How to Grab the Attention of an Art Rep
Thomas James | Escape from Illustration Island
In your search for an Art Rep, it is important to remember that Art Reps are searching for the same things that Art Directors seek out when hiring an Illustrator for their next project. This is because agents are in the business of connecting their artists with the right clients, which requires a solid understanding of the industry and a history of building lasting relationships with Art Directors and Editors in their area of focus.
The good news is that this means that you are able to apply the same marketing techniques with art reps as you would with potential clients, because you can understand their needs.
Ultimately, representatives need to collaborate with artists whose work is marketable to the pool of contacts within their area of specialty. Whether or not they appreciate your art on a personal level, they need to be able to secure projects for their Illustrators in order to make a living, and one way that they accomplish this task is to be selective about the artists they work with.
In order to be marketable, you need to not only have a healthy dose of talent and skill, but also a style and approach that is relevant to your target market. If you possess these qualities, then you’re off to a good start, both with Art Reps and Art Directors. Ideally, you’ve already been heading in this type of direction in your efforts to seek out and acquire more work on your own.
It always makes you more attractive as an artist if you can show a consistent, clearly-defined voice. Just like clients, art reps need to know what to expect from you if you are assigned to a project. Otherwise, they’ll have nothing to promote. Consistency also means making your overall style compatible to your target market. You won’t want to include an image of a ghoulish zombie in a portfolio geared towards Children’s Education Illustration, for example.
In addition to marketability and consistency, art reps want to see that you know how to work with clients, how to meet deadlines, how to deliver finished artwork, and all other tasks that are involved with a typical Illustration project.
You can show your experience through your About page, client history, testimonials, tearsheets, and other forms of proof. Again, these should all be elements of your portfolio anyway. See more portfolio examples here.
Even if all the above requirements are met, it is still vitally important that you and your art rep are a good fit for each other, both personally and professionally. You don’t have to be best friends forever, but you need to be able to share trust, respect, and a certain level of camaraderie in order to work together effectively. After all, you are both seeking a mutually beneficial relationship, and the ability to understand each other and work together well will help to make that happen.
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