Does all your work come through your agent? and what to you think of agency representation as to going solo with it?

When I started my career I found all the work myself. Mostly through my friends and clients recommending me, also from a few press articles I did. I didn't get an agent to get more work per say, but to manage all the work that is coming in.

As advertising jobs become bigger they get more complicated with lots of formats and things that need to be negotiated on and understood. A good agent will be able to deal with these complexities, increase your projects fee's and be a liaison between you and the client. It's a great thing to have if you can find a good one. Breed have been amazing, and I don't know what I would do without them.

I suggest to most people not to get caught up on the agency question, as you can't really apply to be with them, they normally come to you. I would say work hard, pursue work, promote yourself. Make sure you have a good website, and a PDF portfolio you can tailor to clients who want to see work in more detail. I got away with just my website for about 3 years, but I have two portfolio's now with my agency, which travel all over the world.

If you do get approached by an agent there are lots of elements that you need to get right to succeed. Here are five bits of advice.

1. Not too many, not too few.
Some agencies have hundreds of artists signed up, some have just a handful. You don't have to think hard about the advantages or disadvantages of these two scenarios. Having lots of people on the books means they will perhaps spend less time specifically on you, but having a large roster will mean that they have many more job opportunities, even if you have to share the probability of getting that job with 90 other people. Small agencies allow one to one relationships between you and your rep. They may not get the same amount of work through the door, but you have less people to share it with.

2. What are the other artists like?
Make sure they are not too similar! This is very important, a conscientious agency will not sign too many similar people so that you don't have to compete with each other. Oh and I nearly forgot, make sure the vein of work of the other artists IS similar, as in genre. If you are the only illustrator amongst all graphic designers, or photographers, It may be that the agency have less experience in you field, as all of them are different.

3. Where are they based?
Some offices are just based in one territory and this can affect the influx in foreign job opportunities. Some have offices all over the world, but this may or not effect your work influx as certain territories are looking for different things. Look for someone that understands multiple markets so you can get work coming in from every continent. Its a big world out there!

4. Is it exclusive. Will every single job that comes in have to go through your agent? Outline this straight away. Perhaps you have existing clients you work for regularly that you want to keep that way. Discuss all of these details with your agency before you sign with them.

5. Last but not least, do you like the person you are talking to. This person is your representative, they talk to your clients for you, they help you earn your living. The most important thing is to trust your gut reaction, if it feels wrong, it probably is.

Ask Kate Moross a question....