If you are presenting work for a degree course, a diploma, City and Guilds, A-levels or The Calligraphy Ladder of Progress, there are a few things you can do which do not require talent, but can gain you some extra marks or even push your work up a symbol.
You might say it the other way round – shoddy presentation will make you lose points.
1) Start thinking about your presentation long before your work is due and bear it in mind throughout the process.
This may mean keeping all your work the same size to look great and like a cohesive series. (but may not be applicable depending on the brief). Below in my exhibtion you can see two series – the pebbles and the dancers. The change of scale was deliberate in both cases. There were seven individual dancers on narrow formats and the centrepiece.
2) Typing up your notes and planning how they will be shown.
Below you can see my gilding notes in little books (Gilding and Traditional Skills Course; and my Italic notes (Italic certificate) in large A3 bound books.
3) While it may be difficult to control your calligraphy and do exquisite lettering, anyone can do a good layout with clean margins.
4) Use good materials. Remember my Costa Coffee theory. (It is this: People will pay £2.50 for a nice Cuppucino but resent paying £2.50 for half a good sheet of watercolour paper. Carry a flask and get the paper)
5) Keep all your roughs. You will often need to show them. Moreover, try to keep them a bit neat! A black covered sketchbook for roughs is ideal. (I dream of doiong this…)
6) Pace yourself work-wise. Things go wrong when it is all last minute. Try to keep up to date with all those hidden-time things like presentation, binding notes, mounting and framing work etc. Don’t underestimate how long it takes to put a final portfolio together.
7) Stick to the brief (unless you are a Michelangelo) If you are asked for beautiful Italic on a basic course and you decide to show off that you can flourish as well, even though you have not yet been taught, you will be judged on your flourishing and your beautiful Italic. Your flourishes maybe tasteless and overstated, or not to the judge’s taste – how are you to know, when you jumped ahead? Down you go.
8) Read the instructions for the course / competition etc.
9) Then read them again.
10) Then follow the instructions to the letter.
Don’t annoy judges with incorrect ham-fisted packaging, and half your information missing.
11) Take excellent photographs. You may have to ask a professional or take your work to be scanned as they do for giclees. Often selection is done from photos. For Letter Arts Review, no matter how good the work appears to be, the photo has to be top quality. And later, if you have an article to write you have the images at hand.
12) As you think about and plan your projects talk about them to someone. Having to articulate aloud, helps the thinking process. Even if your only audience is the cat.
13) Think about finding a mentor. This would have to be someone whose advice will be based on experience and someone you relate to, work-wise and friendship-wise,
14) Be prepared to spend some money for your final presentation. You have spent a year doing the work, a lot on tuition and a lot on materials. Don’t stint now. My husband (who is a finance man, not an artist) knows this so well and when our son was doing his finals in product design, he gave him an extra £50 and said “Use this to do a good display”.
15) The elements of a good display:
- This means good mount board, not cheap left over bits of cardboard.
- Labels all matching, printed in a good font on quality paper glued onto board or foamboard (not sticky labels)
- Table cloths. You can bet your bottom dollar the tables will be standard formica fold-up tables: 180cm X 90cmX76cm high. A good cloth will be a least 180cm X 3 meters. Buy a roll of black or navy fabric – wide sheeting that will cover the table and so that you can put all your boxes and bubble wrap under the table). Your work will look better on a black cloth than a formica table top.
And… good luck.