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Should an illustrator (new like me) have an agent...

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OddBerryCreations

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So, graduation is fast approaching and as I am working on building my skills, I'm starting to wonder about work and what's the best way to start getting jobs in. I'm going to keep my full time job for now but I'd like to start putting my skills to use. Should I go agent or solo? Are there fees to get an agent and what does having an agent entail? This is the best place to come for advice and help so...help please!!  :grin3 I also know I have work to do but I'd like to have an idea of what path I should take or at least begin with...

You guys are awesome...just so you know.

 :fireworks
#1 - March 20, 2013, 10:26 AM

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I'll let the professional illustrators respond to most of this, but real agents do not require you to pay them fees. They make their money off of commissions from what they sell for you. Ie--they make money when you do. If an "agent" wants up front fees from you, RUN.
#2 - March 20, 2013, 10:33 AM

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Olmue is correct. You don't pay for an agent or an artist's rep. They earn commissions... between 15%-30%. Art reps usually are in the 30% area. Literary agents are in the 15% area. But some lit agents also represent illustrators... if it's just for book work. An art rep gets you any kind of illustration work out there.... whether it's for an illustrated ad, editorial work, brochure,... to publishing.

Your work would have to be of professional quality for a lit agent or artist rep to represent you,  however. You don't necessarily have to be published, but the work must be professional. It takes time, energy and resources to market your work, so art reps won't just add you to their roster. They are VERY picky (as they should be). So this isn't something someone can choose for themselves to have, but it's certainly a good goal to work towards!

In order to query or submit to an agent or art rep for consideration, you'd need a professional looking website with your best work possible. You should be clear on the direction you want to take with your illustrations and design. An agent / art rep is not like a coach or counselor. You'll have to figure out who you are (as an illustrator or designer) before seeking them out.

But yes,... having an agent or art rep in most cases is very favorable to ones career (if you find the right match!)

Good luck!
#3 - March 20, 2013, 11:35 AM

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Syoon is on point! Great advice!
#4 - April 26, 2013, 02:25 PM

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Getting a good agent is as hard as getting a traditional publishing contract. Most art reps want a client with proven ability. IE a client list and a strong portfolio. So hard as it is to hear, you need to get work before you can get an agent. I have a lot of illustrator friend WITH agents who are still hurting for work, so having an agent is no guarantee either.

The reasons I want an agent have to do with having someone savvy to look over contracts, make contact with closed publishers (those only taking agented submissions) and taking care of general book keeping and tracking royalty payments. All stuff I do already, but would gladly have someone else do so I can have more time to make art.
#5 - April 27, 2013, 10:14 AM
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Getting a good agent is as hard as getting a traditional publishing contract.

I agree, Lyon! Agents only take on clients who create work that is of publishable quality. It takes a lot of practice to get there.

So hard as it is to hear, you need to get work before you can get an agent.

Except I got an agent without having any previous illustration work. But having said that, I also write, and I was a member here (working on craft constantly) for FOUR years before sending out queries (and was working on craft for a year before I found the boards). And I had a full dummy and several other PB mss with sketches to query with. So while I didn't have any publishing credits to my name, I had a body of work that I thought was publishable quality before querying.
#6 - April 27, 2013, 10:50 AM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken

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Except I got an agent without having any previous illustration work.

But you are amazing and totally talented. There is an exception to every rule, but not all of us are lucky enough to fall into that category. ;)
#7 - April 27, 2013, 08:11 PM
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Animal Totem Mandala 2016
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Color and Conjure 2017 (Llewellyn)

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Every agent is different. You'll need to check their web site or the Childrens Writers and Illustrators Market to see if they rep new talent or only desire established.
#8 - April 28, 2013, 12:12 AM

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But you are amazing and totally talented. There is an exception to every rule, but not all of us are lucky enough to fall into that category. ;)

LOL! that's totally not what I meant, though! I meant I spent 5 solid years learning to illustrate before I considered my work good enough to send out. I worked really hard to learn all I could about craft and the industry. and I was patient (even though it was agonizing to be patient!). Patience is an asset in this business.

but really, I think the take away from all our experiences is that getting an agent is not an easy thing. there are different routes to being agented/published, and they all require a lot of hard work and dedication.
#9 - April 28, 2013, 01:34 AM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken

http://cyndimarko.com
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