The other day I was asked how on earth I organize all the files that make up the collections that make up my art licensing business…  so I thought I’d give you a sneak peek.

Staying organized so you can find things when you need them is important to your success and your sanity.

You don’t want to waste time searching for files people want to review or that you want to work with so creating a system that makes sense to you is key.  Emphasis on makes sense to you.  What I do will work for many but I’m sure some of you won’t like it. That’s fine, you get to make up your own system for your work.

I work from an external hard drive so the majority of my computer power is available for Photoshop – it’s an amazing program but also quite the memory hog and works best when it doesn’t have to compete with all the files you’ve ever created.  In addition to the external hard drive that is a “working drive”, I have a “BIG 4” from LaCie that has 4 hard drives in it.  That’s my fail safe – at least twice a day that drive automatically “mirrors” to my working drive – making sure it matches so I have duplicates of all my work.

It isn’t a matter of IF a drive or computer is going to fail, it’s WHEN.  So it’s important to save your work in multiple locations.

I also save everything to an online backup plan – I use CrashPlan.  Backblaze is another favorite of artists.

I have a simple folder system.

1.  Folders by theme.

2.  Folder for each collection.

3.  Folders within each collection for icons, images, patterns, borders, marketing files, etc.

Using the same format consistently makes it easy to find what I need in any collection, whether I made it yesterday or 10 years ago.

Organizing Art Files - Art Licensing Info


If you don’t have your art organized, take a few minutes today to create a system.  You will be amazed at how quickly you can have a lot so the sooner you have it organized the better!

Here’s to your creative – and organized – success!

– Tara Reed

If you liked this, you might also want to check out how I code my art to make it easier to track and talk with clients about on the phone or via email.