SCBWI Exclusive with... Nicole Tugeau, Agent

Nicole Tugeau is the agent-owner behind the Tugeau 2 Art & Literary Agency, a boutique agency specific to children's publishing and representing nearly 100 talented authors and illustrators. The "T2" Agency, as it's known, celebrated 20 years in business in 2023! Nicole is ecstatic about her ever-growing Agency and committed to working hard and ethically for the network of bestselling and award-winning authors and illustrators that surround her. What Nicole enjoys most about being an Agent is the partnership-making, the friendships and, of course, the success stories. Nicole is a regular contributor to SCBWI and a number of colleges and universities that support the visual arts and the children's publishing industry. She is committed to the community of children's agents, too, and helped to found an independent agent network, KidLitAgents, that emails and zooms regularly to discuss industry, business and contractual topics. Nicole is a 200-hour certified yoga instructor and enjoys teaching at her local gym. She also loves traveling with her artist husband, Jeremy, and their three teenagers, Ruby, George and Harry. When she's not working at making T2 the best agency in the world, you can find Nicole at the grocery story, driving the soccer carpool, or working in the garden.


What was your path to becoming an agent? 

I married an artist! That's really the long and short of it. Jeremy's mom, Christina Tugeau, introduced us to the industry, and we were hooked. Twenty years ago, I was finishing a masters in creative writing, and I knew that I wanted to have a family and work from home. And not just any job. I wanted to be available to my children throughout their early childhood experience. I was able to slowly learn and grow the business largely on my own and still take active roles in nursery school co-ops, PTAs, boards and field trips. I worked for many years almost exclusively in educational publishing, but moved into trade publishing when most of that educational work went overseas. And now I'm exactly where I belong. I'm actively growing the Agency in high-trade publishing, training new agents, traveling for work, and connecting with the industry with more energy than ever.  


What does a portfolio need to have to make you fight to represent the illustrator? 

I love artists who demonstrate, through their portfolio, a high level of capability for their medium. Real pros. Artists who can draw. Who can see light and texture and bring those elements to the page. Specificity to the children's industry is just as important. Strong, strong characters, narrative voice, and stylistic consistency that pushes children's publishing forward. No pressure!  


Once you sign a client, what can they expect working with you? 

Acclimating a new artist is a lot of work and a lot of communication and a lot of getting to know each other in that first year. So new clients come ready to participate, partner, grow and share. I encourage them to participate in our monthly prompts to develop a fan base and name recognition. Our whole Team meets quarterly for Agency Zooms, so new clients can expect to feel supported in their craft and journey. 


Can you tell us a bit about the agents who are part of your agency and what they might be interested in teaching at a conference? 

Yes! The T2 Agency is home to three Associate Agents: Lillian Mazeika, Ethan Long and Heather Long.  


Lillian Mazeika has over three years experience working for the T2 Agency and two years experience as a T2 Agent managing her own Team. Areas of interest for conference are: 

  • Improving your portfolio, What do you need in a portfolio, and what can be left out? 


  • Tips for working artists: professionalism, expectations and finding joy as a freelancer. 


  • Writing authentic stories by way of LGBT+ and mental health.  


Ethan and Heather Long joined the Agency in 2022, they are a power duo as a husband and wife team. In addition to being an agent, Ethan is a long-time children's author/illustrator and continues to work on his own personal projects. Heather is a published children's author. In a conference setting, they would love to give attendees/artists insight into the different stages of writing a story, how to simplify the process to keep the work spontaneous, and what to expect when submitting their work to Editors. 

SCBWI members can submit images for the month of January. Be sure to put SCBWI newsletter in the subject line.