It's been 3 years now that I've turned into a full-time artist, a decision that was so hard to take as far as I remember. But I did prepare myself for it, I knew there are many perspectives and a big chance to fail many times. So please understand that today it's still a bit unreal that I finally have an agent who will represent me internationally. Nothing very impressive if we think about it in general, but for me it's a huge achievement. I'd like to share with you my journey in finding an agent.
During my first year of freelancing, I tried to collect as many informations as possible about the business and "how to start" correctly. But when you live in a country where the simple thought of working as a creative is still ambiguous, I thought I need to work harder than I should to ever have a chance. So I spent months building a kind of survival list on my Drive where I put all the agencies I found on internet and drafted many mails to send in case. I was very annoying at that time because I wrote to every professional illustrators I know to ask them advises on how to contact the right people in the right way. Hopefully there were great artists who were kind enough to answer me, one of them was Jessica Gibson who shared with me some very useful advises and her own experience on finding an agent.
I remember sending exactly 60 mails to 60 agencies, only ten answered me saying they are already full. At that time I was inpatient and didn't understand the importance of having my own website before contacting agents. So I stopped for a while and got hired in a full-time position as an artist.
Learning the hard ways
During the years of my full-time job, I learned many things not only about working as a full-time illustrator but also about myself and how I see myself as an artist. There were ups and downs, I cried as I laughed... But the most important thing I want to remember is I had great supports from my loved ones and some amazing artists such as Chris Dunn among others.
I built up this website, invested on books and on online contents to help me grow. I learned a bit more about publishing, joined the SCBWI and some children's book groups on social media where I made great friends too. On October 2019, I quite my job to become a full-time illustrator, again.
Just when I was in total uncertainty after quitting my full-time job, I applied to a job on Linkedin. I wasn't very hopeful for that position but it said they are looking for an illustrator so I just took a chance. I didn't have any idea it was a talent scout, a woman contacted me and told me about Advocate Art and how they are interested in my works. I didn't see it come ! After years, I was finally scoped by an agency ! Of course I accepted and developed my portfolio with one of Advocate's agents.
Learning patience and trust
In my head it was already "success and spotlights". I didn't realise it would take such a long time to finally get there... I was worried and disappointed with myself, how green I am. I learned to trust, to enjoy each step to my goal and just breathing.
Ironically, the more I was worried, the more works came my ways. I got many work inquiries from self-published authors who brought other authors to me. It was like the Universe were conspiring to help me, insane ! I was so grateful and happy that I totally forgot the fact that I was still waiting for the agency's confirmation. I made great friends, some badass artists who have the same vision as me. I also made enough money to invest on new tools, so I bought an iPad Pro and learned using Procreate. Everything was going well to me, I felt loved and worthy.
And then 6 months later Advocate finally wrote to me to announce my representation after reviewing all the artworks I sent and did with them. Today I'm officially represented and I'm waiting for them to prepare everything.
To conclude, what I'm trying to say is NEVER GIVE UP. All hard works will always be paid. TRUST, because it's all you can do in this career. If you fail, if you succeed, always be fully present. Feel each moment, LOVE. At the end of the day, the simple thought of being yourself and not trying to pretend being someone/something else will satisfy you.