Explanations and FAQ

posted by marrael 2012-02-01

How do I get my portfolio on this site?

First, register for a member's account, and then, upload your artwork for your portfolio review!

You can submit up to six pieces of artwork to begin with. When you've got as few as four up, you may submit your portfolio for review. We highly recommend submitting all six, because four images must pass before you get a gallery and you won't be able to submit again for six months unless you get all four images passed!

I'll repeat, do not take portfolio review lightly! If your portfolio does not get four pieces passed, you will not have a chance to submit again for six months (three months, if you are a subscriber).

Getting a portfolio here is an honor, and it earns you the extra attention of our critics, allowing you to submit more work every month and expand your gallery. If you don't have a portfolio, you haven't yet earned that right to their hard work and must wait for another opportunity to submit your portfolio.

Our critics work incredibly hard on your reviews, and are giving you hours of their own art time to offer their insight and experience. With your very first submission to Fantastic Portfolios, you will get at least 3 thoughtful and detailed critiques on your work in general, as well as scores on individual artwork that will point out where weaknesses are. Take these critiques and use them. None of the suggestions you get will magically fix your problems - all of them will take effort and practice to implement.

And why four images? Because Fantastic Portfolios is a portfolio site, highlighting you as an artist, not just an individual piece of artwork. Getting four pieces past our bar shows consistency in quality and keeps galleries from looking skimpy.

You are of course welcome to bring your work, of any level, to the forums for public reviews! Many of our critics hang out there, too, and are willing - along with other artists - to give informal reviews and suggestions on works in progress. The forums are kept sparkling clean of spam, and well-moderated.

What kind of artwork should be submitted?

Fantastic theme

This is a site of artwork in a fantastical nature - science fiction, magic, high fantasy, anthromorphic - anything speculative and fanciful. Work should be representational, not abstract, and surreal work should contain distinct fantasy or science fiction elements. 'Weird' is not necessarily fantasy. Although nudity is acceptable, blatant sexuality, gore, or 'hate' related art is not. Historical and portraiture work must feel fantasy or fictional in nature, though it does not necessarily have to have 'pointed ears.' Strictly animal pictures should have a fantasy flavor, or have animals doing distinctly human things. A picture of a werewolf character looking simply like a wolf in a normal landscape background would not fly here.

High stand-alone quality

This is a professional, portfolio-style site. The artwork you submit should be finished, polished and presented well. None of us would ever deny the appeal of a sketch or the quality of a character study, but Fantastic Portfolios is for finished, completely self-standing pieces. Our judges don't even see your descriptions, or know what media you used: your piece must pass or fail completely on its own merit, in this medium, which is web-viewing. We cannot guess how lovely your sculpture is in real life, you must present it in a sharp, clear, uncluttered photograph. Your picture should not contain any scanner noise or edges, it should not have jpg compression artifacts. Be sure that your picture is cropped in a flattering fashion. You may wish to submit several details of a larger piece - this is fine, but they will each count as a file on the site, and each will be judged solely on its own qualities, so compose those details well!

No inappropriate content

Showing sexual acts or any violation is not appropriate. Nudity is fine, but no erections, or helpless sexual bondage. Cheesecake is okay, and some leather/buckles/ropes/gothy strappy outfits will pass. But remember that cheesecake alone will not make the genre cut. An S&M mistress is not necessarily fantasy. A naked girl is fine. A girl sitting naked with her legs spread so you can see everything, licking her fingers and fondling her breasts - not fine. Same pose, with clothes covering all naughty parts, okay, but barely. (As always, it has to have speculative or historical fantasy elements) If she had her hand suggestively rubbing her crotch, not okay with or without clothes. Sorry for any crudity - but clarity is key!

Violence is the other shady category. Basically, the piece must have some message and purpose besides just violence. If a monster is dismembering a person to show its incredible strength and viciousness... okay. Per usual, it's got to have something genre - supernatural or fanciful in nature.  The piece cannot be more than 50% gore by area. If it's all blood and body parts (even fantasy/alien body parts), no go. If it's 49% gore and body parts, but there's also a central action/adventure subject, it may fly. If it's just splatter, no go. If concensus among the critics cannot be reached regarding inappropriate content, Ellen will mediate and make a final ruling.

This site is for the finest in fantastical themed artwork - be sure you are submitting the best of yours! See the tips page for more suggestions about the work you submit.

