Want representation? Or looking to commission an illustrator for a project? Look no further, as we list the best UK illustration agents around right now and the details you need to know.
Looking for more money, better commissions, better clients and generally more respect as an illustrator? Well, representation can get you all of that.
After all, being a great artist doesn't mean you're necessarily a great businessperson. And even if you are, do you really have the time to be finding the right clients, negotiate your fees and draw up contracts? An illustration agency can help you with all of that, and beyond that, just having representation will make people look at you in a different light.
If you're not sure how to go about finding representation, it's worth first reading our article on how to get represented by an illustration agency. Then the next step is to consider where you'd like to apply.
Obviously, the better the agency, the better commissions they're likely to win for your practice. And so, to give you a starting point, we've listed 20 great illustration agents based in the UK. (Some have offices abroad too).
These are the finest of the finest, the cream of the crop, and they represent some big names who are doing great work for some of the world's leading brands. By the same token, though, they'll only consider you if you're punching above your weight as an illustrator. So if you're lacking confidence in your skills and ability, you should read our guide to 10 steps to help you become a better illustrator first.
When you are ready to apply, the main point to remember is that agencies are not all alike. So research the ones you're contacting in-depth first, so you know where they're coming from and can tailor your email and portfolio appropriately. Also, read their submission guidelines carefully and don't stray from them in the slightest, or you'll get an instant black mark against your name. Plus, it's probably best not to mass-email everyone at once, as this a tiny profession and illustration agents tend to know each other!
With that in mind, read on to discover the best illustration agencies in the UK today.
Founded in 1968, Arena is home to an enviable and carefully crafted list of illustrators, including award-winners and best-sellers. Their team prides itself on providing an expert and friendly boutique service and supplying beautiful, eye-catching content to clients across all genres, including children's publishing, sci-fi and fantasy, concept art and character design.
Arena has been steered by London-based directors Tamlyn Francis and Caroline Thomson since 2001, with the help from their man in New York, Alan Lynch. Illustrators on their roster include Alex T. Smith, Adam Stower, Thomas Flintham and Jonny Duddle.
Established in 1983, Artworks has built up a longstanding reputation for excellence while staying deliberately small to ensure the best quality work. They are one of the few agencies to encourage the development of graduates through their Startworks programme, as well as helping more established artists to maximise their creative potential. With offices in Kyoto, London and New York, the agency is headed up by directors Stephanie Alexander-Jinks, Alex Hadlow and Lucy Scherer. It represents the likes of Andrew Davidson, Claire Harrup, Amy Grimes, Hannah Bailey and Kate Forrester.
Headquartered in London, Big Active is a D&AD award-winning consultancy whose areas of specialisation include art direction, graphic design, content production and – the relevant bit here – artist representation. The list of creatives on its books is wide-ranging. It includes artist and director Mat Maitland, image maker Joe Cruz, artist and designer Anthony Burrill, artist and printmaker Kate Gibb, and 3D artist Jack Sachs.
Founded by Olivia Triggs in 2007, Breed is a London-based illustration agency representing a select group of 15 artists, illustrators and photographers, each with their own distinct style and perspective. They work with clients in spheres ranging from advertising and brands to fashion and retail. In recent months, they've teamed up with Kiehl's, FT Weekend Magazine, Selfridges, The Design Museum and The Guardian, to name but a few. Artists on their books include Annie Atkins, Quentin Jones, Steve Wilson, Andy Gilmour and Paula Castro.
Brilliant Artists is a compact London-based agency founded in 2020 that represents a tightly curated roster of established and up-and-coming illustrative talent. Headed up by director Hannah Shilland and agent and producer Sam Walker, they have expertise in commercial campaigns and communications, exhibitions, and traditional and digital media. Artists on their books include Laurie Avon, Melissa Mathieson, Emmanuelle Walker, Parapaboom and Ryan Gillett.
Founded in 1983 and based in London, The Central Illustration Agency (or CIA) is an international resource for high-quality commercial art and motion graphics for the advertising, design and publishing industries. Categories covered include animation, illustration, mural art, sculpture and CGI. Artists on their books include Sam Gibley, Matt Taylor, Simon Spilsbury, Harriet Russel and Charlotte Day.
Established in 2006, Dutch Uncle is a forward-thinking illustration and animation agency based in London, New York and Tokyo. They represent and source creative talent for some of the world's recognised brands and labels, as well as indie labels, start-ups and charity organisations. Artists represented by Dutch Uncle include Noma Bar, Saddo, Debora Szpilman, Satoshi Hashimoto and Gray318.
