About ITSme

ITSme empowers artists, illustrators, designers and authors to take the next steps in their creative across four services:

ITSme Repped works in partnership with top representation agencies worldwide. We assist you in joining the agency that best matches your personal voice and creative needs. Our highly experienced and focused research team has been sourcing the best talent throughout the creative arena for over 25 years. We have the ability to collect, analyse, and organise research & intelligence data with extensive knowledge of the commercial environment.

ITSme Learning is our educational platform, developed by creators, for illustrators and authors. ITS about sharing knowledge you need to grow through insider industry tips and exclusive resources in the form of video tutorials, professional round table discussions, Q&As, live interviews, articles, online courses, forums, and the ITSme Society Podcast series. Our educational content spans industries, featuring resources for those in illustration, design, animation, writing, commercial art, and film.

ITSme Networking offers you news and insights into what our network of agents, illustrators, authors, and clients are working on. It enables self-represented illustrators to join our Instagram campaign where they are encouraged to connect, promote their work and share ideas with fellow creatives.

And, our ITSme Society currently consists of eight members working in the creative fields of design, animation, literary, commercial art, illustration, film, and design industries. It is formed with the primary intent to influence positive change under our charter “Positive E.F.E.C.T.S” advancing the Environmental, Financial, Ethical, Collaborative, Training, and Social standards, of the Independent Creative Businesses (as signed) “Agencies.”

Meet The Team

Edward Burns

CEO

Ed is the CEO of ITSme and author of the E.F.E.C.T.S charter! He has been instrumental in bringing the world’s top Agencies together to join the ITSme Society and follow the progressive practices they aspire to, from carbon net zero to diversity and inclusion. Ed started as an illustrator in 1988, later founding Advocate Art in 1992. He has been on both sides of the Agent management table understanding what it is to be a freelance illustrator as well as being an agent through to running a global Artist Agency. He has been a senior manager or on the board of eight prominent artist-related businesses in his career of 35 years, but now devotes his time to helping support Artist Agencies with business advice and support finance. “Im always happy to share my experiences of the industry to help new or established illustrators further their careers, I am especially passionate about seeing our E.F.E.C.T.S. charter make a real difference and leave a lasting legacy.”

Natasha Lavall

Chief Operating Officer

Natasha was appointed to the position following her role as HR Manager at ITSme.She remains heavily involved in the Human Resources aspects of her new role. Having experience in working within, and alongside, the ITSme Society agencies....Previous roles include Global Manager at Advocate Art, Senior Sales Agent at Illo Agency and Head of Sales at Caroline Wakeman Literary Agency. Natasha has worked in the Industry for over 10 years, after completing a BA in Illustration, an invaluable qualification that has heavily aided her positions since graduating. Natasha works closely with the CEO to collaborate in implementing and driving organisational vision, hiring needs and quality control. She oversees employee productivity to build a highly inclusive company culture to ensure the highest success of the team and company. She continues to be creative as an Illustrator in her spare time, and recently became a new Mum which she is loving.

Alison Kimmel

Group Sales Director

She takes pride in training, developing and guiding an international team of Agents.To reach their highest sales achievements.Her extensive background in award winning customer service paired with her proven sales.Management success led her to join the team at Astound. During her time at Astound, she grew her agency’s reach into celebrity and NY Best Seller projects.Following success with Astound, Alison took on the role of Global Manager at Artistique International. While managing a territory of over 14,000 clients and a global team of agents, the company saw a 173% overall revenue growth with the introduction of contracts with high profile clients. During this time, she assisted with managing the North American territory for Illo Agency, growing their revenue by 262% in a year.

Vicky Patoulioti

Talent Source Manager

Vicky reviews the thousands of illustration submissions sent to us every week. She identifies the top talent.Organizes their portfolios to promote their strongest work And directs them to the agency that best matches their unique voice. Vicky graduated from London College of Communication, UAL with a degree in Illustration and Visual Media , incorporating both traditional and digital media.Her practice extends across fine art painting and illustration . She has exhibited in group shows across Europe (UK, Greece, Poland) and later moved on to interning for Advocate Art, starting her career as a talent scout. As a freelance artist herself, Vicky is highly attuned to the current market and illustration trends. Vicky has an in-depth understanding of the artist’s role, as well as the difficulties that can come alongside the artist’s journey. Vicky is passionate about guiding artists towared the best possible representation, expanding our creative community, and meeting with the artist’s that create it. In her spare time, you will find her strolling through art galleries or spending time with her two enormous fluffy sheepdogs at her father’s farm.

