Illustration Ltd.’s Harry Lyon-Smith estimates that there are over 1000 illustration commissions each week in the United Kingdom.
With so many illustrators working on so many projects and any given time, it is clear that there is a big demand for representation out there. Illustration agents, like any agent, are the linchpin in the relationship between artists and the commissioning clients.
That might not explain what the agency does, and why freelancers need them but like any agency, there are certain tasks the agents will do to make it far easier for the freelancer excel in their career. As Caroline Thomson of Arena Illustration agency put it, “An agent is your support, quality control, sounding board and mentor.”
So, here are five practical every-day tasks that we can help you with...
Illustrators and animators eventually reach a point of curiosity about agency representation. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, applying to agencies for inclusion on their roster can be a daunting task. At Illustration Ltd, we receive an extremely high volume of requests for representation from artists all around the world, and our success stems from a careful method of selection.
Here’s 7 simple tips to help you stand out from this rather large crowd.
Bright’s Senior Licensing Agent, and newly-appointed director, Hannah Curtis, was honoured to be invited to join the small-but-select panel of judges to decide the award for SAA New Talent in Illustration Associate Prize at the prestigious New Designers Awards, taking place at London’s Business Design Centre this week.
We caught up with Hannah after the ceremony to hear about the exhilarating - but also slightly daunting - process of appraising the assembled new illustration talent on display, and selecting just one winner…
HANNAH CURTIS, NEW DESIGNERS SAA NEW TALENT IN ILLUSTRATION ASSOCIATE PRIZE JUDGE 2018: REPORT
New Designers is renowned for launching the next generation of design talent in the UK. The breadth and wealth of skills is extraordinary and exciting. Graduates are transitioning from the comfort of their degree into the commercial world of design. Specifically looking for illustrators, the appointed SAA agents met to discuss their criteria and how best to sift through the pool of talent.
New Designers Show 2018, Week 2 (4-7 July), inside the Business Design Centre; the SAA judging panel roundtable (literally!); smart stationery, and helpful button badge, for the selection process
We all agreed we were looking for fresh, inspired, new and exciting design. So many trends just keep filtering through, and there is an air of ‘I’ve seen it all before’ despite the creative skill and execution demonstrated. We wanted something new, something that stood out and something that no one else is doing. We were also interested in the commerciality of the work and the illustrator: as Agents we are promoting our illustrators’ work to clients on a daily basis, so they need to be professional, personable, hard working and driven.
Initially scouting alone, the judges came back together to discuss and put their favourites forward. The five creative minds really came together and gelled as a team, helping each other see things in the artists’ portfolios that we might have otherwise missed. We then set off as a team to revisit our shortlist - possibly a slightly terrifying experience for the graduates who saw us coming, mob-handed!
Just a sample of the creativity on display at the show in Week 2
It was clear when we looked again at Ella Rose Brown’s work that we had all fallen in love. Her vibrant use of colour immediately draws you in; inspired by fashion and textiles, she creates beautiful work with an emphasis on detail and a love for culture. Ella was passionate, well-presented and very determined. Her portfolio was vast and, although varied, it was consistently strong. It was clear from the judges’ excitement that we had found our winner!
Ella Rose Brown, Manchester School of Art, proudly displaying her richly deserved SAA New Talent in Illustration Associate Prize
We also had three commendation certificates to distribute, so it was back to the judges’ lounge to decide on our three runners up. Again we wanted to concentrate on originality, fresh ideas and a potential commerciality. George Goodwin from Plymouth College of Art offered a well-executed, fun and expressive style: with huge amounts of detail and bold use of colours, his work really stood out for the judges.
George Goodwin: ‘The Jungle’, excerpt from a crowd-funded illustrated picture and activity book,Don’t Shoot the Long Tailed Tiger.
Maisy Summer Lewin-Sanderson, also from Manchester School of Art, demonstrated a fresh and exciting technique; her mixed-media approach used illustration and collage in sensitive proportions. Maisy’s portfolio showed a strong use of colour, expressive characterisation and a clear narrative.
Maisy Summer Lewin-Sanderson: ‘Night and Day’, spread from a self-directed publication about the bar and music venue of the same name in Manchester’s Northern Quarter
A portfolio that kept drawing us back in, and provided interesting discussion, was Carl Tai Thompson. Carl’s illustrations depict serial killings perpetrated by a murderous alter-ego, ‘Snake Eye’s, stalking India and Pakistan. His interest in culture and colour was obvious, and his conceptual ideas - which were passionately displayed - was inspiring.
Carl Tai Thompson: ‘Yard Sale’, 7-colour screen print.
A HUGE congratulations to all the graduates who took part in this year’s New Designers, and especially to our winner and runners up: you are at the beginning of a very exciting road, one that will offer beautiful opportunities doing what you love - and hopefully excelling at it. Choose the job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life!
ABOUT THE AWARD
New Designers SAA New Talent in Illustration Associate Prize
The SAA Associate Prize is awarded to a graduate specialising in illustration who is judged to have the most fresh and inspiring work within the Visual Communications zone at the show.
The prize will be six months career development by one of the SAA’s member agents which will include mentoring, portfolio advice and promotion through the SAA’s website and social media channels.
Website: New Designers Awards
– Manchester School of Art
– Plymouth College of Art
– Manchester School of Art
– University of Portsmouth
SAA MEMBER AGENT JUDGING PANEL
Carly Gledhill’s artwork style is immediately recognisable for her quirky characters and playful layouts, full of humour and heart. This spring her debut author-illustrated picture book ‘Monty & Sylvester A Tale of Everyday Super Heroes’ published with Orchard Books.
We spoke to Carly on creating her first picture book, and delve deeper into what inspired this imaginative, witty tale, and the loveable duo behind the story, best friends — and unlikely heroes — Monty and Sylvester.
During May half term Lindsey was asked to create some live illustration in response to ‘Imagine a story,’ workshop with storyteller Lucy Walters. The workshop was based on Queen Victoria’s life growing up at Kensington Palace.
Lucy Rose was commissioned by Bonnier Zaffre Publishing to illustrate the cover for Stacey Halls much anticipated new book, The Familiars.