The most valuable piece of advice that Amy Veried ever received about her career was “Do what makes you happy”. Veried has done just that, deciding at art school that she did not want to be a freelance illustrator but that she still wanted to work within the industry. Now, just three years after graduating with a BA in Illustration with Animation from Manchester School of Art, she is working as a Junior Agent at Handsome Frank, an agency for contemporary artists.
Handsome Frank represents illustrators who produce work for advertising, design, and publishing, with styles ranging from clean blocks of colour to a more hand-drawn look. Veried is well-placed to describe what makes a good portfolio, no matter the techniques that are being showcased. She looks out for artists “having their own unique style and voice, something I haven’t seen before done incredibly well”. It is crucial that artwork is “finished to a high standard”, but illustrations with a personality of their own are what go the extra mile: “if it makes me laugh that’s usually a winner.”
Working with picture books can give illustrators the chance to put some these extra quirks into their work. Veried praises “the amount of space that is allowed for drawing instead of words to tell the story”. She also notes how paper itself can enhance picture books, bringing extra dimensions (quite literally) to the illustrations. “There’s some amazing paper engineering that goes into picture books,” Veried explains, “which makes them very exciting”.
Some of Veried’s favourite illustrators (not represented by Handsome Frank) include: David Shrigley, Leanne Shapton, Laura Callaghan, August Wren, Camille Walala, Dave Eggers, Katie Scott, Mr Bingo, Jon Klassen, Bodil Jane, Chris Riddell, Levi Pinfold, Raymond Pettibon, Quentin Miller, Marc Johns, Gemma Correll.
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