Real Rockwell Christmas!

Being newly back in CT this year and season, we were looking for new seasonal traditions (missing the Illumination fireworks in CW, and Chapel Choir in Wmsbrg VA!).  What better place to experience an old fashioned Christmas than on ‘Christmas Main Street.’… the real one in Stockbridge MA, and also see the original painting of This iconic place by Norman Rockwell!  So off husband Bill and I went to spend Monday night at the RED LION INN, depicted in his painting (but dark as then it wasn’t open during the winters back then!)  and to stroll along Stockbridge’s Main Street that he made forever famous in this painting.  Luckily we’d had a recent snow so the trip up was out of ‘winter memories ‘past and so completely New England it hurt!


Then it snowed a bit more Tuesday morning as we had breakfast at the Coffee shop (yup…Main Street) and headed of to the Rockwell Museum itself.  Even my ‘museum ho-hum’ husband loved it…we spent HOURS there in awe.  How could he have painted all this incredible ‘story telling,’ finally rendered work in one life time!?  Stockbridge (Elm Street just off Main and town) was his hometown after moving from VT. and they are so very proud of him still.  The Museum is fabulous and his original studio was moved to that property as well. (closed in winter however….I’ll need to go back!)

There is always other artwork to look at there as well….and the current show was about the Fantastical Art of Tony Diterlizzi, famed Dungeon and Dragons and Spiderwick Chronicles artist, among other projects.  What fun they had presenting  his work!  Lots for the kids too! – or kids in all of us. (no photos allowed of this show)  The gift shop is one I needed quite a bit of time in….being this time of year….and the creative, different offerings.  The whole experience was just a pleasure from start to finish.  But we needed to slowly head back South to Fairfield CT passing though lovely Litchfield and other iconic NE towns, and reenter the current Holiday Season….. happy!  and MERRY WISHES TO ALL!


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We are EVER so proud to brag!  This SO fun counting book published by Charlesbridge, illustrated by our own amazing Priscilla Burris, and written by JaNay Brown-Wood, has been honored again!  please take a look at the site!  and the book!
Center For The Study Of Multicultural Children’s Literature         ************
‘Best Books of 2017’ !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

burris whoo hoo

Posted in Agency News, artist information, AWARDS, Children's Publishing Art, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

PIZZA DAY! Launch…..

our Melissa Iwai is so so excited to share that PIZZA DAY, companion to SOUP DAY from 2010, and published by Christy Ottaviano/Holt is BORN TODAY!!!  It’s just marvelous for kids and folks hoping to build healthy eating, food aware kids of all ages really.

There are several blogs and a wonderful video from Melissa herself from the book out there… (her son, featured as a young one in Soup Day, helped her produce the video!)  Here is one review of both books.  Enjoy and then go out and buy this special happy book….or both of them!

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Two sides to the same MAGIC?…. from Priscilla Burris and Christine Kornacki

ENJOY!  from all the CAT Agency artists!

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“ASK CAT”: check it out!

I have BORROWED my latest article from Kathy Temean’s Blog to share with you all here as well.  I do hope you follow her and the ASK CAT Tuesdays once a month. (plus her other wonderful shared articles!)  We will continue this offering as long as questions keep coming.  It’s a pleasure of years of experience in the industry to now be able to share what I’ve learned a bit here and with Kathy’s blog.  Our industry isn’t ‘brain surgery’, (or is it?) but it does have it’s own ways.  Love comments too!



by Kathy Temean


On the third Tuesday Christina or Christy Ewers Tugeau of the Catugeau Artist Agency will answer questions and talk about things illustrators need to know to further their career. It could be a question about an illustration you are working on, too. Please email your questions to me and put ASK CAT in the subject box.


Here’s Chris:

Happy creative Oct!  though summer does seem to want to continue endlessly this year !  Just as I’m going to ‘endlessly’ add on to my Aug. ‘ASK CAT’ about pricing and other market matters!  We keep getting questions about particulars and that is GREAT! 

1.)  “considering taxes and rep commissions the $5000 for a picture book (or educational book) is more like $2500 or $3000?  

