Add self-initiated projects

Doing personal projects alongside commissions can be a great way to diversify your portfolio, says Sam Gilbey.

Even when you're flat out with commercial work, as a creative it's inevitable that you'll think of ideas for personal projects along the way. It's important to fit these projects in when you can, because they're a valuable way to boost and diversify your portfolio.

Ben Cox, MD of Central Illustration Agency, recommends working on self-initiated projects that reflect your interests, because not only will this work express your personality, it will also enable you to feel more comfortable discussing your portfolio with potential clients and could help shape the kind of commissions you receive in the future.

Here I explore three personal projects of my own - one in black and white that uses typography, one based on my own inspiration, and one from a collaborative project. These demonstrate the experimental spirit that you need to really have fun and let loose on your personal work, and are the perfect balance to commissioned projects, which can sometimes be more restrictive.

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