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@donnamakesart Hi so I just popped on to the first article you posted;
"If you’re fresh out of university, with a portfolio full of personal work, you’re better off spending your time trying to secure a few proper jobs before approaching agencies."
What do they mean by "secure a few proper jobs"? When I get my portfolio up to a good level, esp. seeking the children's book industry I wonder what they mean?
*Note: I think this is a good thread.
xin li last edited by xin li
@donnamakesart I was looking for agents earlier this year. I started my research last year and spent about 6 months digging around the internet (I am definitely an over-thinker). The strategy that helped me the most was to "follow your favorite artists". I kept a list of all my favorite artists in a googleDoc and googled them to find out who are their agents. In this way, I started to build a list of agencies I could research on. In the end, I went for Plum Pudding. I was not familiar with their artists, but I heard an interview with the founder and was very impressed by his philosophy of running an art agency. I am currently happy at where I am :-). I did seek out a few agencies that represent my favorite artists, but with no luck :-).
@Heather-Boyd I think I heard similar advice about having some clients/work experience on your CV before seeking agencies. There is some truth to it. Besides having a good portfolio, agencies want to work with artists who are capable of finishing projects, have good work ethics. Having industry-related work experience is the easiest thing for them to be sure. I did not have much work experience in illustration when I started looking for an agent. What I did in my email was that I mentioned my previous work experience - it is not art related, but still within the creative industry, and I can show that I am used to teamwork, and have experience of carrying out big and small projects for many years.
I think it would also be just effective to show your good work ethic by showing your completed personal projects: a self-published picture book, a series of 5-6 paintings with the same theme, a set of character designs from the same universe, etc.
@Heather-Boyd Yea I agree with @xin-li on what they're after. There are quite a few prominent artists (Jake included) that talk frequently about one of the more effective qualities of "hirable" artists is that you can simply finish projects.
If you had 2 artists side-by-side and one was insanely talented but had trouble shipping final pieces and the other was mediocre but could finish work on time every time, the second artist will get the work almost every time. I'm willing to bet agencies are very aware of that (having probably been burned in the past).
That's also a really good point about themes @xin-li and something I really need to work on. I feel like I've been on overdrive learning the last 12 months and I haven't picked any singular themes to dig 5 or 6 pieces deep into.
@jdubz what would a theme be in particular? Like animals on a farm or childhood adventures or more like works catered around a broader idea discovery/ discovering? Sometimes I get lost with terms like "theme".
@Heather-Boyd your theme could be anything you want as long as you make pieces that look like they belong to a specific project like sequential art for a fairytale, or pieces for a popular holiday like christmas or halloween, etc
@Heather-Boyd The best immediate example I can think of is @Braden-Hallett's series of characters with the large animals doing all kinds of things on the prairie, in the snow, on the farm, racing a guy on a hawk and whatever else that crazy huge ass mouse was up to
braydin hawlette last edited by
braydin hawlette last edited by
Wow! I’m blown away by everyone’s questions and response! This is my first forum so had no idea what starting a thread would do but I love how everyone’s just expanded on the topic and gave insights based on personal experience.
I’ll have to reply to each one because they are all so good haha.
@xin-li Happy to hear about your win! Fellow over thinking right here haha.
I've found my art has been changing but I low key list artists I admire along the way. Lee White's Dream Portfolio have been very helpful in this! Making a google sheet would be a smart next step. Thank you for sharing your agent hunting strategy! This was very helpful
Agreed on the job experiences. People just want to see you have understanding of the industry, great attitude and work ethics, and the skills to deliver. I've personally found my work life making me a better person and my personal life informing my work skills.
I feel like diplomas and work experiences are like visible badges of honor that assure people you know what your doing but there are a lot of different routes we can take to get the same result. Knowing the pain point of our market is what's at he core maybe
@jdubz Just checked out your work and you are nailing those techniques! Love your robot piece and inktober entries but totally get what your saying about themes.
I'm currently discovering some gaps in my skill set and plan to make series of paintings focused on feelings. If you're game, maybe you could come up with your own exercise and we could keep each other accountable
donnamakesart last edited by donnamakesart
@Heather-Boyd well what theme do you currently find most interesting to draw?
My advice would be to start small and pick concrete topics focused on character/ creature/ prop design. Here you can do the 100 Somethings challenge or MerMay or Kaijune challenges.
If you're bored by single drawings then you can up your exercise into making 3-5 spot illustrations. Here maybe focus on character interactions. the SVSLearn contest topics are great for this! or taking existing stories to illustrate like Red riding Hood, Narnia, Harry Potter etc.
Then level up to 2-3 full illustrations. This could be Book covers for Studio Ghilbi movies or scenes from your own story! You could also try abstract themes like emotions or color or texture in your work.
This is just the way I've been going about my portfolio though so take the advice and run with it. Make it your own. The most important ingredient is:
- You have to find your theme interesting so you can stick to it long period of time
- You have to find it challenging so you are making sure your leveling up as an artist.
If you're enrolled in SVS there's a class on "How to Plan and Complete Big Illustration Projects" they walk you through this much better I feel haha. Hope this helps. Looking forward to seeing your growth!
@donnamakesart Thank you for spending this time to answer. I am planning on doing one work for winter's childhoodweek instead of individual ones (single drawings) to push me like in this October SVS contest work to create multiple characters interacting on the same page. But I don't really want to pursue Instagram contests next year -I find they distract me from pushing myself to do larger and more developed pieces- that I am more pleased with at the end and that are better received by others.
I have 3 "existing stories" that I have muddled over making "themed" work for in full illustrations with text, I may edit the idea and do one with 3-5 spot illustrations and one with a closer look into character design (once I get to that class).
I started an Alice in Wonderland title page this past year, but never got back to it, so it too is on my mind.
Thanks again, I'll return and review what you've said.