Good of you to actually figure this out!  and YES!  gulp!  Reps usually take 25% of fairly priced offers (some more)  and yes if you are in the 25% tax bracket then together half of your fee will be going elsewhere.  But you have the other half!  You have work!  You have more wonderful samples to show off so next time you can get a higher fee! For a normal trade picture book with a medium or large house the fee should be closer to $10,000 or more depending. But the % are the same.  Have to note here:  it is extremely hard to find educational work if you aren’t with an agent.  Most is done through design studios they change often as do personnel and their clients and artistic needs.  Even though fees and taxes DO hurt, you have the work and the earnings! And they are done FAST so you can do a lot of them…. more $$$.

2.) “do publishers pay illustrators in the typical ‘on signing’/upon delivery/upon publication’ payments over the course of two or more years, making the actual yearly earnings small.”

I have to speak to educational jobs first.  Those are paid normally just once…when you get the finals in and they are accepted. But the payments are within 30 days almost always.  For TRADE books, often they are the 3 payments…. on signing, at sketch stage, and at approval of finals.  All paid normally within 30 days of invoice.  Often publishers now will attempt to stretch the final payment until ‘on publication’ which does add a year.  We try never to accept that, but without an agent you might have to.  We don’t feel it’s fair.  You complete a job…you should be paid.

As to ‘actual yearly earnings small’…. that is a relative statement as it depends on expectations, speed of work, and how much you can take on.  This is most often a ‘free lance’ industry as I mentioned last month.  Some artists by taking on overlapping trade and educational work can make a very good living at it. Many do editorial work and/or advertising jobs.  Many also are fine artists and show in galleries and festivals.  What is your energy level and tolerance?  Be honest with yourself.  Nothing is certain however.  One year might be fabulous and the next year you are barely working.  It IS a bit of a ‘labor of love’, but with good work ethic and determination, promotion, client follow through, and some sleepless nights you can make a living. (like Dan Santat…yes!)

3.) “…you mentioned for some trade projects can you negotiate for a royalty later. Should this be stated in the original contract?”

SORRY…you misunderstood my comment.  You negotiate for a royalty at the beginning of a trade book project so it is in the contract.  What I’d mentioned is that at times for a most successful series/chapter book/etc. that are often a flat fee (no royalty) to begin with, one might negotiate later for a small royalty due to the series success.  This would NOT be in the original contract.  It only happens when there has been great success and they wish the same illustrator to continue.  (you then have negotiating leverage) After 4 or so in a series an artist might want to try and negotiate for a higher initial fee as well for the same reason.

4.) Sharon asks:  “Would it be best for a professionally published artist/author to try for a LIT. REP for dummies? rather than a ARTIST REP?  Have authored 1 book, but illustrated many books , mostly edu. and want to break free from that mold”

I have written on this subject before, but to make clearer yet…. this is a very personal decision.  As Artist Agents predominately, we think we can represent the artist perhaps best for ALL their artistic endeavors…writing and illustrating. In fact we are dropping the ‘Artist’ in our agency name this next year. We’ve done both quite a few times, but not all Artist Agents do.  So check that out as you research. Often a client who loves the art will WANT to see the dummy ideas…clammer for them in fact!  Insider doorway!  There is no reason one couldn’t present to TRADE outlets even though you have done mostly educational.  BUT it will require a different LOOK/STYLE no doubt. That is up to YOU …not the agent.

Going with a LIT AGENT might be a good split though if you are looking for just the writing with a new style of art possibly too for that sort of work.  Many’ Lit Agents’ do take on artist/writers now. I assume they have a good eye and knowledge of art to help guide the artist in you.  😉

I have several more questions to answer in Nov. on this same track.  Thank you for asking for the ‘closer details’ of the business of children’s book art!  Happy to share….so do ASK!

Do send on more questions about our wonderful industry!!


Christina A. Tugeau Artist Agency LLC is the first mother/daughter agency in the business! A trained artist herself with a BA in Fine Art, Chris Tugeau has been in the children’s illustration industry for over 25 years. Since opening her own agency in 1994, Chris has enjoyed representing many talented artists, and has been an active part of the illustration community; writing and presenting for SCBWI regions around the country. She is also the author of SCBWI Illustrator Guidelines. A veteran artist and rep, Chris is an advocate for ethical fairness and the bright future of children’s publishing. She’s also a mother of 3, a grandmother to 8, and best friend to husband, Bill.

Chris and Christy, Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer questions and helping everyone trying to build their careers in the children’s publishing industry. This was a terrific questions and a terrific answer. – Great article.

Please help keep this column going by sending in your questions.

Thank you Chris and Christy for more great answers.


Hope this illustration by Priscilla Burris will inspire everyone to send in a question to Chris and Christy.

