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.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Editorial: Should you OR can you upgrade to Photoshop & Illustrator CS6?

If you are using Photoshop or/and Illustrator to manipulate, enhance, or create your art for licensing, it will soon be imperative to upgrade to the latest version of Adobe CS6 or be left behind. But unfortunately, for some artists upgrading to CS6 will not be a simple or inexpensive process because it also means that they may have to upgrade the operating system (OS) of their computer and possibly purchase a new computer.

For the Macintosh computer, the reason is because Adobe made a huge change in the coding for CS6 and CS6 applications will not operate if the Mac OS is below version 10.6.7 (snow leopard). Adobe decided to take advantage of the changes that Apple made in snow leopard to speed up the performance of applications by using multi-core processing and high amounts of RAM*. Read "Difference between Leopard and Snow Leopard." And continue reading to find out why you should upgrade sooner than later and why upgrading to CS6 could become very expensive.

* RAM is Random Access Memory on the computer that provides space to read and write data by the CPU (central processing unit). If there is not enough RAM on the computer to run all the applications that are open at the same time (including email and internet browser) the computer can bog-down or even hang-up. Note: There are also other kinds of memory on the computer. Cash memory helps speed RAM memory when processing data and virtual memory on the hard drive is used for storing data.   For more information on memory, read "How Computer Memory Works."

Why upgrade NOW:
• Future cost of CS6 applications will be full price instead of the upgrade price unless you upgrade. CS3 or CS4 can only be upgraded to CS6 at the upgrade price until 12/31/12.

• Has some great new features such as:
- (Photoshop and Illustrator) re-engineered the tools so that they interact faster
- (Photoshop) automatically saves files in the background
- (Photoshop) generates geometric pattern fills with scripted patterns
- (Photoshop) better, more and easier to use vector tools
- (Photoshop) more brushes and filters
- (Photoshop) content-aware tools allows better editing of images
- (Illustrator) easy pattern creation
- (Illustrator) better raster image trace engine
- (Illustrator) ability to apply gradients to strokes
- (Illustrator) enhanced color panel

Why you may NOT want to upgrade:
• if your computer is old. A Macintosh needs a multicore intel processor with 64-bit support to operate Adobe CS6 software. A PC needs an Intel Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon 64 processor.

• if you are using an old operating system. If you are using an old operating system, you may not be able to open CS6 applications. A Mac needs OS X v10.6.8 (snow leopard) or greater. A PC needs Microsoft Windows XP with Service Pack 3 or Windows 7 with Service Pack 1.

• if you have insufficient RAM on your computer. Photoshop CS6 only needs 1GB of RAM to operate but Adobe recommends 6GB for optimal operating speed if several CS6 applications are opened at the same time.

• if you are using software that is not compatible with newer operating systems. Or you do not want to spend the money to update software that is not compatible with a newer operating system.

So there are reasons not to upgrade to CS6 especially if you cannot afford to. But eventually you will have to upgrade to the latest version because either Photoshop or/and Illustrator is needed in licensing art.

Make sure that you read the comments!  Artist Phyllis Dobbs has shared some important Photoshop information.

Your comments are welcome. Please click on the comments section (below) to write your comment.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Art Licensing Editorial: Overnight success takes 10 years

You may have heard the saying that "an overnight success takes 10 years." That is so true in the art licensing industry because it usually takes MANY years to gain recognition. And the reason why it takes so long is because art does not get the exposure that cartoon characters get on television or by going viral like singers Justin Bever or Susan Boyle have on Although at least one artist was lucky that her art hit the market just at the right time when consumers yearned for a particular art style and theme(s). An almost overnight success happened to the prolific floral artist Cheri Blum in the early 2000s to the amazement of the art licensing industry. Her simple and elegant florals with an old world charm was just what consumers were looking for. And Cheri's agency Wild Apple Graphics Licensing were able to get deals for her art in a very short time.

For most artists it has taken them the proverbial "ten" years to become successful enough that their art is recognized by consumers and licensed on many products. Xavier Roberts' Cabbage Patch Kids series hit it big in the 1980s. And one of the latest overnight success stories are doll makers David Horvath and Sun-Min Kim with their Uglydoll series. It did take them ten years while it took artists Jim Shore and Susan Winget longer, and artist Kelly Rae Roberts somewhat shorter. Below are links to their stories. Note: Characters usually are animated first and then licensed. But Uglydoll was licensed and now will become an animated film.

Artist journeys in becoming successful art licensors.

