Monday, December 8, 2014

Something Big! - New Artist

I'm thrilled to introduce new Montage Licensing artist 

Rose and I have been very busy these past several weeks working on her line, SKETCHY CHICS, developing her branding and planning our invasion of France (we're after the shoes). 

A few days ago we took a break for an interview.  I think you'll enjoy getting to know Rose.

K:  When did you first realize you were funny?

Rose:  For as long as I can remember, people have laughed at me. But the defining moment (not trying to brag) was being nominated for funniest person in my household. Three years in a row. BAM!

K:  You've published several very successful books with Random House.  How did that come about?

Rose:  I have a lot of family. Did I mention I was nominated for funniest person in my house?  

K:  What are you most excited about as you enter the world of Art Licensing?

Rose:  Getting nominated for the 4th year in a row. Also? Sharing my awesomeness with the people. And all the fame and fortune. Oh, and deciding how to spend my billions. I'm absolutely ready for the glam life. I mean, I do watch the Kardashians religiously and... wait, what was the question?

K:  What Super Power would you most like to have?

Rose:  The ability to write super books. Is that already taken?

K:  Peanut Butter--creamy or chunky?

Rose:  I really don't do well answering questions under pressure. But, if I had to pick one, I guess I'd say both.

Thank you, Rose.

Be sure to leave us a comment below--we love to hear from you!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Getting Better

Click on the pic above 
to watch the video for this post.

(Go ahead, I'll wait.)

Lots of you had questions about the how of getting better in art licensing.  Fortunately, there's lots out there if you know where to look.  Here are a few of my best suggestions:

Tara Reed
Tara is one of the most successful licensed artists in the area of marketing.  She does a terrific job.  Better yet, she shares her experience at  If you're serious about understanding the world of licensing and having at least a working knowledge of the business, her site is the first place to start.  You may not have to go any further.  

Kate Harper
Kate has had a very successful career in the greeting card industry.  First as a designer and manufacturer and now as a licensed artist/designer.  She has an in depth understanding of the market and shares her knowledge on her blog at  She also supports an online greeting card group, offers classes, and has written a couple of books on the subject.  

Michael Rhoda
If you're interested in developing your writing skills along with your artistic talent, the well known Michael Rhoda is now available for hire.  Recently relocated to some sketchy South American country after an esteemed career with several major card companies (I suspect he's running from his bookie), Michael is now offering one-on-one consultations through his blog at  This is an opportunity to learn from the best that you may not want to pass up.

Kimberly Montgomery
As I mentioned in the video, I do a small number of very hands-on portfolio reviews through out the year.  If you feel you're ready for this next step and would like to find out more, email me at

Happy Creating,

P.S. Be sure to leave us a note and let us know your questions about the world of licensing!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Something Big! Rising Stars . . .

It's been a fun and exciting time for us at Montage Licensing.  With just under 200 participants, this year's Something Big! event was bigger than we could have dreamed. With submissions from around the country, and the globe--Italy, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, it was truly an international view of licensing talent.

We have carefully reviewed each portfolio, read the background and statement from each artist, and made our selections of who we would like to talk in depth with.  

The artists selected will be invited to move forward for Professional Review.  Of the close to 200 participants, we have chosen 9 portfolios for further consideration.  The criteria used to make our selections included:
  • Developed Illustration Skills: rendering, color palette, composition
  • Uniqueness while still connecting to a broad audience
  • Developed style and 'sense of self' in artwork
  • Professional Presentation
  • An understanding of Licensing application 

We will talk in depth with each artist, learn more about their artistic process and licensing goals, and determine if working together would be a good fit for both parties.  

Each of the fabulous images featured today are from artists selected for Professional Review. We're very excited to learn more about them, aren't you?

Stay tuned as we head towards the finish of this years' Something Big!  We want to share all the excitement with you as you continue on your creative path!

Montage Licensing

P.S.  Be sure to leave us a note about what you'd like to see as we wrap up this event!

P.P.S.  We'll be hosting more exciting events in the near future that you won't want to miss--so be sure to sign up for email updates for this Blog so you can join in the fun.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Something Big! Art Review #2

Today we're featuring the figurative work of artist Jeanie, who submitted her work to Something Big!

For our Art Review #2, I'm very excited to have the fabulous Tara Reed commenting.  Tara is a very successful licensed artist and art licensing expert.  Her website www. is considered the go-to site for information and education on the art licensing industry.

Here are Tara's comments on Jeanie's portfolio:

Thank you Tara!

Here are my comments:

I found Jeanie's work to be very compelling.  Her use of color, composition and imagery are mature and evocative, and her style is emotionally compelling and unique.

As is, the application for licensing would be limited.  Her portfolio at this time would be considered 'fine art', not 'licensing illustration'. However, if this artist came to me for consultation, and was interested in developing a licensing portfolio, I see huge potential here if she was willing to work in some changes.  

I would coach the artist to work her figures into 'Angel' images, a very popular category in licensing, and add the element of inspirational wording.  With her color palette being very applicable to home decor products, she could develop a strong line of very marketable collections with just a few tweaks to her current style.  This could open up a wide range of potential licensing partners for her, providing the artist with an additional source of revenue along side her fine art and publishing opportunities.


P.S.  Thank you for joining us for Art Review #2.  Be sure and leave us a note below with your thoughts about this review and what you'd like to see next!

