This is an excellent question and one where I have apparently created confusion. The question was submitted for an Ask Call:
What is the best size to create designs in for licensing? In Tara Reed’s e-book she says she puts all her images for a collection on one sheet and scans that into her computer. That seems like the images would be very small. How can I use my existing oil paintings for licensing?
I thought this would be a great place to clarify what I do so you don’t think you have to paint in miniature. First, every artist has a different process and you need to do what works for you. Some art that is licensed started out as large canvas, others did not. If you paint or draw too small, the resolution will suffer and not reproduce well if enlarged.
I have a large format scanner and dislike having to scan art in pieces and get them to go together seamlessly on the computer. It just doesn’t work for me! So I never paint larger than 11 x 15. But I don’t paint full “paintings” either. If I create a holiday scene for example, Santa, the tree and each and every gift are painted and scanned separately then put together in Photoshop. So they may not all be on the same piece of paper to start with. An entire collection of images never fits on a single sheet of watercolor paper.
Bigger is better when dealing with hand painted designs for licensing.
Art can be scaled down and look good but if are enlarged too much, they will get blurry. If you know what the end product will be or have something in mind, I recommend you paint larger than you think the art will need to be. For example, I just took a ruler to a rooster I painted recently – he is 7″ wide by 8″ high – but will probably be about 2″ x 3″ on the final product.
One thing that is certain, you will need to get your art into a digital format if you want to license it. So figure out how you can get it from the easel to pixels in a way that puts your work in its best light!
Here’s to your creative success!
– Tara Reed