Contracts – the back bone of an art licensing business.  If you understand the implications of how the contracts are written and are able to negotiate a win-win deal, you can do well.  If you don’t and just sign whatever is put in front of you, you could create a bad situation for yourself.

So where do you go to learn the basics and where do you go for help with specific situations?  Here are some resources to get your started:

eBook:  How to Understand Art Licensing Contracts by Maria Brophy and Tara Reed

This eBook is a great guide to understanding how the contracts work, what each section means and why you may or may not care.  It’s like a mini-course in contracts – specific to art licensing.  In my opinion it’s an invaluable resource for any artist serious about art licensing.

Here is what others say about it…

“I’ve signed hundreds of licensing agreements over the last 10 years and was astonished at some very important clauses that aren’t included in my contract or didn’t take notice of in theirs that were covered in How to Understand Art Licensing Contracts.”

 Barb Tourtillotte, Artist, Designer, Licensor, Barb Tourtillotte Illustration

“I purchased your eBook ‘How to Understand Art Licensing Contracts’ and I wanted to say how incredibly helpful it’s been!!! I am a new-to-the-scene surface designer and I was putting off learning about the ins-and-outs of licensing and then the moment I’ve been waiting for happened, and I was offered my first art licensing contract!

I had attended one of Tara’s seminars on licensing at Surtex this past May and knew she knew her stuff so I bough the e-book, grabbed a cup of coffee and settled in to face my contract fears.

And thankfully the book was so well done and thorough that within a few hours I had all the information I needed and felt fully confident about the process. I took your advice, sent my revisions through to the licensee and they worked in my additions without protest!

I don’t know that I would have had the confidence to negotiate if I hadn’t read the book. The book was a life-saver! Thank you so much — it was worth every penny. 

Elizabeth Olwen, Surface Designer,

“Tara and Maria’s e-book, How To Understand Art Licensing Contracts, is a must read for any artist involved in Art Licensing, whether they are just beginning or have been in the game for awhile. Written from the point of view of two seasoned art licensing veterans who learned the ropes by doing the work themselves. It’ s clear concise style, incredible organization, and well thought out format, make it impossible not to find needed factual information. If you’re working with art licensing contracts and don’t have this on your desktop, you’re just making things harder for yourself than they need to be.” 

Marty Qatani, Artist

Learn more about the eBook and get your copy today at

Contract Templates: Short License Agreement for Artists Template Pack by Maria Brophy

Maria has put together a template that you can edit and adapt for your own licensing agreements.  It explains when it would be enough and when you would need a more comprehensive contract.  This is a great companion to the eBook!

Learn more about the Templates and get yours today at

Contract Reviews and Support

While I do negotiate my own contracts and co-authored the eBook, I don’t do contract reviews.  I can do the work but don’t love the work… Maria Brophy?  She lives and breathes this stuff!  She LOVES it!  And she has a lot more experience from helping artists with a wide variety of contracts.  Maria isn’t an attorney but I have hired her myself and was really happy with the help and advice she gave me.  (Because she isn’t an attorney her fees are a bit less as well)

Learn more about Maria Brophy’s contract consulting services at

But maybe you have a situation where you want or need an actual attorney. There is a tab on this blog that has a list of attorneys who work in the art licensing industry and have requested to be included on the list. This doesn’t mean I have worked with and endorse them or that the list should be used as an “approved attorney” list as it is by no means complete.  It means these attorneys have experience in our industry and they have provided information so you have a good place to start your search.

It is really important that whoever you use have experience IN ART LICENSING.  You will be wasting your time and money hiring the guy down the street who is a divorce or real estate attorney – he won’t have the insights, expertise and knowledge you need.  Find an attorney you like, that has good references (ask for and check them!) and that has experience in our industry.

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed