How Reps Influence an Illustrator’s Portfolio

Questions: How much brand and/or art direction do most reps give illustrators for their portfolio?

I work for the illustrator and want to be on the same page, so I get pretty involved in showcasing each illustrator’s portfolio in order to brand or showcase his or her body of work.

Portfolios: Portrait of the Artist

Many times, I see artist websites that have too much work and too many styles, which doesn’t let us know who the artist is. Cohesiveness is key, and since many illustrators have more than one style, for our site, we work together closely deciding how to focus the work to give clients an idea of what to expect for their project.

Other illustrators have one distinct and recognizable style, yet ever-growing and changing, so the cohesiveness is not as much of an issue. But we still want the portfolio to reflect what kind of jobs the illustrator wants to work on. Obviously, it’s an individual approach and thought process for each artist, and I like to be as helpful as possible.

Brand Development is Key

We first pinpoint the kinds of projects and clients that interest the illustrator. Then we come up with appropriate illustrations — whether existing, already published or new illustrations to be created — to develop a cohesive portfolio or brand. If the illustrator has more than one style and/or medium, it’s important to categorize them in some fashion, whether by medium or market (children’s editorial, fashion, etc.).

Since it’s for their portfolio, I do give art direction – or rather, input – but I know my boundaries and want to give them some breathing room. If it’s an actual project, I leave the art direction to the client.

We also represent motion graphics artists — a whole other story — and usually showcase only their client work. However, some of these motion graphic artists are currently animating a piece that showcases each of Art Rep NYC’s illustrators “in motion” as a portfolio/promotion piece. I’ve been very involved in it and it’s a complete team effort, from choosing an illustration that best represents each illustrator’s style/brand to displaying how each artist’s style works in motion.

The ultimate goal is to give the client a strong sense of who the artist is and a solid idea of how the final piece will look and work for the client’s particular project, so however I can help, I’m in.

A client from The Martin Agency called and wanted an artist with a painterly look for a very funny GEICO commercial about Little Miss Muffet: her muffet got stolen … luckily she had GEICO insurance. She liked Marilena Perilli‘s painterly, yet fashion-like work, but wasn’t sure about Marilena since her illustrations didn’t have that “old storybook” feel. I knew Marilena would be great for this, so I asked her to whip up an illustration of Miss Muffet to prove she was fit for the job – and she did so in just a few hours. Marilena landed the job, and also gained a storybook style to her portfolio. The rough color sample is below, as well as a link to the final commercial.

The Marketing Lab brand art direction reps give illustrators for portfolio  Marilena Perilli Miss Muffet resized 600

© Marilena Perilli

Watch GEICO – Miss Muffet

About Michael

Michael Thibeault is the founder Art Rep NYC, an agency representing the very best in illustration and motion graphics talent, both independently and also provide full illustration/motion graphics packages. Some clients: The New York Times, Williams Sonoma, WNET / Thirteen, Simon & Schuster, The Wall Street Journal, Proctor and Gamble, New York Magazine, Nickelodeon, Harper Collins, Penguin, Scholastic, Mattel, MAC cosmetics, Nylon Magazine and more. Art Rep NYC

Related Articles:

1. 11 Components of a Successful Portfolio

2. 5 Ways to Make Long-Distance Relationships Work With Your Rep

3. Creative Collision: To Rep or Not to Rep

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