I wanted to share a little bit of exciting news: I've just been signed by Astound Us and will be starting with them in the next few weeks!
A lot of you know that I found my first agent, Beehive illustration, last fall after applying to them myself, and I know some were really interested in how that was going. I think they're a wonderful agency and lovely people, but it turned out not to be a great match between us. Beehive is a more casual agency, with just a few people and a loose organization which I think would work great for a lot of artists, especially experienced illustrators who have been in the biz for years and mostly want to do their thing and be left alone. For someone like me at the beginning of their career and who doesn't know what they're doing really, I need a bit more guidance and advice and there wasn't any offered at Beehive. The result is that I only got 2 small contracts from them in 10 months or so, far from the volume of work I was hoping. That in itself is not necessarily the problem, as there can be so many different reasons for that. Maybe their clients are not looking for work like mine, maybe there's something lacking in my portfolio, maybe I'm not updating my portfolio often enough, etc. The point though is that they didn't advise me on how to improve my portfolio to get more work or talk to me about where I wanted my career to go, etc.
So I was feeling that it wasn't really what I wanted, and then suddenly I received an opportunity to switch. I was contacted by a lady who looks for artists for agencies. Basically an agency that finds artists for representation by an agency, wrap your head around that for a second that's pretty meta haha! Anyway she said she thought my style would be a good fit for Astound agency and asked if I'd like to send my full portfolio to Astound for final review, through her. I jumped at the chance! Already I could see Astound was a much bigger, more organized agency. Just their review process was so thorough with a 15-page welcome package and detailed instructions. I have just recently heard back that they have chosen to sign me!
I've been very impressed with their on-boarding process so far! They have introduced me to everyone and made sure I knew who to go to for different things, assisted me in getting set up on their artist portal (where they have an impressive system to see current jobs, deadlines, and even ETA on invoices), and assigned me a designated agent. I've been discussing with her about what markets she sees doing well for my portfolio, what interests me, where I see my career going, and will be in touch later with a complete list of recommendations for my portfolio. I know many artists might feel a bit constrained by all this, but for me this level of hand-holding is exactly what I was looking for and very reassuring to see!
Anyway, I just thought I'd share my experience I'm very excited with this new opportunity and feel so blessed!
In case you're interested, the agency that approached me is called "It's me" : https://itsme.biz
They recruit for Astound, Advocate Art, Collaborate, Illo agency and Artistique.
BichonBistro last edited by BichonBistro
@NessIllustration This sounds like a better match, Vanessa! Keep us posted and best wishes
Don’t forget to update your website info
Hi, Vanessa! Wow this sounds so AWESOME!!! were you contacted by a talent agent or something? This is so amazing. It only goes to show how they love your work. I bet Beehive illustration is a great agency but I saw their roster of artists and it’s quite a lot. It must’ve been hard finding work for all of them. Perhaps Astound Us will fit you better. I’m so happy for you. Best Wishes!
@NessIllustration thats awesome! Best of Luck!!
Alicja W last edited by
This is incredible!! Congratulations!!!
danielerossi last edited by
What a great, happy story! Congratulations
TessaW last edited by
Thank you everyone! So far it's looking very good and I'm excited. I'll keep you posted!
@Nyrryl-Cadiz I was contacted by a lady from a recruiting agency called It's Me. From what I understand they are hired by illustration agencies to find artists that could be good matches. I think they do a pre-screening of people so that illustration agencies don't have to look at so many application. Astound still did a portfolio review, but they got back to me like 2 days after I sent my portfolio! It looks like the recruiting agency speeds up the process quite a lot!
@BichonBistro Oh my I forgot to do that! I changed my info on Instagram but forgot my website bio haha. Thanks for the heads up!
@NessIllustration wow! That’s amazing
Aleksey last edited by
@NessIllustration nice im so happy for you. I contacted Beehive they didn’t think my style would be a good fit for them and told me to refer to the agents guide book. Very vague but I’m gonna explore more. Thanks for sharing this I appreciate it.
@Aleksey From Beehive's roster of artists I get a very young, colorful, commercial look (like my art), yours is a bit more... textured, nuanced.
If I were you I'd reach out to the CAT agency http://www.catugeau.com
They told me my style didn't fit theirs haha. Too commercial, they're looking more for people like you to do picture books styles
Gary Wilkinson last edited by
@NessIllustration Great to hear your moving up in the ladder of agencies and I wish you all the best with the new one. It's also great that they can help guide you and give you more personal feedback rather than just being a name on their list. Your work would be great for both books and editorial illustrations so i'll look forward to seeing your name at the bookstore in the near future
Maybe you can't discuss it, but i'd be interested to hear about how much they and beehive take from each commission and whether you consider in hindsight to be worth the work that they had found for you. Also are both agencies fine with you seeking out your own work too rather than being exclusive to them?
@Gary-Wilkinson Sure I can discuss the commission, this is public information and they don't make a secret of it Beehive takes 25% commission, whereas Astound takes a bit more. However if they can get me big contracts that I couldn't get on my own I definitely think it's worth it. Despite the low commission, I only got 2 small jobs from Beehive in about 10 months (less than 800$ each). They were entry-level jobs for educational markets and not necessarily representative of the work they probably get for their regular earners though! But that means I was spending a significant amount of my time hunting down my own contracts and that's not how I wish to spend my time haha... As for contracts, Beehive had very little rules and I could seek out my own work wherever I please. Astound is more structured. That being said, I'm happy to let my agent do the searching lol. She has connections with big publishers and honestly she'll probably have more luck than me!
Julia last edited by
@NessIllustration thanks for sharing your experience. This is a very interesting "behind the scene" for me who is not acquainted with this industry. All the best luck to you!
lenwen last edited by
congratulations @NessIllustration ! I always enjoy reading your posts because they are so informative and you never hesitate to share your experiences. Thank you for doing that!
I actually being contacted by that agency (Itsme) some months ago. But I didn't reply because I couldn't dig more information from their website, so I thought it was a kind of scam
But if I read from your experience seems they are legit. Do you have an idea of how the agency of the agency (Itsme) gets the benefit of finding artists? are they also take a percentage? But I totally understand if you can't discuss it
It's so nice of you to always share your experiences! good luck to you
@lenwen Awwww I'm so sorry to hear that! It does seem weird the first time you hear it lol. I too was wondering "an agency that finds artists for agencies... is it for real?" However when I went to Astound's website and looked at their newly signed artists, all of them had "Signed with the help of Lara from It's Me" written at the bottom. That's how I knew it was real!
I'm not sure what arrangement the illustration agencies have with It's Me, but the only thing I know for certain is that it's not a percentage (meaning they will not take their own cut of my earnings). I can only assume It's Me gets a finder's fee from Astound's own budget.
If you're still interested in getting an agent, definitely reach out to her! When I was talking with her a couple weeks ago she was in a recruiting spree, maybe she's still looking for people! Your work is fabulous, so there's no way she would snub you just because you didn't answer the first time. Go for it!
Update: My "new artist" spotlight feature is out on Astound's website! OMG I'm so excited haha
lenwen last edited by
@NessIllustration thanks Vanessa for your info! really appreciate that. Ah, I am sure I didn't check out that section from Astound's website. That's interesting to know. Thank you for your encouragement too!
I wish you have a great collaboration with Astound!