Courses and Mentorships

Illustrators who have joined our programs have gone on to:

  • Understand what it takes to become a professional illustrator

  • Get signed by an illustration or literary agency

  • Get paid jobs with clients


Koustubha Jagadeesh

3 month mentorship program alum

“I would 100% recommend it to fellow artists. It would have taken me a lot longer to get where I am today without this mentorship. I thoroughly enjoyed working with Bhavi. The briefs were very helpful. I was able to create characters and full work without losing the main focus. Overall, it was an amazing experience.”

Sara Ly-Tan

3 month mentorship program alum

"I feel like there’s more direction and clarity with how to proceed toward my goals, thanks to your guidance, feedback, and all the resources shared through the program. So thank you very much as it was such a pleasure and wonderful experience to work with you. And I really hope to work with you again in the near future."

Akiva Bakst

3 month mentorship program alum

“My experience doing the ITSme Mentorship program was an amazing learning opportunity that has expanded my skills sets in such a short period of time. I was pushed by my mentor to go outside of my comfort zone to further expand my artistic potential. I truly felt that I had the resources and guidance to succeed. With my new knowledge and connections, I’m confident that I can take the steps in the right direction with my career as a professional illustrator.”

Eszter Miklos

3 month mentorship program alum

"The Illustration Mentorship was a fantastic opportunity to develop my portfolio with the help of my lovely mentor, Bhavi. I truly recommend this program for illustrators who are ready to take the next big step in their career."

Gabriela Grave

3 month mentorship program alum

"This Mentorship gave me the right insights to work on my portfolio and improve my art style! I developed work more aligned with myself and the illustration market. I would recommend this Mentorship to anyone looking for some professional reviews and guidance."

Francesca Cosanti

3 month mentorship program alum

“I finally had the opportunity to work on briefs for different clients than usual, with topics that interest me a lot. Thanks to this I was able to give my best and demonstrate how I work with interesting commissions. Being able to interface with a professional like Amy and follow her suggestions was the best.”

Alysha Dawn

3 month mentorship program alum

“Amy was extremely helpful with noticing my strengths and what things were missing from my portfolio that will help me be better situated to get more work. Thanks so much for this opportunity and great experience! I would absolutely recommend this program to other artists!”

Saulo Santana Cabrera

3 month mentorship program alum

"My experience in the ITSme program has been invaluable. I’ve noticed significant growth in my work and have been able to go deeper into portfolio development with your videos from the ITSme team. I want to express my sincere gratitude to all members of ITSme, with special recognition to my mentor Amy."

Peyton Sharp

3 month mentorship program alum

“It was a massive help to have guidance in each step with foundational feedback that I can use to help further my skills. I have learned so much from how to properly prepare characters and draft pieces to keeping the final touches and details in mind. I feel that I have improved significantly in my skills.”

Sebastian Timpe

3 month mentorship program alum

“Having a brief to follow was very helpful. Having my mentor tailor the briefs specifically to missing pieces in my portfolio really helped bring my portfolio together in the end. The briefs were both open ended enough that I could creatively work with them but specific enough that I knew how to produce the image my mentor was looking for.”

Meet Your Instructors

Bhavisha Patel

Course Director

Bhavi is our Learning Academy’s Creative Director. Her experience in all things illustration began 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 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.

Aurora Barlam

Astound Senior Artist Agent / Graphic Novel Instructor

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. Some key highlights include representing illustrators for celebrity titles “Major Makes History”, by Jill Twiss illustrated by Maribel Lechuga (HarperCollins) and “The Seed of Compassion” by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, illustrated by Bao Luu (Penguin Random House, Kokila) and loves helping illustrators develop their portfolios.

Erin Tisdel

Advocate Art Artist Agent/ Graphic Novel Instructor

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 graphic novel projects, included two big titles with publishers First Second and RH Graphics that will be out next year. Other graphic novel projects include “It’s Herstory: Amelia Earhart”, illustrated by Alan Brown for Sunbird Books, “The Library of Doom” series, illustrated by Juan Calle for Capstone, and “Ghostly Graphics” series, illustrated by Jason Millet and Maurizio Campidelli for Capstone.

Kate Johnson

Collaborate Agency COO / Graphic Novel Instructor

Kate Johnson has over 20 years experience in children’s publishing, giving her invaluable insight into what makes a best-selling children’s book. After graduating with a first in illustration from the University of Brighton, Kate joined Advocate, one of the world's leading illustration agencies. Now a senior sales agent at both Advocate Art and Collaborate Design Agency, Kate has worked on over 5,000 children's books during her career, and worked with over 300 illustrators including Tom Percival, Sarah Horne, Simon Mendez, Nikki Dyson and Katie Abey. As well as curating and developing illustrator portfolios, Kate also uses her skills to work with major international publishers as and brands as an Art Buyer - assisting and directing on commercial style choices and helping clients make their illustration selections. Kate is excited to collaborate with you on the ITSme Learning platform and share her vast experience in children’s content creation.

Emily Coggins

Learning Director

Emily is the producer of the ITSme Learning Academy. Here she works with the ITSme Society agents in designing resources creators need to become a pro at what they enjoy. Emily was the first agent and manager at Astound US Inc. from its inception until 2021. At Astound, she led the agency to become a top illustration agency internationally, helping 100s of illustrators secure their dream projects. Many of her titles were #1 NY Times & Amazon Bestselling picture books, chapter books, and celebrity series. She brings her unique ability to understand illustration needs from an agent and marketers perspective, adding in her PR experience within the film industry; having assisted on major press events for award winning films at top International Film Festivals. Today Emily is the Director of Marketing for the ITSme Society Agencies, where she is given a global view of the illustration world across all industries from BK, to GC, Ad to Editorial.

Joanne Cave

Advocate Art Artist Agent/ Greeting Card Instructor

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.

Helen Biles

Editorial/ Advertising Instructor

Helen is the Global Manager of Artistique International. Confident in conceptual thinking, Helen is passionate about matching the perfect artist to the creative brief. She brings over a decade of industry experience to her role in the Advertising, Editorial and Design sector.

Meet Your Mentors

Amy Milligan

Illo Agency Manager / Illustration Mentor

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.

Tina Doffing

Astound US Inc. Creative Director / Illustration Mentor

Tina is Creative director and 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.

Vickie Savanella

Advocate Art Artist Agent / Illustration Mentor

Vickie is an artist agent at Advocate Art. 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 helping 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, and “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. Vickie currently resides in the Hudson Valley 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

Advocate Art Artist Agent / Illustration Mentor

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. 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.

Edward Burns


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. “I am 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.”

Contact Us

We are here if you have any questions.

Do you have questions about our self paced courses or illustration mentorship programs? We are here to help! Email us at [email protected] and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

ITSme Society Agencies

All of our mentors and instructors are active professional agents and staff of these world renowned agencies!