The Organisation

The Organisation

On monday we had a visitor in the form of Lorraine Owen of the illustrative agency The Organisation, which has locations both in London and New York.

The day started with an informal presentation by Lorraine on the business side of Illustration, giving out advice on how to improve our portfolios, what it is agents actually do and general industry advice. She was upfront and honest, saying there are too many new illustrators graduating into the market every year for the number of jobs going, but the talent will “rise to the top”.

Some of Lorraine’s advice:

  • The Organisation focuses mainly on children’s illustration as it’s one of the few steady markets in illustration, will always be needed in one form or another and doesn’t follow fashion/trends too closely.
  • Don’t think locally, think globally.
  • Most clients use the internet to find illustrators and face to face interviews are fewer and further between.
  • Adapt. Look at up and coming media and think of how you can adapt your work for it. ie. the iPad
  • Let your style evolve naturally, but don’t let trends dictate too much or else you’ll be out of fashion sooner than later in these days of digital media.
  • Be proactive!
  • Think of ways to market yourself and make your work standout in the vast sea of illustrators.
  • Make your portfolio broad in subject, clients want to see in your portfolio what they want to buy.
  • Put your work into context, even if you just mock something up. Make it look like it’s been used even if it hasn’t.
  • Have a good number of black and white examples in your portfolio – a lot of work set is B&W and clients aren’t imaginative enough to picture your coloured work otherwise.
  • An agent should help you grow as an artist and be supportive, not just set you aside.
  • Be wary of agencies with too many people on their books. How much time can they really spend on promoting/supporting each artist?
  • Have more than one agent, different agents for different regions. They’ll be able to help you understand the local customs and taboos that foreign agents may not.
  • After the talk, she viewed our portfolios individually, dispensing advice on how to improve or what our portfolio might need more of in order to impress clients and agents alike. She sat with me for about twenty minutes and advised me in the areas where I could improve subject-wise (try childrens, more figures doing things and with backgrounds), but was impressed with my current work, which is always nice to hear when it’s coming from an industry professional. Overall, it was a really positive day. It helped me consider the future and how I’m going to find new and larger clients as well as offering nice little boost about my work.