Talk tomorrow,


and Priscilla Burris is a ‘CAT’ artist of LONG standing!  Her illustrated series HEIDI HECKLEBECK from Little Simon, which is now up to #25 at least, is the one I mention in the article about doing so well that we could negotiate a royalty later.  It started as the more typical flat fee for this sort of b/w interior series.  We love HEIDI and hope you all do as well.  😉

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reading moments…..

memom first nite reading CT

IT’S SEPT!  School is in session and BOOKS are on kids and adult minds!  happily….

This is an image of our CT grands (and agency ‘research assistants’) in their new ‘sleepover bed’ (which was my father’s!) at our new place in CT.  We’re reading Grandma’s Tiny House illustrated by our agency’s long time artist, Priscilla Burris.  Wonderful story….  both!

A picture is worth a million words…. though it’s a collaboration for sure!  I think this one speaks for itself.  Happy reading and happy new school year to all!


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Katy Betz is one of our special CAT Agency artists.  I’ve visited with Katy and some of her Ringling students, and SCBWI members, in FL when I visit there in winters.  When I heard her plans for this summer, I knew we needed to share!

Katy, please tell us about your fantastic “summer in Florence” opportunity as teacher and artist! 

Betz teaching

Katy teaching….IN FLORENCE!

In addition to working as a freelance children’s book illustrator I teach full time in the Illustration department at Ringling College of Art + Design.  This summer I had an amazing opportunity to teach a drawing course in Florence, Italy.  Ringling is a consortium with Studio Art College International (SACI) and we have been working with them on expanding our study abroad program.  

Betz PonteVecchioPonte Vecchio

So the deal was, if I could recruit 10 Ringling students to enrolling the Late Spring Program at SACI, I would be rewarded with an apartment in the city of Florence, and the option to get paid to teach a class during the 5-week term.  It was a great opportunity not just for me, but also for our students to earn up to 6 credits that they could use in place of regular electives.  And they weren’t required to take my class, but could take any of the courses offered at SCAI, such as fresco painting Italian Language jewelry design, Renaissance art history, etc.

I spent several months trying to recruit students, which was quite an effort because it is an out=of=pocket expense for most of them. But 10 did eventually sign up before the deadline and we were off to Italy for the summer!

Betz bus

Living in Florence for 5 weeks was a very special opportunity for me because I had studied abroad for a semester in 2002 when I was in community college. In fact that experience is the main reason I pursued art as a career in the first place.  Before visiting Florence – the Birthplace of the Renaissance – I had always assumed that art wasn’t a wise career path.  But the transformation that happened to me during that first visit proved otherwise. so you can imagine how amazing it felt to return to my believed city nearly 15 years later as the art teacher! I was in heaven!!

Boboli tree                                         Dante

I had 8 students in my class from different American universities.  it was convenient having been to Florence before because I knew all the museums and sights and was able to plan my lectures around them.  We met Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 1-6pm. I structured the course to begin with figure drawing then progress through composition, perspective, and landscape drawing. A typical class consisted of a lecture and demo in the studio, then giving to a museum for on-location drawing.  At the end of class, we would stop and get a gelato while critiquing the work. I had to pinch myself to see if this was really my job!

Betz operadelduomooperadelduomo


On my days off, I would explore the city or visit a hilltop town, or go draw at a museum.  I’m pretty sure I visited almost every museum in Florence…some of them I visited 2 or 3 times!  On the weekends, I took longer trips to Rome Venice, Cinque Terre, Pompeii, Sorrento, Cortona, Assisi, etc.  It was simply unbelievable having all the free time in addition to teaching.



By the time the 5th week rolled around, I had seen and done so much that I was surprisingly ready to come home (plus it was getting really to and crewed).  I’ve been processing the trip ever since reviewing photos, reflecting only adventures. I did grow artistically, spiritually, and physically (all that pasta!). but I think one of the most profound conclusions that occurred to me is simply the confirmation that I chose the right path – I followed my heart and became an artist!

Thank you so much Katy for this visit with Florence, you, and your students!  Christy and I visited Florence (and Venice and Bologna) together in 2004 and would very much like to return again….and again!  Very unique, deeply moving, and with so much beauty and art everywhere! A very special place…..  till next summer, then!  

Posted in Agency News, artist information, artist interviews, Artists Q&A, Florence Italy, Image Share, Ringling College of Art, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment