Illustrators and Agents
As an illustrator, the idea of obtaining work solely through my own connections is seemingly frightful. However, this is where an agent can help to alleviate those fears. Illustrators interested in licensing their work do not necessarily need an agent to succeed. Yet, having an agent represent you can be very helpful in managing the business side of licensing, gaining clients, and providing a community support system among the artists and agent. The best agent/artist relationships are mutually beneficial and the agent displays a strong desire to help artists push their boundaries and grow in their career.
Lilla Rogers created the Lilla Rogers Studio with these mentorship passions in mind. She graduated with a fine art degree and an illustration degree and was working as a successful full-time illustrator before turning her side job of teaching classes in her studio into running her own licensing agency. The agency has increasingly become more popular and obtaining artist representation is competitive but if you are able to become part of the group, it would be an invaluable, career-changing experience.
Lilla and her staff have a talent for finding trends in the industries. They have numerous connections to the top art directors in various industries and possess a deep knowledge of art the sells. They offer multiple online classes and free online resources. Due to the success of LRS, there are so many artists asking for representation that she created the Global Talent Search. This competitive search allows Lilla and her staff to see how the artists respond to assignments and the winners receive representation from the agency as well as licenses and commissions with top art directors.
While each artist that is represented by LRS have different styles, they are all somewhat similar in that they share common characteristics that LRS looks for when searching for new talent. Most of the work is playful, flat, colorful, they often include humor, hand-lettering, nature/florals, patterns and they all have a charming hand-done quality to them. Three artists that stuck out to me in the group were Mike Lowery, Carolyn Gavin, and Helen Dardik. Below, I explain my observations after taking a closer at these artists to dissect what LRS is looking for in their artists.
What I love about Mike’s work is the vintage colors, hand-lettering, and simple line drawings. He’s worked on many children’s book projects and his personal work had gained him a lot of attention as well. He documents his daily experiences as he travels to different countries through simple line drawings and hand lettering. These pages are fun to look at and read and make you feel like you’re traveling with him. Another one of his popular projects is random illustrated facts. This project is a playful take on numerous interesting, lesser-known facts. It makes sense that LRS would represent Mike. I think the agency is drawn to the playful content and childlike quality of his work and its ability to appeal to both children and adults.
Carolyn Gavin’s colorful painterly florals and hand-lettering fit right in the tastes of LRS and can be licensed for use on a variety of products. The ability to create versatile illustrations is an important quality that LRS would look for in their artists. In addition to the florals, she creates a lot of patterns in her sketchbooks and posts them often on Instagram. Similar to Mike, her personal projects gained her a following on Instagram which helped bring attention to her work in addition to the client list LRS provides for her. LRS places on importance on the development of great personal work by providing art direction and trend reports and this shows through the personal work of the artists.
What stuck out to me about Helen’s body of work is that her color palettes are diverse. One group of her work is sophisticated, light, almost pastel colors on off-white backgrounds, while another group is bright, saturated, bold colors on dark backgrounds. This shows her ability to create work for multiple audiences while still working in a similar, recognizable style. The lighter works probably mostly appeal to an older audience while the brighter works appeal to a younger audience. This is a marketable skill to have and will be mutually beneficial for the artist and agent.
Is Lilla Rogers the Agent for You?
Finding the right agent can seem a daunting task but making sure you jive with the agent and fit in with the style of the other artists, while still bringing something new to the table are all important things to consider. While LRS focuses on licensing they also accept commissions for editorial, graphic design, advertising, and corporate clients. So there are plenty of opportunities available to the artists they represent. Whether you decide to work with an agent or not, what is most important is that you find the situation that fits your career the best.