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April 29, 2019
I hope you’ve been enjoying this series about art licensing! If you missed part 1, part 2 and part 3 – go read them before tuning in below!
Intro to Art Licensing | Pricing
Wahoo! I’m excited to talk about the most frequently asked question about art licensing – PRICING!
As I’m sure you’ve learned, every client has a different budget. Pricing is a sliding scale – how big the client is, how many people will see the project, how many places it will be used, how long the license or contract is for. There’s no one size fits all for pricing, but I’m going to do my best to shed some light on how the licensing industry handles pricing.
Buyers can purchase a license a few different ways. They can purchase the work at a flat fee, a royalty/percentage of sales, a combination of a royalty and flat fee (sort of like a holding fee or advance), or they can purchase artwork outright – which means they are buying the ownership to the artwork in full.
With companies that work with licensing artists all the time – they’ll have a standard rate (or range) that they pay artists. They should also have a contract for you to sign, with their terms on it, since they do this often. However, you should have also have a list of terms and red flags that you look for. Don’t be afraid to negotiate, and ask for changes if you’re not comfortable with the contract.
One interesting things about royalties is that you don’t know how much income to expect before the piece is on the market. You can ask for some numbers from the client, but you won’t know anything exact for a few months (sometimes longer). Production takes a long time, so if someone purchases Christmas art from you in January – you may not see those royalties until the following year once the product is on the market. I’ve been disappointed by royalties, and blown away – so it’s a good idea to ask for some figures if you’re concerned about payment.
It’s also important to note that depending on your terms, you can license the same artwork more than once. You can license artwork A to both a greeting card company, and a fabric company –  as long as the terms aren’t exclusive. This helps you to build both consistent income, and a recognizable style.
I know – you’re like BUT HOW MUCH MONEY?! As far as royalties goes – it depends on the scale of the company  you’re working with, and the product. 4% of a greeting card is a lot less than 4% of a yard of specialty fabric – even if they sell the same amount of units. If your artwork takes 9 hours to create one piece, a flat fee may not be the right path for you. Remember that you can generate revenue from the same piece if more than one company licenses it.
Remember to READ contracts, know how long each piece takes you to create so you can determine your worth and value. Create a portfolio that’s strong, approachable and would work well on a variety of different products. Are you comfortable giving up the rights to your artwork, or signing exclusive contracts? Can you wait a year to see royalties, or are you more comfortable working on traditional freelance jobs? Remember, you’re the boss, so find what works best for you!

My friend Katie and I launched a course all about this, Art Licensing for Letterers! We both had similar introductions into the licensing world, and are so excited to dive WAY deeper into these topics with you in class. We’ll share real-world examples, a peek into our process, and REAL pricing scenarios.

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April 26, 2019
I hope you’ve been enjoying this series about art licensing! If you missed part 1 and part 2 – go read them before tuning in below!
This week is all about licensing agents. Licensing is all around you, and even if you’re just learning about it – it’s been around for ages. Think about Disney products – whenever someone wants to use Mickey Mouse – they need a license to do so – and you better believe Disney gets a kickback every time (cha ching).
Intro to Art Licensing Part 3 | Working with Agents
Some examples of licensing include fabric, home decor, greeting cards, stationery, wall art, and more! Because licensing involves a lot of legalities – some artists chose to work with agents. An agent’s job is to help advocate for your work – they talk with the client, show your artwork, book you jobs, and negotiate the terms so you can focus on crafting. Sounds amazing right? Well there are pros and cons – as with any path. A pro – is having someone on your side to help you along the way, and take something off your plate. But before you think that the only way to be successful is to work with an agent, I want to remind you that plenty of people are kicking (so much) ass without one. Some of the cons include giving up a (large) portion of your income to your agent. They’ll take a percentage of your sales as compensation. It’s hard to find the right agent – it should be mutually beneficial and your agent should truly believe in you, your style, and your abilities. It’s totally possible to land big name clients on your own – without a well connected agent. You’ll need to do your research, and split your time between making, and networking – but you’ll keep 100% of your profits. Figuring out the right answer depends on your specific, unique needs and situation.
I’m excited to be teaching a class all about licensing for lettering artists with my friend Katie, called Art Licensing for Letterers!. We both had similar introductions into the licensing world, and are so excited to dive WAY deeper into these topics with you in class. We’ll share real-world examples, a peek into our process, and REAL pricing scenarios.

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April 16, 2019

I’m back to shed more light into the world of licensing! If you missed the first part of the series, check it out here.

Intro To Art Licensing | Turn Your Art into Passive Income

IT’S NOT LIKE FREELANCE

Today I’m going to talk about how it’s different from your typical freelance jobs – like branding, web design and so on. My friend Katie said it best – typically, you’ll license artwork that you’ve already created. You’ll create a whole portfolio of pieces that are available (think: spring catalog) and people will be able to shop from it and create contracts/licenses around the pieces they want, and the industry they’re in.

THERE’S PROS AND CONS

There’s pros and cons to this system. I love working on commissions (more traditional freelance work) where I’m given parameters and have to problem solve with the client. When you’re creating your own collections – you can experiment, but you’re hoping to create things that will sell mass market, but also be unique. You need to be motivated, great at art direction, be able to spot/forecast trends, and be ready to design around the market needs (Christmas is apparently all year in the world of art licensing).  It’s a balancing act between finding your voice, and creating work that will sell. I often struggle with trying with this part… my experience having my own product line taught me that my least favorite design will usually end up being the most popular.

If you’re serious about licensing, you should have a portfolio ready to go – not just a collection or two – but a large portfolio that companies can look through that covers your bases. From Christmas (which is always in demand), to baby and birthdays, and everything in between. It’s amazing how you can find a way to draw flowers 100 different ways when the time comes.

