Sometimes it’s time for a change.  An update to your wardrobe or hairstyle, a change of pace a change of place… well I decided it was time to update

My very first blog post was published in June 2008. (This is post #1,002!!!)

My first eBook – How to Get Started in Art Licensing – was released for sale on July 2, 2008.

In July 2008, had one product,  the eBook, and I wasn’t sure I would do anything else with it. Sort of brings to mind the Woody Allen saying, “Want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans.”  He must have been laughing pretty hard back then!

Now, fast forward 6 years to 2014, and I have written 9 eBooks, hosted 46 hours of Ask Calls, coached, done teleseminars, live classes and more.

The website has seen some minor formatting changes over the past six years but the “art licensing girl” as I call her, has been the consistent image.  She has begun to feel a little dated and not quite right anymore…

In recent months I have found myself really looking at what I bring to the table as far as art licensing education.

When I started, there really weren’t many online options to learn about art licensing.  With little to no competition, I didn’t need to be very clear about exactly what I was about.  Now there are a lot of options and different people adding their experience, expertise and opinions to the market.  This is great for artists – because you can learn from a variety of perspectives and decide what will work for you.  It is also pretty cool for me, because I have taken some time to get even more clear about why I do what I do, where my strengths and interests are and what I choose to bring to the picnic.

An artist recently posted this in my Art Licensing Academy group which helped me clarify things even more.  They wrote:

I would say that all of the ecourses lately have opened the world up to many artists who aren’t “there” yet but now recognize that anyone can license their art. Is this a good thing? Is this going to over-saturate the market or hopefully just make the market a better working place? (I know that you are a total optimist in this area Tara! I would love to agree with you. I suppose there is that “doom-and-gloom” view, too.)

Yes – I have heard this doom-and-gloom for, oh… six years.  I’ve been told flat out that I should stop talking about art licensing because I’m creating competition.  I’ve practically been blamed for global warming it has gotten so over the top at times.

But yes – I am an optimist and I don’t believe that a little education is going to ruin businesses, lives or the environment.

My view is this: Yes, education and awareness increases interest in the business. But that is true of ANY business. Should artists already selling in galleries request that art schools close so no new talent comes along?

I believe education – especially the BUSINESS side of things – can only help the long-term viability of our industry. The easier it is for companies to choose licensing, because the artists get it and they don’t have to train each and every one of us, the more I hope they will.

Will every artist who takes a class – or series of classes – succeed in art licensing? No. Some will find it’s not a fit, others won’t take the repeated actions needed to really make it happen – they will talk about it, read about learn about it but never DO ANYTHING. There are many reasons an artist will or won’t succeed – but the skills and concepts are out there, it’s up to each artist to implement and create art the market wants.

While more artists are interested in licensing now, the bar has been raised a bit since I started and certainly since the industry started. The expectations from the manufacturers is much higher – the amount of art they expect to see, turnaround times, size and “value” of a deal (likely amount of $ you will make), computer skills and support… all of that has changed. An artist has to have a larger skill set now than even 5 years ago to really make a living in art licensing.  There is a belief that SURTEX and the Licensing Expo are going to be flooded with artists, so many are coming into the business.  I have heard this for a few years but haven’t seen it happen.  While the shows grow a bit each year, they are no where near the pre-2008 exhibitor numbers.   The fact of the matter is people will be interested, some will try, some will do.

It’s what YOU DO that matters.  Blaming people for talking about a way to make a living is pretty much using them or setting them up as an excuse for your results…

Do I blog, write, teach and coach because I make a lot more money doing these things than licensing my art?

Let’s put this rumor to bed right now: NO.  I have heard more than a dozen artists ask if they can “only make it as an artist if they teach”.. they have the impression that the only artists making money are the artists teaching other artists things.  I can’t tell you about anyone else, but I make 70-75% of my income licensing my art.  I do this side of things – the education – because I love it and it adds to my business. (While I offer a lot of information for free, I am not to the point of being able to do this out of the goodness of my heart.  There are a lot of expenses in systems, websites and more – let alone time – that goes into it.)

I now feel like I’m taking you on a tour of the winding roads of my mind to get to the crux of the matter – why I decided to give an over-haul… (you will see changes across all the websites and products in the coming months – our girl is retiring!)

Instead of just saying “I teach about art licensing” – I’ve brought things into more focus.  After 6 years I know what I do and don’t want to do and what I’m better or worse at.  I don’t like to judge people’s portfolios – I leave portfolio reviews to others. (Paul Brent is amazing at this!  I think I don’t want to do it because if I looked today at the art I had when I started I would say “you’ll never make it in this business” – but I am!)

This is what I do: I help artists succeed in art licensing by bridging the gap between creativity and business.

My passion and strength lies in teaching the business skills, mindsets and actions artists can take to build their portfolio for art licensing, make connections and market their art.  I believe that YOU have the creativity and I can help you package it for licensing then teach you the business skills you need to give it a go.

It’s been an amazing 6 years and I can only imagine what the next 6 will look like… thanks for coming along for the ride!

I hope  you like the new look and feel of the website.  Look for new and updated ways to learn in future months.  My favorite page – which is new to this version of the website – is the  FAQ page that gives the Who, What, Where, Why, How & How Much of Art Licensing – inspired by the blog post I did recently that really resonated with a lot of artists.  I wanted to make sure the information was always front and center for whoever was looking and not buried within the 1,002 posts I’ve done to date on this blog!

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

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