Charlotte Dowson – Agent
What, for you and NB Illustration Ltd, do you look for in an illustrator before they become represented by you?
Most importantly we look for a style that we think we can get work for that we don’t already represent. We also want artists that show they have a professional attitude, can keep to deadlines and work to briefs.
What would you advise an illustrator to do to get their portfolio commission friendly?
When putting together a portfolio show the work that has been commissioned first, and then the work you like best. Don’t show work in styles that you don’t want to get work in, or that the work is old and you have developed and improved since doing that work.
If you haven’t had any commissioned work, then make yourself briefs by illustrating already existing articles from newspapers, you can then mock them up in the layout to show what your work would look like published. You can do the same with book cover layouts.
Do you still find a certain value within showing clients a physical portfolio, or do you take the digital route?
When we go out to presentations we take our physical portfolios, as people always love seeing nicely printed images. Also print is still the medium that a majority of illustration is seen in, therefore it is nice to show it in that medium. However we do rely on our website and emailing samples of our artist work. I think this is because it is a lot quicker to view images on-line, or via email, and as everyone is so time poor spending that time flicking through physical portfolios seems a little bit of an indulgence.
Are there any trends in illustration this year that you see storming the scene?
I do think that illustration seem to be going way from the digital look to the more hand-crafted look. Although my advice to anyone is not to be trendy, because trends come and go, and often very quickly. Find your style and work at developing it.
Have there been any styles within illustration that have really surprised you, whilst working at NB Illustration Ltd?
When you have been an agent for a long time there is nothing that surprises me.
What, for you, is the best aspect about being an Agent?
I love being an agent for the diversity of creative people we work with, from our illustrators to the people commissioning the illustrations in so many different fields of creativity. It’s really great to get an interesting project that is exciting for the artist to work on, and it is lovely to get feedback from clients and members of the public to give to our artists.