I recently did a Q&A via SKYPE at the very prestigious Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). I spoke to two different classes, one a Portfolio Class and the other a Self-Promotion Class. Below is the manuscript of the conversation and a photo of the class.
SCAD: How has illustration changed in the 14 years you’ve been a rep?
Anna: Quite a bit, when I started we had a website back in 1996 but I don’t think anyone ever visited it. Most of our clients were not on line either. There have been quite a few trends as well that have come and gone. Its a lot like the fashion industry. Young illustrators should realize that you can be hot at one minute then not the next. This is where the need to constantly work on your style and evolve with the times.
SCAD: How has the economy affected AGM? Have you seen a slow-down in the amount of work you get?
Anna: What has really affected us is the drop in value of the us dollar. We are lucky and always busy. We never stop promoting our artists work.
SCAD: How many jobs do you handle, on average, in a week?
Anna: Average? 50 or so
SCAD: How has the rise of stock art affected the industry?
Anna: Not as much as it will, if illustrators choose to sell their work to them. To me stock is a dirty word and I would prefer to focus on commissioned work rather than give any more time to stock. Its has the potential to really kill the industry and we have to take a stand right now.
SCAD: Do you recommend that we go to NY to try to show our portfolios?
Anna: 100% as hard as it might be, the experience is very valuable.
SCAD: What do you look for in an illustrator’s portfolio?
Anna: I like to see a book that is well organized and thought out. I compare a portfolio to music, there should be a clear flow of the images and there should be some kind of visual rhythm. The book should be clean, not too many images, 14 or so gives me a good idea of the work.
SCAD: What do you predict will be the next big trend in illustration?
Anna: I really have no idea, that would be pretty good if I could. Street art seems to be making some waves these days. Graffiti. Work out of Brazil. Just a feeling but hey, could be wrong.
SCAD: Does is matter where I live (as an illustrator)?
Anna: Not one bit! As long as you can connect to the internet that is.
SCAD: What are the challenges of working internationally?
Anna: Not being able to speak more languages.
SCAD: How careful do I have to be about posting my work on-line?
Anna: Very and make sure to read the fine print ( Face Book)
SCAD: How did you get started as an illustration rep?
Anna: I was out of work after over 10 years in advertising. I took a sabbatical and became a G.O. At club med. Someone I use to hire asked me to join his firm. I stayed there for about a year and a half and knew that I would be better off on my own. We have very different work ethics.
SCAD: What are your thoughts on competitions? They are expensive to participate in. Is it worth it?
Anna: I always liked competitions. Its a great way to be seen if your work is selected. I think its well worth it. I would just be selective as to which contests you enter.
SCAD: What advice to you have for us as we are about to graduate and try our hand at illustration?
Anna: Have fun, do what you love, try to get a rep if you can. Have a back up plan. Don’t just focus on commercial illustration. There is much to do if you are a creative person.
SCAD: Do you think an illustrator has to have a rep?
Anna: No and you can read more about that question in my blog. annagoodson.wordpress.com
SCAD: What are the most exciting jobs your illustrators are working on right now?
Anna: We did all the illustrations for the NEW I LOVE NEW YORK campaign, we’ve recently done all the illustrations for the world wide advertising campaign for IBM. We have an ad campaign up in Dubai for a shopping center. There is really lots of great stuff going on at AGM. If you check out our news section, you can see for yourselves.
SCAD: What is the illustration market like in Canada?
Anna: Great. Lots of work coming out of here. There are some really great designers that we work with across Canada in advertising as well as Editorial and Publishing.