Emily Coggins

Director of Marketing

Emily is responsible for directing each of the ITSme Society agencies in achieving a unique global presence. Emily also leads production and concept creation for ITSme Learning and academy. Prior to ITSme, Emily was the Global Manager at Astound from its inception to late 2020. At Astound, she helped innovate their marketing strategy, rising to one of the top illustration agencies in the USA in just a few short years, growing the agency into a multi million dollar business. She agented countless titles, including #1 NY Times Bestselling picture books and celebrity series, and was named one of the top 100 literary agents in the USA. She brings her unique ability to understand marketing and PR needs from an agent’s perspective, and her PR experience within the film industry; having assisted on major press events for award winning films at top International Film Festivals (Cannes, Venice, and NohoIFF). Emily is passionate about bringing attention to artist and agent achievements via foundational and innovative methods. In her (rare) spare time Emily enjoys visiting local bookshops, galleries, cuddling with her cats, going to the movies, and riding horses.

Sebastian Arango

Technical – Marketing Project Manager

Seb is the ‘go to’ person when new marketing, website, and development ideas arise. He’s in charge of planning, designing and managing projects to improve the user experience and interface on our websites. Also, he ensures all technical functionalities run smoothly across the entire organisation. He works hand in hand with the marketing team to always achieve the best ideas and make them possible; bringing them to life with effective and innovative strategies and solutions. Seb was born in Colombia, where he completed his journalism degree and started his career in mass media by having the opportunity to work for two important TV channels; in one of them as a journalist and docu-series producer. His interest in marketing and digital innovation encouraged him to move to Spain to continue his academic formation. He successfully secured a Masters in Marketing and Digital Communication in the Camilo José Cela University, Madrid. This led him to his role as Marketing Manager at ITSme, and his home in Gibraltar. Creative in nature and with a love for the arts, music, movies and photography, he considers himself a talented individual who enjoys living life to the fullest.

Cassandra ‘Cassy’ Smith

Editorial & Marketing Assistant

Cassy brings her past experience in writing, editing, social media, and graphic design to the ITSme Society marketing projects. Cassy received her B.S. in marketing communications from Emerson College. While in college she gained valuable experience in the industry, working for a major publisher. Though not a trained designer, she went on to get her M.F.A. in Media Design from Full Sail University. Cassy loves exploring her creative side when designing marketing material, especially developing engaging social media graphics. Cassy works closely with the Director of Marketing and PR to assist the ITSme Society agencies in achieving a global presence, with a specific focus on CWLA, Advocate Art, and Astound. In her spare time, Cassy loves to read a wide variety of books, play video games, and spend time with family

Bhavisha Patel

Learning Academy Creative Director

Bhavi is our Learning Academy’s Creative Director. Her experience in all things illustration began with with Advocate when interning in university, where she studied Illustration. After graduating with a 1st Class Honours, she spent 2.5 years working at the Royal Academy of Arts as an Exhibitions & Art Sales Coordinator, before rejoining Advocate-Art as an Artist Agent. Having worked with Publishing and Licensing clients across the UK over the last 5 years, she now works as the company’s Senior Art Director and Licensing Manager, where her main focus remains with working with clients on a range of projects across Greeting Cards, Picture Books, Middle Grade Fiction and Chapter Books. Having built a strong rapport with artists, it’s equally important to Bhavi that she has a hands-on approach with our artists, helping to develop their portfolios to bring a range of commercial, on trend styles to the Publishing industry every year. She brings this relevant development knowledge to her role here at ITSme. Her client list now involves working with big publishing houses such as Walker Books (Bestsellers of Dinosaurs Don’t Have Bedtime), Harper Collins, DK (World of Trees), Scholastic (Unicorn Don’t Love Sparkles,) Arcturus and Wonderbly. In recent years, she’s developed strong relationships with the Trade Team, working on bestselling titles Friends Are Amazing and 3 Lions. Whilst Bhavi is a top selling Children’s Publishing agent, she also works as an agent with leading Greeting Card Publishers such as Paper Rose, alongside developing new product concepts with Gibsons Games. She still holds her position as Art Director at Advocate Art, and is excited for this partnership with ITSme, and sharing her knowledge with artists from all industries and locations.

Meet Our Mentors

Caroline Wakeman

The art of storytelling has been an obsession for Caroline since her early childhood when she would read and recite her favorite stories to anyone or anything that would listen! Fast forward a good few years, and you’ll see her passionately reading her published children’s books aloud – again to anyone or anything that will listen! Having worked in the Children’s Publishing industry for over 20 years, Caroline LOVES to find a great children’s book manuscript and aid the author in turning it into a future blockbuster! Along with her experience of commissioning great illustrators, she marries artwork and text to create the perfect synergy, which will captivate young minds and imagination. Caroline is excited to help ITSme Learning start offering more resources for authors, as well as illustrators.

