PK 031: Veggie Tales Artist Joe Spadaford on Creating Your Perfect Portfolio and Finding Your Creative Niche

PK 031: Veggie Tales Artist Joe Spadaford on Creating Your Perfect Portfolio and Finding Your Creative Niche 2 031 Joe Spadaford 01

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One of the digital paintings from Joe’s sketchbook

“Once you realize you can survive in the freelance world, you’re not afraid of being fired anymore.”

As one of the artists behind Veggie Tales (soon to be launched by Dreamworks as Veggie Tales In The House), Joe Spadaford knows a thing or two about putting together a portfolio. In this podcast, he talks about his early days as an artist, and how his personality and work ethic have helped him take the rough with the smooth in his art career.

After graduating from art school in 2000, Joe knew he needed to get out there and start making a name for himself as an artist. But it sure wasn’t easy to begin with. Despite getting positive feedback on his portfolio from Michael Spooner, art director at Big Ideas, Joe found the opportunities he’d been hoping for just weren’t there at first.

However, rather than give up, Joe made a big decision. After completely reworking his portfolio at least three times, he decided to take what little money he had and drive from Pennsylvania to Chicago in search of work.

Eventually, his gamble paid off and he got hired as an animation artist at Big Idea, the company behind Veggie Tales. And, although he took some harsh critiques and found things stressful at first, he worked hard, learned to embrace criticism, and developed the grit and determination you need to make it as an artist.

But it wasn’t all plain sailing. The animation industry can be very unpredictable, and, with a new wife and a baby on the way, Joe found himself in the unfortunate position of being laid-off after a few years. So what did he do? At first, he panicked! Then, he hunkered down, started work on his portfolio, and started networking. And that’s when things got really interesting…

Listen to this week’s show and learn:

  • Why updating your blog is so important
  • Why your personality is just as important as your artwork
  • How to find your niche market and make it your own

People on this Episode:


Mentioned in the episode:

Joe’s Website
Joe on Facebook

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