Jennifer Nelson Artists Made A Big Splash in The City By The Bay

Whew! What a terrific trip I had traveling to San Francisco for our first-ever West Coast trade show. The city was beautiful (and I have pictures to prove it) and the show was a big success. We will definitely be coming back to Blue Print San Francisco next fall!

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I met up with other artists and agents at the Fort Mason Center to set up for Blue Print (special thanks to Katy Tanis who helped me so much with the booth). The show was three good days punctuated with eating super yummy foods. I loved meeting all of you (many for the first time) and celebrating our mutual love of art.

Our booth looked great. I got to hang out with my agent friends, Abby, Brenda and Paul (founder and mastermind behind Blue Print) and Patrick too!

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The flight from Boston was 3,234 miles. I brought more than 90 pounds of artwork to the show, on foot. Quite a workout, but it was well worth it! :)

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A very sweet client brought Jill Howarth’s latest book up from LA for us. It’s so satisfying to see the artist’s work out in the wild.

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The setting was gorgeous, right next to the water. At one point I looked out the window of the hotel and saw a seal basking in the sun. We don’t get those in Boston!

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 The show was a huge success and we will definitely be there next autumn!

After three fun-but-exhausting days I had some time off. While in San Francisco I visited Alcatraz with my friend Brenda and hiked all around town.

I walked (just under 10 miles - and met not one but TWO corgis!) from Japantown to the Painted Ladies… down Haight Street to Market Street… to Lombard Street back down to the water… and back to the bayside, where a friend and Advice for Artist client, Shannon McNab, kindly drove me back to the airport.

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I had a great time but it’s good to be back home. The succulents out west are so pretty, I brought one back to see if I can let it live in my studio. A little souvenir of my week in San Francisco.

 

Enter To Win A FREE Workshop!

The big day is coming. My three-day workshop on Modern Thrive entitled “How To Get An Agent (And Do I Really Need One?)” will be here before you know it. March 16th to be exact. It’s going to be a lot of fun and I’m really eager to share a ton of useful information with you. If you haven’t signed up yet, click here

Although I have included every bit of important info I can think of, there are always questions. So I’m leaving a few minutes in each session to answer pertinent questions about the topic. To make this even more fun than it already is, I’m giving away one FREE workshop (a $97 value) to a lucky winner. To be automatically entered, just post a relevant question in the comments section below. I’ll choose the winner at random on Monday, March 7th. It’s so easy. (One question per person, please.)

Have you already signed up? Don’t worry! If you’re randomly chosen as the winner I’ll simply refund your payment.

I’m looking forward to reading your questions. And I’m anticipating a great three days giving you the benefit of my knowledge and experience. See you on March 16th! - Jennifer

Happy Birthday to US!

We’re celebrating – it’s our first birthday! Yes, it was just last January that we launched Jennifer Nelson Artists and got to know all of you. The Little Agency That Could is now nearly one year old and there’s no better way to share the joy than to give one lucky winner a nice prize.

 Anisa Makhoul's YAY! Cake

Anisa Makhoul's YAY! Cake

As you may know from our newsletters, we have almost daily sessions with artists offering information on all kinds of business issues. Done by Skype, I spend an hour with an artist giving advice on portfolios, contracts, marketing, even getting an agent. I answer whatever questions you may have and leave you better equipped for success in the art world.

 Masthead design by Victoria Johnson

Masthead design by Victoria Johnson

You can win a FREE one-on-one Advice For Artists session with me,  just by entering.

Post a comment below about what you’re interested in learning for 2016. It could be about illustration marketplace, how to negotiate fees, what to look for in an agent, or how to read the fine print on a contract. Whatever interests you most!

I’ll select a winner at random on January 20th and we can schedule an hour-long session together. It’s that easy.

Even if you’re not the lucky winner your input still helps me to decide what to discuss in future Advice for Artists newsletters so please participate.

Happy Birthday to (ALL of) us! - Jennifer 

Jennifer Nelson Artists + Heart 2 Art Talk!

This past Tuesday, I had the privilege of wonderful Periscope interview with Ann Was Here and Jeanetta Gonzalez, both illustrators, surface designers, very clever teachers & co-hosts of #Heart2ArtTalk.

It was so fun (even though I was a tad nervous)... we talked about newsletters, agents, treating your business like a business, building a client list and so much more. Click here to watch the Heart-to-Art interview. 

 Anne Bollman, myself + Jeanetta Gonzalez

Anne Bollman, myself + Jeanetta Gonzalez

If you need advice on a personal basis, schedule an appointment with me for one of our hour-long Advice For Artists sessions. 

News about a New Newsletter

Would you be interested in a JNA newsletter that goes directly from agent to artist? Can you agree to keep it just between us?

And maybe you could benefit from some of my coping skills. You might like to hear how I deal with insecurities, celebrate victories, and create balanced life. (Life isn’t just art. There must also be pancakes!)

