Portfolio Visit 5 – The Guardian
Sarah Habershon, The Guardian,
I was stunned that the Guardian even replied to my email, even if it was four months later. I emailed Sarah Habershon at the Guardian in October 2011 for the first semester’s required portfolio visits but she never replied, or at least she didn’t reply until late February. She was full of apologies for not getting back to me sooner but in the business in which she works, sometimes emails get overlooked, which is completely understandable, especially as I’m probably not at the top of the food chain. In her reply she said that she thought my work was more suited to children’s illustration, however if I was looking for something broader to let her know if and when I would be in London to arrange an appointment. To say I was chuffed to bits was an understatement. I replied immediately and left it a week to give her chance to reply, but as time was ticking away I eventually plucked up the courage to ring her directly to try and arrange an appointment which proved to be a success. So whilst I was in
To say I was nervous is the understatement of the year, I mean this is the Guardian after all, opportunities like this don’t come up every day, and certainly not to me! The offices are enormous, a glass fortress, but at least they were well labelled (see the photo of me stood outside J) After loitering outside for about twenty minutes due to being overly punctual I began my ascent up the escalators into the main reception. Sweaty palms were bad enough but the temperature outside was a balmy sixteen degrees and I had a coat and cardigan on too, these things require more attention. The girls on reception called Sarah to let her know of my arrival and gave me an entry pass though it wasn’t needed as Sarah conducted her viewing in main reception.
It wasn’t a long wait before Sarah arrived and greeted me warmly, I hope I managed to reciprocate but due to nerves I have a feeling I was a bit hasty getting into the actual business of showing my portfolio and didn’t spend quite as long as is necessary on the formalities beforehand. Anyway, I showed her my work which went Ok. I don’t usually like the work ‘O.k’ to describe something but this visit was only worth that, mere standard. For the first time during a portfolio visit, some negative vibes were coming through from the work I was presenting. Maybe the professionals in
I put my two editorials at the end of my portfolio, as we are encouraged to put the strongest work there. I don’t think that these editorials are my strongest pieces particularly, but I thought that visiting a newspaper would make them more appealing and by putting those at the back would reinforce to her that I could undertake this type of brief. Unfortunately, I think that this was a mistake. She thought that although the illustrations for the editorials were good, they didn’t show her how well I can work with space. The illustrations for both pieces are above the column with a single column of text below. For her they didn’t show her how they would appear in a single or even double page spread, there was no real context for them. Additionally, the Guardian deals with more conceptual ideas relating to work and finance rather than nature which my work seems to be more directed towards.
To say I was disappointed with the outcome of this appointment is an even bigger understatement than the nerves bit. I really wanted to make a good impression but with her negative attitude towards my work I came out feeling pretty deflated; all the wind and stuffing had been taken out of me. I left her some thank you chocolates and my business card on the off chance but chances are it probably went straight in the bin. My excitement of seeing the Guardian then soon turned into dread as I saw my dreams crumbling in front of me sat in the foyer of their offices. I thought it might even break me and my ambitions for a while, but to be fair, criticism is better to be sought than praise as I can work and develop myself from that. Here’s hoping that the next appointment will go better.