Guest post from Jan Weiss who has 15 years of experience licensing her art.
In the art business or when I meet artists and tell them I am a published artist, I typically end up with a load of questions and they ask to “pick my brain”. So over coffee I lay the groundwork; an overview of publishing and licensing and how to get found in a sea of artists all wanting the same thing.
I have been in this business for over fifteen years with experience in publishing, wholesale and retail sales, ecommerce and licensing; in addition I blog regularly about artists – especially emerging artists as I feel they need the most exposure right off the bat.
The questions I receive generally fall into these categories:
• What is publishing and licensing?
• Is there much money?
• How can I get posters made of my art?
• What are the latest trends?
• Do you think my art is publishable?
• How can I get noticed?
I’m going to review all of these questions and give you a simple straightforward – and honest answer to each of these questions.
What is publishing and licensing?
Publishing and licensing is about making your art available for derivative products. Art publishing is about turning your art into a poster or limited edition art print. You can publish them yourself by working directly with a printer or licensing your images to a publisher who will pay all the up front costs including printing and marketing and pay you a royalty on the sales of the print; usually 10 to 15%.
Licensing your images to a product manufacturer is another way of earning royalties from your creations. These images may be licensed for product such as textiles, table-top, home accessories and apparel. The manufacturer pays you or your agent/ publisher a royalty and you receive a percentage of that royalty.
Is there much money?
There can be. I have known some artists who earn $75,000 to a $100,000 a year but they are the rare ones. Royalty payments generally run $200 to $1000 a month and if there is an order for a high volume sale you may go much higher than that. Truthfully – most artists have other jobs to supplement their art income.
How can I get posters made of my art?
You can have posters made of your art through online sources such as Imagekind.com, Fineworks.com or Artistrising.com. Artists do not go through an approval process for Imagekind and Finerworks – you simply upload your high res file and pick a size for the art.
You or any customer can go through these sites and purchase your art and you will receive a royalty. Artistrising.com requires an approval process so be patient. It is up to you to market your work for on-line publishing sites such as these so be persistent. Post on Facebook, Twitter, blog about it and include it in newsletters.
What are the latest trends?
I use catalogues such as CB2, West Elm and Crate and Barrel for trend inspiration, and it is well worth your time to read design blogs. A complete list is on my site, The Art Planet – just scroll down the left navigation bar; these sites are filled with inspiration, ideas and design trends.
Do you think my art is publishable?
This question is the hardest and requires direct and sincere answers. The fact is – not everyone who wants to be an artist has the talent to get there-be objective and proceed with caution. Ask yourself if your work is unique and original or is simply an interpretation of the hottest trend so it will sell because right now everyone wants that look?
Have you had professional instruction? Learning from professional artists is worth every dollar spent. These people have their experience to share and will teach and instruct in styles and techniques that you may have no experience with yourself; benefit from the knowledge of others. I have had many people tell me they are self-taught and display this as a badge of honor but what publishers really want is someone with a firm grasp in techniques and execution – skills taught in the classes and workshops.
How can I get noticed?
And finally we come to social networking – one of my favorite subjects. This subject cannot be understated – it is truly essential and imperative that you do this…daily.
Take advantage of sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Stumbleupon, Google, Orkut, Digg, Delicious, Kaboodle and many many others. When you upload a new poster or add products to your Etsy site or Zazzle site tell people about. The best art in the world will never be found unless consumers and art lovers are allowed to see it through the art of social networking.
Start a blog and upload your work; share your inspiration for the piece and medium and price. Blogger offers a very easy, intuitive free blog site. The more sites you post on the more your name will show up in search engine marketing and the better chance you have of being discovered.
Creating art is like using your muscles – you must create continually. Be inspired by others, learn from others and build upon your experience to become a brand on all your own.
© 2011 Jan Weiss
Artist Bio – Jan Weiss
Jan Weiss, a northern California native is a freelance writer and artist specializing in home decor. With a strong background in art publishing and art trends, Jan shares this knowledge with the trade as well as individual artists.
Weiss has just completed her first eBook for artists, titled: The Coexistence of Art and Money; interested buyers can find this book as well as her art through several on-line galleries such as Artist Rising, Image Kind and Etsy. Jan’s style is a mixed of collage, digital creations and abstract landscapes that will appeal to the hospitality buyer. She lives with her husband, cat and dog in the Bay Area and enjoys organic gardening, cooking, reading and making stuff.