Lil Chase

Elizabeth (Lil) Chase as our one of our writing mentors! Lil has 15 years experience of editing and creating stories for some of the biggest selling children’s books around the world. She’s an author in her own right, having written 13 novels to date, many of which have sold internationally. She’s never happier than when polishing a manuscript to perfection. She is so excited to share her knowledge and insights with our writing mentees.

Amy Milligan

Amy is the Global Manager for Illo Agency. She loves to surround herself with incredibly talented people, whether their creative focus is photography, illustration, motion graphics, or typography. Being a part of the creative process keeps her driven and excited to see what brief is waiting around the corner. Amy has worked for advertising agencies and illustration agencies and has a great balance of communicating briefs toIllo’s amazing freelance artists. She also has experience working directly with creatives to launch design-led products in retail environments. She has successfully placed products into the Design Museum, Southbank Centre, Harrods, and the V&A Museum of Childhood. For Amy, it is all about building lasting relationships with clients and creative collaborators. Working closely with the Illo artists to ensure project briefs and timings are met. Liaising with agencies and clients to ensure Illo is meeting and exceeding their expectations.

Kate Powell

Kate is the Global Manager of Astound US Inc. As an artist herself, she has the eye and experience to develop artists’ portfolios so that they may achieve their career goals. She has launched novice illustrators to become award-winners, collaborating with some of the most prestigious imprints in children’s publishing. Kate has also launched exciting projects such as middle-grade fiction series Izzy Newton and the S.M.A.R.T. Squad with National Geographic Kids and introduced illustration opportunities for Disney’s Little Golden Books. Kate has a BA in communication and media studies from DePauw University, an MFA from the University of Essex, and previous work background in arts education. She believes in the inspirational influence of illustration and the importance of these powerful messages reaching young readers around the world.

Joanne Cave

Jo has over 20 Years of experience in the Greeting Card industry, working both as an Illustrator and Design Manager. She spent the first 13 years of her career working in-house at UK Greetings (formerly Watermark Publishing), where she learned what makes successful, commercial design. As Design Manager, she planned and briefed designs for major UK retailers such as Clintons and Paperchase. More recently, she spent the past 7 years working as an Advocate-represented artist, creating designs across various categories for clients all over the world. Her background means she’s familiar with managing projects from both ends of the spectrum and has empathy for both clients and artists alike. Jo is passionate about all things illustration and stationery-related and is thrilled to be a lecturer for our mentorship program.

Aurora Barlam

Aurora is a senior agent at Astound US Inc. Her background in illustration and education gives her special insight into both the creative process and target audience for children’s products, especially when she’s helping artists write and illustrate her favorite medium—graphic novels. Aurora has a degree in illustration from RISD and then worked as a painting and drawing instructor. She keeps learning herself, including completing the Comics Experience course Comic Editing and Project Management. She represented illustrators for the publications Major Makes History (HarperCollins) and The Seed of Compassion (Penguin Random House, Kokila) and loves helping illustrators develop their portfolios.

Adolfo Sanchez Flores

Adolfo is the EU Manager at Advocate Art. He graduated from Murcia University in Spain, with a degree in Art History and a post-graduate certificate in education from Valencia University. Since graduating, he has worked in a variety of roles in the arts, including art handler, curator, and art advisor. As the EU Manager, Adolfo works to connect illustrators with clients children’s publishing, toys, and game clients in the EU and Latin America. In addition to his work at Advocate Art, Adolfo is an independent curator for contemporary art projects and is excited to help ITSme Learning start releasing videos in Spanish.

Harry Bloom

Harry Bloom is the UK Manager of Advocate Art Limited. He grew up in Warwickshire, a stone’s throw from the ‘Heart of England’ before moving down South to study illustration at the University of Brighton. Studying there, amongst so many talented creatives, cemented his ambition to work within the Arts, so after graduating he moved to London to pursue a career in Illustration. Harry worked as a freelance creative alongside a position in Fashion Management until he was able to work as an illustrator full-time. As a full-time illustrator, Harry worked with clients around the globe, on projects from Apps to Advertising and releasing her own series of Children’s books. Harry is now keen to use the skills and experience he gained to help guide, support, and empower other artists. He loves collaborating with creatives and clients alike and is excited by the opportunity to help bring their projects to life. The industry is hugely rewarding and Harry is both thrilled to be a part of the talented team at Advocate Art and now working with the ITSme Mentorship artists.

