Interview with an Agent: Lucie Luddington
last updated 17 January 2023
Interview by Rachel Moffat
Our agents move mountains, working with our artists to make dreams come true. In this new blog series, we will sit down with our experts and give you an insight into their story and their passion for all things Bright.
Join us now as we interview the head of Bright Children’s Illustration: Lucie Luddington
Tell us a about where your love of art came from and your journey to your career path.
I’ve always been interested in creative souls. At 10, I helped with the village pantomime. I didn’t want to be on stage, I wanted to be behind the scenes helping the actors. It was my Mum who pointed out “you love creative people”. From 11 - 16, I studied the history of drama, all the classics, then all forms of contemporary art. When everyone else was doing sport, I was all about art.
When I finished school, my tutor said to me “Luce, you’re a do-er, you never stop working. Here’s a business card to my ex-wife, she’s a theatre agent and she needs an assistant.” - so, I went straight to London.
I would go to all the drama and ballet school’s end of season shows and find people who I thought showed potential. At the time, the industry was a lot harsher than it is today. I had to find very beautiful ways of disappointing people. That’s where I learned empathy, it helped me later in life with how to give people feedback.
I grew up in Cornwall by a river so another of my passions is the sea.
I was headhunted by a marine photographers agency in Bristol, who gave me the chance to rep some of the top sailing photographers in the world.
Because I love the sea so much, I had to remain quite disciplined. Some of my photographers were quite naughty and late to photoshoots. I grew up with lots of ‘sea-sorts’ so I knew the nature of these people.
I was with them for several years before Vicki heard about me. In May 2010, she phoned me and asked: “What do you know about children’s illustration?”
Bright celebrates everything I love about being an Agent - dealing with creatives, with the wonderful, fantastical worlds of the sea, woodlands, fairy landscapes. All my outdoorsy love is there, but coming in through children’s books.
I’ve been at Bright for thirteen years. I have had the most incredible time, learned so much and had so many opportunities.
What do you look for in an artist?
Work ethic! You have to really want it. I match people’s energy, so if you dream big, so will I.
I love an underdog, I don’t do ‘ready-made’. I am there from the beginning, for the spark. I don’t believe in perfection. When I find an artist, I can sense an element of magic, and if I get that ‘tummy twinkle’ I will invest myself in that person.
Tell us about the first/most exciting project one of your artists worked on?
When I set up the educational division 7 years ago, we worked with Kazakhstan. Our remit was to re-do every single children’s educational book in a modern-traditional style. It was a great project to get going and the best part was that I knew that every child in Kazakhstan has seen and been influenced by a Bright book.
Every project brings something magical to learn about the client and the artist.
As an Agent, you’re a guiding star, and so you do have to remain diplomatic - whether a project goes swimmingly or dives. The sign of a good agent is spotting when a project is about to take a dive and providing the solution.
When you’re not working, what does a day in the life of Lucie look like?
5:20: wake up with my son, dino dancing, feed the animals. While Pip goes to football training, I’ll go outside. I have arthritic knees so whatever I can do - run, cycle - I’ll do it.
I get home, have a fry up, cup of tea, hot shower, listen to 80’s music.
Then I might watch some sport. I don’t have a telly so I do this on my laptop, which makes it feel like more of a moment.
In the winter I’ll pop the fire on at about 5 o’clock, have a cider and then my son and I will do some cooking. In the summer, my perfect day will be the same but, instead of running or cycling, I’ll be sailing.
When I’m not at work, I’m probably outdoors.
What has been your best day at Bright?
There has been lots of best days! But probably finding out about heading up BCI (Bright Children’s Illustration). I don’t like to blow my own whistle; it was the culmination of years and years of me and Bright sticking together. When everything has fallen around me, Bright has always been there.
What has been your biggest hurdle in your career?
Seeing someone you’ve developed jump to someone else’s list is hard. My Mum taught me “Luce, no one is ever with you for life; the only person that will stick with you, is you.” My calling in life is getting someone to where they’re going. Seeing an artist be amazingly successful is incredible. You know that you’ve done your job well.
What advice do you have for new agents?
Work hard and want it. I’ve made it to where I am because I grafted hard. If you come with positive energy and commitment and a real zest for life, you will fly.
What do you know about the industry now that you wish you could have told yourself when you first started?
You grow more in love with this industry. When I started, I thought I might do this for 5 years but now I truly hope that I do this forever!
What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
Be curious, ask questions, research your agency and agent, pay an interest, take risks, be diligent, and don’t be flaky.
A final note?
Be fun, be bold, take a risk, listen to your senses. All the greatest artists, musicians, writers all employ their instincts to feel life.
If the best version of yourself isn’t good enough for people, then they’re not the right people for you. Just be real.
To work with Lucie, get in contact here.