What media is allowed?

Any medium that can translate into a jpg image is permitted, including physical 3-D mediums, digital rendering engines and photographs. However, please be aware that your work is not judged based on its original form. For example, if you do a charming sculpture, but photograph it in poor light and submit a pixelated image of it, it will not pass - no matter how wonderful the original sculpture is or how much we like it. The image displayed here should be a final product all by itself.  Please see the tips for more information about common problems that various artist mediums may face!

How does judging work?

All images, when submitted, will be looked over and graded by three individuals. Your image will be graded in nine separate areas: Subject and composition, representation and accuracy; value, lighting and color; medium, mood, setting, polish, style, and personal reaction. Each area becomes percentage of the final score (out of 100 percent) given by one critic. When an image receives three critiques, the final scores are averaged. If the result is over 70%, your image passes. A member obtains a portfolio when they have four images passed in this way.

What kind of results will I get?

Before your portfolio passes, you will receive a score in each of the nine categories, as well as at least 3 detailed critiques of your portfolio as a whole, pointing out strengths as well as weaknesses, and advising on a direction of study and focus of energy.

After your portfolio passes, you will get the option to submit work for full critique, or pass/fail. Choosing pass/fail, you will get no explanation for your score or suggestions for improvement, but you will still receive scores in each category.

Our default setting, however, is for a full critique as well as a concrete judgment.  Each of the three critics gives the basic reasons for their scoring, pointing out the strengths and weaknesses of the piece and giving suggestions for correcting any possible problems in the piece. They also have the option of uploading redlines to demonstrate the corrections they are suggesting. 

Our goal here is to help you improve your work, not just tell you whether or not you've gotten to our gold standard, and even work that passes may garner suggestions for improvement.

Will the critiques be 'mean?'

Our critics are screened and trained, hand-picked for their demonstrated ability to communicate clearly and professionally. They have a range of experience in the field of art with an emphasis on fantastical themes, and are never unnecessarily cruel or unkind, though they will be frank and honest. The critics are actively looking for the flaws and will undoubtedly find them, but they are encouraged to also point out things that they like, and will always make a concentrated effort to let you know how to fix things, not just give you a laundry list of 'what's wrong.'

How fair is the judging?

Images may be submitted 'blind,' without watermarks or identifying markings. Watermarks may be added by the artist through the site after the critique is finished. The critics do not see your name, the title of the piece, or the description you give it - just the art! Judgement of the piece and its suitability for the Fantastic Portfolios site is solely based on the image itself.

Critics cannot critique their own art (in situations where they are also submitting to the site). Critics who feel they may be biased for or against any art they recognize are encouraged to decline critiquing that image.

Lastly, unfair or abusive critiques may be reported - but this is a course of action that should not be taken lightly!

Can I find out who judged my image(s)?

No. We feel this is important information to keep confidential.

My portfolio got rejected! What now?

Your account can have a maximum of 6 images when you're first starting out. In the worst case scenario, if all your images were rejected, just delete them all from your account and try again with a new set of images. If some of them passed, you can keep those in your account - they count towards the 4 images you need to pass portfolio and you don't have to submit them again!

You are welcome to re-submit work that you've made changes to.

Bear in mind, we do not take portfolio submissions lightly, and in this light, we do not accept new portfolio submissions from a member until 6 months have passed from their last portfolio submission date.

Six months? Seriously?

Yes, it's plenty of time to for you to work on some new, fabulous images for our judges to look at!

My portfolio was accepted! What now?

Congratulations! You now have a portfolio and artist status on this site. Artists on free members' accounts can have up to 10 images in their portfolio. You can start uploading and submitting even more images to our judges for inclusion in your portfolio. Limits do apply as to how often and how many images you may submit a month.

How do I get more than 10 images on my portfolio?

Upgrade to a paid members' account. The maximum submissions, uploads and pieces in your portfolio are all bumped up. Additionally, your images show up before unpaid members' account to the critics.

I've had work in the queue forever, and nothing seems to be happening. What's up?

Did you remember to submit your portfolio? Uploading your artwork alone won't put your pieces into the critics' queue! We give you a chance to upload some artwork, and change your mind or realize that you uploaded an old version, or a badly-watermarked version, or a file in CYMK. You can delete that work and upload something different within your 6 picture limit. When you're all ready, you have to submit your portfolio, or your pieces will just sit there and no one will see them...