How To Build Your Calligraphy Portfolio Without Clients

 

So you are looking to build your calligraphy portfolio and don’t know where to start? Here are a few tips to get you started!

Make Your Own Client Up

Yes, I said it! You do not need to actually BOOK a client to create work that you want to do. Are you interested in envelope calligraphy? Purchase some envelopes and create your own addresses - they do not have to be real or have stamps on them. People want to see your WORK and your style. You can do this for a number of things but some non-pricey ways to create your portfolio are below

  • Envelope addressing

  • Place Cards

  • Escort Cards

  • Cocktail Menus

  • Table Numbers

If you want to go a more cost-effective route, you can do all of the above with various sizes of paper. The thicker the better! However, one main thing to keep in mind is you want to make sure you are creating work you can replicate and will be affordable for the client. While I LOVE handmade paper, it can be very tricky to write on so if you are looking to offer it, I encourage you to try it out and see how you like doing it and areas that may take you a bit longer.

 

Participate in Styled Shoots

For this one, I encourage you to try out some styled shoots that you are aligned with. I have only participated in one but that is because I knew I didn’t want my main focus to be in the wedding industry. If you are interested in pursuing the wedding industry, a styled shoot may be helpful for you in gathering a number of photos. A few things to keep in mind when doing so

Communicate with Your Planner + Photographer

  • Make sure you are communicating with the planner and photographer the shots that you want (there have been a number of times I have seen calligraphers get so upset that their invitations were poorly shot which ultimately means they cannot use those high-res photos!)

If you are still new to the calligraphy space, I would make sure you are comfortable providing the items they are requesting. Most of the time you will not be compensated for your work or materials, so you want to make sure you either have some of the materials at home or can afford to spend extra, assuming you will gather beautiful shots of your work.

This is a great way to get started in creating your own portfolio without quite booking any clients yet. It also allows you to test and practice what you enjoy doing the most.

Have questions? Let me know! I’d love to help you along the way as I was also in your shoes not too long ago!

xx

Johana

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