Have you been wondering if art licensing might be a great addition to your streams of income as a creative? I think it’s easy to assume a lot of things when you see people’s artwork on actual products in a store. You might think you need major connections to get that kind of deal. Or you might assume they are making loads on royalties, when in fact the money timeline in art licensing is drastically different from direct sales and commissions.
To get started in licensing I think it’s really important to learn the basics and figure out if you really want to delve into the industry. It’s not a quick and easy process, no matter how much artwork you might already have in your library. I believe you really have to be in it for the long haul and consider it as only a part of your income pie – at least in the beginning.
What is Art Licensing?
The basic definition is that you as an artist will let manufacturers use your art on specific products in exchange for a percentage of the sales. Obviously, it gets more complicated because the terms of the license includes a lot more details and it’s really important to understand exactly what you are signing off on. The enticing aspect of licensing art is that you still own your artwork rights – it’s not like selling an original piece. This means you can license to multiple manufacturers and really leverage your artwork.
Is Art Licensing For You?
Now, I’m sure you are interested because the idea of art licensing always sounds tempting and lucrative. However, you really need to figure out if art licensing is the industry for you and how much income you can truly make to factor it into your business plan. As I’ve already mentioned, the payment timeline is long! Royalties are usually paid per quarter and it takes a long time to get product designed, manufactured and into stores for sale. So it’s not the type of business that will boost your income immediately. Again, you have to be in it for the long haul. Also, you have to understand that the business comes with it’s challenges, design changes, color changes, etc… you have to be okay with the whole process in the end. Does it make you happy to work in this manner? Is art licensing really for you?
Finally, if you do want to license your artwork then you have to get serious and go for it all the way. There are so many amazing artists out there, so I really don’t think there is a shortage of great artwork honestly. But like any kind of business, there are other aspects that make people want to work with you instead of the next guy or gal. Ultimately, it’s a professional business and relationship, so you need to treat it as such. There is a lot of competition and it takes time to build up your clientele.
If you do a bit of research, you’ll get a feel for if you want to investigate further or not in the realm of art licensing. If you do want to go for it, I would suggest a few resources that might help you out.
Art Licensing Show
I’m actively working on my journey in art licensing and slowly but surely, getting all my ducks in a row. One aspect is putting my artwork in a secure location for interested parties to review.
Art Directors and Buyers can review my private portfolio on ArtLicensingShow.com. The grand opening is today, so it felt appropriate to blog about this subject today – but it’s been in the works for a long time now. I signed up way back in May 2014! The website is a huge community of artists and it’s basically a digital tradeshow for those of us who can’t physically get to Surtex and other related professional events for art licensing.
One of the cool things about joining the digital tradeshow, besides getting online portfolio space, is the community of artists and groups that you can connect with. It really helps to be able to ask people questions and bounce off ideas in that private arena.
Art Licensing Info
Another resource for those interested in learning more about art licensing is the Art Licensing Academy by Tara Reed. It’s a four-week group coaching program and I have already taken it, learning loads regarding how to set up my portfolio and approach manufacturers. If you are serious, she basically takes you from start to finish. It all begins June 3, 2015. You can learn more and save your spot here.
If you aren’t sure or looking to just learn a bit more before diving in, check out all the eBooks Tara has on artlicensinginfo.com. You can learn the basics and see if art licensing is for you before investing more of your time and money.
I hope that I’ve shed some light on the subject of art licensing and the aspects you have to consider before jumping into it. As with any other business venture, it’s just one avenue for your creative success… but it’s not necessarily for everyone. But I do agree that it’s mega cool to see your artwork on products in the brick and mortar shops. Talk about a sense of satisfaction to see your work out in the world!
Are you feeling drained or stuck in your creative endeavors?
If creativity is part of your job – as it is for me – it’s supremely important to keep the fire burning. The key is to figure out what drives your motivation and thus productivity on a day-to-day basis. It’s a lifestyle, right?
I believe it all boils down to body, mind and spirit. If you take care of yourself in those aspects, you’ll be feeding your creative soul properly to function every single day. It’s pretty simple and straightforward actually, but you need to make sure you put that knowledge to use.
My Creative Health Checklist
I’ve decided to use a creative health checklist that goes through the important body, mind and spirit checkpoints. When you feel a bit drained or stuck, run through this list and see if there isn’t something you need to address to get your mojo back. It’s as simple as that.
For the body:
- Get enough sleep and rest – let’s face it, you can’t function at your creative best if you are just too tired.
- Hydrate and eat well – have you had your ration of H2O for the day? Are you eating healthy and nourishing your body?
- Exercise – get your body moving, weather it’s long walks with your fur baby (my favorite option) or a solo dance party in your studio. Endorphins give you energy and suddenly you start feeling like doing more. Seriously, it works!
For the mind:
- Feed your brain – your creative juices need stimulating, so don’t neglect your creative tastebuds! Often we get a bit stagnant, just toiling away in front of the computer or going through our normal routines. Try a new activity or a new experience to spark up the fire within. You must intake stimuli to give your mind something to churn on.
