Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Either create a flower and leaf in PS or scan a painted one and place on a layer in PS. Hint: Read "Photoshop Tip: Easy to Create Motifs for Art Collections" to learn a great technique in creating different looking flowers from one flower petal.
The flower blossom example at the left was created with this technique. A brown center was added and the flower was shaded with a combination of the dodge and/or burn tools and the drop shadow, inner shadow, and inner glow located in Layer / Layer Style option window.
1. Select the flower motif by using the Command + letter T keys on the keyboard. Then select the Warp tool in the Edit / Transform window. A nine box grid appears over the image. Use the cursor to move the grid lines and the corner-control-point-handles (CCPH) on the four corners of the grid to distort the flower. The example at the left illustrates how the flower was distorted by moving the grid lines and the two bottom CCPH up. Press the Enter key when you are finished transforming the image.
I welcome any comments. Please write them in the comment section below.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
*Note: The term mass market can refer to chain stores that focus on high sales at low prices such as Walmart. However, In this editorial I am using the term mass market to refer to a large market segment of the population as opposed to small specialized niche market segments.
I get many e-mails every month from artists who cannot understand why they are unable to license their art or get a licensing agent to represent them. Many have gone to art or design school and learned the techniques to create beautiful art and surface design. Some of them are successful in selling their art at street fairs, in art galleries, as illustrations for children books, or on products in print-on-demand internet websites such as Cafepress, Zazzle, and Etsy. But just because the art is beautiful and successful in these industries does not necessarily mean artists will be successful in licensing the art onto products to the mass market. This editorial discusses why artists have problems licensing their art despite it being well received in the industries mentioned above.
Selling art at street fairs, art galleries, children books, and print-on-demand websites are examples of niche (pronounced "nitch" or "neesh") markets. Niche markets are aimed at satisfying certain market needs such as specific consumer demographics, specific geographic areas, specific type of products, specific type of art, etc. There are some manufacturers that specialize in licensing art for particular niche markets but the majority produce products for the mass market. Thus, their products and the art they license MUST appeal to a broad spectrum of consumers.
Art licensed to the mass market is image-theme driven. Images and themes that appeal to a wide range of consumers are flowers, butterflies, cats, seashells and other coastal images, wine related images, roosters, cows and other farm images, Christmas trees, Santa, snowmen, etc. In other words, images that are seen everyday or during the holidays that evoke an emotional response (how beautiful, cute, funny, inspirational, etc.) are the most sought after art for products. Thus, art themes that are not in vogue or does not have central images that evoke an emotional response is unlikely to be licensed by most manufacturers. For instance, abstract art can be interesting and the colors beautiful but generally products with abstract designs does not appeal to a wide range of consumers. Thus, manufacturers putting abstract art on their products sell to a niche market such as the fabric and clothing industry. Likewise, a serene lake with snow-capped mountains in the background that is beautifully painted would have limited licensing potential; possibly a print or jigsaw puzzle manufacturer but few others. However, by painting a dock on the lake and possibly a person fishing off it in the foreground with only a hint of the mountains in the background appeals to more consumers and enhances the possibly of licensing the art.
Niche markets are usually aimed at selling products to consumers interested in specific themes such as southwest and northwest Indian art, and western art. Even the art of famous fine art masters such as Monét, van Gogh, and Rembrandt is a niche market. Products with their art is sold mainly as art prints and in museum gift stores. Contemporary art sold at street fairs probably will have themes that are popular with local customers such as cows and roosters if located in a farming area, or grapes and vineyards if located in wine country. At the present, those themes just so happen to be popular for the mass market and thus could be licensed. However, also sold at street fairs may be paintings of local historical buildings or unusual animal breeds that are raised locally (i.e. llama). Those themes may be popular locally but will most likely not have a great enough appeal to the mass market to entice a manufacturer to license them.
