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do illustrators need agents?

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SmallDairy77

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Hi all, I'm setting out to be an illustrator and author/illustrator and have a couple questions. 

If I send postcards to traditional publishing houses and just so happen to be asked to illustrate a project, will I need an agent to handle the contract?  Are illustration contracts simpler than author/illustrator contracts?  And if I did get an agent for just art representation, would I have to get a different agent in the future if wanted to do some projects where I do both the writing and the illustrating? 

I have written and illustrated an unpublished picture book, dummy made and ready to go.  I would like to submit it now, but I have no agent and not much of a platform (some platform as a fine artist).  Some have advised me to seek some picture book illustration commissions before submitting my own project to build my name up.  Others think I should just start seeking an agent immediately and see what happens. 

Does anyone have some insight on all this stuff?  Would very much appreciate! 
#1 - March 03, 2011, 02:49 PM

Illustrators do have a slightly easier " in" to the closed publishing houses through postcards. (they are closed to dummies)  BUT your work has to really shine on that postcard (they get hundreds) and you need a website to direct the ad/editor back to. So, number one thing for you to do is build a website. It can be as simple as setting up an account through flicker or blogger but an ad (art director) will want to see proof of your skills. There are several great tips on what you need to include in your portfolio on the web, just google portfolio tips for illustrators.  (The main things are children, animals, multiple images of one character in different scenes with different emotions. )

 A contract is just as inclusive for the illustrator as for a writer  and you will need to study it carefully and do research to see what terms are fair or get an agent. Most illustrator agents also do book contract work. It really depends on how you want to run your career. Do you want to do educational work as well as trade book?

I would advice you to join SCBWI, and browse other illustrator and illustrator agents websites. Harold Underdown has a great site called the purple crayon with lots of great tips for beginners too. Research until you find something or someone's work you click with or feel has something in common with yours.

Good Luck and Congrats on taking the first steps!  :horse:
#2 - March 03, 2011, 04:41 PM
"Maya was Grumpy"
Flashlight Press 
May 2013.
www.pippinmathur.com

You don't NEED an agent or rep, but I highly advise you to. Or get someone like an attorney to advise on a book contract. Apparently, contracts are a-changin right now (this is why I recommend some kind of professional contract advice) with all this ebook, app stuff etc.. Plus you may have rights you don't even know about. Illustration sometimes can lend itself to other venues outside of a book.


Most publishers do look at dummies. Send to the art depts. They will pass it around if they like it and know who to show it to.
(I know that Disney/Hyperion does not for legal reasons, Beach Lane does not, Roaring Brook does not and maybe a few others.) But otherwise... how the heck do they get new talent?

Get your art out there like CPM says... put up a website and send out postcards when you have good ones.





#3 - March 04, 2011, 04:47 AM
What's for pudding, Mimmy?

Illustration website:

http://www.puddintanesbrain.com

www.puddersputter.blogspot.com

Double W Illustrations
Member In Memoriam
Poster Plus
Hi all, I'm setting out to be an illustrator and author/illustrator and have a couple questions. 

If I send postcards to traditional publishing houses and just so happen to be asked to illustrate a project, will I need an agent to handle the contract? 

No, but it is advised that you do a great deal of research about the terminology that will appear in the contract. The internet is wonderful and there are resources out there that will walk you through red flags and other things to be wary of in contracts. I would recommend you seek out the Graphic Artist Guild Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines.
 
http://www.amazon.com/Graphic-Artists-Handbook-Pricing-Guidelines/dp/0932102158/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1299270558&sr=1-1

It will walk you through Prices and Contract structure for most Art related work. It was also mentioned before to join SCBWI.

https://www.scbwi.org/

They also have information related specifically to Childrens's Book Contract for Authors, Illustrators and Authors/Illustrators.
Harold Underdown's site was mentioned as well. It is a great introduction to many questions regarding the industry and the do's and don't's associated with it. Most definitely worth checking out and I believe Mr. Underdown himself frequents these forums. You may run into him.

http://www.underdown.org/

Quote
Are illustration contracts simpler than author/illustrator contracts? 

No, just different. The rights that are normally negotiated in an Illustrator contract aren't the same as the one's negotiated in an Author contract. Some elements will be similar or the same like Royalties. But the primary purpose of the contracts will be different. An Author/Illustrator Contract will, in most instances, be a combination of the two. If you plan on being both, it's smart to be familiar with the terms that can potentially appear in both contracts.

