Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 12, 2016

Take a Look Sunday – Amal Karzai


2016 marks the 30th Anniversary of The Organisation!

Cue the popping of champagne corks and hurrahs!

They have agreed to host Take A Look Sunday from June through August!



The Organisation is run by Lorraine Owen with the fabulous assistance of Richard Merritt, Pauline Mason, Jane Gelosa and Steph Vickery. They are an international agency with offices in London and New York and their client base covers every genre and age group within Book Publishing. In addition they supply artwork for use in Advertising, Magazines, Design, Packaging, Apps, Games, Greetings Cards and Art for Interiors.

The company is built on the ethos that every artist should have a distinct style. They would be able to stand out and would never feel that their unique style was being duplicated within the agency. Currently the maximum amount of artists they represent is 60 and they operate a policy of adding new talent only when someone leaves.

“Lorraine and her agency are pretty much publishing royalty; The Organisation work with some of the very, very best illustration talents, and it’s always a thrill to be working with one of their stable They are on our ‘go-to’ list for all new commissions.

Organisation agents without fail are a joy to deal with, and contribute so much more than simple deal-making.” STRAWBERRIE DONNELLY, ART DIRECTOR

Here is Lorraine’s review for Amal:


What strikes me first is your painting skill. I like the impressionistic style of the backgrounds where detail is not as important, and you capture facial expressions really well – the joy of the little girl is obvious and endearing.



However, having had a look at your website I think you have stronger work than what you have submitted here. I love the sense of drama and composition in some of your other work, full of exciting angles and perspectives – these feel more illustrative and appropriate for sequential story telling. I attach 3 images I particularly like. For me, there are much more engaging and I’m imagining the story behind them. These show you transitioning from a fine artist (with wonderful portraits by the way!) into an illustrator, whose primary job for working on children’s books is to interpret the text and put your own creative stamp on it.


I love the drama in the image with the two children about to be caught out by the officer – the shadow is a clever tool and your composition, with us looking up from below, is great. Same goes for the boy hanging on for dear life in the tower – what a fantastic perspective! These are all very difficult to achieve so well done, you clearly have superior drawing kills. It’s not that I don’t like the girl in the garden, but I feel it is a little muddy and lacks the dynamism and clarity that these other images have.



Amal is a recent Masters graduate of the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, raised in Baltimore, Maryland and a BBC radio addict. Most of her illustrations are done for educational and traditional publishing in the US and abroad.

Lorraine. Thanks for taking the time to share your expertise with all of us.


A Little Bit about LORRAINE OWEN:

Prior to the birth of The Organisation I had been Art Director/designer for a number of major publishers designing book jackets. I loved working with illustrators and I can proudly say that I gave a number of successful illustrators their very first job. After 10 enjoyable years I followed my passion for illustration and became a founder of The Organisation.

My main job within the company is now finding new talent and helping existing artists develop their portfolio by critiquing and supplying ideas for new samples.

Someone once said that if you love your job you’ll never work a day in your life and that’s exactly how I feel.


If you do not have an agent and would like to be featured and hear what is working or how it could be tweaked to help you sell your work, then please send Two or Three SEQUENTIAL illustrations (Two/three with the SAME “story/characters‎”) to:

Kathy.temean (at) Illustrations should be at least 500 pixels wide and your name should be in the .jpg title. Please put ILLUSTRATOR PORTFOLIO in the subject area and include a blurb about yourself that I can use to introduce you to everyone.

Each Sunday one illustrator will be featured.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. So excited to see the lovely, talented Amal featured here 🙂 You go, girl!


  2. Beautiful work, Amal!


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