Photo Credit: Sharalee Prang

Hello! My name’s Tom Froese. I’m an illustrator and designer in Vancouver, BC. Illustration Age has graciously invited me to write a column here every couple weeks to share my thoughts on working as a professional illustrator. I hereby christen it Wednesday Wisdom on Illustration Age, or, just Wednesday Wisdom for short. Maybe once we know each other a little better, we can even just call it Brad. Whatever we end up calling it, my aim for this column is to bring practical insights and inspiration to illustrators in all stages, from aspiring illustrators starting from zero to salty old seadogs who’ve been doing this forever.

For those who don’t know me (which is probably most people), I regularly post snippets of what I’m thinking about on Instagram, Twitter, and more lately, YouTube. This column here is just one more opportunity to do that, and it’s an honour to be here.

Now that we’re introduced, let’s get into the first juicy nugget of Wednesday Wisdom. For my first post, I want to pay homage to Illustration Age founder Thomas James. A few weeks back, he tweeted “Silly Illustrators, acting like every day isn’t Portfolio Day.”

Every Day is Portfolio Day. Quote by Thomas James. Illustration by Tom Froese.
Illustration by Tom Froese

This sentiment really struck home for me. Everything we do, each day is either adding to our portfolio, pruning it, refining it, or reflecting on it. Our body of work online is a living thing and needs constant care and attention. Our curated, static website portfolio is important as our home base, but there’s a lot more to our body of work than that. It’s not just a series of images but a voice, an attitude, a record of being part of something bigger than ourselves.

For those starting out, your portfolio starts with your passion and engagement, not with mind blowing show pieces.

For those more seasoned, with beautiful and impressive bodies of work, your work is never complete. If it is, either you have retired or are dead.

Thanks, Thomas, for a great quote. And for the friendly reminder to never stop.

See you in a couple weeks!



Wednesday Wisdom on Illustration Age is a new column on Illustration Age by Tom Froese. You can keep up with Tom on Instagram at @mrtomfroese. This article originally appeared on @mrtomfroese‘s Instagram Feed (January 16, 2019).