Behance Tips from Michael Chaize

Behance, the online portfolio site, is a place where you could get hired to design an album cover for Pink Floyd.

That’s what recently happened to Ahmed Emad Eldin.  At 15, this talented young artist had his Behance profile, where he posted his original artwork, discovered by Vice. Can you imagine being asked to use a piece of your art for a Pink Floyd album cover? This boy obviously had no idea as he created a Behance profile that this amazing thing would happen to him, but he benefitted from the unique opportunity that the site allows for anybody– anywhere in the world! — to share their talent and make a name for themselves.  If you’d like to see Ahmed’s artwork, check out Vice’s article about the album creation.

This story was shared to me by Michael Chaize of Adobe, who recently hosted a super informative webcast on the facets of Behance and some guidelines for success.  Hopefully this webcast will be available to view online eventually, but he gave some great tips on using hidden features of the site. Check it out below!

Behance Best Practices

from Michael Chaize, Adobe CC Evangelist.

To succeed on Behance:

-Tell a story

Give your work the exciting foundation it needs to shine by letting your viewers explore the story of your art- how your idea came about, what the artistic process looked like, how the idea changed along the course of the project, and how the finished product shone.  Demonstrate that your work was professional and solved a problem-this is the result that potential employers would expect from an employee.  If your work is great enough to show off in public, it deserves a little unofficial marketing from you as the project advocate.  Share any good reviews the work got from clients.  Round out your story and the whole project will look a little more impressive.

-Use a teaser thumbnail

Your thumbnail picture, a small preview, is the gateway to your project for users on the site. The thumbnail needs to be great: beautiful, enticing, leaving just a bit of the story to the imagination of the viewer. Michael used this as his positive example from the site.

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 11.36.42 AM

-Be genuinely active

Behance plays by social network rules, which means activity, activity. Comments, shares, appreciations- these are the things that build the artistic community between artists from all corners of the globe. So once you have a Behance profile, leave your own page and start exploring the world of artistic creations that are shown on this full site.  There are so many artists and art pieces you can explore for hours and hours. And when you see a picture that you love, do something about it! Let the artist know!  If you click on a piece thumbnail, you can see the full project. From here you can do many things to connect:

-Appreciate the work. (It’s a “like”)

-Leave a comment. Michael’s tip on comments is to keep them great quality. Write genuine praise, and be specific so that the artist can see that you mean it.

-Follow the artist or go through to more of their work

-Add the piece to a collection of yours (You can theme these, and other people can see them and follow if they like them.)

-Curate your portfolio

According to Michael, your work and your image are what will help you succeed on this social site. So think about the message your artwork selection and general tone are sending to the users who may visit your page. What you want is to be seen as a highly talented, professional artist with constant projects and a fascinating workflow. So only submit your best work, not every single piece you worked on in Illustrator recently.  Also, you can share a project gradually by using WIP (work in progress) galleries.  This means that you post iterations of a project along the course of its life, and invites other professionals to see and critique your work.  Each iteration should be worth commenting on, so plan out your WIP posts and finish what you start.  This can be a great place to become friends with the designers who are willing to help you and leave meaningful comments.

-Attend events

Behance offers real-life opportunities for artistic community through its area portfolio reviews. Attend one (and hopefully more) to get veteran advice on your portfolio, and to meet some of the great community members face-to-face.

So, if you are creating good things, share them on Behance! You will get exposure, and also be exposed to important artistic trends and talent. You may find a new muse in the U.A.E., or a great teenage cultural artist in Belarus. Art is made to be shared and worked on in community, and Behance allows you to connect in a deep way to the artists near you and in countries around the world. So grab your best pieces and work on your Behance portfolio today!

p.s. These tips were shared by Michael Chaize.  If you liked them or want to ask him any questions about Behance or Creative Cloud, you can find him at @mchaize or at his website, Creative Droplets.

Cheers!

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Bonus:

Six cool things you can do on Behance (that you probably didn’t know about)

1. Create a website, (called a Prosite) automatically from your Behance works

2. Embed audio from SoundCloud or video as part of a project

3. Upload a custom background to display a project

4. Submit your image as a WIP directly from IllustratorCC

5. Curate and share collections of projects

6. Find artists in a particular city

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