Bright Academy: Land an Illustration Agency
last updated 27 July 2023
Guide compiled by Artist Curator, Winnie Okunbor
Illustration by Ola Szpunar
Bright Academy is the ultimate guide to navigating the world of illustration. Whether you’re just beginning your illustration career, or you’re looking to take the next step to strengthen yourself as an artist, we’re here to walk you through it all!
If you’re an illustrator looking to get representation by an illustration agency, you may be wondering how to go about it. Getting signed to an agency can be a great way to get your work seen by a wider audience and secure consistent work. Here are some tips for navigating illustrator submission guidelines and getting your artwork noticed by an illustration agency:
Research the Agency
Before submitting your work to an illustration agency, make sure you research the agency and its submission guidelines. Look for information on the types of illustrations they’re looking for, their preferred style, and any specific requirements they may have. Make sure your illustrations fit within the agency’s aesthetic and target audience.
Create a Portfolio
Put together a portfolio of your best illustrations to showcase your skills and style. Your portfolio should demonstrate your versatility as an illustrator, while also showing consistency in your style. You can create a physical portfolio or a digital one. Make sure your portfolio is easy to navigate and showcases your best work. As an example we request a digital portfolio, this can be on Behance, Instagram, a website, or any other platform that highlights your talent. We don’t accept postal submissions. Illustrations by Allison Steinfeld and Kitty O’Rourke
Tailor Your Portfolio to the Agency
When submitting your illustrations to an illustration agency, it’s important to tailor your portfolio to their specific needs. This may mean highlighting specific styles or genres that the agency specializes in or showcasing your ability to work in a variety of mediums or styles. Be sure to research the agency’s current roster of artists to get an idea of the type of work they’re interested in.
Follow Instructions Carefully
Submission guidelines can vary widely from agency to agency, so it’s important to read them carefully and follow them to the letter. This may mean submitting your illustrations in a specific file format or size, including a cover letter or artist statement, or providing contact information in a specific format. Failure to follow the submission guidelines could result in your illustrations being overlooked or rejected. Illustration by Ana Kovacic
When submitting your illustrations to an illustration agency, it’s important to present yourself in a professional manner. This means not sending a blanket email with other agencies cc’d into it. In your cover letter or about you section, try and be concise and clear; don’t write a dissertation, but don’t leave it blank. Present your illustrations in a clean and polished manner, remember that you’re representing yourself and your artwork, so you want to make a good impression.
Getting representation from an illustration agency can be a slow and often frustrating process. Agencies may receive hundreds of submissions, and it can take time for them to review your work and respond. Be patient and don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back right away. It’s important to remember that sending multiple emails or follow-ups can be seen as unprofessional and can actually harm your chances of getting representation. Instead, wait a reasonable amount of time (usually several weeks to a couple of months) before following up with a polite email.
A final note on your submissions:
Whether you’re brand new to the industry, fresh out of university or you’ve been around a long time and worked with plenty of clients, each artist receives a fair consideration.
I host a monthly portfolio review meeting with all our agents across divisions. After this meeting, the agents will reach out to those whom we wish to represent. Please note if this is not the case for you, that a rejection does not necessarily reflect a lack of skills. Representation is a two-way street and should work for both the artist and the agent.
Illustration by Ola Szpunar
In conclusion, getting representation from an illustration agency can be a great way to get your work noticed and build your career as an illustrator. By researching the agency, creating a tailored portfolio, following instructions carefully, being professional, and being patient, you can increase your chances of success and get your artwork in front of a wider audience.
We ask for all artist submissions go through our submissions page. We request a PDF containing at least 10 samples of your work or if animations an MP4 showreel, file size must be under 5MB. Include in your submission a short message about yourself, why you’re seeking representation and what kind of projects you have worked on or are looking for.
To submit your work to Bright, take a look at our submissions page here.