Portfolio Book Makes an Impression for Freelance Illustrator

Nicholas Moegly is a freelance illustrator and lettering artist who calls Cincinnati, Ohio home. His love of hand-drawn illustrations and typography can be seen in every project he undertakes, whether it’s a band poster, a beer glass, or his latest portfolio book.

Making it Memorable

Nicholas had always relied heavily on digital platforms to promote his work. Then, about a year ago, he had a thought. “I asked myself, ‘Why not do something different?’” he said. “Everyone gets emails all the time. Maybe a small printed portfolio that you could hold in your hands would catch peoples’ attention, would stick out just enough to be remembered.”

Crafting A Vintage Vibe

“I laid everything out myself,” Nicholas said. “It took a few months to figure out what projects I wanted to include and how I wanted to showcase the work. I’d go back and forth with questions like, ‘Do I write a lot of descriptive copy or do I do it like an art book and just show the work?’ Honestly, it was the most difficult thing about the whole project.”


He went onto explain, “Because it was going to so many different types of people, I was constantly weighing what to put in and what to leave out. Even some of my favorite pieces I had to view critically because it may not be what I thought a rep would want to see or what I thought a creative director at a magazine would be looking for. Then, of course, because it is in print, I had to make sure my picks would still look good a year from now and not feel outdated.”


Along with curating, writing, and laying out the piece, Nicholas also photographed all the work. “That’s probably another reason why it took months. I kind of played every role in this project,” Nicholas said.

Uncoated smooth 100lb text pages paired with the vintage vibe of Moegly’s illustration work

Matte-coated 120lb cover stock with a flat-matte U/V coating protected the cover from fingerprints

A Tactile Experience

“Luckily, when it came to picking stock for the portfolio, I was a bit more decisive,” Nicholas said. He knew he wanted a substantial paper with some texture and a matte finish that would pair with the vintage vibe of his work and chose a 120lb. coated matte cover stock paired with an uncoated smooth 100lb. text stock for the interior pages. A flat matte U/V coating protected the sheets from fingerprinting.

A plastic slipcover protected the portfolio during transit

The screen-printed craft envelope was designed to look like vintage airmail

Special Delivery

“When the 6˝ x 9˝ portfolios arrived, I still had work to do,” Nicholas said. “I decided to create a mailer for the piece, so I screen-printed a brown kraft envelope to look like an old airmail envelope and then hand-lettered the addresses.”

“When it was time for mailing,” Nicholas said, “I tried to make it feel like they were unwrapping something special.” He wrapped each book in a plastic slipcover and added a handwritten note introducing himself and the book. “I wanted everything about the piece to feel handcrafted.”

Old School Cool

“For me, making it was an experience,” Nicholas said. “I wanted it to be an experience for others when it came to opening it, too.” And for many recipients, it was just that. “I had hoped they’d say something like, ‘I loved paging through it,’ ‘We don’t see a lot of books come through like this,’ or, ‘It’s beautiful, I can’t believe you took the time to write a personal note!’ when they caught their first glimpse of the book,” Nicholas said. “And they did.”


He continued, “Just as I suspected, holding something physical in your hands makes for a completely different experience than just seeing it digitally. There’s still something really great about seeing stuff in print. I guess I’m just old school enough to hope it stays that way.”

Print Details

Perfect Bound Book

120# Coated Matte White Cover, 100# Uncoated Smooth White Pages, Flat Matte U/V Coating on Cover, 6 x 9 Portrait

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