Guest Post by Greeting Card Designer Kate Harper
I get emails from many people who want to learn how to license their art, and sell their designs to card and gift manufacturers.
While this topic is vast and every artist has a completely different experience, I've put together a list of my personal recommendations of what you might want to do, and in what order you might want to do them. These are based only on my personal experience, and what I would do differently if I could do it all over again.
Make a plan to spend half your time doing research to determine what companies your art style fits with.
- Take an art licensing class. I recommend Cheryl Phelps, but you can also check out Joan Beiriger's Blog on a list of Licensing Teachers. Bring your art to the class for feedback. If you are serious about this career, then fly to wherever the teacher is for a workshop and make it into a vacation.
- Read the following Books: Licensing Art 101, Third Edition: Publishing and Licensing Your Artwork for Profit and Licensing Art and Design: A Professional's Guide to Licensing and Royalty Agreements
- Learn Photoshop. Take a class at a local adult school or community college.
- Read the articles about Art Licensing.
- Subscribe to or familiarize yourself with gift trade magazines. Review what product "collections" look like.
- Subscribe to Joan Beiriger's Art Licensing Blog.
- Sign up for the following news groups: Yahoo Art of Licensing and Linkedin Art of Licensing.
- Spend 3-6 months compiling your own art style and collections.
- Visit Surtex show in New York as a guest. If you can't go there, try to visit another show in the gift industry. Take notes and collect names of companies and agents.
- Take classes at the tradeshows. The two best shows for classes are the Surtex show conference program and Licensing Show conference program. Many of the licensing consultants attend these and you can make appointments with them to evaluate your work.
- Make 6-12 tear sheets of your collections. A tear sheet is an 8 1/2 x 11 printout of samples of your work. For example, one sheet might be a series of Christmas designs made into products such as magnets, coasters or greeting cards. Another sheet might be spring tabletop items such as paper plates, napkins and paper cups. Here are some examples of a variety of kinds of tearsheets by other artists. Try to show your art on an actual product.
Actually all this is really fun.
Posted by Kate Harper at 8/19/2009