Agents and Reps

  • SVS OG

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    Art by Tanner Garlick

    Hi everyone, our newest episode just dropped, it's a good one for anyone that's had questions about agents and reps. Click here to listen and to see the show links.

    A lot of people wonder if they should try to go their art career solo or if they really need to find an agent or rep. We go over some of the advantages and disadvantages of having an agent, talk about negotiating, and talk about why agents are important to people wanting to break into the illustration world.

  • Can't wait to listen to this one! Very relevant to me at the moment as I'm in the process of researching and reaching out to reps. Thanks for approaching this topic in your podcast, guys!

  • Awesome podcast! So what do you do if you are not ‘just out of college/art school’? I’m a 51 year old artist who has a successful fine art career and has taught art for 20+ years. I’m building my illustration portfolio and will be launching that area of my art career in the beginning of 2020. I want representation but I do not fit the “newbie” narrative. Any advice? Thanks!

  • Pro

    @mrsdion I don't think agents care very much what age you are as long as your art is good. If anything, the experience is a big plus. I don't think being the fresh newbie is quite the advantage that some people think it is. Getting someone to give you your first chance is always hard, and if you have a long career to in a connected industry to show for yourself, that's a major help. I had a few years of experience in animation before I became a freelance illustrator, and it helped me along. I think if I'd tried to get an agent right out of school without the work experience I would have had a much harder time.

  • Just had to pop on to say I hope you don't get slicker trying to please the guy that doesn't get your vibe. I listen while I'm working or walking and enjoy the rapport and banter that goes on when the slips happen. You don't get that when everything is prepared and tightly written out. Also I have to say this..Will Terry can lumber on as long as he likes, he has a great voice. 😀😁

  • Thank you so much for this episode. I am also in the process of researching agencies, and the advice in this episode is very relevant. I have been building my list of agencies I want to contact, I started the list by looking at the artists I love and who is representing them. But I have not approached any of them yet. I felt that I am not ready - I want to do a few more projects with clients before reaching out to agencies.

    One thing I learned by talking to other artists (that I have not heard from this episode) is that sometimes it takes a long time and a lot of back and forth with an agency before you get signed. An agent may tell you that your work is interesting, but something is lacking, and you need to work on certain things before they will sign you, etc. So do not take a "No" for "No forever".

    One thing I do not fully understand is how do you know if an agency is a literary agency or art agency. I can see Writers House is a literary agency because it says on their website. But many agencies does not say anything on their website. Are Bright Agency and Plum Pudding art agency?

  • @xin-li that’s a good question, I wondered that too. There’s quite a difference in commission fees too, betweeen illustration and literary agencies.
    I think some of the agencies branch out into other areas if they can, but then if you’re signed as an illustrator would your percentage change if you became an author/illustrator?

    There’s separate lists in the writers and artists handbook. I’ve seen a good few illustrators who I follow that are signed with literary agencies instead.

  • @xin-li I think the Bright Agency are for both writers and artists - if you look on their website you can see a page where they list their Authors and Artists.

  • @Rachel-Horne they look like a really good agency

  • @Deborah-Cantlon-Lambson I totally agree with you! I like to paint and listen because I feel like we are all in a studio together. And I love Will's voice as well and also how they always get sidetracked 😂. Feels more real!

  • Pro

    @xin-li Bright and Plum Pudding art illustration agencies mainly, but some of the artists they represent are author-illustrators. Also your work is more than pro enough for getting an agent.. You don't have to have done x amount of client work to get considered or signed. After all they are there to find you work! Requiring you to have client work would be like saying "prove to us that you don't need us". Please don't give yourself obstacles by hesitating and doubting yourself! It would take you 5 minutes to email them your portfolio link, and the worst thing that can happen is you get to try again in a few months. So why not do it now?

    Apart from Plum Pudding and Bright, the CAT agency could also be a nice fit for you. They are very nice and gave me advice when I applied even though they didn't pick me. They said my work is too commercial and they're looking for something,,, more like yours 😉

  • @Deborah-Cantlon-Lambson, agree 100%!

    Keep it authentic gents and let the conversation flow organically. Listening in makes me feel like I’m right there in the studio during the real-time conversation.

  • @NessIllustration thank you so much for the encouragement. I will start sending out emails after the holiday season. I considered the CAT also.

    I am also considering developing myself as an author-illustrator and find a literary agency instead - such as Writers House, but I will have to finish my first dummy book before I can go this route. 😀 (I have been trying, and not succeeding yet).

  • Pro

    @xin-li I'm so glad to hear that ❤ Agents will be recruiting in preparation for the big book fairs in early Spring, and then they will not be looking anymore for several months. Right after the holidays is a great time, don't miss your window! I truly believe you're a thousand times better than myself, and me being signed by an agency already and getting full-time work while you are not is a huge travesty that must be corrected!

    Being an author-illustrator is a wonderful goal 🙂 I do think maybe getting a few books solely as illustrator first would help tremendously to understand picture books before making your own. Going by that logic, finding an agent that works that can do both would be the ideal fit for you. They can get you work and experience while you prepare your dummy!

  • @NessIllustration @xin-li I'm in the middle of querying agents and I got some very kind words from Cat Agency as well. They said I was too similar to some of their other artists but by their response I could tell that they had actually spent time looking through my work and Chris took the time to give me a few tips. It's so nice that some agencies still take the time to review and respond to illustrators like that (even when it's a no).

  • @NessIllustration Thank you so much for the insight on the recruiting window. I will give a shot :-). I think your work is lovely and super cute. We have a different approach and personality in making art and it is really hard to compare :-).

    @StudioLooong thank you so much for sharing your experience. Really interesting hearing your story. I hope you land in an agency you are happy with soon :-).

  • Pro

    @StudioLooong Yessss Chris is so nice! She spent some time giving me advice when she really didn't have to 🙂 She told me my style was too clean and commercial for them but listed some industries where my art would work very well. It's thanks to her I started focusing on board books, activity/toys and education publications. She's the nicest!

  • Does anyone here have an agent or an agency they like or recommend? I thiink my biggest question was how do I know if this agency is legit or reputable? Do you just do google searches for agencies? Is there a list somewhere?

  • @carlianne here are some methods I use:

    • if you want to work in trade picture books, Go to publishers weekly acquisitions report. They list the author, authors agent, illustrator, illustrators agent, and publisher which is extremely useful for finding agents that are making book deals with the publishers you want to work with or in genres you want to work in.

    • Look at your favorite illustrators website and see if you can figure out who they are repped by (sometimes you can’t) you could also try messaging them and asking if they have representation and with who.

    • If the agency is asking for a monthly fee or application/sign up fee, don’t take the deal. The agent should only make money when you make money.

  • @StudioLooong thank you so much!!!

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