This is where you will make your project shine.
Years ago, I would have just said come up with a title relating to your work… however, now I know it is smart to be aware of SEO Keywords and optimize the content that describes your project. For those not familiar with SEO, this video by Create A Pro Website will help.
Now that you have watched the video create a title that best describes your project. Titles on Behance should be short and straight to the point. However, your description is where you will give your project all the glory it deserves.
For the description, use SEO keywords that relate to the type of art as well as the tools and software that you used. This will make your project more searchable online. Do you have to be an SEO expert to create a project on Behance… the answer is NO. But learning how to utilize SEO to your advantage now, will help really give you an advantage.
Your description should be short, to the point and include the most important keywords relating to your project. For recruiters and hiring managers, it is good to share how you found your inspiration and describe briefly your creative process.
To add your title click Text. The text editor then appears. For titles, I like to increase the size to around 30. Then I make it bold and center it. This enables the title of your project to stand out. Viewers then clearly know what they are looking at.
Step 3: Upload Images Or Add Video
The next phase in creating a project is all about visuals. Here is where you will begin adding images, animated GIFs and even videos relating to your project.
If I created a video or recorded a speed paint. Then I sometimes share that at the top of my project. Granted this can also be shared below. It all depends on your personal preference. Just click the Embed option and place the embed code from your YouTube video for example. You can also upload video and audio directly from your computer to Behance, but I prefer to have my video content on YoutTube. This allows my projects to be found even easier. As I can add the Behance Project link to the description to my YouTube video later, by editing the video’s information.
If you do not have a video then you can add your first image. Just click the Image button and you will be prompted to upload your image. If you watched the SEO video above, you will now it is important to name your images in a way that relates to your project before uploading. For example, since I usually begin with a pencil sketches, then I might name my first image Borderlands_Tina_Pencil_Sketch.jpg. Now, viewers will not see this, however, Google will. Thus, making your project even more searchable on Google. I actually wish I would have known this when I first started building my portfolio years ago. But knowing now, I make sure to implement this tactic.
Once your image is uploaded, you can add image tags and an alternative description. After doing this I recommend giving the image caption. I usually center the caption and make the text italic.
Continue adding two to five more images. I would not overdo it. Adding 10 images is overkill, granted I sometimes break my own rules. It just depends on how you want your project to be viewed. I tend to show screen captures that illustrate my creative workflow. Thus, giving the viewer insight into how the project was created. I then end with my final image.
After that, I might add some close-ups of detailed parts of the design. This allows the viewer to see how much time I spent on the project, again giving them a little more insight.
Behance also offers you the possibility of adding a Photo Grid to your portfolio. Adding a photo grid will make your project look less intimidating. Remember in today’s world, people want to view content quickly. So this is a way to share several images without making your project look too bulky.
Just to note, you can also upload images directly from Adobe Lightroom to Behance as well. When I do work on Photography projects, I still tend to upload the images manually to Behance, but it is nice that Behance provides you the option to do this.
Step 4: Include Your Contact Information
I have hosted Behance Portfolio Reviews and produced two conferences for Adobe. The one thing that annoys me when I am looking for potential speakers is not being able to find someone’s contact information right away. In fact, many people featuring artists feel the same. If we can not find your contact details within five seconds, we move on. So at the bottom of my project, I always share my email address and contact information.
Another thing to note, if your artwork is available for sale on Redbubble, Society6 or TeePublic make sure to share a link to where people can purchase your artwork. For example, this particular image is available on Redbubble and TeePublic. Borderlands is partnered with them and thus I can sell this piece of fan art there. It does not hurt to earn some money on personal projects if you can.
Step 5: Choose A Cover Image And Prepare To Publish
You can always save your project as a draft but for the next step, we are going to click Continue.
Behance has changed this step. Originally, there were more steps to this process. It has now since been fine-tuned and simplified.
Select A Cover Image
This is very important. This thumbnail is the first thing, people will see when scrolling through Behance. Thus, you need an image that captures the attention of people surfing Behance. Remember some hiring managers and recruiters utilize Behance, so you can see how important this is.
Add The Details…
Next, you want to fill in the details. Your title should be the same that you used when building your project.
You can then add up to ten Project Tags. Choose these wisely. After that, you are prompted to list all the tools and software that you utilized to create the project. In this case, I listed: Wacom Tablet, Wacom MobileStudio Pro, Adobe Fresco, Adobe Creative Cloud, Pencil, Paper and the Wacom Pro Pen 3D.
You can then include additional information. This includes: information regarding the copyright, if it includes adult content, and add co-owners.
Originally, you could add a small description using this phase. This served quasi-like a meta description. I have no idea why Behance discontinued this feature. So, if you know SEO… make sure your intro paragraph explains your project well. As the short description feature no longer exists.
Step 6: Click Publish!
Then you can click PUBLISH. Your project is now live for the public to see.
Step: 7 PROMOTE PROMOTE PROMTE
I bet you thought you were done. Well, I am not letting you off that easily. Once you have published your project, you need to promote it. How do you accomplish this? Simply share links to your portfolio on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and any other places where people could potentially discover your work. If you have 10K followers in Instagram, you can use that nice ‘swipe up’ feature that Instagram offers. But no one will view your work unless you promote it. Plus, you never know when or where your talent will be discovered. So share your work after you published it!
View my original ‘Adobe Fresco: Borderlands 3’ project and make sure to give it a LIKE!
There are some benefits to being on Behance. To me, the biggest benefit is that you are part of a creative community. You can choose how to utilize this however you like. But getting to know other artists and building up your network can be a great thing!
Second would be INSPIRATION! Using Behance’s Discover feature as well as the Search And Filter feature enables you to discover amazing art and creatives from all around the world. This should fuel your inspiration. Granted, use it for inspiration… do not copy other people’s ideas (that is just wrong).
Another benefit is that if you are a member of the Adobe Creative Cloud, then you have access to Adobe Portfolio! You can upload your Behance projects directly into Adobe Portfolio. Now, Adobe Portfolio as I mentioned earlier enables you to tweak a website specifically made for you. This looks even more professional. So you can get exposure not only through Behance but also through Adobe Portfolio. Pretty smart right?
Live Streams! That is right, Behance now hosts live streams featuring top creatives such as Terry White, Jason Levine and many more. These include tutorials on how to really dive deeper into some of Adobe’s creative software such as: Photoshop, Illustrator, Fresco, etc.
I think another benefit is that both Behance and Adobe Portfolio make life simpler for all of us that do not know how to code. So for those, who can not build their own portfolios… this is a great alternative.
Getting started on Behance is quite simple. All you have to do is upload your first project and publish it. You will then be well on your way to starting your career as a professional artist.
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