When it comes to finding a job in the illustration industry, trade shows can be a great place to start your search. However, it’s important to know how to look for jobs at these events and how to make the most of them. In this article, we’ll look at some tips for finding illustrator jobs at illustration trade shows.
Let’s make a distinction between the different types of fairs
There are different types of fairs, each with their own purpose. Here’s a look at the different types of fairs and what they’re used for:
– Consumer fairs are events where businesses showcase their products and services to the general public. They’re usually held in large arenas or stadiums and attract people from all over the region.
– Art festivals are events where artists showcase their work to art lovers. They’re usually held in large outdoor venues and attract people from all over the world.
– Trade fairs are events where businesses showcase their products and services to other businesses. They’re usually held in large convention centers and attract buyers from all over the world.
– Job fairs are events where businesses and organizations showcase their open positions to job seekers. They’re usually held in large conference centers and attract people from all over the region.
The last two examples are of close interest to us. These two types of fairs gladly welcome illustrators and cartoonists when they want to show their portfolio or a project of their own. But with conditions: professionalism first.
How does one present oneself professionally to a publishing house or agent?
How to properly introduce yourself to an agent
There are two main functions for an agent in the field of illustration: representing a publishing house or representing an illustration agency.
In the first case, the agent would be responsible for publishing books illustrated by you and other artists. In the second case, the agent would act as a liaison between the applicant and publishers, and his or her role would be to procure engagements for you.
In both cases, the agent will help to develop your career, but in different ways.
If you are represented by a publishing house, the agent will work with you to develop a project that will be published.
If you are represented by an illustration agency, the agent will work with you to develop your portfolio and find new clients. He/she will be your main point of contact with publishing houses and will work to get you the best possible rates and exposure.
How to get in touch with an agent?
Remember: the first meeting between you and your agent should not be at the fair. Take some time and do a thorough research of all publishing houses and agents that are in line with your style.
Look for their contact information online. At the bottom of their websites there is always a contact section where you can grab the emails you need.
Contact them at least three months in advance, attach your portfolio and/or project, and make an appointment with them at the fair. Illustrators who show up without an appointment are not well received. This is a personal experience.
I remember when I first started out as an illustrator, I showed up at a fair without an appointment and was promptly shown the door. It was a humiliating experience, and one that I vowed never to repeat. Now, I always make sure to contact the publishing houses and agents I’m interested in well in advance, and to make an appointment with them at the fair. This ensures that I’m not wasting their time or mine, and that we can have a productive meeting.
If you’re an illustrator, I urge you to take the same precautions. It will make a world of difference in your career.
Once the fair is ended
It will take a few days before an e-mail can reach you showing the successful outcome of the meeting. This is because the days of the fair are so intense that once it is over, agents will need quite a bit of time to get new contacts, contracts, and portfolios in order and start responding by email.
It’s normal to feel disappointed when you don’t get a response from an art director or gallery owner after submitting your work. But don’t give up! Here are some things to keep in mind: First, it’s important to understand that this “rejection” is a common stage in an illustrator’s career. Everyone goes through it. So don’t take it personally. Second, take a close look at your work and try to identify any weaknesses that may have led to the rejection. Then correct those weaknesses and submit your work again. And finally, don’t wait for the next art fair or submission deadline. If you’re confident in your work, send an email directly to the art director.
Keep trying and don’t give up!
If you’re an illustrator looking to improve your professional portfolio for the upcoming fairs, you may find useful this guide too: “How To Build A Professional Art Portfolio That Will Help You Get Noticed”