Likewise, local landmark art displayed in galleries in popular tourist cities such as San Francisco and lodge art near Yellowstone National Park may be popular in those venues but not as prevalent elsewhere. Generally, art galleries are a niche market because they cater to customers who wish to purchase original paintings and can afford to do so. Gallery customers tend to seek specific artists, art themes, and styles of art that is not popular to the mass market.
Often, the art in children books are illustrations of children or animals doing some activity. Even if the illustrations are excellently rendered, they may not be licensable because individual illustrations supporting actions in a story most likely will not appeal to the mass market. For example, showing a dog running down the street or sitting in the bed of a pickup truck are not images a consumer will buy because they do not emote an emotional response without the story line. However, an image such as a cute little puppy tugging a long suffering older dog's ear appeals to consumers and could be licensed. Thus, book illustrators may or may not have the art suitable for licensing. However, some of the illustrations already created for books mostly likely could be adapted for licensing if the artist is willing to rework them.
Print-on-demand internet stores are ideal for consumers that want unique, specific themes, and personalized products. Some artists that paint specific themes not available in the mass market find this venue a viable way to sell their art. For instance, artists that paint a variety of dog breeds do well selling products with their art via internet stores but have a difficult time finding manufacturers willing to license them. The reason is that dog lovers are breed specific and are interested in only purchasing products with art of a particulate breed. Many artists offer all sorts of products on these websites with single icons (flowers, animals, geometric shapes, etc.) that can be personalized. This type of art may work well for a print-on-demand e-stores but is not normally wanted by manufacturers selling to the mass market.
Is your art licensable?
Of course, if you already have licensing deals and continue to get them, then you know that your art is licensable. If you are new to licensing and not yet been able to get contracts or find an agent to represent you, perhaps you are not painting themes that appeal to the mass market or not unique enough or your portfolio lacks diversity of themes. One way to find out is to get as many opinions as possible about your art from persons that are knowledgeable about art licensing and that are willing to give you a honest opinion. These could be artists that have licensed their art, licensing agents, licensing consultants,** and manufacturers. If you are serious in wanting to license your art DO NOT take the comments personally and negatively. Turn the knowledge you learn into positive ways to evolve your work so that you can license it. Read "Don't give up Your Dreams and Grow a Thick Skin - Part 1."
** Read the article "On Art Licensing Coaches (consultants)."
Artists and agents recommend that you should paint the subjects that you love but if you are serious about licensing you may have to do some compromising. For example, if all you paint is realistic looking elephants and elephant themed art is not the trend you can wait until the trend comes around (it is bound to sooner or later) or add popular themes to your portfolio. Artists that are successful in licensing their art is constantly evolving their art. Read the following articles about evolving art by agent Suzanne Cruise: "How to Keep Art Fresh & New: Continually Evolve Your Work - Part 1" and "How to Keep Art & New: Reworking Old Art for Today's Greeting Card Market."
Check out these websites:
Look at the websites of the following artists that have successfully licensed their art. I purposely chose artists with different art styles to show that all kinds are licensable. Notice the kinds and variety of themes that they create.
coastal theme artist Paul Brent
country artist Susan Winget
fine artist Alan Giana
whimsical artist Robin Roderick
surface designer Barb Tourtillotte
The information in this editorial is my opinion and NOT gospel. Get information from as many people as possible and use what works best for you!
Make sure that you read the comments to this editorial. Not everyone agrees with my opinions which is the reason why you need to get information from multiple people so that you can make informative decisions about your art career in licensing!
Comments are welcome. Please click on comments and write them in the comment window at the bottom.
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Step 1: On a new layer create an oval by using the elliptical marquee too to start creating a flower.
Step 2. Select a color in the foreground color swatch (at bottom of tool bar) and fill it by using the bucket tool. This example uses the color black.
Step 3. Select the Free Transform command by pressing the Command key plus the T key on the keyboard. A bounding box appears that surrounds the oval (not shown in example). A center marker (circle with a dot in the center surrounded by four tick marks) is in the center of the oval. Note: The red dot on the oval in the example represents the center marker. The oval will be duplicated and rotated around the center marker.
