For artists just looking at the idea of licensing their art, the things they need to learn, know and do can quickly feel overwhelming. Licensing your art is different from selling in galleries, doing commission work or many other ways of earning an income from your art. The way you think about art and create the art is different. While a gallery artist creates beautiful works of art that can stand alone in someone’s home, the licensed artist must think in collections and create groups of art that can go on a variety of products.

Aside from the change in art creation process, many find it more confusing to figure out who to talk to at manufacturing companies. While a gallery has a street address and most likely a listing in the phone book or online, it can be harder to figure out who to talk to at a company who licenses art – if you even know about them in the first place.

“How do I know if my art is licensable?” “How do I start?” “What’s the most important thing to do first?” are common questions from artists just exploring the idea of licensing. They want to snap their fingers and just know what to do and that they will be successful. Unfortunately, very little works that way and art licensing isn’t one.

So what do I recommend? Do one thing every day. If you do one thing every business day for a month, by the end of the month you will be 20-25 steps ahead of where you were at the beginning of the month.

Here are fifteen things to get you started:

  1. Read blog posts.
  2. Watch videos.
  3. Learn about artists who are successful in the industry.
  4. Read eBooks.
  5. Listen to audios.
  6. Talk to others who are learning about licensing.
  7. Create art with licensing in mind.
  8. Create four coordinating pieces of art.
  9. Learn to create repeat borders.
  10. Learn to create repeat patterns.
  11. Join a group of artists who are also interested in art licensing.
  12. Go shopping and see what kind of art you see on products.
  13. Research companies that license art.
  14. Contact a manufacturer and submit your artwork for review.
  15. Be open to feedback.

Just because you do something one day doesn’t mean it is done forever. Many things will be done on a continual basis. But to fight feeling overwhelmed and giving up before you even get started, just commit to doing ONE thing every day and you will be amazed at the progress you will make.

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed