“What about Tablets (when presenting my portfolio in person<implied>)?”
I don’t get asked this a lot, but I suspect I will get asked this more and more as the days continue. As down as I was on people presenting their portfolio using a smart-phone in my last blog, I’m not as down on them using tablets.
But I have a few codicils to that statement that may help explain it better.
I think tablets are great–or they can be. When they first came out I thought they had a lot of potential that, frankly, scared me silly. Fortunately for me and my limited technology budget they almost immediately dropped into “the valley of fierce competition” and no single tablet has yet to emerge from that platform purgatory as the single dominant means of both creating and presenting information. At this point it’s not even down to two major platforms (at least with personal computers we’ve lived to see the industry narrowed down to either Windows or Mac, and a number of cross platform programs that are virtually indistinguishable from one another.)
But while I (and the rest of the world) wait for the platform wars to end (and prices to come down) there’s that little problem of proprietorial rights to various on screen idioms–like how one turns a page or zooms in for a closer look. It seems every different tablet does things differently.
So if someone hands me a tablet at a convention in order to look at a portfolio he or she is going to have to give me a tutorial in how to look at the work. Whereas if he or she hands me a physical portfolio I already know how to turn the pages, and if I want to “zoom in” I just hold the page closer to my eyeballs!
A few other issues with the tablet versus the physical portfolio.
First off is finger prints. The few times that someone has handed me a tablet, the first thing I’ve noticed has been all the greasy finger prints. Sorry, but that just puts me off. If you’re going to hand me a tablet, wipe it down first. Eww.
Second, if you’re trying to impress me with how good your work looks in the digital world, then a tablet is fine. If you’re trying to show me how good your work would look printed then a printed sample is the way to go. That would seem to be common sense, but it’s amazing how many people seem to miss that point.
Third, (I mentioned this in my previous posting) with a physical portfolio, you can leave a copy with the potential client. You can’t do that with a tablet–at least not unless you’re independently wealthy. A physical portfolio never runs low on battery power. A physical portfolio can’t be erased (at least not elegantly) or over-written with someone else’s information. (Also consider the weight factor; you can carry several printed portfolios around before they add up the the weight of a tablet).
So, unless you’re willing to guide the potential client through your presentation on your tablet (awkward at best); make certain it’s clean and clear of finger prints before showing it to client; and you’re only presenting client with samples that are intended for digital presentation I’d stay clear of the tablet presentation for the present.
Plus, I’ve never known anyone to steal an arm load of portfolios at a show (you’d be hard pressed to give them away). But a tablet is still fair game in the eyes of any pick-pocket. So take your stress factor into account as well.
In the future–perhaps the near future–the tablet may very well be the means for presenting your work to potential clients, but it hasn’t yet reached that point. Not in the business of commercial art, nor comics, nor illustration. Those clients are still looking for originals or printed samples.
For now, leave the tablet at home.