- Stay positive – remember to be kind to yourself and no matter what happens, find that silver lining. The world is really a better place if you focus on the part of the glass that is half-full. Sometimes you’ll have to give yourself a cupcake treat after a bad day. Sometimes you’ll have to take deep breaths and chant some affirmations to get through a difficult experience. Even if nothing dramatic is going on, thinking positive and staying upbeat naturally transform into motivation. You might have a positive affirmation journaling practice, for example. Ultimately, positivity is just a more joyful way to live and create.
For the spirit:
- Stay away from the negative – this sort of crosses from mind to spirit, but the idea is to protect yourself from leeches and naysayers. Negativity, party-poopers, people who steal your energy because they can’t stop complaining or creating drama – limit your contact. Sometimes you have to be there for your friends and family, but not to the extent that it brings you down as well. That won’t do anyone any good at all.
- Nurture your soul – this is a definitely a personal ritual that you would develop for yourself. The idea is to ground yourself and connect with that bigger something out there. Maybe you practice a particular religion, maybe not. Maybe you simply like to take long walks in the woods and connect with nature. Maybe it’s your morning meditation or simply the morning coffee/tea time you spend in tranquility. Whatever it is, don’t forget to give yourself that kind of time.
If you make sure to run through this creative health checklist, I’m sure you’ll find yourself more balanced and creatively motivated on an ongoing basis. With energy and ideas, you’ll naturally be more productive. Ultimately, it’s a lifestyle!
What keeps your mojo flowing day-to-day?
So you have a lovely little creative blog, but you aren’t getting that much traffic? What’s missing you wonder. Where are your readers hiding, right? Oftentimes, just a little bit of effort can result in a huge boost to your readership. Here are some tips on how to get more eyes on your creative blog. The following are basic principles of blogging and sharing online. I think you should have these foundational pillars covered, before you move into other methods of marketing and promotion.
Great Blog Content
The only way to keep readers happy is to give them something interesting to consume. If you don’t have great blog content, people aren’t going to come. So think about what you want to share and write about! For creatives the idea is to find the intersection between what you want to share and what others would be interested in seeing.
The commitment to blog regularly means you will have a stream of content for your readers. You can get more traffic if you don’t have new content, right? It can be once every two weeks or more often… whatever fits with your schedule. It’s best to commit to some kind of frequency to keep yourself in check!
Make It Easy to Subscribe/Follow
Not everyone is super tech saavy, so make it super easy for people to follow your blog. Whether it’s offering the RSS feed, an email subscribe, a blog lovin follow button – maybe all of those – make sure people can get your blog content easily. You can’t assume that a reader will just visit your URL every week by typing it in their browser address bar!
Whether it’s word of mouth, link in your email signature or social media posts – maybe all of them – you have to tell people that you are blogging and putting up new posts. You certainly shouldn’t be self promoting and spamming about it… but at the same time, don’t hide away! Especially for creatives, we seem to find it extremely difficult to share all the cool stuff we are doing. Don’t be shy. Be sure to put it out there!
Engage and Networking
This is sort of related to above, because if you start telling people about your blogging endeavors, ultimately you are networking and socializing. Part of being engaged in your community is to comment on your peers posts and making it super easy for readers to comment on your blog as well. It’s about starting a dialogue, being authentic and getting involved. You can’t just be up on a pedestal announcing things and never stepping down to discuss and let others take the podium, you know?
If you are consistent, your blog traffic will definitely grow over time. Make sure you install analytics, so you can track your growth as well. The online world is big and small at the same time. I always say that slow and steady, wins the race.
There are many more advanced strategies that you can try out like search engine optimization, advertising, guest posting and promotions. But have you got all your bases covered, first?
When working on a project, I like to multi-task by listening to my favorite podcasts. It’s like having a group of friends around, chatting away while you create.
There are so many great podcasts out there, yet I’m always discovering new shows to add to my list. I’m always up for trying something new to see if it fits my interests.
No doubt that listening to podcasts helps me to move along in my productivity while working – not to mention sort of mark the time that passes by – when an episode is done it means a chunk of time has counted down!
Here’s a list of my favorite podcasts at the moment:
The Paperclipping Roundtable – Since I’m a scrapbooker, I’ve listened to this podcast since the beginning and just love following all the memory keeping chats.
Elise Gets Crafty – Overall creative business chats that are easy to digest and follow.
While She Naps – A recent add to my list and just love the candid conversations from designers and makers, sharing their POV and favorites lists.
What’s Your Story – Artists, makers and creative individuals tell their story!
Unmistakable Creative – Conversations with creative entrepreneurs, definitely business spin here…
Socia Media Marketing – A new addition so I can learn more about how to market on social media for my creative business.
Oh So Pinteresting – Another new addition to really focus on learning how to leverage Pinterest as a creative business owner.
So there you go, grab a tea, your latest project and listen to a lovely podcast to get working. Feel free to leave your podcast recommendations as well. I’m always open to great audio!
