This post is inspired by the June 2014 Art Licensing Academy class.  I find myself saying and typing #WildWest a lot!

While I have recently written about how the industry is evolving and is, in my opinion, no longer in the growth phase, that doesn’t mean there are hard and fast rules about how things are done.

Every artist, manufacturer, retailer and agent gets to decide how they run their business.

From the terms they offer or accept, the work they will or won’t do.  The art an artist creates – and how they create it – is up to them.  There are people, like me, who can guide you and tell you what has worked for us.  But if you learn from 5 people you may end up with 5 opinions.

This is a GOOD thing… it means you get to decide!

Since we aren’t engineers or accountants, there is no hard and fast rule.  No right or wrong.  This can be uncomfortable and confusing for artists starting out but you will come to see it as a pretty cool thing.  You are free to learn, absorb and decide what makes sense to you and what doesn’t.  You don’t have to do things that you don’t like.

Don’t like picking up the phone or finding clients?  Find an agent and let them do that for you.  Love doing that and creating art?  Awesome!  Represent yourself.  In the art licensing industry you can do it either way.  Love creating patterns?  You will find clients that love you because you do it and they don’t have to.  Don’t love creating patterns?  Find those clients who still have enough in-house support to toss your icons to their hearts content.

So today I leave you with this thought and this song – if art licensing really is like the Wild West – it’s only in the fact that we make our own rules and decide how we want to show up.  (It’s not that we are out there shooting each other in the back! Please, no!)

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

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