I’m excited to be teaching a class, Art Licensing for Letterers all about licensing for lettering artists with my friend Katie. We both had similar introductions into the licensing world, and are so excited to dive WAY deeper into these topics with you in class. We’ll share real-world examples, a peek into our process, and REAL pricing scenarios.

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April 10, 2019

I get a lot of questions about the wonderful (and very strange) world of art licensing and surface design, so I decided to start a series to help people navigate the industry. Designers, Illustrators, Lettering artists and fine artists can all get involved with art licensing, but there’s so much information to share that isn’t readily available.

Intro To Art Licensing and Surface Design

MY BACKGROUND

I started licensing about four years ago. I was a freelance designer, just dipping my feet into the world of illustration and lettering. I had an opportunity to work with a wonderful client in the paper goods world, and it was a perfect fit for the type of work I was creating. However, I quickly learned that the project was a royalty percentage of sales, instead of a flat fee – so I had some research to do! I spent hours googling, and getting in touch with industry friends, signed the contract – and made a very important shift in my business.

THE SCOPE

I created about 18 pieces (lettering, quotes, illustration, patterns) for this company to license (use for a specific period of time and terms) – sort of like “renting”. Then, I received a small (but mighty) percentage of sales once the product was put on the market.

THE RESULT

It was incredible to see my work in big box stores, professionally photographed, and shared with people all over the nation! I knew it was time to find more clients. I spent the better part of the next year and a half working on building a licensing portfolio (more on that later) and immersing myself into the world – making new friends, reading articles, researching companies, taking classes on Skillshare, and soaking in everything I could.

HERE’S THE THING

A lot of licensing is sort of “up in the air” – you may create a piece with the idea that i’d be perfect for a greeting card for Trader Joes (yes please), but then a client wants it, and see’s it working so well for a reusable shopping bag. It’s important that you start to think of your art working in multiple ways so you can create pieces that buyers will love, and see a vision for! Buyers often have really cool ideas for bringing a piece to life – like die-cutting, flocking, foils and even pop-ups that are really amazing to see in person!

Over the next few posts, I’m going to share as much as I can about the world of licensing. I’ll help you determine if it’s right for you, and point you in the right direction for resources and industry standards. If this gets your SO EXCITED OMG then be sure to sign up for our class Art Licensing for Letterers!

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April 8, 2019

I’m a firm believer that what works for one person, it’s NOT always right for the next, but I also love sharing what has worked for me along my journey! Over the past two years, my process for hand lettering has changed quite a bit, and I’m excited to share my favorite hand lettering tools and resources with you! I hope this post helps you try a new a tool or approach to creating!

Handlettering Tools and Resources for Beginners

First up are my traditional tools – things I keep on hand, and recommend having in your back pocket.

PENS

Honestly, I work with what I’ve got – HOWEVER, a few of my favorites include Micron and Tombow. I buy my pens in black since I do color work in Adobe Creative Cloud, but if I see a pen that looks interesting, I buy it and play around with what sort of shapes and lines it creates.

PAPER

I’ll use pretty much anything that’s laying around, but a fun fact is that I don’t typically like drawing in bound sketchbooks – I like being able to tear a piece out, and recycle it once I’ve documented/scanned it (especially if it’s a reject). I keep any sacred pieces that are special, but I’ve been using some form of the Konmari Method for paperwork for most of my life. When I want to ink something, I usually grab a pad of Bristol paper.

PENCIL & ERASER

Again, nothing fancy here – I love blackwing pencils because I feel FANCY AF but I’ll use a good old mechanical that’s laying around. I really like using my Draft/Matic pencil, less waste, and it’s really reliable! I use a really hard lead so that my lines are lighter and easier to erase. Magic Rub is my all time favorite eraser. Reading this back… Magic Rub is quite a name!

LIGHTBOX

I love my lightbox! It’s super lightweight and makes for really easy transfers and tracing. To be clear – I’m tracing my OWN work, not someone else’s. I trace over the sketch to refine it using a lightbox (over and over) if I’m working on a finished piece with ink. The one I have isn’t available anymore, but the one linked here is a good alternative!

SCANNER & PRINTER

I purchased an Epson Workforce printer when I was printing my line of stationery at home, it’s been reliable, customer services has replaced or been available to troubleshoot as needed, and all around I’m happy with it.

IPAD PRO & TABLET

I was skeptical about the iPad at first – seeing how people used the brushes, and thinking it would take away from the handmade quality – but this really surpassed my expectations, and sped up my workflow immensely. I love playing with procreate brushes so much, that I made a few of my own you can purchase here. I also have a wacom tablet, which isn’t seeing much use these days, but I do love it. It’s a smaller investment for this particular model, but you can do so many incredible things with a cintiq too! These aren’t required or necessary for success, but they definitely have made my life easier! I think this is obvious, but I also heavily rely on my computer – formatting files, prepping things for print, and some of my process isn’t possible without the use of one – along with the Creative Cloud apps.

CUTTING TOOLS

I used to print, cut, score and pack each one of my cards. It was a ton of work, lots of time (and papercuts) but saved me a lot of money when I was starting. My favorite tools are a paper cutter, a scoring board, a bone folder, and an x-acto knife.

EDUCATION

I went to school for Graphic Design, so navigating my way through Illustrator and Photoshop was a skillset I already had, but I’m always learning new things about the programs, and new ways of doing things. I love taking classes on skillshare to try new methods, learn new approaches, and get inspired by other artists. I teach a class about using the pen tool here, and there are tons of other classes you can take to learn more!

Interested in seeing more about my lettering, and how I’ve turned it into passive income? Sign up below to get updates about my licensing class, where I’m spilling all the details!

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