Monday, August 24, 2009
Comments by BJ Lantz
(website: http://www.bjlantz.com; blog: http://bjlantz.com/category/bj-lantz-creative-blah-blah-blah/)
Barbara makes a good point about having a thick skin ~ no matter what kind of artist you are. And it is certainly very much of an asset to have thick skin in this business (Licensing) because it is just that: business. It is not personal. Just because your art doesn't get picked (time after time after time), doesn't mean it isn't good or that the clients don't like you, it could just be that the timing isn't right for it or that it is not at all what the clients are looking for. I have one licensee right now that I have been doing very well with that it took FIVE YEARS of meetings & submitting art to get the first deal with them. Finally, I have what they're looking for and we've done several projects together.
So having patience is key as well. I always have art being considered for presentations or actually in presentations. At the moment, according to my notes, I have 13 such things going on that I am aware of, many of them with multiple designs. It will take 2-4 months usually to find out if your art has been chosen, and out of those 13, it is anybody's guess as to how many will turn into licenses. There really is no average to it. Just luck of the draw ~ like winning the lottery, ha ha
And let's not even start in on how much patience you have to have to see the unknown amount of money you might make from these licenses once they are signed. And then there are the licenses, through no fault of your own, never make it to production.
Another point is not to get too attached to or fall too in love with your own work to the point that you won't compromise. I have clients ask to change colors (sometimes the entire palette of a collection) or take out an item, etc. My philosophy is: You want blue rather than pink? What shade of blue would you like? I'll make it happen (even if I happen to think it looks better in pink). Because I understand that this is business and they know what color will work and sell for them.
You also have to realize that when your art goes through a manufacturing process it could change dramatically in color. The only time to care about this is if it looks absolutely terrible (and if it does, the licensee is going to care as well because it won't sell). But if it is pleasing color ~ maybe not the exact shade of blue you painted it, but one that looks just fine ~ then let it go. Manufacturers don't have the time in their schedules, not to mention the financial investment, to keep tweaking something to get the exact shade of color YOU desire. So you have to be willing to see your work maybe look a little less like what you created in the end. I have a post on my blog about a flag that I designed and how it was changed in production: http://bjlantz.com/2008/10/09/from-sketch-to-reality-a-halloween-flag/