Shauna Lynn Panczyszyn on the advantages of getting an agent

The Florida-based illustrator and hand-letterer explains how she snagged herself a top agency – Illustration Ltd – and what's happened since.

OC Weekly image – one of the commissions Panczyszyn has won since joining Illustration Ltd

Recently we've asked whether it's time you got an agent, and given you some great tips for deciphering agent contracts. Now Shauna Lynn Panczyszyn tells us how signing up with Illustration Ltd has changed her career for the better.

Why was signing up with Illustration Ltd the right decision for you?

Having an agent was something I really wanted, so I could focus on what I do best and know that the agency would be there to navigate the rest of what goes along with being freelance - such as dealing with contracts and pricing.

I had been in contact with Illustration Ltd for a while, but it wasn't until I did a chalk art piece for Jacksonville Magazine that they said: "That's it, that's what we're looking for," took me on and marketed me as a chalk artist.

How has your career improved as a result?

In the last six months with Illustration Ltd, I've had the opportunity to work on projects all over the world - from here in the USA to London and most recently South Korea. It has really opened up my work to a new set of eyes and opportunities that I wouldn't have had previously, including the chance to create a book cover for Scholastic and a full-page illustration for craft magazine Mollie Makes.

Panczyszyn's cover artwork for Reading Unbound, published by Scholastic

How can you get the most out of your relationship with your agent?

Don't be afraid to ask questions. If you're confused about something and need clarification, the agents can help get you that. I've also found that just really being myself helps with communication. I write to my agents in the same way that I talk. Remember that your agents are nice people and they are there to help you be the best you can be. If you're excited about a project, they'll be excited about it.

Words: Anne Wollenberg