I’m a recent illustration graduate and I’m finding it difficult to get work. I’ve also sent letters to illustration agencies hoping that I’ll be picked up, but so far it’s not been going very well. I’m on the verge of giving up – I have bills to pay and I can’t find full time work – how can I get into an illustration agency?
That’s one of the many questions that I’ve been getting lately. Work is hard to find, and illustrators are aplenty. So why not do it in reverse right? Find an agency and perhaps some work will filter down to them in the process instead. Wrong.
There’s a lot of problems in this one little question, and your belief that being a part of an illustration agency isn’t going to make it any better. I get it – the fact that you have someone going out and getting work on your behalf is a marvelous idea. Someone who does the marketing for you, and someone who makes sure you get paid on time. But there’s only so many illustration agencies out there, and there are even more illustrators clamoring to get onto their list.
What people often don’t realize is that illustration agencies would rather take on someone who’s more established. That is to say that they have proof that the illustrators are in it for the long haul – that they’re not going to run away and do something else, because the agency would have invested too much in their growth. But on the flipside, when you’re more established, you might not need an agent anymore to pull in work (I can already get clients on my own, so why should I hire an agency and split the fee?) It’s a catch-22.
We’re not going into more specific details too – like how agencies take anywhere from 25% to 45% of your fee (and no, you cannot bitch about this, because it’s a choice you’ve made and agents need to eat too), whether or not they’ll help you pay for your marketing, postcards, competitions, annuals, etc. What I’m more concerned about is how this unhealthy dependency on getting picked by a small segment is overriding illustrators out there from doing the real work that needs to be done.
Drawing. Illustrating. Communicating. Marketing. But most of all, choosing yourself.
So stop depending on others to give you work – go out there and hustle. And not just any sort of hustling, mind you. You need to go in there with the right mindset and be prepared.
How? I’ll show you in the next few weeks. To not make sure you don’t miss out, click here to subscribe to our weekly newsletter!
SHARE WITH US:
I’d love to hear your experiences – have you ever tried seeking out an illustration agency to take you on? Whether you were successful or not – what did you learn from it all? Let’s talk about it in the comments below – and if you have more advice for Mark, do share your thoughts too!