Joan Website | Joan Bio | Joan Licensing Info | Joan Contact Info | Blog Main Page

Art Licensing by artist Joan Beiriger: I'm happy to share art licensing info but please
give me credit and link to my blog when using it on your site. Thanks.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Editorial: Become an art licensing PAL

You may have a positive attitude but are you a PAL (positive art licensor)? Being a PAL is not just having a positive attitude but it also means being proactive by networking with art licensing experts, artists, and licensees, by researching trends, by learning the art licensing industry, and by creating the type of art needed by manufacturers in order to have licensing success. Expressing negativity by complaining about not being able to successfully license your art doesn't get you deals. You need to find out WHY by requesting input from other artists, licensees, and licensing experts. However, keep in mind that just one persons opinion is not gospel so get many opinions. Then use the constructive criticism* you receive to improve your art, art collections, and business practices. Some of the questions that you need to ask are:
• Do I have the right kind of art (style and themes) for products that consumers want? Network with successful artists and hire art licensing consultants that ARE willing to tell you the truth and give you constructive criticism. Read "Networking Resource - Art Licensing Forums," and "On Art Licensing Coaches (consultants)."

• Do I have enough art to interest manufacturers? The more art you have the better chance manufacturers will license some of your art.

• Am I approaching the right manufacturers for my art style and themes? Don't approach manufacturers that don't use your art style and themes on their products. For instance, it is a waste of time contacting manufacturers that only uses realistic old fashioned themed art on their products which isn't your style.

• Am I following-up after contacting manufacturers? Read "Art Licensing Tip: What does follow-up really mean?"

* I love to hear accolades about my art. But it is more useful when I receive constructive criticism such as "the art is too busy. You should . . .", "the colors are too dark", "the images doesn't pop", "the text in the art doesn't standout, and "I can't use that theme on my products."

Networking and Sharing Information
Art licensing is about building relationships in the licensing industry. Networking and sharing your knowledge about the industry with artists, licensing experts, and manufacturers helps create those relationships. If you share information, others will also share information so that it is a win-win situation.

I know it has worked for me and it is the reason why I share licensing information on my blog. For example, an art director spent a half-hour going through my portfolio at the Atlanta Gift Show and then proceeded to tell me WHY my art does NOT fit the needs of his company. Some artists may think this is rejection but to me it was HUGE! He gave me invaluable information that helped me improve my art and make it more licensable. On top of that I then knew why I wasn't getting anywhere in licensing my art to his company. When I queried him on why he spent so much time looking through my art and then telling me why it wouldn't work for him, he said "you have helped so many artists (through my blog) that you deserve my help." Wow, I was "blown away" and very thankful for his input!

Artist Khristian Howell benefited by other artists sharing information with her when she exhibited at the Surtex show. Read "Tips from a First Time Surtex Exhibitor" on how Khristian found that by having a positive mental attitude and networking with other artists made exhibiting at Surtex a positive experience. Do you think that she will now share information with others? You bet she will!

Combating Rejection
Thinking positivity is difficult when manufacturers continue to reject your art. But rejection is part of the art licensing business and you need to continually deal with it. You must be persistent and not give up if you hope to license your art. Read "The Illustion of Rejection and How to Deal with It" by agent Maria Brophy. Also read "Dealing with Rejection: Tips for Card Designers" a five part series of articles by artist Kate Harper.

The last several years with the poor economy has reduced licensing opportunities for many artists. But that hasn't stop agent Lilla Rogers. Read her article "My Thoughts on Being an Artist in a Recession" for tips on improving the chances in licensing your art. And obviously artist and product designer Carol Eldridge hasn't let the poor economy stop her from licensing her art. Read "Licensed Samples and Such...." to see her recent licensing success which shows "that perseverance does pay off!"

So read the articles listed in this blog for information on how artists and agents continue to be positive in a challenging art licensing industry. And become a PAL to increase your licensing opportunities!

Note: I came up with the acronym PAL when discussing positive art licensing with my friend artist Kate Harper. Pictured above is the name badge that she gave me proclaiming that I am the president of PAL. Because Kate is also a positive art licensor, I then gave her a badge proclaiming that she is V.P. of PAL.  ;-D

Comments are welcomed. Please click on "comments" and then write them in the comment window at the bottom of this article.


  1. You know this all made me smile. Thanks for all your support throughout the years. I keep thinking of your attitude of "think like a scientist" i.e. don't think of just the problem, look for the solution. THAT is a positive attitude and keeps things moving forward.

  2. Joan,
    I love your acronym PAL...and I totally agree. Having a positive attitude,being willing to listen to criticism, researching, and networking are the keys to success in everything we do. My theory is that "we create our own economy." If we want to sell our art we will find a way, and we will not allow the economy be our enemy.

    Networking for me has been a source of encouragement and also a challenge to do more, work harder, build my portfolio, try new things,stretch and go beyond what I think I can do.

    The art director is have been helpful to others and you have such a positive attitude, and that will translate into business for you and advice like he gave you.

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and wisdom.


  3. Joan, Hooray! I think this is a great post! I agreed with PAL too...maybe if applied to life in general an not only just might find yourself i na much better place, ha! Thanks for your post!

  4. Nice post, Joan. Thank you for sharing all your expertise. I'm glad to see your blogs coming through Linkedin's art licensing group. I don't know if that's a new thing or because I just changed my settings, but it's great.


  5. I am a newbie in this field and am working hard learning everything I can. There three blogs I check daily; Yours Joan, Kate's and Two Towns. I am grateful for all the information and encouragement I have received from all of you. Thank you!

  6. This is such a great post, Joan. I really think your point about finding the right match of an artists' style with the appropriate manufacturer is very key. Not to say that, if an artist is not having success with current collections, then maybe it is an opportunity to create new art that might be more "licensable". In any case, kudos to you for sharing your thoughts and info on the art licensing business. I send a lot of artists to your blog who want to know more. :-)

  7. I am a big fan of both you and Kate! I love your positive attitudes and think of you as PALs!

  8. Hi Beth, I'm glad that you like the post! I've been posting my articles on linkedin but I think the new settings are making them more visible. Joan

  9. Joan, it's great to have you as a positive, encouraging resource! Thank you, and as always, thanks for linking to my post.

    Your blog is one of just a few that is so good that when you post a new article, I stop EVERYTHING and read it!

    Thanks for the helpful info!

  10. dont know how much time you put into your blog...they are all very useful...I'm still trying to figure out LINKS, and its usefulness on the net?