• David Horvath and Sun-Min Kim
     "David Horvath and Sun-Min Kim: The Doll Makers"
     "Uglydoll to be an Animated Film"

Jim Shore - bio

Kelly Rae Roberts - "Small Steps (Leading to now)"

Susan Winget - bio

Xavier Roberts - "Cabbage Patch Kids" on

So the lesson learned in this editorial is to NOT quit your day job because being successful in licensing your art is not immediate. Also you may never be able to make a living in licensing your work. I estimate that less than 50% (probably much less) of the artists that license their art make a living doing it and they need to supplement their income by some other means.

Related article:
"Licensed Art - Getting Paid Takes a Long Time"

Your comments are welcome. Please click on the comments section (below) to write your comment.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Art Licensing Editorial: List of Art Trends

Trends come and go but usually stay around for several to many years while fads can disappear even before the product is introduced to market. Determining if a NEW trend is really a trend and not a fad can be difficult. For instance, in 2000 purple and red hat products flooded the market with the advent of the Red Hat Society. Many thought it would stay around for a while but it disappeared from the mass market in less than two years but it is still going strong as a niche market. The same thing happened with the 100th anniversary of the teddy bear in 2002. For several years teddy bear art was on everything and soon disappear from the mass market.

Artists that create trend forward art often have it sit in their portfolio for years and are still waiting for it to be discovered and licensed. A theme may be popular by consumers such as dance but is not recognized as popular enough by manufactures to take a chance on licensing it. Some themes take years to hit the art licensing industry. At the 2003 Licensing Show an artist (I do not remember who) displayed high heel shoe art in her booth but it was not until a couple of years ago that high heels became a popular theme. And sometimes a trend does not materialize for other reasons. For instance, several years ago artists thought that there would be a great opportunity to license recycling themed art because of consumer interest in the "Greening of America." However, there was less opportunity than anticipated because most manufacturers were not setup to produce products with reclaimable and sustainable materials that they must use for "green" art themes. Thus, there is little art licensed with that theme.

Many artists are successful in licensing their art when they use existing trends but give their art a new spin to make it look fresh and new instead of trying to predict new trends. Below is my list of art themes, backgrounds, styles, and colors that I think is licensable in todays market. Caution: This list is not complete and constantly changes. Other artist lists are most likely different.

Trends seen in the 2012 market (many have been trends for years and probably continue)
• Themes
– Nature - geraniums and other flowers, butterflies, birds, owls (retro look), cats and dogs (non specific breeds)
– Coastal - seashells, nautical items such as anchors, lighthouses
– Beach Fun - flip flops, umbrellas, beach chairs, surf boards
– Inspirational words with art - hope, love, dream, etc
– Christmas - Santa, snowmen, deer, trees, ornaments, poinsettias, cardinals, snowflakes, wreaths, stockings
– Halloween - pumpkins and non-scary witches, bats, mummys, monsters, etc.
– Others - robots, high heel shoes, coffee, chocolate, cupcakes, paisley designs, grapes & wine, roosters

• Backgrounds - texture, patterns, words & iconic motifs

• Art Styles (depending on industry and manufacturer)
– Illustrative with swishes and swirls - good for embellishing greeting cards and gift bags with metallics and glitter
– Simple illustrations for die-cut greeting cards
– Grunge (collage of images and text with parts of the images erased and unsaturated colors) used mostly for home decor products
– Collage of images for home decor and gift products
– Simple images for decorative flags

• Colors (depending on the industry, art style, customer demographics, and manufacturer
– Christmas: graphic art = bright cherry red and lime green; grunge look = trendy colors such as violet & metallic greens and pinks & blues; traditional art = dark red and green
– Home decor: unsaturated colors in browns and grays
– Pinks and Yellows are still in and Pantone 2012 Color of the Year ( tangerine tango) is starting to show on some products
– Coastal: blues (especially turquoise), white, off-whites, tans and browns

Trends most likely seen on products in 2013 and 2014 as designs trend-up or new trends become popular 

Update May 2014 - Not all these predicted trends are seen in the marketplace. So far Santas are not more popular than snowmen, words as art are on the way down, retro owls are still popular, black and white outlines etc not yet seen on many products.  But nostalgic images such as typewriters, mustaches, cars are seen on lots of products.

• Evolution of present trends
– Santa more popular than snowmen
– penquins
– sunflowers coming back
– words of all kind with simplified motifs or none
– colors becoming brighter & more saturated (even for home decor)
– owls but not so retro

• B&W sketches & outlines for fabrics, home d├ęcor, and greeting cards

• Lighter colored - very light and white backgrounds; more white accents in design

• Technology images - nostalgia (typewriters, clocks) vs cell phones, computers

Related articles:
"Art Licensing Trend Questions Answered"
"Art Licensing Trend Resources"

Your comments are welcome. Please click on the comments section (below) to write your comment.