So, if you are game (and I really hope you are), please sign up here and be sure to check the “I am interested in: representation +/or advice for artists” box.

Hope to hear from you! - Jennifer

 

As you probably know, we send out a newsletter every few weeks which goes to thousands (yikes!) of folks in the art world. Most are art buyers, some are business associates, some are graphic designers. And some are artists just like you! But I realized that there may be a need for a newsletter that goes to artists only.

 

 

 

After all, there are some inside tips I can offer to artists that I don’t necessarily want everyone to know. When it comes to how to negotiate a contract, how to market your work to art directors, how to promote yourself through social media – that’s information I would like to share only with the artists themselves.

 

 

I am hoping to share some practical tidbits on licensing, reveal how art buyers search the web, and coach you on how to get the most out of your online hours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the kind of thing that happens during my Advice For Artists sessions, where I do one-on-one coaching with illustrators over Skype. It has been very helpful to artists and for me too!

Advice for Artists gets results

Shortly after I launched Advice for Artists, the amazingly talented Flora Chang contacted me! Flora needed help with a book project. The client had been in touch with her directly, but there were many hurdles to be cleared in finalizing the deal.

 Flora at work on the book

Flora at work on the book

First the terms of the offer needed to be completely understood: How many illustrations did the client need? Where would the book be distributed? What was the earning potential on the book? What terms did the client require? What was the deadline? What was the financial offer? A flat fee, an advance on royalties, or royalties only?

With that information clear, Flora and I had several conversations about other issues. Could she deliver that amount of work according to the deadline? Did we think the offer was fair for the amount of work she would have to do? Did she want to do this project? She did!

 Pages 1 + 3 from the book

Pages 1 + 3 from the book

Once we formulated our game plan, I contacted the client to begin the negotiation process. I outlined our response to the offer, our agreements and our points of inquiry. The first draft of the contract came. As luck would have it, the contract was a short 7 pages – but loaded with legal details and fine points to be thoroughly understood such as grant of rights, delivery of manuscript alterations, publication, marketing, royalties, copyright and infringement, kill fee… the list went on (and on). I went back and forth with the client's very smart attorney several times before we reached an agreement we all felt good about.

The result: a happy artist + a happy client = a tremendously rewarding and lucrative project! If you don't have an agent, and you have a project you need help with – call me!  Jennifer

You can find Flora in her delightful Happy Doodle Land here and on Instagram here. The book is available for pre-order and, after January 5th, for purchase here + here + here!

The Six Secrets Of Selecting An Artist

I’m frequently asked, “What do you look for in an artist?” Since you asked nicely, I’m going to reveal my secret system.


Secret 1) Of course, not every agent handles this important decision the same way, but I look for three main ingredients in an artist: Excellent work (obviously), talents that match the needs of art buyers I work with (and those I hope to work with soon) and kind-heartedness, both in business and personal behavior. Yes, it’s nice to be important but it’s important to be nice.

 

Secret 2) Regarding style, I seek out artists with a unique eye and a personal perspective. I love a quirky sense of design myself, and my customers tend to like what I like. I look for someone who understands color and design, who has a vision for the overall composition, and who pays attention to the finest details. It’s about seeing the Big Picture while dealing with the small stuff.

 

Secret 3) I always keep in mind the needs of art buyers. I look for excellent artwork with a different take on readily licensable content. That means popular subject matter like florals, winter holiday themes, hand lettering, etc. The art buyers I work with are looking for clarity, mastery of color and an image that will, in turn, appeal to their customers.

Their company will invest a lot of money in making products with that art on it. Art buyers look to me to help them discern what is marketable. Tip: Flowers are in most years, snakes are not in very often. ;)

 

Secret 4) Being dependable is as essential as being talented. I have been in business for many years and have worked with oodles of gifted people. The ones who are committed, timely and accurate get hired time and time again. Among those, the artists I remember and want to work with are those who are also decent human beings. If an artist is good to me and the online community, they will in turn be pleasant toward our clients. This reflects well on the artist, the agency, and on me personally.

 

Secret 5) A successful artist needs to be have good work habits. That means being organized (knowing where to find that piece of art we need), neat (art can get messy but digital files have to be clean), friendly and easy to talk with, and ready and willing to collaborate with clients. In short, an artist has to have the same standards as anyone in business.

 

Secret 6) As opposed to fine art, commercial art is about solving problems. How do we want to design this pillow to make it marketable? What image should go on this Mother’s Day card? How do we make this ordinary object more desirable with art? Self-expression and creativity are wonderful, but we still need art that does what it’s required to do. I look for artists whose approach to illustration includes problem-solving skills.

So… now that the secrets are out, they’re not really secrets at all! Just good common sense and smart business practices. Pretty obvious, really. - Jennifer

BIG NEWS: coming up on Friday, we will announce our seventh artist! Like the six that came before her, she fits all the criteria above. I love her work and I can’t wait to share her amazing art with all of you.