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Monday, September 21, 2009

What Does it Take to Make it in Art Licensing?

Everyone has an opinion on what it takes to become successful in art licensing. What is deemed success to one artist is not necessarily considered success to another. Thus, it is important for you as an artist to read different opinions from art licensing experts so that you can make choices on what will work best for you. Read the following article by art agent John Haesler of MHS Licensing on what he feels an artist must do in order to achieve success in art licensing. At the bottom of this post are links to articles by other art licensing experts who offer their opinions.

What Does it Take to Make it in Art Licensing?
by John Haesler of MHS Licensing

The following are five things that are imperative to enjoy success in art licensing:

1. Electronic Capabilities/computer Savvy:
It is a busy world and things move at the speed of the internet. Potential licensees expect to be able to view your work online and to receive it on disc. Eventually they will need to be able to give the art to their factories electronically for reproduction on product. If you don't know how to capture and manipulate images electronically, we strongly suggest you learn.

2. An Awareness of Trends in the Marketplace:
Manufacturers and potential licensees expect a lot more from artists than pretty pictures. They expect the artist to have an awareness of what is going on in the marketplace, the trends, the next "hot" thing. Read consumer magazines, shop various retailers from Wal-Mart to Neiman Marcus, and use the internet and sites such as dailycandy to find out what the "experts" are predicting. If cherries are coming on as a hot trend, you may seriously want to think about painting cherries!

3. Product Development Skills:
Manufacturers see a lot of art and have the luxury of having ideas spoon-fed to them. You can't just show them your image. You have to show them what your image will look like on their product. Come up with innovative new shapes or colors for the products. Express your creativity. They are looking for ideas and if you can provide them, you will have a much higher perceived value than the other artists they are considering. If you can't visualize your images on their products, they won't be able to either.

4. Thick Skin and a Day Job:
The number of artists that have entered the license marketplace has skyrocketed in the last few years. The competition is fierce. As wonderful as your work is, you are still going to be turned down often. It is hard to hear "no" about something you are passionate about. It takes a long time to get established in the business and to build a revenue stream. Licensing will not support you and your family on the first day or even the first year.

5. Hire an Agent:
There are many benefits to working with an agent; they have access and credibility with hundreds of potential licensees that will help jump start you into licensing. They can give you direction and encouragement, and they manage the business so you can do what you do best which is to create. Just like with lawyers and accountants, there are good agents, and less than good agents so do your homework before hiring one. However once you hire one, listen to the advice they give you. That is one reason you are paying them.

For other perspectives on achieving art licensing success, read articles by:
agent Jeff Grinspan of Wild Apple Licensing
agent Jim Marcotte of Two Town Studios
agent Lance Klass of Porterfield's Fine Art Licensing

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