In my eBook – How to find an Art Licensing Agent – there are 13 agent perspectives included.  I emailed more than 30 to give their input and was pleased with the feedback.  (The agents included in the eBook are on the AGENTS page of this blog with an asterisk after their name.)

The agents who chose to participate replied to 8 different questions. to help give you a feel for how they work and think about art licensing.  Reading through them all will make you understand when I say, “Every agent is different and you have to find the one you think will be the best fit for you your business.”

I wanted to share some of their answers to the question: What is the #1 mistake you see artists make when submitting art to you for review?

Read some of the responses and think about how you present your work to agents or manufacturers.  There are some great insights in these replies!

  • Not thinking about how the art would translate on product and who the buyer would be. Not all great art is right for licensing. Shop the stores to understand what makes a compelling art-based product.
  • By far, the number one mistake artists make is presenting their work while bragging about the existing licensees they have in place. They tend to think that makes them more attractive to an agency, however, it has the opposite effect. We has over 400 licensees. These companies count on us to bring them fresh, new, marketable artwork. They do not need us to present artwork to them that they have already seen at shows or on their competitor’s products.
  • Not being aware of the marketplace and their competition in terms of designers.
  • Most of the art we receive is usually sent via e-mail as JPGs, which is fine. The only mistake we’ve seen from time to time is art that is submitted in a very raw form, meaning no sense of application. When submitting art, artists should take in to consideration how they perceive the design on product and possibly show application of the design as a border, square, round product shape.
  • Not enough variety of style and subject matter to show their potential.
  • Some submit everything but the kitchen sink instead of narrowing the artwork down to their very best.
  • The number one and I think most important issue for artists is to understand if their art is applicable to the retail market place. We see so many artists who submit a package with a cover letter explaining how Aunt Suzie just loves the art and thinks they should be in Wal-Mart or Target selling a bazillion framed pieces and making a ton of dough. Unrealistic and absolutely no understanding of how the industry works, but no understanding of the current economy and how drastically the industry has changed in the past three years.
  • Submitting one or two images or only submitting one style of art, when they may have several different styles. Not giving us a quick rundown of their talents and capabilities. A quick bullet point presentation of themselves and their artwork would be great.
  • Not presenting their best. Just sending anything is not a good way to go. Send your best and be sure to look at the agent’s website so that you know the feel and can send what would best represent your art to the agent.
  • It is the same mistake that artists often make in submitting to manufacturers – not doing their homework. You would be amazed at the amount of tattoo art that we receive when anyone that takes a look at our website would know right away that this would not fit in.

If you aren’t sure if you’d rather work with an agent or market yourself, don’t forget about the questionnaire I created to help you think about the process.  You can get your free copy at

Learn more about the eBook at

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed