When can I quit my day job?

OH the question!  and topic of the panel I was part of at the Winter SCBWI Art Intensive on Feb. 1.  David Diaz moderated Jan Constantine, Author’s Guild, Brenda Bowen, now Lit (and art) rep at Sanford Greenburger Associates and myself in a series of questions about the reality of the biz we all love.  Of course being PART of the panel….I have no memory of what we actually said!!!!…so maybe you all who were there can write crits about us in ‘comments!’  LOL.

“Though a living cannot be made at art, art makes life worth living…. it brings LIFE to life.”  this is a quote from fine artist and illustrator John Sloan that I used in the panel.  He was actually talking about FINE ART here as he DID make most of his living with illustration, and so can you…it IS commercial.  But as we talked about it is quite hard in the children’s publishing market itself.  Possible…but hard, even when you are repped.  The assignments come oddly timed…one year you are turning down work, and the next twiddling your thumbs! (hopefully actually practicing practicing and growing.)  One really must diversify into various areas of the arts, and maybe have a ‘day job.’  Try to find one that is involved with art of course so it FEEDS you.  But financial insecurity can work actively against the ‘expression’ and good choices you DO need to make to make a career in this industry, like most industries!  It IS a business was an all over theme.

A couple of points that were mentioned was about Your First Impression… you only get one of those with publishers.  It’s a small market – long memories.  Another was that too high advances CAN actually hurt your career if the sales records aren’t good for the books…. not earning out.  Do consider this when negotiating.  Ask questions when reading contracts! Team playing is ever so important if you want to be part of an agency…what YOU do professionally does reflect on every other artist/writer in the group! Staying Fresh and updated with your samples is very important…work to make new and promote them often to AD’s and editors. Consistency of style is also VERY important. Be Brutally Honest with yourself when considering giving up your day job…have a five-year business plan of action.

I do hope we get some ‘comments’ as I’m curious about what ‘spoke’ to you all there too!  REMINDER:  order your THE BOOK from SCBWI….the guide to it ALL!  and I wrote/revised the Artist Guide part of it again.  Hope you find it helpful!

this visual of the ‘rep me’ is from my son and artist Jeremy Tugeau, and husband to rep Nicole Tugeau of Tugeau2….check her agency out as well!



About catugeau

art agent
This entry was posted in Agency News, Biz issues, general, Image Share, industry tips and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to When can I quit my day job?

  1. Nancy Hayashi says:

    Love Jeremy’s picture of you, the hard-charging rep. Thanks for all your posts on the winter conference–especially the ones of Shaun Tan’s talks. Nancy


  2. susanmiller1 says:

    Very interesting to read your posts on the winter conference, thanks Christina.

  3. First off it was nice to meet you in person even briefly.
    What I liked was that you said you don’t need an agent; also the reality of publishing is that no I cannot give up my day job, “if “or when I get an illustration job I will only make somewhere around 15 to 20 thousand in advances not enough to stop working . But enough to drop a couple of shifts and I could dedicate more time to my artwork. So I left your segment of the conference much happier.

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