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.
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.
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”!