My friend Monica Lee is running her Smart Creative Style ecourse in March and I’ve mentioned before how amazing the entire process is! It’s really about deeply connecting with you and your own unique style to make sense of it all!
I’ve gone through the course several times and learn something new each and every time. If you are ready to get serious about your passions and dive into some soul searching goodness, join us!
What: Smart Creative Style is a Creative Business 101 course that leads participants through a series of lessons and mood boards that help them unearth their own unique look and style. With visual imagery coming at us 24/7 it is all too easy to water down who we really are. Businesses and brands need to have a distinct aesthetic voice and look to stand out now more than ever. This is a hands on 6-week game changing e-course for creative business owners to distinguish themselevs and tap into their originality.
Cost: $329 But there is a special –> (Early bird price of $249 ends Feb. 19 at 12pm EST)
When: Class begins March 9th and runs for 6 weeks – Early bird sign up is Feb 16th to Feb 19th.
Click here to find out more and register for Smart Creative Style!
Hello blog friends!
I hope you’ve had a happy holiday season. I’ve been allowing myself to take it easy for many months now, with no blog schedule, business or social media planning. It’s been quiet around here because I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want for 2015 and how it relates to this blog.
Going back to the root of it all, blogging is about sharing through my life and experiences – a sort of celebration of what drives me and makes me happy at the end of the day. I know everyone blogs for different reasons, but for me, it has to make me feel good at the end of the day. That’s has to be the core of it.
Of course, we all know that many of us in the blogosphere use our blogs as a tool to creating a new lifestyle. It’s about cultivating our interests and seeing where it can take us… perhaps to a whole new career and way of life. There will always be the naysayers who insult and feel that blogs should be non-commercial and are sick of people trying to turn their ideas into businesses. But I don’t see why we can’t have the best of both worlds. I think the world will be a much better place if our work had a good intersection with our true passions and interests. Don’t you think?
I started blogging because it seemed like a fun things to do back when it was this cool new web thing. Somewhat like an online diary of sorts. But soon I tried to focus on particular interests and my blog did lead me to open an Etsy shop and pursue various business ideas.
However, nothing lasts forever. I created digital designs for sale in the scrapbooking industry, but in the recent years, shops kept closing down and it was such a pain to keep moving from shop to shop. I also created handmade leather journals for sale and they sold well, but in ramping up the production I realized that I didn’t want to be a bookbinding machine. My hands literally couldn’t take it, so eventually I just stopped that as well. I still have my digital designs and zines available online, but everything has just been on a standstill for the past year.
Taking on the role of mom has definitely changed my life in so many ways. I suddenly found myself unable to operate as I previously had done and I certainly went through a period of depression and crisis. It was as if I was so close to finding my place, but then motherhood threw a wrench in it all and now I’m starting all over again. I was frustrated for a very long time, then I sort of gave up and gave in to exhaustion. But slowly, I realized that I just need time away to regroup.
The greatest journey of our lives is that of finding one’s own passions and ultimately loving oneself. Only now do I realize it’s a lifelong journey… you don’t just get to the answer and live in a stage of knowing it all! We are constantly changing and the world is changing. We will be evolving with the times – that is just a fact of life.
It’s obvious that big life changes means that every aspect will be touched, from career to hobby to dreams and passions. I’m still freelancing in web and design work and that is the only thing I’ve been able to hold onto. But now that my baby is going to nursery school, I feel like I can finally explore and expand again.
So here I am again, blogging my thoughts, planning for the new year with excitement and slowly building up the courage to chase my dreams. New dreams and new passions!
A big thanks and hug to all my blog friends who have stuck with me through this transitional stage of my life. I look forward to 2015 and wish you the most amazing year yet
For years I have toyed around with the idea of licensing my artwork. For a variety of different reasons, I resisted taking the plunge and have only toyed around and half gone through the motions… losing leads and allowing connections to wither into the air because I lost track and lost sign of the possibilities. Sigh.
Enough playing around – I’ve had enough! Now it’s time to get serious. I took Lilla Roger’s MATS courses and now I’ve signed up for Artlicensingshow.com and Tara Reed’s Art Licensing Academy. There’s no going back.
Sometimes you have to put your money where your mouth is. I feel like now is the time as well, it is the right time… otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to convince myself to INVEST in myself. Funny how everything falls into place.
I’m very excited for Tara’s course because I know she is a down to earth, practical, get it done – kind of person. I like that aspect because I’m not looking for creative lovey doveyness. It’s the focus, business side of things that I need help with. I’ve always looked up to Tara and have learned a lot from artlicensinginfo.com and her various products in the past… so I have no doubt that the academy course will push me further.
I’ll actually be back in the States the second half of June – there’s so much going on – but I’m pumped, excited and feel good about it all. I think that is a good indicator of things to come. Wish me luck!
Looking for some business know-how geared towards creatives like you and me?
Here’s a round-up of my most helpful creative business 101 posts, sharing lots of actionable steps to life your entrepreneurial spirit and get your work out there.
I’ve learned so much from those before me, so I’m always happy to help others who are just starting their journey!