Vickie Savanella

Vickie is an artist agent in the US office. She has a degree in illustration, but the majority of her career has been spent in design and project management for children’s products, apparel, and toys, working with both licensed and private label clients. Vickie has a deep-seated love of illustration and loves to help bring beautiful art to the world! Since working at Advocate Art, she has had the opportunity to be a part of some fantastic projects, such as Vivienne in Paris, illustrated by Emanuela Manello for Mascot Books, which won the Mom’s Choice Award and was featured on NBC, This is the Sun illustrated by Evelyn Andrya for Science Naturally, which won the Creative Child Book of the Year Award and Tillywig Toy and Media Award, and The Wisemen Who Found Christmas illustrated by Diane le Feyer for Sophia Institute Press, which was featured on Fox News and became an Amazon best seller! Vickie currently resides in the Hudson Valley, just outside NYC, with her two cats. She enjoys a good cup of coffee, long hikes, needle felting, and spotting funky fashion around the city. She deeply enjoys helping emerging talents to reach their full potential.

Alice Morentorn

Alice is the lead agent in France for Advocate Art SL. She graduated from Emile Cohl’s School of Arts in France with a degree in academic drawing, multimedia, and illustration. Alice first worked in the video game industry as a 2D and 3D artist before embracing the book industry as an author and illustrator. Since then, she has worked on dozens of children’s books giving her inside knowledge on every step of creating a book, from knowing how to deal with all the stakeholders in the publishing chain to processing layouts, designs, narratives, or deadlines. Alice has been collaborating with major publishers all around the world for decades, including some of the most famous French historical organizations such as Le château de Versailles and the Gadagne Museum. Additionally, she has spent the last 10 years teaching illustration and academic drawing at her former art school in France. This has given her the keys to efficiently assist artists and help them meet the requirements to make every project a successful one. With a passion for new technologies, 3D, video games, concept art, board games, and books, Alice is keen on keeping an eye open for new forms of art, trends, and new talents!

Amanda Hendon

Amanda is Advocate’s Global Manager, having been with them since 2016. She received her BFA in Illustration from Parsons in 2015 which helped her hone a keen eye when briefing artists; a self-professed visual person, art and aesthetics are something she takes pride in being knowledgeable in, and she is always on the lookout for the latest trends and styles. Amanda loves being able to help nurture and grow artists’ talent, as well as being able to link up the right client, artist, and project – especially when she gets to see the final result on store shelves. Key clients include: American Greetings, Hallmark, Running Press, Design Design, Scholastic and Dinardo. In her free time, Amanda likes traveling, reading (mostly fairytales and myths), window shopping at NYC’s premier boutiques, baking, and spending time with my Chihuahua.

Atlanta Japp

Atlanta is Advocate’s West Coast Manager. Having graduated from Kenyon College with a degree in both Art History and Studio Art, she has not only acquired a deep passion for art but has also come to learn about its place in the current world. As an artist herself, she has coined a keen eye for successful design. In fact, one of Atlanta’s favorite things is to watch live art auctions as that is where she is able to foresee current and upcoming market trends. Atlanta was raised in a family of art lovers. In fact, she feels as though she is a natural agent as it runs in her blood. Both her mother and father worked as art advisors, appraisers, and sellers. Due to their involvement in the arts, Atlanta feels as though she was raised to work in this field alongside creatives. Working at Advocate Art has been such an exciting experience. It is the perfect blend of both her love for art and her interest in art sales. Atlanta feels so lucky to get the chance to look at beautiful artwork for a living and help bring some wonderful projects to life. Projects such as the FGTEEV Series illustrated by Miguel Diaz Rivas with HarperCollins Children’s, which was a New York Times Bestseller, The Juneteenth Story illustrated by Sawyer Cloud for Becker & Mayer, which was the Best Historical Winner for the Black Kitlit Awards 2022, and the General Mills Lucky Charms Campaign with Anomaly Advertising Agency, illustrated by Maria Lia Malandrino.

Erin Tisdel

Erin is an NYC based Agent for Advocate Art. Before starting with Advocate Art, most of her work experience was in art Museums and Galleries. Being an artist herself, Erin wanted to work closely with other artists and gain more experience in the commercial side of the industry. Since joining Advocate, she has had the opportunity to be a part of some wonderful projects, including Race to Kindness written by Orion Jean, Time’s Kid of the Year in 2021 and 2023, illustrated by Darshika Varma, and Raquela’s Seder illustrated by Sara Ugolotti for Kar-Ben Publishing, which won the Sydney Taylor Book Award 2023. When Erin’s not working you can find her drawing, cooking, watching tv, or walking her very cute dog. Erin loves collecting vinyl records and online shopping for graphic tees. Key clients include: Macmillan (especially Roaring Brook and First Second), Random House (Children’s, Golden, Crown, RH graphic), Phoenix International, Capstone Publishing, American Girl.