Over Folio's 46-year history (launching in 1976), they've worked with some of the world's most influential illustrators, such as Joe Petagno, who designed Motörhead's Snaggletooth logo and album covers for Led Zeppelin. Today, the London agency operates worldwide, representing a diverse group of talented illustrators and animators, covering a spectrum of styles from oil paintings and animation to GIFs and infographics. Artists represented by Folio Art today include Owen Davey, James Gilleard, Jason Brooks, Mercedes deBellard, Amelia Flower and Peter Greenwood.
Grand Matter is an artist representation agency with a roster of distinctive illustrators and makers chosen for their grand ideas and creative curiosity. With offices in London and New York, their friendly and close-knit team helps provide creative production and art consultancy. Artists on their books include Alec Doherty, Charlotte Mei, Jessica Dance, Sofia Iva and Thomas Hedger.
Handsome Frank is a UK-based illustration agency founded in 2010 by cousins Jon and Tom (like all the best ideas, it started with a conversation in the pub). Today, they're spread across five continents and have worked with some of the biggest brands and agencies in the world. Handsome Frank represents over 40 illustrators, including Tatyana Alanis, Luis Mendo, Abbey Lossing, Paul Blow and Leonie Bos.
Founded by Darrel Rees in 1994, Heart emerged from a studio collective. The idea was to create an agency established and run by a practising illustrator and dependent on a group identity, which remains a guiding principle today. Headed up by Darrel Rees, Helen Osborne, Jenny Bull and Amanda Mason, it represents 31 international illustrators from the USA, France, Germany, Italy and the UK via offices in London and New York. These include Laura Carlin, Tom Gauld, Franz Lang, Michelle Mildenberg and Shonagh Rae.
Based in Tipton, West Midlands, Inky Illustration has showcased the work of talented artists from across the globe since 2009. Its illustrators have experience working on international advertising campaigns, publications and editorials, as well as commissions for smaller companies and individuals. Here, artists include Mariah Emmons, Mishal Asher, Maria Ivanchenko, Miles Green and Darko Mitrovic.
Jelly is a one-of-a-kind hybrid production company and artist management agency with bases in the UK, US, and Europe. Founded in 2006, they are passionate about bringing authentic ideas to life and finding the perfect director, artist or combination to craft unique creative, whether it's illustration, type design or a full-scale animation campaign. Illustrators represented by Jelly include Boomranng, Wei Wu, Jordan Amy Lee, Meredith Schomberg and Estudio Pum.
JSR, which stands for Jamie Stephen Represents, can count winners of Cannes Lions, D&AD and other prestige contests amongst its ranks. Today the business has grown to represent over 45 artists, including illustrators, photographers and motion designers. Illustrators on their books include BOOM CGi, Ewelina Dymek, Itsacat Studio, Sugarblood and Tiffany Beucher.
Lemonade is a full-service illustration agency representing 185+ award-winning illustrators worldwide. Founded in 2001, they now have offices in London, Yorkshire, New York, Dubai and Sydney. Illustrators represented by Lemonade include Tjarda Borsboom, Abigail Dela Cruz, Paul Gill, Adua Hernandez and Mateja Lukezic.
Established in 1974, Meiklejohn collaborates with creatives from the world of advertising, design and publishing to create inspiring illustration works. Headed up by Claire Meiklejohn, Louise Tummon, Alice Wilkinson and Lou Renforth, they're based in East Sussex. Artists include Nick Chaffe, Jennifer Costello, Sarah Dennis, Joanna Kerr and Sophie Melissa.
NB Illustration was founded in 2000 by Joe and Charlotte, who are passionate about illustration and get very 'hands-on' in the production process. Based in Somerset, they represent some of the finest commercial illustrators worldwide, and specialities include children's illustration, vector illustration and CGI. Artists on their books include Mark Beech, Ifan Bates, Gemma Correll, James Cottell and Giulio Iurissevich.
Oskar illustration is a UK-based illustration and animation agency representing a roster of contemporary illustration artists. Founded in London in 2019, they're known for being friendly, helpful and supportive. Artists represented here include Ben Jomo, Rob Draper, Haley Tippman, Lucie Birant and Katherine Hardy.
Pocko is a creative content and talent agency with over 20 years of experience, which works with social causes as well as brands and institutions. Based in London with satellites in Tokyo, Milan and Berlin, Pocko represents a roster of motion designers, illustrators, photographers and makers. Artists on their books include Qianhui Yu, Jiaqi Wang, Jeanne Detallante, Toma Vagner and Vincent Mahé.
Synergy was created back in 2000 with a small group of illustrators from a kitchen table in Holland Park, West London. Today, they manage a team of 30 renowned artists with a client list spanning Europe, North America, South America, Australia and Asia. Illustrators represented by Synergy include Chiara Ghigliazza, Kseniia Puzrova, Fran Pulido, Marcos Montiel and Antonio Sortino.
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