(Illustration by Daniel Stolle)
The Anna Goodson Illustration Agency is a contemporary creative boutique representing some of the most prominent Illustrators from around the world. Founded in 1996, Anna Goodson has established a record of expertise, insight and keen vision that has served the visual market well. Their success comes from providing exceptional personal service to illustrators and clients while promoting the positive and professional use of illustration.
Since Anna recently celebrated 17+ years as an artist representative, we thought it was high time we ask her a few questions about her many years of continued success.
ILLUSTRATION AGE: You recently celebrated your 17th anniversary. Congratulations! What would you say has kept you going and what sets you apart from other artist representatives and agencies?
Anna Goodson: So many wonderful things have kept me going these past 17 almost 18 years in the business. I have seen so many changes, especially due to technology. When I first started out, we used to go see clients and present our physical portfolios that used to weigh a ton. Today, all communication is done via email and the web. Probably what sets me apart is that I still have the exact same passion and drive I had when I first started. My reason for starting the business in the first place was because I wanted to have fun and do the things I loved. I guess people sense that about me and know I am in this business for all the right reasons.
(Illustration by Michelle Thompson)
IA: You’ve been taking on some new talent lately. Could you tell us a little about these additions, how you’ve decided who to bring on, and what they add to your group?
AG: I am always falling in love with work that I see and when I see a style or illustrator that I love, I want them to be part of our gang. Its really that simple. I have never followed “trends”. I like to think that I go with my gut and look for styles that are different and original. I’ve said this before but I actually get an emotional or cathartic reaction when I see a certain style. Some times, others feel the same way and that style really takes off and other times not as much. I don’t really take on illustrators to please clients, I take them on because I like them and because I think the illustrator is really great and I want to help them succeed in this industry. As for adding to the group, I think that anyone I bring on will add to our group because they are talented and individual and it gives our gang more diversity.
(Illustration by Mágoz)
IA: What do you see as your personal strengths as an art rep, both in terms of meeting your clients’ needs and helping your artists succeed?
AG: I would say my personal strengths are that I am efficient, hard working and pro active. I am reactionary and as soon as I have something to do, I get right on it. Clients trust us and seem to really enjoy working with us. We are two people that run the agency, myself and Sylvie Hamel. She is actually the one who runs the day to day. Sylvie is one of the sweetest people you will ever meet or talk too. She really cares and spends lots of time talking with the illustrators and the clients. I am a bit more of a right to the point kind of gal and we really compliment each other that way. All the clients and the illustrators love dealing with Sylvie and that is really one of the reasons we have had so much success over the years. Clients move around but always call us and want to work with us.
I focus on the promotion of the agency and the illustrators. I’ve always strived to be the best illustration agency in the world. When I first launched 17 years ago, I was a complete unknown in the industry so that was my goal back then and it still is true today.
(Illustration by Paul Blow)
IA: How has your promotional model changed with our evolving media landscape over the years?
AG: Our promotional model has been evolving since day one. Lots of trial and error and trial and success. I don’t believe in today’s landscape there is just one way to promote. I think you need to be innovative and creative. You also need to be on top of what is going on. I remember years ago another agent telling me that she didn’t think investing in a website was worth it. You need to be everywhere all the time, especially regarding social media. As soon as you think you have things figured out they change. So I spend my days and nights trying to keep up, stay fresh and on top of things.
(Illustration by Marie Lafrance)
IA: Can you give us a sneak peak at your future long or short terms plans?
AG: My short term plans are to keep doing what I have been doing. As long as the passion is there, I will be here. I also really enjoy lecturing on business and giving conferences on illustration. Its my way of giving back. This industry has been very good to me and I want to do all that I can to help the next generation. Long term, who knows, I like to live day by day.
Special thanks to Anna Goodson for taking the time to share her thoughts with us. Here’s to another 17 years!