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Three Steps For Artists Who Think They Want to License Their Art*

Many of you have already heard me talk about art licensing and my plans to share art and design work in and on as many places as possible in the coming years. I’ve always known that art licensing suited my goals of doing work I love and earning a living from it. Times have changed and the economics of being a self-supporting artist are, dare I admit, even more challenging than ever before, at least for many of us ;-).

Happily, I also have an unquenchable thirst to learn new ways of doing art and business and ultimately to move forward toward my goals. One of the ways to most effectively do this is to seek out and follow a mentor. I now have several and for the specific topic of art licensing, I look to artist/entrenepreneur, Tara Reed. We share similar backgrounds in the areas of graphic design and marketing. Tara is a working, selling, licensed artist, AND… she shares her experience and knowledge and expert use of today’s social media marketing in useful, informative products and through interviews with top licensed artists and other professionals that specialize in helping artists develop the business side of their careers.

That said, I will be posting a series of articles that Tara Reed has authored (LEGAL NOTE: I’m an affiliate for Tara’s products because I use her products, believe in the business of art licensing and also want to share this information to help fellow artists. If you purchase any of the products that are on this blog or page, I get a commission. Multiple streams of income is part of building a successful business and enables artists to do what we love – create art!)

Three Steps For Artists Who Think They Want to License Their Art
article by Tara Reed

Licensing art can sound like American Idol(TM) for art. Put your art on stage and become an overnight sensation! A road to riches, paved with glitz, glamour and lots of cash. When people first hear about licensing, they often hear about the rock stars of licensing. The people making millions that have become household names. Names like Thomas Kinkade, Mary Engelbreit, Debbie Mumm, Paul Brent, Susan Winget and the like.

This is often what you hear, “So-and-so’s art is on thousands of products each year, selling millions of dollars in retail stores and the artist gets a percentage.” Well yippee! Who wouldn’t want to do that?

But how did those artists get there? There is a lot of work, dedication and persistence that gets you from learning about the industry to becoming a rock star of licensing.

Here are three things I recommend artists just learning about licensing do, to decide if licensing their art will be a good fit for their art, their lifestyle and their goals.

  1. Make sure you like the way the day-to-day job will be. Don’t just throw on your rose colored glasses and create. Seeing the end goal is good but if you are unhappy with the way to get from zero to millions (or even thousands) you probably won’t get there. Like any business, there are steps to take, things to do on a daily, monthly and yearly basis to move you towards your goal. Things like creating art collections, figuring out what manufacturers license art, contacting them (or finding an agent to do your sales and marketing side), etc.
  2. Start to think about your art like an artist who licenses. Thinking like an artist who licenses their art is a shift for many people. Unlike creating art to sell in a gallery or commission work, you need groups, or collections, of art to license, not just single images. Think about products you see in stores with art on them then consider the pieces a manufacturer needs to make it. Take paper party goods for example. The plate might have a central image and a coordinating border around the edge. The napkins have a repeat pattern. The cups have a solid color and bordered edge. Then you might see a few images used for invitations and decorations. So what does the artist provide to the manufacturer to achieve this party collection? What themes do you see over and over?
  3. Make a plan and create at least a dozen collections to get started. Even if you want an agent, you need to show that you aren’t a one-hit-wonder and that you can produce art for licensing again and again. Quality, quantity and speed are three keys to success in licensing. Another reason to create a dozen collections is that during this creation process, you will discover if you actually like thinking and creating like a licensed artist. It isn’t for everyone and I believe that there are so many things you can do with art, why not pick something you love and are passionate about?

When you have your dozen or so collections, start looking for an agent or showing your art to manufacturers. See what they say, listen and adapt.

Get a jump start on licensing your art by claiming the first chapter of the eBook “How to Get Started in Art Licensing” FOR FREE when you visit http://www.artlicensinginfo.com/freebie.html

From Tara Reed, a licensed artist who is doing what she is teaching and creator of ArtLicensingInfo.com the place for artists to learn how to earn an income licensing their art.

Make art. Make plans. Make money.

Get your copy of the eBook “How to Get Started in Art Licensing

A Gift for Artist’s, legal info on art licensing

Just listening to the interview that Artist, Tara Reed did with Attorney, Cheryl Hodgson. Full of excellent information on art licensing legalities, copyright, trademarks. Info about protecting your work on websites, where to find more info, resources galore. And, they have very generously provided the online audio for free.

>>> Read the article and download the interview here!


See my Art & Design for Licensing here.