5 Things You Should Know Before Pursuing An Art Licensing Deal

I love to illustrate kids’ books and characters for animation. But did you know I also license my art for a variety of products?

I’m especially obsessed with designing greeting cards and wrapping paper—and despite my husband’s complaints, I’ve collected a closet full of wrapping paper.

I’ve had the opportunity to work with companies like Mud Puppy, Hallmark, Merry Makers, Books to Bed and much more.

So you want to license your art? I get it. It’s a dream many artists have, and it can be a tricky process to navigate. Here are five things you should know before pursuing an art licensing deal.

1. Create a collection of work

I would recommend creating a collection of work to show manufacturers. Manufacturers are more likely to license your art if you show a collection of work rather than a single piece of art.

No matter what kind of collection you’re putting together—be it a series of prints or a set of greeting cards—make sure that the pieces compliment one another and fit together into an aesthetic whole.

For example, my first licensing deal was with a major greeting card manufacturer who loved my collection of birthday cards. They not only wanted one design, but they bought almost the whole collection!

2. Licensing is not the same as selling your work

When you license your work, you’re basically giving someone permission to use it commercially—they can use it on their products or in their ads as long as they pay you a fee for doing so. Selling your work, on the other hand, means that you’re giving up control over how it’s used and where it goes (and letting go of any profits from its sales).

3. Royalties are complicated—and often don’t happen at all!

Licensing deals usually involve a royalty payment for every product sold featuring your artwork, but there are lots of other factors that affect how much money you’ll actually see from a deal.

You can licence your art based on either a flat fee payment or on a royalty basis.

Flat Fee

With a flat fee license you receive money up front and won’t have to worry about how well the design sells to get further income from it. This payment method also tends to pay a higher flat fee than an advance you would get if you were to do a royalty basis payment. But you will not receive a royalty on any products sold with your design on it.

Royalty Basis

When working on a royalty basis you will be paid an advance upfront on top of receiving royalties with every product sold. In some instances you may not even receive an advance. If this happens, you will receive the royalty income sooner.

4. Licensing deals are often long-term commitments

When you’re looking to license your products or services, it’s important to make sure that you’re partnering with the right company. You might be asked to sign a contract that lasts for multiple years, so be sure that this is something you want to do before agreeing to a deal!

If you’re not sure whether or not a licensing deal is right for your brand, you can always ask a lawyer or an accountant for help.

5. You don’t need a gallery to sell your art

You don’t need a manufacturer to make money from selling your art—in fact, you don’t even need to sell it directly from your website! You can get paid by selling your work through companies like Redbubble or Zazzle, which will print and market it on t-shirts, phone cases, mugs… whatever you’d like!

I have my own Redbubble store where you can find a ton of my art used on a variety products. Like my most popular illustration “Dande’lion”!

Have you ever dealt with anxiety? If yes, what tools have helped you?

The way that I drink green tea is also important to me. It’s not just about drinking it—it’s about how you drink it! It all make a difference in how much enjoyment you will get out of your experience.The first thing I do is stick my nose in my cup and breath in the delicious earthy smell. The steam is so comforting on my face and it makes me that much more excited for the first sip.

Ah that first sip. A fresh, crisp taste with just the right amount of bitterness to keep it interesting. It’s like taking a bite out of springtime itself! I like to drink my tea slowly so that I can savour every last drop, which means that sometimes my tea gets cold before I’m done with it.

Something happens to me while drinking tea… something that makes me very happy. It’s like magic! When I drink from my favourite cup, something inside me changes: my mood elevates, my energy increases, and suddenly… there are no more problems in the world!

It has become a part of my everyday routine and one of my most favourite things in life – second only to my family and friends of course!

3. The third thing I do is read. And I’m usually reading while drinking my delicious tea. In the morning I usually read non-fiction books because I love to learn. At the moment I am obsessed with neuroscience and understanding how the brain works. It’s been interesting for me to learn about how different parts of our brains influence our personalities and behaviours, and it makes me have more compassion and self love for myself and the things I’ve been t through. It’s been very insightful in understanding why I am the way I am.

Here are some books I’ve loved on the subject.

If you’re curious about what else I’ve got in there, click here.

So, you want to license your artwork. You’ve been thinking about it for a while, but now you’re finally ready to take the plunge.

But… you’re afraid. You’re afraid of the unknown. You’re afraid of rejection and failure. You’re afraid your products won’t sell. And you know what? Those fears are totally understandable—I mean, who wants to be rejected? But here’s the thing: if you don’t put yourself out there and try, there’s no way for you to succeed either way!

Put aside your fears and go for it!

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