Every business needs to hire a graphic designer at some point, which is why there are set to be 6,800 new job opportunities for illustrators by 2031 in the US alone.
But even though there’s more work for an aspiring professional illustrator, competition is fierce, and a strong online portfolio is a must for any designer hoping to launch a successful career.
Your design portfolio site is the first place many potential clients will encounter your work, so making an excellent first impression is essential.
To help you get inspired, we’ve rounded up ten of the best illustrator portfolio examples from around the internet. Here they are, in no particular order.
1. Tania Qué
Tania Qué is a New York-based illustrator and a graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology’s School of Design who has created editorial illustrations for prestigious print and digital publications, including The New York Times, Glamour, and Buzzfeed.
Qué’s portfolio site has a minimalist aesthetic with a list of publications down the left-hand side for easy navigation. Each section shows a selection of her best illustration work from each outlet.
The sidebar menu also includes a “Personal” section with some of her favorite sketches and “The 100 Day Project” — a project that challenges artists to draw three to five sketches per day.
2. Jennifer Xiao
Jennifer Xiao is a freelance illustrator and writer from North Carolina — now based in Jersey City — whose work has been featured in The New York Times, It’s Nice That, and New Yorker, as well as global brands like Dropbox and Converse. Xiao also combines her passion for illustration and storytelling into insightful, colorful, humorous comics about everyday life.
Her illustrator website also has a minimalist vibe, with her signature cartoonish, almost child-like illustrations floating in a circle around her name, giving the user experience a fun feel to it. The tabs are “Illustrations,” “Comics,” “Merchandise,” “Shop,” “Social Media,” and “About/Contact.”
3. LA Johnson
LA Johnson is an in-house illustrator, comics journalist, Art Director at NPR, and freelance illustrator. Originally from Cleveland, LA now lives in Washington, DC. She’s the founder and curator of NEONCAT, a pop-up art gallery, and her work has appeared on album covers, posters, t-shirts, and totes as book illustrations. Past clients include The Washington Post, Harvard Business Review, NPR, and Deloitte.
Johnson opts for a simple website with a left-hand menu where visitors can peruse categories that include “Animation,” “Art Direction,” “Comics,” “Illustration,” “Murals,” “Paintings,” and “Posters,” as well as “About” and “Contact” pages.
4. Charis Tsevis
Charis Tsevis is an award-winning Greek visual designer based in Paphos whose many global clients include Adobe, IKEA, Harper’s Bazaar, Time, and Men’s Health. His work has been exhibited in cities all over the world, including Athens, San Jose, and Barcelona.
His beautiful illustration portfolio page is a wall of some of his best visuals, giving the impression of being in an art gallery.
5. Amy Rodriguez
Amy Rodriguez describes herself as a “children's book illustrator and digital artist specializing in bright and beautiful art.” A graduate of Loyola Marymount University's School of Film and Television based out of LA, she aims to “spread joy and share the beauty of the Catholic faith through my art.”
Rodriguez’s clients include TAN Books, Augustine Studios, and Our Sunday Visitor. Her portfolio page features a simple display of some of her best works, with an easy-to-navigate menu bar at the top.
6. Jarom Vogel
Jarom Vogel is one of Playbook’s favorite illustrators — so much so that we asked him to create some exclusive designs for us. His colorful, dynamic illustrations and animations capture the sense of magic and adventure we often forget to tap into as adults.
Based in Portland, Oregon, Vogel has created illustrations for Adobe, Spotify, Pepsi, and HarperCollins, to name but a few. His portfolio layout is a browsable gallery with animated and static illustrations.
7. Naomi Wilkinson
Naomi Wilkinson is an illustrator based in Bristol, UK, whose clients include Airbnb, Facebook, The New York Times, Random House, and Good Housekeeping. Her children’s book, One Hundred Things to Spot, was published by Wide Eyed Editions in 2017.
