Artwork by Sarajo FriedenI’m so excited to introduce you to Ashley Lorenz, an agent with the amazing Lilla Rogers Studio. LRS represents juicy artists like Helen Dardik, Allegra Agliardi, and Lisa Congdon. Artists with the LRS are lucky (talented) ducks! They’ve been commissioned to create art for children’s books, national magazines, games, fabric, puzzles, ad campaigns, and even a water tower. I’ve worked with Ashley several times over the years and always delight in seeing what new talent she recruits. She has a keen eye and an expert understanding of the business of illustration.
What’s your professional back ground? How did you become an agent?
Kizmet! I studied (and loved) Art History in college. About a year out of college I was introduced to the Lilla Rogers Studio via friend of a friend. I had no idea what “illustration” meant in terms of a career. I started as a Studio Manager and over time became Agent. I have been with LRS for 15 years.
How do you find new artists?
We get submissions all the time, like 10+ a day (x365 that’s a lot!). If it’s something Lilla loves, she may contact the artist for an interview. In this age of social media and internet, we’ve also discovered artists via blogs, websites, social networks, etc.
What do you look for in a new illustrator? Commercial appeal? A unique style? Licensing potential? Work ethic? Personality?
Do you prefer traditional or digital portfolios? What do you look for in an artist’s portfolio?
Traditional, digital, doesn’t matter if the work is great. We like to see that the artist can render a range of subjects. For surface design, patterns and repeats are ideal, although great graphics for clothing or journal covers are appealing too. For editorial, we look for good storytelling.
What’s your role in the process once a publisher is interested in an artist?
We handle all the biz stuff. Creative happens directly between the artist and publisher/art director/creative director once the contract/fee/terms are negotiated.
Why should an illustrator opt for a rep rather than represent himself?
A rep does all the dirty work so that the illustrator can focus on what they do best, creating art. We actively seek out promotional opportunities. We negotiate contracts, send invoices, chase up payments.
How do you publicize your artists?
Our site, Facebook, postcards, e-blasts.
What do you wish art schools would teach illustration students? What’s a lesson you find yourself teaching new artists again and again? What advice would you give to newbie artists?
Keep creating personal work for your portfolio.
Make the most of social networking. Facebook, Twitter etc. has democratized consumer demand and fandom, in a good way!
Not every job or client is perfect or pays a jillion.
Income is unpredictable. See the growth opportunities (working on personal work or perfecting that style you haven’t mastered yet) in the lean times.
What do you wish artists knew about agents?
That we are on your team!
It is a partnership.
We want artists to do well, we want to do well, and we want our clients get great art. Win, win, win.