Thursday, March 5, 2009

Illustrators and agents

Saw your blog and thought I'd send you an email to see if you can help. Firstly, I'm a Sydney-based illustrator. Ive been drawing illustrations for 2 magazines for at least 2 years now. One illo per month each mag. I just can't seem to get any further in regards to getting any more work. An artist told me he uses an agent to manage his business. I'm not too sure what you do, but do you know if anyone can help me in regards to hiring an agent? I believe an agent can get work???

Possibly, but not this agent. It's possible some literary agents handle illustration, but I only manage it in the context of children's books - i.e. an author/illustrator and I'm not aware of the intricacies of others' business. It's possible that some art dealers or gallery owners look after illustrators - maybe ask your artist friend about it, or ask whether you can ask his agent if he knows of anyone looking after illustrators.

You may also just have to do some schmoozing yourself - get around and meet some editors or writers on the magazines you want to work for. Publishing - whether it's books or magazines - is full of work that comes out of relationships. Quite often the relationship doesn't result in work for months or years, but that doesn't mean it's not worth having.

2 comments:

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Zara Penney said...

Publishers are always on the lookout for a good illustrator. You really need just to look at the books on the shelf in the children's book section to see what the most common style is. Editors inject a certain amount of personal preference into what they are likely to pick up.
Some people make up postcards and send them to editors of various houses. They keep them on file and refer to them. Others can be rung up and will instruct the illustrator.
Advertising illustrators are probably different. It's a cut-throat business run by people with names like Siimon with two ii's
But book publishers - specially the educational publishers are illustrator hungry. Personally I don't like the way they take the copyrights on illustrations whereas the author keeps a percentage of royalties. Sometimes it works to the advantage of the illustrator who gets a large up front fee and is cashed up and ready, whereas the author has to wait for a period to get royalties. Often not as good as what the illustrator got. But the educational market is a good place to get a foot in the door.
The illustrator/author gets an advantage because they come as a package deal. It looks good and they get higher royalties.
But never piggy back on an author because editors tend to want to be free to accept reject on a as is basis. And the illustrator might be prejudicing their own chances as well.