Quote
And if I did get an agent for just art representation, would I have to get a different agent in the future if wanted to do some projects where I do both the writing and the illustrating? 


If the agent you get solely represents Artists and not Writers then yes. All Agents/Reps are different. You will need to find one that Reps Illustrator/Authors. To my knowledge it is mostly Literary Agents that represent Writers/Illustrators. Meaning their clientelle are primarily Writers first, Illustrators second. They focus on selling manuscripts over artwork. If you are primarily seeking an Illustration Rep/Agent then you may have a harder time finding one that reps Illustrators/Authors. But they do exist just in smaller numbers. Again SCBWI would be a great resource to find listings for the type of agent you want. You could also pick up, Children's Writer and Illustrator's Market Book. It comes out yearly and has listings for Reps who give details on who they are interested in Repping.

http://www.amazon.com/2011-Childrens-Writers-Illustrators-Market/dp/1582979529/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1299271924&sr=1-1

Quote
I have written and illustrated an unpublished picture book, dummy made and ready to go.  I would like to submit it now, but I have no agent and not much of a platform (some platform as a fine artist).  Some have advised me to seek some picture book illustration commissions before submitting my own project to build my name up.  Others think I should just start seeking an agent immediately and see what happens.
Does anyone have some insight on all this stuff?  Would very much appreciate! 

In all honesty, as you can see from the information above, you have a LOT more research to do. A lot more to learn before you send your book to anybody! At the very least so that you can protect yourself and your idea. Have you copyrighted it? I know you say that your friends say go for it but have you had other writers review your work? Other artists? Are you in any crit groups? It's always good to get input from other who are familiar with the market you are selling to and the standards it has. How many publishers have you researched to see what their submission guidelines are in regards to Author/Illustrator submissions? They can vary greatly from one publisher to the next!

You may already know this, but usually in Writer/Illustrator situations it's rare that the publisher wants the individual to perform both roles. They may love your script but want another artist to render the story. Or vice versa. This is fairly common. So be prepared for that as well.

I know you are anxious and excited to get your work out there, but sometimes it's best to be patient and learn all you can before you start sending your hard work out to the public. Consider sending your dummie to publishers as the test. And all of the above questions and concerns you have are the homework you need to do to pass the test. What kind of grade do you think you'll get without doing the homework? I say take your time, study the material, do your homework until you know it back and forth before you go and take your test. It won't guarantee an "A" but it's practically the only way you would ever get one.

Also, what is your website and portfolio? I'm anxious to check out what your work looks like!

Something else, SCBWI has conferences across the country throughout the year as well as established mini groups in many cities and states. The conferences usually offer the opportunity to have your work reviewed by Agents, Editors and Other Artists in workshops. This could give you a great in to the industry and allow you some great face time with an actual agent, editor or publisher. Something you should definitely consider. Great networking opportunity and a great way to make new friends amongst your peers in the Childrens Market.

Good luck!
Wilson W
#4 - March 04, 2011, 01:30 PM

Winning Wisdom from Wilson! :)
#5 - March 05, 2011, 04:18 AM
What's for pudding, Mimmy?

Illustration website:

http://www.puddintanesbrain.com

www.puddersputter.blogspot.com

SmallDairy77

Guest
Holy cats!  Thanks so much for all the info. everybody!  I have joined SCBWI, just haven't tapped into it much yet.  I did get a portfolio (not complete- have some more stuff to scan/photograph, but its a start) together and put up today, actually!  Hope I did it right- I'm not espescially computer savy, but I got the files to be 72dpi, yet sized big enough to see.  Would much rather be making art or chasing cows, but the net stuff is important business too.  For those of you who are curious:  https://www.scbwi.org/Illustrators-Gallery.aspx?i=2961600280252672   If the link doesn't work, look for Sadie Allen in the illustrator gallery index.  A blog type thing or website is my next on my agenda, amid all my research. 

I have a couple of the books listed and am going through them trying to get a sense of who and what will work for what I want to do.  Can't wait to get ahold of the other books and am already checking out all the links you all put up!  This field is very complicated I think! 

#6 - March 05, 2011, 02:58 PM

Double W Illustrations
Member In Memoriam
Poster Plus
Winning Wisdom from Wilson! :)

Thanks Bartb! :)
#7 - March 05, 2011, 05:31 PM

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