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Art Licensing by artist Joan Beiriger: I'm happy to share art licensing info but please
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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Art Licensing: Using PDF Files to Submit Art

Manufacturers want art submitted to them for possible licensing consideration in different ways. A few want hard copies or a CD of images sent to them via snail mail but the majority accept and want them as single image tiff files, jpg files, files in a folder as a compressed zip file, or in a multiple image pdf file.

If the files are sent via e-mail, the artist must take into consideration the size of the files attached to the e-mail. Many e-mail providers limit e-mails to 2MB in size. So the number of files attached is limited and the size of each must be small. Other alternatives are to upload more and larger file(s) onto file sharing sites such as Dropbox, Hightail (formerly YouSendit), and WeTransfer. And then send a link to the manufacturer so the file(s) can be downloaded. Note: Not all manufacturers use each of these file-sharing sites and they may have a preferred one. Or, they may not want to download any images and will only accept single images attached to an e-mail.

The only way to find out what is preferred is to look at the manufacture guidelines on their website (if posted) or call and ask. Or, take a chance and submit a small sampling of art as jpg images in the e-mail and ask what method they prefer. Note: I usually send one jpg image with a short introduction e-mail and then follow-up with a pdf file with multiple images that can be downloaded from Hightail. If the file is not downloaded, I then know that either they do not want to download the file or they are not interested in my art enough to want to download more images.

The advantage in using a pdf multiple image file when submitting art is that the images can be placed into the pdf file so that they can be easily viewed as a "slide show" by using the free application Adobe Reader that most manufacturer art directors already have. Each image in the pdf file can be printed and download onto the desktop. The pdf file can also be opened in the Macintosh operating system with the Preview application or in the Preview Pane* in Windows operating system. Note: jpg and pdf files are already compressed and they will not be dramatically reduced further if zip compression is used on them.

*There are complaints that the Preview Pane does not open pdf files in Windows version 7 and 8. I suggest that you Google the Internet with "can windows preview pdf files in Windows 7 and 8" if you want to find out if there is a work around for the problem.

Preparing PDF multiple image files
When submitting any images for licensing consideration, the images should have the artist contact information on it. See the image at the beginning of this article for an example. Some artists prefer to place a watermark (copyright symbol and artist name) on top of the art to protect their copyright. However, many manufacturers feel watermarks detract from the art and discourages using them.

Hint: To avoid doing repetitive tasks such as placing contact information on numerous images, you can use Actions in Photoshop to record a series of commands when adding the contact information to an image. You can then play back this action in the Batch or Create Droplet commands that are available in Photoshop under File/Automatic so that the action can be applied to one or multiple images. A video example on how to use Actions and Batch commands can be viewed on "Photoshop - Actions & Batch Processing".

Multiple Image PDF Applications
The following tips show how to created pdf multiple image files in Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Bridge, and Adobe Acrobat Pro. If you have purchased Adobe Creative Suite or have subscribed to Adobe Cloud, you should have access to all these applications.

Acrobat Pro with the PDF Portfolio command allows the inclusion of not only image files but other application files such as Microsoft Word and Excel. However, Photoshop and Bridge only allows image files. Being able to include art and a biography if written in Word or another application may be very useful when submitting art to manufacturers as a pdf file.

Warning: Images can be added and text placed on the image when in the pdf command of Photoshop and Acrobat Pro. The text is separate from the image and if the image is selected and dragged to the desktop the text will not be on the image. Thus, this is not a good method of putting contact information on an image. Contact information should be placed in the file before adding it to the PDF Presentation or PDF Portfolio.

• Adobe Photoshop (how to create a simple PDF Multi-Page Document or Presentation)

– Quick tutorial written by artist Jill Meyer
1. In Photoshop go to File > Automate > PDF Presentation.
2. Choose either Multi-Page Document or Presentation (slide show), upload the images, press Save. 3. Fill in the name of the PDF, select where to save the file, and press Save.
This may take a little while to process and the pdf file to appear depending on the amount and size of the files in it.

– More detailed tutorial written by Peter Bauer from Photoshop CC For Dummies – "Create a PDF Presentation in Photoshop CC"

– For those that prefer watching videos look at "How To Combine Multiple PDF Pages in Photoshop"

• Adobe Illustrator (how to save multiple PDF files in Illustrator)

– Tutorial video by howtechgraphics - "How to Save File as PDF in Illustrator"

• Adobe Bridge (how to create a multiple page PDF file using Bridge)

– Tutorial written by Noragu - "[Adobe Bridge CS5]: An alternative for Photoshop's PDF Presentation"

– Tutorial written by Barbara Obermeier from Photoshop CS6 All-in-One for Dummies - "How to Create PDF Presentations from Photoshop CS6 Files in Bridge"

– Tutorial video by Mary Castillo – "How to create a PDF in Bridge"

•Adobe Acrobat Pro (how to create a multiple file PDF Portfolio)
According to Adobe "A PDF Portfolio contains multiple files assembled into an integrated PDF unit. The files in a PDF Portfolio can be in a wide range of file types created in different applications. For example, a PDF Portfolio can include text documents, e-mail messages, spreadsheets, CAD drawings, and PowerPoint presentations. The original files retain their individual identities but are assembled into one PDF Portfolio file. You can open, read, edit, and format each component file independently of the other component files in the PDF Portfolio." For more information, read "PDF Portfolios."

– Tutorial written by artist Joan Beiriger
1. Open Adobe Acrobat Pro and a menu window will open.
2. On the right side under Getting Started double click on Create PDF Portfolio and another menu window will open. Click on Add Files at the bottom of the menu.
3. The menu for selecting the files opens. Find the files in the folder or the desktop and select the them. Press Finish.
4. The Portfolio menu opens. This can take a while depending on how large and how many files you select. I recommend that you do a trial run and only add one file to discover how long it takes. Otherwise, you might think nothing is happening.
5. Once the files are loaded they are visible in the window. You can move to the next image in the window with the arrow. You can also move the image placement by selecting and moving the smaller images at the bottom. Also more images can be added by clicking on Add Files that is located at the top of the side bar in the window.
6. Once you have added the files to the Portfolio go to File / Save As / PDF Portfolio.
7. Name the file and location (desktop or folder) you want it saved and press the Save button. The pdf file will appear in the location you indicated once the file is saved. It may take a while if the file is large.

– Tutorial video by "How to create a PDF portfolio"

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. For example: ).


  1. Joan ... this has come at the right time. You know when thee student is ready the teacher appears. I've visited the multiple pdf stuff before but this time I am so ready. THANK YOU. And thank to Jill for her great tutorial and all the others on here. Glad you have videos. I enjoy the visual. You make me smile!!!!!

  2. very helpful info & a terrific design

  3. Thank you very much for the useful and comprehensive article.

  4. Excellent topic Joan, thank you! You've made it very clear with the "how to" and tutorial links. Putting together a polished portfolio presentation (as efficiently and consistent looking as possible) has been on my to do list. Thanks a million!

  5. I love your blog. It is so helpful and full of great info. Thanks