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The Surprising Thing You Need In Your Portfolio

Updated: Nov 23, 2021

Words by Erin, Digital Design Media Manager.

Your portfolio should showcase only your most highly finished work, right? Wrong.

Natasha, our operations manager here at LPD, says one of the best things you can bring to an interview is…. a rough sketch. Meet Natasha below and read on to discover why your unfinished work could be worth it’s weight in gold.

Natasha plays a key role in procuring new designers here at LPD (so be nice to her if you see yourself working in our studio one day! :))

“We want to see your talent. An unfinished sketch is the best example of that,” she says. It’s raw, it’s honest and it demonstrates your drawing and painting technique a lot better than a file on a screen.

“A sketch book will show your thought process,” she adds, as well as your untapped potential. So don’t discount yours! Bring it along to your next interview and present it as part of a collection of work: finished and unfinished. For more information on how to prepare a portfolio for a job in textile design, download Land Your Dream Design Job in 6 Simple Steps now.


Because we find sketchbooks so interesting, we thought we’d show you these two by famous artists.


James Jean is a prolific artist who sketches incessantly. You might be familiar with his work. He designed the ‘Bunny Collection’ for Prada’s Resort 2018 collection. His artwork decorated shift dresses, shirts and most memorably, bags.

Prada x James Jean Bunny Cahier handbag

Here’s a look inside his sketchbook, ‘Process Recess Vol. 3: The Hallowed Seam.’

We love the combination of outlines and rendered areas plus the layering of figures.

Fabulous use of negative space (and a great way to rework a drawing you’re not especially happy with).

We love this delicate, detailed line work (created with a SKB SB-1000 0.5mm, a ‘pen with a pencil-like balance,’ according to the publisher and known online as the ‘James Jean Pen’).  Jean is like the Michelangelo of this millennia, so don’t let his insanely intricate sketches scare you! We don’t expect to see this kind of stuff from a potential new recruit.


A woman who needs no introduction, Frieda Kahlo was a fiery, imaginative, surrealist Mexican painter and we can’t get enough of her bold use of colour.

Detail of ‘Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird’ (1940) by Frieda Kahlo 

Here’s some pages taken from ‘The Diary of Frieda Kahlo: An Intimate Self-Portrait.’

We mentioned we like to see these from job applicants, but what can a sketchbook actually do for your creative process? Keep your eyes peeled for the answer to this question. We’ll cover it in an upcoming blog post 🙂

For now if you’d like some sketching inspiration check out Instagram, where we frequently share our drawings and work in progress.

And if you feel your illustration skills could use a little fine-tuning, be sure to pop over to this page. In our course, Floral Illustration for Textile Design, we give you all the professional tips you’ll need for a stunning sketchbook and final portfolio.


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