Something Big!
It's not too late to join in the fun!
Click HERE to receive the submission guidelines.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Something Big! Art Review #1

I'm so pleased to share this submission for Something Big! 

This artist describes herself as a writer and a doodler.  I find the work delightful and the style a good fit for the licensing industry.  

Commenting today is Pam Cross, Art Director for the Greeting Card division at Legacy Publishing.  Legacy Publishing is well known for their quality products and beautiful print production in their wide range of paper and gift items. 

This is fun and refreshing art and I love the style and most especially the writing!  The thoughts are uplifting and empowering and celebrate friendship and “girl power”.  Having a unique point of view (which these cards have) makes them appealing and fresh.  Here are a few thoughts when it comes to greeting cards. 

When possible, I try to have cards in a portrait/vertical orientation, rather than landscape/horizontal orientation.  It’s easier to see in the racks, and we find that vertical cards can sell better than horizontal cards (but not always!). 

These images all have great messages and I love that!  The only negative is that when you think of the caption of the card, these would all be in the encouragement or friendship caption, which isn’t necessarily the bestselling caption.  You would definitely want some of your set of cards to be Birthday and Sympathy, which are the two bestselling captions in greeting cards.  (Even people who don’t buy a lot of cards will buy birthday and sympathy cards, so that makes sense).

Since you’re a gifted writer, providing a verse for the inside of the card is an extra bonus many card companies would like.  Not only does it save them time, but the card verse inside mirrors your own writing style.  Since you’re talented in this area, I think that would be great!

Maybe you would consider having some of the cards have a background color other than white.  An image that catches your eye in a rack can sell better.  The bright colors you have on white will accomplish this, but if you had a whole section of your own cards, you might want to break up the white background a little with some pops of color overall.  Even a pale wash of pink or pale blue or pale yellow might add a little something for some of the images.  Also, remember that different companies use different paper stock. Some card paper stock will be a nice bright white, but some are also a little “gray”. Because recycled paper is increasingly popular with consumers, many card companies are going with recycled paper that tends to be more gray in the spectrum of “whites”.

Try to keep some interesting element in the top third of your card, since this is what will be peeking out of the rack. 

Make sure your digital file is high resolution, 300 dpi, CMYK, (when printing, colors are separated into cyan, magenta, yellow and black, not RGB – red green blue) and is a good color match to your original artwork.  If you pay to have someone scan your art to create your digital files, always get a high quality proof with the scan (such as an Epson proof), so you know if they matched the colors on your painting.  It’s so disappointing to an artist when they have chosen just the right colors, but the digital representation of their work doesn’t match their color choices.

That’s all I can think of for now, but best of luck!  You’ve got a lot of promise and I just love your positive and uplifting artwork!
Pam Cross
Legacy Publishing

Thank you Pam!

I find the writing very strong and perfectly suited to the licensing industry. I might suggest that this artist spend a bit of time developing the visual side of her work.  It's good as is, but I think she can push it a bit and really make a stronger statement.  With that little bit of effort, the line could become very marketable for a wide range of products and have staying power beyond just a season or two.  Developing a following in the market is a real possibility and I'd definitely suggest putting in the effort to make that happen.

Thank you for joining us for this Art Review.  Be sure and leave a note below with your thoughts, we'd love to hear from you!  


It's not too late to join in on Something Big!
Click HERE for the submission guidelines.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Money Shot

Look at how great all these fabulous cards are.  They're from Recycled Greetings and Papyrus, who do a wonderful job of art direction and design.  If you ever get to work with them, count yourself lucky.  (Hi Diana!)

What else do you notice?  Anything?  Here's another shot. See if you can figure it out.

If you haven't yet, I'll go ahead and let you in on the secret. All the 'hook' copy and imagery are on the top third of the card. That's what you see as you scan the rows and rows of cards available.  In the world of greeting cards that's 'the money shot'.  It's what you see when card shopping.  The top third.  

As an artist looking to work in licensing, and hoping to get greeting card deals, how are you using this information in your work?  Are you designing each new piece to sit in the rack and be read immediately by the consumer?  Is there room for copy in the top third?  Is there a compelling image with high contrast in that area?  Can your design compete with the images surrounding it in the rack?

Just a little extra something to think about as you build that new collection.


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Something Big is Coming!

This month we're kicking off an exciting event at Montage Licensing, Something Big!

If you're an artist and always wanted to get involved in the licensing industry in a bigger way, we hope you'll join us.

We think there's some big talent out there that the licensing industry needs to see--and it just might be you. We're looking far and wide for the brightest, freshest, most appealing new look in licensing. At the agency have our own ideas about what is hot, but we think that yours just might be better. We hope you'll join us.

Entrants will be receiving special videos from me on how to work in the licensing industry, as well as tips and tricks for putting together a portfolio. We'll be showcasing some of the submissions here on my blog. I'll be bringing in industry professionals to offer their insights. It will be an interesting, informative and exciting event that you'll want to be a part of!

Click HERE to join in the fun!

Something Big is Coming and it just might be you! 

One quick favor before I close, take a moment to drop a note below and let us know what you'd like to see as we work through this process and highlight some of the submissions. We have our own ideas, but I've learned over the years that the best ones come from all of you out there.  Thank you for taking just a moment to share your thoughts!