Joe Waldron – ‘BMW Ryder Cup’
With so many different illustration agencies about, how is Jelly London a unique as an agency?
Jelly was conceived out of Three Blind Mice. Our sister agency, which specialises in pre-production and visualising, so right from the beginning the ethos of making things happen in tandem with the general craziness and intensity of the Ad business was ingrained. 8 years later and our roster of talent is super strong and we’re more collaborative than ever, we have in-house production / creative facilities and a network that spans beyond our main roster and the gravitas that helps us secure much bigger creative projects. Most importantly we always keep the personality to our approach. I love that we have in our roster of talent a group of real specialists; from directors who are ex-Pixar, expert typographers & 3D artists, to character specialists – a whole host of hugely talented people who we’re massively lucky to be working alongside.
How, initially, should illustrators approach your agency?
We have a submissions only email that is the best place to send your work – it’s so much easier for us receiving so many for it all to be in one place. This is regularly checked and we make sure we look at everything we receive. The most important thing is the work – there’s a million different ways you can write a covering e-mail but the work is the thing we’re really looking at. Make sure yours stands out and make it as visual as possible, as immediate as possible. It’s amazing how quickly something can grab you – or the opposite.
Steve Scott – ‘Post Office Travel Tips’
You have a section on your website dedicated to animation, how important do you think moving image is for illustrators?
Hugely. I think this is another uniqueness to Jelly. When we were set up it was with two distinct departments from the off, both really strong in their offering and independent from each other. Now we have our in-house directors too, The Kitchen, who have been producing some phenomenally strong work. This gives us the capabilities to bring any of our illustrators work to life through animation. This has become more and more important, as any above the line ad campaigns will be integrated across digital with a need for animation and print media. It works the other way too – we worked on a big campaign for Kelloggs Nutrigain recently where one of our animation collectives, Blackmeal, created characters which were designed for print and animation whilst Alison Carmichael created the typography, so again it’s another example of how we like to encourage collaboration amongst our roster.
Blackmeal – ‘Nutrigrain – Apple Avalanche’
How does Jelly London go about promoting artists?
Wow, that’s the big question – because there are so many answers. In as many ways as possible, in as many channels as possible but with an overall strategy honed into where we see that particular artist’s style fitting best. I generally see an illustrators career building momentum over time, you start with targeting those key editorial / publishing jobs to cut your teeth on and to get exposure / the kudos, whilst also paying those bills. From there you have folio pieces better suited to gaining bigger commercial clients – generally it’s the ad jobs that come along at the end and only after a lot of determined groundwork. This is also the benefit of being with the right agency – it can help to accelerate the access you have to getting your work in front of the right people. The majority of what we do is building relationships with clients and portfolio meetings. This is coupled with being directional with an artist’s portfolio and profile, networking, PR, engaging on social media alongside newsletters, mail outs both e-mail and in print.
What qualities do you look for in new illustration talent?
The thing that gets me most excited is when you see something fresh. The illustration market has become so saturated in the last few years and it’s really competitive out there. Unhelpfully its difficult to be more prescriptive about ‘fresh’‚ It’s just something that you can tell is true to someone’s own voice / style, it’s not directly influenced from someone else (there’s a lot of that out there) and you can see the mileage in it if its pushed the right way. The work needs to be commercially viable but that doesn’t mean it can’t be exciting, progressive and hugely creative, personally I think it’s always important to meet with new artists too or at least Skype if they are international. It’s a lot about the thinking – clients want illustrators who can add value to a brief and be problem-solving and collaborative, so you need to work alongside an artist / agent who you trust and communicate well with. No divas.
Alex Tait – ‘Jungle Studios’
For me, Futures – which we kick started last year – really captures really all of the qualities we search for in new talent; really unique styles and creative vision but with a hunger and a willingness to deliver over and above every time.
As Social media and online platforms expand online do you see clients looking to use more moving image?
Yes. This is something we are doing a lot of. I think some clients are only just beginning to understand the power of social media and how bespoke content can be infinitely more engaging and shareable and Animation and illustration are a really good way to do this. If you’re an illustrator out there wanting to animate my suggestion would be to pair up alongside someone as unless you’ve a driving urge to become a director, animation can be really time consuming to produce. You’re way better off pairing up with someone who has the technical and creative animation abilities to compliment your illustration skills.