Imogen Holmes

Imogen is a Brighton-based Artist Agent at Astound US Inc., working with publishers across the UK, Europe, and Australia. She is always interested in learning about new titles and loves match-matching between artists and publishers to create best-selling books. Imogen manages a great list of successful titles, like the popular Usborne Lift-The-Flap series with the talented Marta Alvarez, while providing tailored 1-1 portfolio development for our ever-growing roster of astounding artists. Imogen’s background in arts and design is grounded in professional and academic experience. She graduated from King’s College London with a BA in English, shortly followed by an MA in Art History and Curating from University of Sussex. Since then, she has worked in a variety of creative roles as a publishing editor and has worked closely with archival and museum collections in London. Today Imogen combines her love of art and publishing as an Artist Agent with a particular interest in gift/ picture books and non-fiction picture books. She loves any story with beautiful illustrations, diverse characters and an empowering message. Key clients include: Usborne, HarperCollins, Michael O Mara, Wayland Hachette/ Franklin Watts and Walker.

Christina Doffing

Tina is Creative Directorand agent at Astound US Inc. She has always had a deep appreciation for Illustration and imagined herself having a life-long career in the Arts. In pursuit of her dream career, she attended college and received a B.F.A in Illustration and a minor in Multimedia Communications which helped to facilitate her roles as an Art Director and Graphic Designer. She has worked in Children’s Publishing Industry, Board Game Publishing, and in Visual Merchandising. She is a multidisciplinary thinker who has excelled at working with a variety of teams, ranging from editors and art directors to licensors and packagers. Her expertise is centered on building bridges between creative conceptualization, design, and implementation. Tina is very passionate about working with clients and artists to create contemporary and distinctive products. Key clients include: American Girl/Mattel, Sleeping Bear Press, Beaming Books, Lerner, and Cottage Door Press.

Deborah Millinship

Deb is an artist agent at Advocate Art. She has experience in all stages of product development for Everyday & Christmas greeting ranges. This gives her impeccable insight into what makes the best-selling commercial designs. If you want to discover what makes the best-selling Father Christmas, just ask her, she is proud to be a cardy. Since working at Advocate Art she has had the opportunity to be a part of some fantastic book projects as well, including Magic Max, written by Stephen Mulhern and illustrated by Begoña Fernández Corbalan, which is an Amazon #1 Best Seller! Deb grew up in Stoke-on-Trent, the heart of the Potteries, the world capital of ceramics. Her passion for Illustration started at art college where she went on to graduate from the Illustration course at Swansea Metropolitan in 2003.

Minhae Kim

Minhae (Min) is an artist agent based in Singapore. She has been in the Art & Design industry for over 13 years. She completed her BFA in Graphic Design at Parsons in New York City, and has worked as a UX designer at Samsung HQ in Seoul, Korea for a decade. After her relocation to Singapore, she became a self taught pattern designer where she gained understanding of the unique dynamics for both corporate and freelance environments. Min’s passions include her own art and illustration projects, as well as visiting art shows to keep up with the latest artists and trends. She is also a mother, and enjoys all things Plants & Flowers – and achieved master class qualification in the Catherine Muller Flower Course. As an agent she is excited to be a good bridge between clients and artists. Min is ready to connect you with the perfect artist for your next project.

Our Paid-Internship Program

We run an ongoing paid-internship program aimed at students and career seekers. We are interested in working with students of illustration, animation, graphic design, history of art, English, and visual communication courses. We are an international company, so language students are also welcome!

We want to give you the opportunity to experience life in the industry. Depending on what you want to get out of your paid-internship you will get involved in daily tasks from portfolio and project management, design, illustration, animation and scouting to writing press releases, site maintenance, sales, marketing, social media, lead scraping, PR and many more. You will discover what is hot in the industry right now! Not only do we give experience, but we can help you develop your work by offering a personal portfolio review at the end of your internship.

There is no mistaking that interns are essential to the running of our creative community. Our paid-internship program runs for a minimum of 20 hours over a period of 10 days, with the possibility of extension. For the duration of your paid-internship with us, you will be assigned an “Intern Buddy” who will be working with you closely on your schedule and be on hand to assist with any enquiries you have. Your Buddy could be from any of our agencies and we will discuss what you want to get out of your paid-internship with us to ensure the best match.

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