"I've been approached by Astound Agency.
Are they Legit?"
Yep. It's kind of funny, but every other month I receive a handful of messages asking if Astound Illustration Agency is a legit business. Do not worry, I too had the same question when they approached me 4 years ago and, just as you, I emailed an artist from their library asking the same. Thankfully, Astound turned out to be wonderful. They are new (perhaps 5 years old) and growing strong.
"I'm thinking of
signing up with an illustration agency but I do not know exactly what they do"
An illustration agent will have an updated portfolio of yours at hand and will make sure to present it to as many clients as possible. This varies depending the agency your are trying to join but, for instance, my Agents focus on Publishing. This means whenever they have meetings with publishers in the USA or overseas they represent me and my work in front of the client and, if the client feels my work is a good fit, my agent sends over a project proposal from the publisher hoping I collaborate with them.
Agents also look over your contracts, they fight for your wages to make sure you are properly compensated for the job and they contact clients in your behalf in order to ensure smooth and successful negotiations.
They also welcome story ideas and help you write a story pitch when necessary in order to present to publishers and get you published!
"Oh, agents sound amazing! how much do they charge?
Agents regularly take a percentage of every job you take. Before you join an agency I advice you to ask how big a percentage they take to make sure you are comfortable with the amount against the services they provide. Some agencies take 10-15% and others in the higher end take 30%-40%.
"How did you get online presence? did your agency help you with that as well?"
Nope! Agents do not help you with online presence, so far! This is all on us!
To get an online presence I suggest posting art on social media as much as possible and reaching out to artists you admire as well as equals. Become a friendly face they can talk to! Making friends is all what this is about, an isolated artist never grows so make sure you have plenty of friends or partners.
About Art School
"I attended a talk where you said you dropped out of Art School. Does this mean you do not need a degree to be an artist?"
This is a bit of a complicated question because they are just so many variables, it really depends on your career goals, your preferences, your limitations whether financial or skill sets etc...
If I were to tell you the truth, I do not believe you absolutely need a degree to become an artist. However, I do think you should get an education. I don't think art can be created in a vacuum. I may regret the hundreds of dollars in debt that I have because of art school but I do not regret the experience. I am where I am today because I was able to learn from fellow artists and receive guidance from teachers with far more experience than me.
If Art school is not your thing, this is fine! I actually encourage finding online schools or workshops such as Idea Academy or Animation Collaborative that offer classes by award winning professionals for a fraction of the cost of Art School. However, for artists that are just starting out, I think foundation classes on drawing might be best. Look for live drawing sessions near you at the very least!
About Gallery Shows
I rarely do it but I would LOVE to do join them all! I even dream of having a solo show sometime. Unfortunately I'm too busy to keep up on upcoming shows, perpetually leaving me out of the loop. If you are a gallery curator and would like me to participate on a show don't hesitate to send me a message! Most-likely my answer will be "HECK YES!"
"Do you ever participate in
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