“Hi, I am fresh Illustration graduate and I have trouble finding a job. I have sent copies of my work to multiple illustration agencies, but none of them is responding. I have to pay bills and at the moment I am unemployed.” 

The romantic idea of having an illustration agent is quite misleading. The idyllic notion is usually shattered when an illustrator crosses the threshold dissecting school experience from real life. Why would you need to wait for an agent to promote your work? There are certainly more important things you need to do that can move your career to the next level!

Firstly, let’s summarise illustrator’s reasons for having an agent

1. Illustrators search for agents mainly because they believe that agents will bring them new clients and ensure a constant flow of work.

2. Illustrators search for an agent in order to focus on their art making. One of the jobs of agents is to deal with promotion, contracts, negotiating, invoicing or chasing debtors. Burdensome business work is hence relocated to agent and artist can work freely.


Problems with an agent

Still, there are several problems with illustration agencies that are mostly overlooked. In fact, agencies are usually looking for someone more established. If not established with steady work coming in, then the illustrator agencies need people who have a formed style and who can ensure a profit. Nevertheless, the agency represents a business. It needs people who will make money.


How to work individually? 

Despite the fact that an agent can take a tremendous amount of work off your shoulders, you should make yourself visible and continue working on yourself individually. Social media is inevitably a great tool through which a new illustration or design is spread quickly to masses. Having a website, blog or showcase of your work on other platform is a great way to present your style and portfolio. For instance, this illustrator’s platform allows you to show your work which can be immediately sold. You only need to apply and wait for an approval from the curators.

In contrast with illustration agencies which limit itself to 40 to 50 illustrators, Minty is a growing platform with hundreds of illustrators. A small number of illustrators in agencies usually have similarities in their style thus the agents look for illustrators who fit into their agency’s artistic scheme. However, with hundreds of skillful artists, Minty presents broad artistic diversity without curbing the style of illustrators on the platform.


Two last rules:

Do not work without a contract. Without a contract, there are no set rules about you or your artwork. You should always read it carefully and in case of misunderstanding or missing statements, rearrange it so that working with a client is not onerous and stressful.

Do not work without a licence. Without a licence, the client is open to do anything concerning your artwork. Platforms like Minty offer you an option to keep track of usage rights and manage licensing. As a part of the collaboration process, it also allows you to directly communicate with a client. All information about a project is kept in one place – on a platform.

Don’t think that an agent can make your career happen. After all, you can only depend on yourself. Draw, check licences, check contracts, collaborate with a client personally and present yourself everywhere. Work harder, wait patiently and love what you do.