Step 4. Hold down the Shift key and drag outside the bounding box to rotate the oval. It will move/jump in 15 degree increments.
Note: There are 360 degrees in a circle. Thus, 360 degrees / 15 degrees (1 jump) = 24 half ovals around the circle; 360 / 30 (2 jumps) = 12; 360 / 45 (3 jumps) = 8, etc.
The example shows, the oval rotated to 30 degrees (two 15 degree jumps). Release the Shift key and press Enter. Note: Because the oval was rotated to 30 degree, the finished flower will have 12 petals after the petal is duplicated and rotated around the center marker six times.
Step 5: Hold down the Command + Shift + Option keys and press the letter T to duplicate and rotate petal.
Have fun by using this fast technique to create interesting motifs for your art collections. Experiment with all sorts of geometric / free form shapes, place the center marker in different positions, and rotate the initial shape in different 15 degree jumps. The type of motifs created is endless!
Any comments that you would like to share about this article would be greatly appreciated. Click on the comment section below.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
* December 2011- Update on artists registering for the show. The Atlantas Mart has changed their policy starting with the January 2012 show. The show is for wholesale buyers only and artists must either meet their wholesale buyer requirements in order to walk the show or exhibit in the License and Design area.
The AtlantasMart Atlanta is the largest permanent wholesale marketplace of its kind. It has about 4500 exhibitors in three multistory (13 to 20 floors) buildings connected by bridges on selected floors. The Mart expected to have 92,000 retail buyers attend the show. That was before a huge snow storm hit Atlanta which canceled flights the day before the permanent showrooms opened on Wednesday, January 12. And the icy roads around the Mart made walking and driving very difficult. The weather may have stopped some buyers from attending but according to blog posts by retailers and trade magazines the show was hopping by the time the temporary showrooms opened on Friday, January 14. And buyers were definitely purchasing products! Some exhibitors said that this was their best show in five years. This is REALLY good news because if stores are not buying product then licensing revenue to artists would drop or even stop and manufacturers will not license more art. If you have not been to the Mart, catch a peek at some of the showrooms and product "eye candy" by viewing four short videos on youtube.com produced by AtlantasMart (AMCConnectVideo).
This is the third year for the License and Design section at Atlanta where artists exhibit their art to be licensed. The section is slowly growing and much smaller (27 booths) than the Surtex show (over 300 booths). Some artists and agents exhibiting in the section had a very difficult time getting to Atlanta but all were able to setup in time for the Friday opening day. The new location made it easier for manufacturers to find even with the wrong advertised location showroom number and the lack of signage. According to many of the artist blogs (listed below), the exhibitors made lots of contacts with manufacturers and felt they had a successful show.
However, with any licensing show the "proof in the pudding" is how many of the contacts made at the show turns into licensing contracts. Most times only a small percentage do and those can take months and even years. And that will not happen unless artists and agents follow-up with the contacts they made. Find out more about the REALITIES of the show and what happens after the show by reading licensing agent Jim Marcotte of Two Town Studios article "Now the real work begins!" And also read "Atlanta Snippets" by Jim on comments he heard at the show.
View the following blog articles, for artist experiences in walking and exhibiting at Atlanta, pictures of an artist booth, and see artists art on products introduced at the show. Note: For artists new to licensing, viewing these blogs is an excellent way to see what themes and kind of art have been licensed.
Beverly Dyer "Atlanta"
Carol Eldridge "Atlanta Gift Show and License and Design Show"
Ellen Crimi-Trent "Back from Atlanta-follow up!"
Jane Maday "More Gift Show Chat"
Jane Shasky "AmericasMart - Atlanta"
Kate Harper "Working With Leanin' Tree"
Paula Joerling "Atlanta Show"
Phyllis Dobbs "Atlanta Gift Market - An Inspiration for good things to come!"
Robin Davis "Pictures from The Atlanta Gift Mart"
Comments and suggestions are welcome. Please click on comments and write them in the comment window at the bottom of this article.