Friday, January 28, 2011

Illustrators Intensive: Licensing Panel

Only a handful of the attending illustrators have had their artwork licensed, but 99% would like to know how to make that happen. You might remember Suzanne Cruise from when she spoke on licensing a few years ago. But Penny Sikalis is a new-to-SCBWI presenter from Surtex with a really fabulous offer for all the illustrators at today's panel. FREE BADGE to the Gift Fair happening this weekend at Javits Center,—thanks, Penny!

First, Penny went over the absolute basics of art licensing:
  • Art Licensing = Legal permission given to a manufacturer to produce and sell products using your art for a fee
  • Artist = Licensor 
  • Manufacturer = Licensee
Initial steps to get into licensing? Research, research, research!
  • Take classes 
  • Visit trade shows
  • Look at types of products and companies that sell these products and start a list 
Usually the best style/type of art for licensing is flat, in color, in collections (A collection is approximately six or more images of the same central character (like a snowman) with coordinating patterns, spot art, color schemes, secondary characters, and with multiple sketches of the central character), and mainstream.

If you can draw a character, you can license your art.

Major Categories of products that need art (subcategories not listed) apparel, craft/hobby, bedding, gift, home decor, publishing, stationery, tabletop (dishes, etc.), textiles, bath.

Your goal as an artist is to license the same piece of art to different manufacturers of different types of products so that you can get paid multiple times for that one piece. Something you can't do with one piece of bubble gum, one kitten*, or one copy of nuclear weapons blueprints.

Seventy-five percent of the Surtex show (SURface Trade EXpo) is devoted to art licensing.

Links:, LinkedIn art licensing group, and's monthly e-newsletter called On the Surface for more tips on getting started in art licensing.

*You might be able to license a kitten, I really don't know.

1 comment:

  1. It is nice to come back and use the blog as a review after attending the actual talk! Some of the things I missed scribbling down are there and you have great visuals that weren't a part of the original presentation. Great Job!