Thursday, 11 December 2008


The Association of Illustrators are almost like a trade union for illustrators. They have many publications available to help you get started, this is what they say about themselves:

The AOI was established in 1973 to advance and protect illustrator’s rights and encourage professional standards. The AOI is a non-profit making trade association dedicated to its members’ professional interests and the promotion of illustration.

Members consist primarily of freelance illustrators as well as agents, clients, students and lecturers. The AOI is run by an administrative staff responsible to a volunteer Council of Management.

As the only body to represent illustrators and campaign for their rights in the UK, the AOI has successfully increased the standing of illustration as a profession and improved the commercial and ethical conditions of employment for illustrators. The AOI is a member of the British Copyright Council (BCC) and Creators Rights Alliance (CRA). It helped to establish the secondary rights arm of the Designers and Artists Copyright Society, (DACS), the UK visual arts collecting society.

Responsible for establishing the rights of illustrators to retain ownership of their artwork, the AOI aims to expose and resist rights abuses and exploitative practices within the industry whenever they occur. On behalf of its members, and with their continued support, the AOI can attempt things that it would be difficult or impossible individually. As part of the BCC, for example, the AOI is able to lobby parliament for changes in UK law, aligning it more closely with those of our European neighbours, widely seen as more creator friendly. AOI have produced a Code of Practice for member agents to promote good practice within the illustration industry, and inform illustrators what should be expected from an agent.

The Pro-Action committee was established in 2006 by the AOI and the Society of Artists Agents to deal with the problems facing illustrators in today’s market place. These include fee erosion, copyright grabs and the issuing of retrospective contracts from commissioners which are becoming increasingly prevalant.

The European Illustrators Forum (EIF), a group of 20 associations (at 2008), was formed to safeguard illustrators' rights and to assist the continental promotion of illustration through the co-ordinated action of member associations on a local level, and with a series of common initiatives on an international level. AOI was a founding member of EIF.

Information and support services

Portfolio advice
Objective advice is given on portfolio presentation, content and suitable illustration markets and agents.

Varoom - the journal of illustration and made images
Varoom features interviews with leading illustrators and image-makers, and plots new developments as well as looking back at schools and figures from the past. The magazine is published three times a year. Available at good bookshops around the world AOI members receive their issues free of charge.

Up Poster
Illustrated quarterly UP poster covering AOI news, events, industry developments and exhibitions. Each edition has an image exclusively created for AOI members.

The AOI publishes Rights: The Illustrator’s Guide to Professional Practice, a comprehensive guide to the law for illustrators. It provides detailed advice on how to protect against exploitative practices and contains a model contract for illustrators to use. We also produce Survive: The Illustrator’s Guide to a Professional Career which is a comprehensive practical guide to beginning and continuing a career as a professional illustrator. Survive includes information about marketing, ethics, agents and a guide to fees. These publications are available to members at reduced rates.

Client Directories
The AOI currently has three illustration client directories. The Editorial Directory has details of over 200 contacts in the newspaper and magazine industries. The Publishing Directory is a comprehensive list of over 180 important contacts in book publishing. The Advertising Directory has details of over 180 contacts from the world of advertising.

Business advice
Members are entitled to a free consultation with the AOI Chartered Accountant who can advise on accounting, National lnsurance, tax, VAT and book-keeping.

Members receive discounts on AOI events, publications and a number of art material suppliers nationwide.

Legal advice
Full and Associate members receive advice on ethics and contractual problems, copyright and moral right disputes.

Students and new illustrators
Our seminars and events combined with the many services we offer, can provide practical support to illustrators in the early stages of their career.

Online Portfolios
The AOI runs a dedicated website aimed at promoting illustration to the creative industries currently featuring over 10,000 images by 500 artists.

The AOI runs an annual programme of events which include one day seminars, evening lectures and thematic exhibitions. These include talks by leading illustrators as well as representatives from all areas of the illustration field, and cover such subjects as children’s book illustration, aspects of professional practice, new technologies and illustrators’ agents. AOI members are entitled to discounted tickets.

To request further information or a membership application form please telephone +44 (0)20 7613 4328 or go here for more information.

Website has details of the Association’s activities, including samples from current and past Journals, details of forthcoming events, the AOI’s history and on-line portfolios.

Images website contains all the information you need on Images - the UK's leading illustration competition, annual, awards show, and touring exhibition dedicated to showcasing the very best contemporary illustration published in the UK. Members receive discounted entry and publication fees for Images.

Images is Britain's only jury-selected illustration competition, judged by a highly regarded panel of industry experts, spanning multiple categories, and is an annual competition.

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