Should an Illustrator have an Agent represent him/her?

To have or not to have, that is the question!

I am often asked this question and to be absolutely honest, I don’t think that every illustrator should have one. Its like marriage, it’s not for everyone. But if you are an artist who has been working in the industry for a while or someone just starting out, then having a rep might be the right thing for you. It is important to fully understand what an Agent or Rep does in order to really know if you need one or not.

At AGM we handle all the business end of the business, allowing our illustrators to concentrate solely on creating and illustrating. We do all the business development, read and negotiate all contracts that come in, create, produce and distribute group promotions and promote their work via our highly visited website. AGM also does quite a bit of PR for the artists that we represent as well as taking care of all the accounts payables and receivables. Like I said, basically we do everything but the illustrations themselves. Thank god we leave that to the real experts, our illustrators.

At Anna Goodson Illustration Agency we have a certain way of working that may not be for everyone but it works for us and the artists we represent. Again, make sure you really want one and look around to find the best one that you think would fit with your personality and style.

Here are a few pointers what TO DO AND WHAT NOT TO DO when approaching an Agent or Rep.

  1. Never send an email that is address to: To whom it may concern. Make sure you know the agency you are approaching. Do some homework and find out all you can about them and get the name of the person in charge or who is responsible for looking at work.
  2. Try not to email to a list of people at a time, putting all their emails as cc. That is what the bcc is for and I hate to see the list of people at the top who have all received the same email.
  3. Also, whenever I get emails that is address to: Dear Sir/Madame I usually just throw it in the trash.
  4. I would suggest that you try to be brief and to the point. No point going on and on.
  5. Don’t send too many high rez images at once. I prefer low rez myself.
  6. Try and refrain from sending several emails in a row with many different images. This just annoys us and usually ends up in the trash as well.
  7. Try not to ask for advice when what you really want is to be represented. I get so many emails asking me for my advice then asking me if I would take them on. We reps are usually very busy or at least we should be trying to get work for the artist that we already represent.
  8. If you have questions about the industry then I suggest you spend some good quality time researching these questions on the web. There are so many great websites out there with so much information for illustrators just starting out. Another great thing to do would be to join an association in your country. They are great place to get advice and are filled with several knowledgeable professionals.
  9. If you are lucky enough to get in with a good Agent or Rep, I suggest that you treat this relationship like any other important relationship in your life. The more you put in the more you will get out. Also always keep the lines of communication open. Respect and loyalty in my mind is the key.
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19 thoughts on “Should an Illustrator have an Agent represent him/her?

  1. I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Peter Quinn

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  2. dear Anna Goodson Management,
    i appreciate your open words very much, as an art director and illustrator myself, i know how important theses advices are. and i hope more people in our business would follow them.
    so thank your very much
    yours sincerly
    gabriele

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  3. Great article Anna! Those pointers are great, just common sense and respect.
    Chocolate Log Industries would love to have rep so we can spend more time creating exciting work, maybe when we have time we’ll get around to it 😉

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  4. I totally agree with your pointers 🙂
    Rep is not for everyone, when I found AGM it was a great achievement, a really important moment that repayed all my efforts.
    But at the same time I realized that a new type of work was about to begin, and it was fondamental to start a sound relationship mith my Agent in order to have better results from my art.

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  5. Pingback: How to get started as a professional Illustrator « Anna Goodson

  6. Thank you so much for this REALLY useful article. As a graduating illustrator this is the kind of thing I could’ve done with being tought but finding you through LittleChimpSociety is just as good 🙂

    Plenty of food for thought. You may even get an email from me when I have had the chance to research your site.

    Thanks again!

    Phill Evans

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  7. Hi Mrs Goodson,

    I just wanted to say thank you for “skyping” with my school (SCAD) this week, you had a lot of really great insight and advice to give (:

    Thank you,

    April

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  8. wow,great information on this article.My name is Jenine and Im an artist new in this business.For a while now I have been looking for answers to my questions,on needing an agent or doing it solo.My one big question is,if your disabled and really dont go out much,but you have lots of portfolios of your work,How do you get people,esppecially agents to see your work.I’ve been at this since 2000.It so had,especially when you have a disability.
    please if you can help,would be greatly appreciated
    sincerly,
    Jenine

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    • hi jenine,
      thanks for your comments and your questions.
      i don’t think you should have any trouble getting your work seen even if you are disabled.
      today with the internet, its much easier and you don’t even have to go out.
      if you don’t already have a website then you might think of getting on done.
      you could also showcase your work on various websites that cater to illustrators such as hireanillustrator.com or altpick or others out there.
      good luck to you.
      anna g.

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    • That would entirely depend of what your agreement is with your agent.
      If I were representing you, the answer would be no.
      There may be different reasons why the client contacted you directly and not your agent but it is your responsibility to let your agent know when that occures.
      If you plant to go out and get your own clients then maybe there is no need for you to have an agent in the first place.

      Like

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