February 23, 2009

When Is It Time To Get An Agent?

There's a query on a lot of young artist's minds. We hear it several times a year, so I'd like to share my most recent response here for anyone else who might be wondering... when is it time to get an agent?

Q: "I have a pretty good client list and am fairly busy. So I wonder—could the right agent help me grow my business?"

A: It's a good question. The main benefits to having an agent are: exposure to a broader network of potential clients, shared advertising costs, amped negotiation, a raised profile (with the right group), and ideally less paperwork to hassle with.

Broader Exposure
An artist with an existing client list of mainly editorial clients may choose to work with an agent to get his work into different areas, such as publishing or advertising. A good agent has many existing relationships in these fields. This works to an artist's benefit assuming the agent lets the artist keep his own house accounts (some don't, but it never made sense to me to take money from jobs I didn't help an artist get).

Shared Advertising
By shared advertising, I mean that you would split your advertising costs with the agent. In addition, an agent usually has access to reduced advertising costs due to their group buys. This comes in very handy for the more prohibitively expensive promotional ventures like sourcebooks, mass mailings, etc.

An agent's main strength should be an ability to negotiate higher fees, better rights and more protection for his or her artists. An agent can provide a buffer between artist and client if problems should occur. Agents should know exactly how much to value any job that comes along, and be able keep the rights of the artist intact.

Raised Profile
The best agents tend to have a certain flavor to their roster. Smart clients know this and will look to a particular agent for a specific need. So, look for an agent whose sensibilities match yours, and you can benefit from being a part of a group of peers that increases your visibility.

Less Paperwork
Agents deal with estimates, invoices and contracts on a daily basis. They keep track of paperwork and monitor payments, often spending a lot of time collecting money from clients. In addition they manage limited usage rights that may be up for renewal, and invoice for them when necessary.

So, long story short, if you think your work is right for expansion into other markets, are overwhelmed with paperwork, could benefit from more cost effective promotions, or are intimidated by negotiating on your own behalf, finding an agent may be the right way to go.

Is there anything I've left out? Feel free to leave me a comment.

Illustration by Murray Kimber

February 21, 2009

Baby Boomers Warming To Social Media

Via ReadWriteWeb: How to Reach Baby Boomers with Social Media. "A new report from Forrester Research revealed some surprising information: apparently Baby Boomers aren't exactly the technology Luddites that people think they are. In fact, more than 60 percent of those in this generational group actively consume socially created content like blogs, videos, podcasts, and forums. What's more, the percentage of those participating is on the rise."

February 20, 2009

Friday Portrait: Shel Silverstein by David Johnson

Shel Silverstein was a renaissance man—a screenwriter, composer, and illustrator. My generation remembers him as the author of several books for children, including A Light in the Attic, The Giving Tree, and Where the Sidewalk Ends.

Here's Shel as interpreted by David Johnson.

February 13, 2009

NYC Sculpture Tour on Google Maps

Via MUG (Manhattan Users Guide), Tom Otterness muses on public sculpture in NYC, the sites of which are outlined on this Google Map.

Valentine's Day by Tim Bower

New flip-book: Valentine's Day by Tim Bower. Be sure to click on the book below and view it at full screen for maximum effect. Happy Valentine's Day everyone.

February 5, 2009

Artists Party @ Drom

Richard Solomon and his artists will be celebrating another year of award-winning art and Grand Scale projects tonight at Drom, in New York City (at 85 Avenue A between 5th and 6th.) Entertainment will be provided by singer DK Dyson, whose performance starts at 10 pm. Tickets are $15.00 for General Admission.

DK Dyson (Vocalist / Composer) travels comfortably through music categories such as Jazz, R&B, Pop, Rock and World Music, defying boundaries. She co-led the Sony / Epic band EYE & I, known for vibrant live shows, with DK as its focal point. The group broke down racial and musical stereotypes with a sound that married heavy Rock and Funk with Jazz smarts. The recording of EYE & I on Epic Records was released to great critical acclaim and Dyson was nominated by the NY Music Awards as Best New Female Vocalist.

February 2, 2009

2009-02-03 03:46:00


Variety Pack of prints (NON-ARCHIVAL) now available for sale in the "Purchase" section.

Original Process work for "Curse Tree" illustration, originally created for Virginia Living magazine, now available for sale in the "Purchase" section.

Original Process work for "Kirk Hammett" portrait, originally created for Rolling Stone, now available for sale in the "Purchase" section.

Award for Gutierrez's "Papa and Me"

Congratulations to Rudy Gutierrez who recently won a Pura Belpré Honor Award for Papa and Me (written by Arthur Dorros). The honor is given to Latino authors and illustrators whose work best portrays, affirms and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in children's books.