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Sunday, June 1, 2014

Art Licensing: How do Artists Create Art for Products?

This article is mainly for those artists new to licensing. But, there may be a tidbit or two that will also be useful to seasoned licensed artists.

There are many ways to create art to be licensed for products. Some artists create art the traditional method with paint, some create digitally with computer software, and some create art with a combination of paint, digital text, and backgrounds. But no matter what method is used, the art needs to end up in a digital format because that is required by the majority of manufacturers that license art. So it is imperative that artists either know how to use a computer or hire someone that does. Note: The most used computer software in the art licensing industry is Adobe Photoshop for painterly looking images and Adobe Illustrator for patterns and illustrative looking images. Read, "What is the Difference between Photoshop and Illustrator" to learn more about the software.

Before you start creating art to license, you need to understand the licensing industry. Painting images in an art style, format and themes you like is not always licensable to be put on products for the mass market. Manufacturers license art with images that are popular with many people so their products sell well. Until you know the popular images and the way it should be formatted for each type of manufacturer you could be wasting your time trying to license it. Read the following articles for more information.

• "Editorial: Not all art is licensable"
• "Art Licensing Editorial: List of 2012 Trends" Many of these trends are still relevant.
• "Photoshop Tip: Description of File Formats and When to Use Them"
• "How to License Art to Manufacturers"

Traditionally Created Art
As mentioned above, manufacturers want digital files of the image. Thus, artists that create their art with paint need to either scan the image into the computer or photograph it. But, there can be complications with each method. If the painting is too large for the scanner the artist may need to scan the art by sections and combine the sections into one image while in Photoshop. Or if the painting is photographed, it may end up to be skewed looking if the lens of the camera is not perfectly parallel to the surface of the painting (parallax). Read "Art Licensing Tip: Converting Paintings into Digital Images" for more information on how to correct parallax and how to combine scanned images.

Some manufacturers prefer that art be created with paint instead of digitally. But they expect much more editing of the image than just cropping parts of the it that was only possible years ago. Software like Photoshop can manipulate parts of the image in an amazing number of ways. In Photoshop parts of the image can be isolated and moved, removed and the color changed.

Hint: Many traditional artists are now painting individual icons (flowers, birds, butterflies, sea shells, etc.) separately on a white background instead of sketching and painting the image as a finished composition. They then scan the painted icons and a separate painted background into the computer. In Photoshop the icons and background are placed into individual layers and the white area around the icons is removed. The icons then can be arranged into a pleasing composition. The advantage to having the icons on separate layers is they can be easily moved and edited as well as used in other paintings.

Digitally Created Art
Once the technique in creating art digitally is mastered, it is faster than the traditional method. Digital art can be created on the fly and easily altered. And, images on separate layers in the software can be easily moved so that the art is not locked into a single composition.

As an alternative to using a mouse, many digital artists use a graphics tablet and pressure sensitive pen (stylus) to create art. With the pen they can easily draw freehand and control the line thickness, transparency and color by exerting pressure on the tablet with the pen. Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Corel Painter and many other art creation software support pressure sensitive pens with tablets.

Note: A disadvantage to creating art digitally is that some manufacturers still resist licensing digital art under the mistaken notion that the art will look computer generated when placed on products. Of course, that is no longer true because of the advance in technology.

Combination of Art Created Traditionally and Digitally
Some artists’ use a combination of painted icons and digital backgrounds, digital text and copyright free digital clip art to embellish the art. Hint: Always place individual icons, backgrounds, etc. in layers whenever possible. Manufacturers sometimes request layered Photoshop files so that they can edit the art.

After the art is created, the real work begins by submitting it to manufacturers. Articles about different product industries including links to their websites can be found on my blog.

Your comments are welcome. Click on the comments section (below) to write your comment. Note: Some people have a problem in leaving a comment. The most successful method is to comment as Name/URL (your name and website or blog with a "complete" URL address).

1 comment:

  1. Love your articles and learn something every time!! Thank you, thank you, thank you.