Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 21, 2017

ASK CAT: Chris and Christy Tugeau Answer Questions


On the third Tuesday Christina or Christy Ewers Tugeau of the Catugeau Artist Agency will answer questions and talk about things illustrators need to know to further their career. It could be a question about an illustration you are working on, too. Please email your questions to me and put ASK CAT in the subject box.



Hello again! We are thrilled to be back on Kathy’s blog; this time answering all those artist and industry questions you are dying to ask! We have a unique perspective as Artist Agents (and we love artists who write as well!). Do write Kathy your questions for us and she’ll pass them on. Remember – the only ‘stupid’ question is the one you didn’t ask!

We recently wrote a post on our “THE WAY TUGEAU” blog about portfolio prep for the NYC SCBWI Midwinter Conference early this Feb. Hope we were helpful, and hope those of you who went got TONS out of it. Christy attended the Portfolio Showcase and was extremely impressed! You might have questions particularly for her about her experience and thoughts? If so, ask! Meanwhile, it seems appropriate we start with some presentation questions that might be on your minds:

First, how about various styles and how to present them all in a portfolio?

General rule = LESS IS MORE. Don’t over play your hand and try to show everything. Pick the style, or possibly two (plus black and white if you do it and place in back of your book) that is most “YOU”. This should be the one you want to truly be hired for and known for at this point. After you have your drawing hand in the door, you can show your editor and AD other styles you think they might be interested in. You will change and grow over time of course, but one big purpose of a portfolio is to present YOU. If you don’t know which style is YOU, how will they? Memorable is a key word.

Second, how to best promote your style to AD’s and Editors?

One rule = POSTCARDS. We hear so very often how AD’s and Editors (yes!) love getting larger format postcards (5×8-ish) with artwork (color) on both sides, one with contact information and a website to visit to learn more about you. They can see these easily and clearly and the larger size feels almost like a page from a book! Often these will get tacked on their bulletin boards if you’ve intrigued them. It can take years before the perfect project comes up for your work! Really….we have proof! Or you might get a call right away for a job. If interested, they will visit your site to see more, so make sure there are similar ‘back up’ images there for them to find. We advise sending a new postcard to your well-researched list 3-4 times a year. Vary the characters and themes, but try to keep the same general style so they’ll again remember you. It’s a good idea to use the same characters on the front main image and back secondary image. Have them show different expressions, perspectives and interacting with other characters. This shows buyers so much more about YOU than unrelated ones might.

Be sure you research and curate your list of recipients thoroughly. And keep it updated!! It’s important to get names and positions correct. And you don’t want to waste a stamp on someone who has moved on!

Third, is going to expensive Conferences worth the time and Money?

One word = YES! But you have to invest in yourself first in order to make the experience really worth every dollar. Study up beforehand on who is presenting and critiquing. Prepare your presentation to be remembered, with good “keeper” postcards for buyers to take (use your strongest piece that best represents the rest of your portfolio). WORK IT! Walk up to people and introduce yourself – to other artists of course, but also editors and AD’s you might see. They expect it, but be polite…and never in the restrooms!! Plan to attend everything, listen well, ask questions, and take notes. The more detailed notes the better, as there is so much information to digest, there’s no way to remember it all!

Conferences, big and small, are focus opportunities for everyone there. You are allowing yourself to be immersed in your professional field! It’s like going to camp, or a retreat, with friends-to-be and real life ‘stars’ in your industry! You will learn, grow and expand personally and artistically. You don’t have to go every year, but try going to smaller events like a presentation by an industry pro, or local workshop. Intimate events can be wonderful and inspiring as well.  BUT YES! Save up…and GO!! You won’t regret it.


Christina A. Tugeau Artist Agency LLC is the first mother/daughter agency in the business! A trained artist herself with a BA in Fine Art, Chris Tugeau has been in the children’s illustration industry for over 25 years. Since opening her own agency in 1994, Chris has enjoyed representing many talented artists, and has been an active part of the illustration community; writing and presenting for SCBWI regions around the country. She is also the author of SCBWI Illustrator Guidelines. A veteran artist and rep, Chris is an advocate for ethical fairness and the bright future of children’s publishing. She’s also a mother of 3, a grandmother to 8, and best friend to husband, Bill.

Chris and Christy, Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer questions and helping everyone trying to build their careers in the children’s publishing industry.

Please help keep this column going by sending in your questions.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Mother daughter team……love it!


  2. Thanks for the advice! It’s always worth being reminded of what to do. And I needed the reminder especially since I’m going to the NESCBWI conference soon. 🙂


  3. Great advice


  4. Thank you for the helpful info. What is the email so I can ask Cat next time around? Thanks!


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