Featured Image Patrice Barton

Artist agent Christina Tugeau of CATugeau recently started a new informational series entitled CATNIP on her blog to help artists with their portfolios and promoting of their artwork.

In her latest post, Christina talks about the importance of demonstrating consistent skills in the area of character development.

Christina says,

It’s most essential for children’s book industry projects as they are all about story telling. And what are stories? They are scenes in a person, animal or thing’s life history! Whether a moment, a day, a month or a year or a lifetime, characters, their growth and their change is what stories are all about. So you must show it!


Patrice Barton, CATugeau Artist Agency


Patrice Barton, CATugeau Artist Agency

She continues,

So Character Development in art then is an artist showing a unique character’s individual growth and change in reaction to the story line events and over a period of time. (could be a few moments possibly!) This growth is what the reader/listener identifies and sympathizes with. We experience the events of life through the characters and that helps us understand and internalize the stories underlying components. The success of this for a story is often determined by the artist’s visual depiction of these all important story characters and their details of life.

How do you do this in a portfolio of 15 + images only which must include lots of different elements of your talent? You take two or three sequential action scenes from a ‘story’ (doesn’t have to be an actual one) and paint them! Take a piece you’ve done with a memorable character(s). Now imagine what happened just before this image…and/or just after it. Same character(s) but different emotion, setting, time. Make it clear you can show this ‘development’ in these 2 or 3 images. Good to do this for two stories at least…total of 6 images maybe. Place them together in the portfolio. They are probably the most important things you’ll have in your portfolio. It amazes me how many artist portfolios miss this! It makes the buyers ‘leap of faith’ to hire you to do a sequential book project much less of a guess. Remember, let the art do the talking. Show you can tell a story with characterization.


Kelly Kennedy, CATugeau Artist Agency


Kelly Kennedy, CATugeau Artist Agency

Read the entire CATNIP Series and more on the CATugeau blog.