Like many of the illustrators on this list, Wilkinson keeps her portfolio site minimalistic and visually appealing. The homepage features samples of her best work, with social links along the side and a simple top-bar menu with “Work,” “About,” “Blog,” and “Shop” tabs.
8. Gosia Mosz
Gosia Mosz is an award-winning Polish children’s illustration artist based in London and goes by the artist name Mayo NMG. She has published 11 children’s books, exhibited her work in Germany and Italy, and been featured in publications including Oh Really Magazine, Carpaccio Magazine, and Area Zinc Magazine.
Mosz’s beautiful illustrations are nature-inspired with a touch of the magical and fantastical. Her portfolio website has a simple yet sophisticated interface that divides her work into four categories in the menu at the top of the page: “Illustrations,” “Drawings,” “Art,” and “Stranger in My Home.”
9. Zach Meyer
Zach Meyer is an illustrator based in Long Beach, California, who’s best known for his detailed portraits and narrative works. Meyer’s illustration work has been featured in a number of high-profile publications, including Playboy, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and HarperCollins.
Meyer also goes for a simple, minimalistic aesthetic on his portfolio site, with his best works set out in a gallery view and a simple left-hand sidebar with the tabs “Portfolio,” “About,” “Illustration,” “Store,” and “Contact.”
10. Malika Favre
Last but certainly not least is Malika Favre, a French illustrator based in Barcelona, Spain. Her bold, minimalist style is often described as “Pop Art meets Op Art,” and she is one of Europe’s most sought-after graphic artists. Favre’s clients include The New Yorker, Vogue, and Penguin Books, and in 2021, she designed the poster for Barcelona’s biggest festival, La Mercè.
Like her designs, Favre’s portfolio blends minimalism with maximalism. Her colorful illustrations are grouped together under the “Work” tab of her portfolio site, with the “Insta” tab acting as a secondary gallery. The top-bar menu features just two other tabs: “Shop” and “About.”
Playbook’s top 5 tips for creating an illustration portfolio
By now, you should be feeling pretty inspired to start designing your own portfolio website. Before you dive in, it’s important to know some best practices for creating a portfolio that will knock your clients’ socks off. Here are five of our top tips.
1. Display your best work
Your portfolio is where you get to shine, so put your best face forward. Instead of uploading every illustration you’ve ever created in chronological order, carefully curate your best pieces based on the kind of design work you want to do.
2. Be consistent
Consistency doesn’t mean that you can't display more than one illustration style, but just like displaying your best work, it can be more effective to focus on what you want to be known for — especially when you’re just starting out.
As you grow your reputation, you may start adding more categories and styles to your portfolio, but at the beginning of your career, too many different styles can feel busy and confusing to the viewer.
3. Highlight what makes you unique
Showcasing your unique personality and flair will help make your illustration portfolio stand out in the sea of portfolios your prospective client is already sifting through.
For example, if you tend to illustrate unique perspectives, use unexpected color palettes, work with light and shadow, or use other specialist techniques, make this evident in your portfolio curation.
4. Pay attention to your bio
While you might think your bio or about page is less important than your designs, this is the first place most prospective clients will look to learn more about you as an artist and get a sense of your personality and professional history.
This is where you’ll promote your professional brand and experience as an illustrator, so it’s important not to neglect it.
5. Include your contact information
Adding your contact details might seem obvious, but you'd be surprised at how many portfolio sites overlook this crucial detail. Create a contact page to let visitors know how to get in touch if they want to work with you.
Create your first illustration portfolio with Playbook
Now that you’re ready to create your online illustration portfolio, all you need is a home for it. Luckily, Playbook’s got you covered.
Playbook is a visual asset storage platform created by designers for designers — think Dropbox meets Pinterest. With Playbook you can store, share, and manage your designs — and even create your illustration portfolio to share with potential clients.
Plus, all artists and designers get 4TB of lifetime storage. So what are you waiting for? Sign up for free today and start creating your illustration portfolio right away.