You want to know, don’t you?  I would want to read this to make sure I hadn’t been making this mistake – and I promise you – LOTS of artists are making this mistake. I won’t keep you in suspense but just cut to the chase.

The very best way to look like a newbie in art licensing is to say this to an agent or manufacturer:

“My mom thinks my art would look great on products.”

Instead of “Mom” use “family”, “friends”, “facebook followers” etc and you will still have the same effect.

Jeff Grinspan talked about this on his Ask Call on July 18, 2012.  I have talked about it in classes and even made everyone in my SURTEX class last May PROMISE to never, ever, utter these words.  They make you come across as unprofessional, unseasoned and like you don’t understand the business.  You will also give a less-than-favorable first impression and first impressions last.

Not that I’m knocking the value of having the support of your mom, dad, friends and Facebook followers – don’t get me wrong.  You NEED that to keep going through the rejections, the learning curve, the trials and errors.  You just don’t TALK about them and their opinions in a business situation.  Keep that voice in your head, k?

So what DO you say to look like you know what you are doing?  Better yet – to SHOW you know what you are doing and not just look like it without having a clue.

Give valid reasons why you believe your art would be a fit for their product or if you are talking to an agent, why you believe you would be a fit for art licensing in general and for their roster of artists in particular.

Some things to think about when coming up with your reasoning:

  • Do you have success in other areas that would prove your art sells?  Have you sold your own products, been part of another successful line, etc.?
  • Do you have experience and knowledge of the target market for the product?  If you are pitching a company that makes fun textiles for Southern women, are you a Southern woman?  Do you have an in with the culture or topic at hand?
  • Are you incorporating a trend or color palette that you think would work well?  If so, why?

These are just a few things to get you thinking about what to say when presenting your art.  Starting a conversation and showing that you add value to the equation is much better than “My mom wants this on a shower curtain so will you make 10,000?”

Here’s to your creative – and professionally presented – success!

– Tara Reed