With the rise of digital tools both for making art and sending it around the world in an instant, in one sense, it's now easier than ever to make money as a freelance illustrator. But how on Earth do you find a market for your work? This is where illustration agents come into play.
These behind-the-scenes champions of artistic talent serve as the bridge between artists and the industries that crave their creativity. They negotiate contracts, provide valuable guidance, and connect artists with opportunities that might otherwise remain hidden.
With its rich tapestry of art galleries, publishing houses and media outlets, New York City is a veritable hub for illustration agents. But with so many to choose from, where do you begin?
To help you get started, we've assembled our pick of the ten best illustration agents in New York. (Note that they're in alphabetical rather than any other type of order). In our carefully curated list, we share a bunch of agents who've demonstrated exceptional dedication to their artists over the years and a profound understanding of their clients, too.
So, whether you're a seasoned artist or illustrator seeking new representation or an emerging talent looking to break into the industry, read on to find the best agents to work with today.
B&A Reps is a global management agency representing forward-thinking and award-winning creatives, including photographers, illustrators, animators, design studios, CGI artists, mural artists, hair and makeup artists, and stylists. They are based in New York City, with offices in London, Berlin, Shanghai and Sydney.
Their lineup of industry-leading illustration talent includes David Doran, an award-winning illustrator based in Falmouth who works with international brands, magazines, newspapers, festivals and publishers creating illustrations of all shapes and sizes.
When David Goldman launched his own firm in 1980, he aimed to represent world-class talent and offer great personal service to clients. That philosophy has led his boutique agency to represent a small, elite group of the world's premier professional illustrators, designers and TV show creators.
The artists on their books have been honoured with over 840 awards for excellence, aided several advertising clients in setting sales records, and helped publishers sell millions of books. They include Brooklyn-based James Yang who, upon graduating with a BFA in Communication Arts from Virginia Commonwealth, began his career as a professional illustrator and since 1983, has won over 300 awards, including Best of Show in 2010 from 3x3.
Illozoo is a contemporary illustration agency representing both emerging and veteran illustrators from around the world. Each offers a unique style, technique and creative visual solution to clients in the advertising, design, publishing, corporate, fashion and gaming industries.
The agency was founded by Mohamed Danawi in 2012. Its artists have created advertising campaigns, posters, magazine covers, billboards, murals, book covers, packaging design, storyboards, concept art, stationaries, merchandising, window displays, children's books, and various innovative designs and visuals for clients in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia.
In their creative stable, you'll discover a diverse array of illustrators, including Helena Perez Garcia, a Spanish illustrator whose work has appeared across magazines, newspapers, packaging, and books for children and adults internationally.
For 26 years, Illustration Division has been combining twin passions for storytelling and visual problem-solving, and currently represents 46 leading illustrators from around the globe. Founder Stephanie Pesakoff takes a curatorial approach, continuing to challenge the status quo and focusing on quality, synergy and consistency in the agency's work and esteemed roster.
It boasts a wealth of illustration talent, including Ojima Abalaka, based in Abuja, Nigeria, whose works explore rest, people and identity in the context of everyday life. They also represent Bertrand Aznar, a French illustrator known for his detailed compositions, which are influenced by the Franco-Belgian comics and Manga that he read as a child.
Founded by Jeremy Wortsman in 2006 to help plug the gap in representation of Australian artists, The Jacky Winter Group is a team of producers as well as agents, today representing a broad range of illustrators worldwide from its offices in Melbourne, London and New York.
On its books you'll find talent such as Monet Alyssa whose work has been featured in Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, plus Aaron Lowell Denton, a Bloomington, Indiana based artist known for his collaborative and experimental music posters and artwork. And there's Australian illustrator Alice Lindstrom who works primarily in paper collage and papercut, taking inspiration from tapestry design, mid-century illustration, folk art as well as early twentieth century art movements such as Fauvism and Expressionism.
Lindgren Smith comprises two best friends, Pat Lindgren and Piper Smith, who became partners when both were seated in an art buyer's office, waiting to be called in to show their portfolios.
Afterwards, they went for coffee, discussed business, shook hands and in 1987, became partners in what eventually became a world-class illustration agency. For almost 30 years, they have worked with some of the most talented illustrators in the country and have helped their art appear in storybooks and billboards, TV ads and resort brochures.
Within their ranks, you'll find first-rate artists such as Jamey Christoph, a freelance illustrator and designer based in Ohio, USA, whose work draws inspiration from vintage advertising and travel posters and a lifelong curiosity for the past. You'll also spot Cannaday Chapman, an award-winning artist from Rochester, New York, who is currently living in Germany and has won a ton of awards since graduating from the School of Visual Arts.
Founded in 1981, Richard Solomon Artists representative is an illustration agency that values creativity, originality, and craftsmanship. They represent over 40 artists with different signature styles applicable to various markets, including advertising, publishing, editorial, branding, gaming and packaging.
These include Charles Chaisson, who's based in New Orleans and whose conceptual and narrative work is characterised by his use of bold pastels. Also on their list is Cornelia Li, a Chinese-born illustrator currently based in Toronto who's known for crafting rich narratives through the use of light, colour and surreal visual elements.
Renee Rhyner has been an agent working with commercial artists for over 20 years, representing an award-winning company of talented photographers, illustrators, stylists, and producers from across the globe. With offices in Dallas and New York City, RR&Co was founded in 1991 and connects fresh, new artists with businesses, clients and customers. It also has an online store where iconic images of its artists can be purchased.
Their portfolio boasts a roster of skilled and talented illustrators, including Juliette Borda, who has created paintings for hundreds of publications, corporations, publishers and institutions and has received medals from the Society of Illustrators NY and LA.
Sunday Afternoon is an award-winning agency based in New York City, founded by Ahmed Klink and Juan Carlos Pagan. With a diverse range of artists on its books, its clients include Pinterest, Nike and Apple, and its capabilities cover everything from animation and brand building to film and illustration.
One such artist is Rich Tu, a Filipino-American and award-winning designer and artist, and graduate of SVA's Illustration as Visual Essay MFA program. He has previously won the ADC Young Guns award and recently received the prestigious Paul Manship Medallion for significant contributions to the Art Directors Club and creative industry. We love his recent collab with Collective Arts Brewery, creating a limited edition can inspired by the flavour, Jam Up The Mash.
Based in the US and UK, Snyder is a woman-owned agency representing a dynamic and diverse group of illustrators, animators, designers and visual artists worldwide. The team are committed to empowering clients and artists to forge conscientious and creative collaborations.
Here you'll encounter an array of gifted illustrators, including the London-based Tess Smith Roberts, whose work is known for its humour, bold shapes and playful use of colour. They also represent Jun Ioneda, a multidisciplinary artist from São Paulo, Brazil. Jun's work blends themes including queer culture, science fiction, fantasy and Japanese culture – all combined with a playful, at times melancholic, and frequently humorous touch.
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