Once a licensing artist gets a feel for what a good portfolio includes, staying in the creative zone with new work becomes the next goal. Art Directors and Product Development Managers rely on the talent of the artist pool for new product, and this is where an artist can really bring value to a new release. How do you do that without selling your soul to the retail devil?
I always tell my artists to follow the energy. Wherever the most creative excitement is, that's where I want them to work next. It's where the best art comes from. Once we've decided what categories they will be focusing on for the next several months, I turn them loose to just follow their instincts. It's the creative spark that's inside every talent that leads to new and fresh concepts, great new trends and, ultimately, retail products that are worth the shelf space they take up.
The best art comes from passion and drive to create. There's a reason why as an artist you want to create--it's a vision you want to share with the world. Couple that passion with a good understanding of your industry and your work becomes becomes much more meaningful.
Friday, October 18, 2013
It was the summer before last when I really got it that the business I had chosen was going to feel very different than most jobs.
It was 5:30 on a Saturday evening and I was out by the pool working on my laptop. (Those who know me know that I like to work on the weekends, when the rest of the world is out gumming up the lakes, rivers and bike trails. I prefer to take my days off during the week, when I have the great outdoors to myself.) So here I am, Saturday evening, cleaning out my inbox, when an email pops up from the President of a greeting card company.
President: Is this artist available for greeting cards?
President: I’m interested in doing a line. Can you send over her portfolio?
President: Great. We’ll probably start with 20-24 designs. I’ll let you know our selections next week.
Me: Great. What are the terms?
President: Our terms are _________ . Is this other artist you rep available for cards?
Me: Depends on the images you’re interested in.
President: We’d like to do a line with him too. I’ll let you know our selections next week as well.
Me: Great. Can you send your contract over for review?
President: I’ll do that on Monday.
Deal done. Over the following week the terms were negotiated, images selected, hi res files sent, signatures gathered.
My workday never really ends. And it never really begins either. It’s just a continuous flow from one deal to the next, one marketing idea to the next, one trade show to the next.
I wake up, start the coffee and open my computer. The east coast is already into their day and I’ll have at least a couple of replies to attend to—usually artwork to send out, or approvals needed. The next couple of hours will be spent moving deals forward from there. My phone goes with me EVERYWHERE. Emails are answered during pedicures, lunch with my daughter and breaks at Crossfit class. Texts from my artists get answered. Calls get taken in the check out line. Marketing ideas come to me while kayaking.
Licensing has just become my life. Good thing I love it.
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Just what this industry needs, another Art Licensing Blog
But wait! Before you throw down your paintbrush (ok, who're we kidding, hardly anyone paints anymore, but that's a subject for another post), give me a second. I'm not sure exactly what I'll end up talking about, but it's probably not going to be how to get licensing deals, read a contract or break into the business. There are plenty of great Blogs talking about those things. What I will be talking about is what running an Art Licensing Agency is really like. Day to day. And what life is like doing it. I have opinions about the industry and the economy--you'll hear them. I'll talk about the numerous portfolio submissions I get every week. And what I think about them. You'll learn how working with a manufacturer goes in real life. You'll find out I spend WAY too much time in my pajamas. And the little known secret that I've closed many, many deals while still in bed. (Hey! Easy on the judgement, the East Coast is HOURS ahead).
What about you? Curious? Have questions? Let me know! Ask away. Or you can come on over, we can brush each other's hair and talk about how to put a new spin on the whole Owl thing. It's up to you.
This is a creative business where we get to play with fabulous art and wonderful products. What's not to love? Ok, so the $3.18 royalty checks aren't so fun, but other than that it's all pretty good. So, I hope you stop by from time to time, talk back, share and feel like it was worth tearing yourself away from Facebook or Pinterest for a few minutes. If you're really feeling warm hearted become a subscriber and invite a few friends. Before you know it, we'll be best friends.