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 Art licensing can seem pretty overwhelming when you’re just getting started.

With sufficient patience and knowledge of the biz from an artist who’s been working in the industry – you can make strides in creating a lucrative revenue stream to your growing art biz.

Derek Wicks is a great source for information and support when it comes to getting started in art licensing.


Today in Part I, we’ll share the first 3 steps to art licensing success.

Next week we’ll post Part II with the second 3 steps to building a success art licensing biz.

This is a video from Tara Reed Tara’s “5 Things Artists Need to Know About Art Licensing”. It’s a great collection of lifestyle aspects of a licensed artist – maybe some things you’ve never thought of before.

Tara Reed’s 5 Things


Your First 3 Steps


1. Art Skill

Not to put too fine a point on it – but you have to come with the skills of execution.

You don’t need a degree or diploma or any “traditional” training – but you do need to be able to produce good work, consistently and on time.

This skill is only strengthened through doing… doing the work, doing the work, doing the work.

2. Can Haz Tech Skillz?

Digital image manipulation skills is a must.

The expectation of publishers is that you will deliver print-ready files in the right size and format that they’ve requested.

gimp-logoYou need the skills to change and manipulate your illustrations:

You need to try different colour palettes and different design scenarios to apply to many & varied product.

You need to do it quickly.

Some form of image editing is a non-negotiable skill in most creative industries these days.

You don’t have to buy expensive Photoshop – you could download the open source GIMP for your editing needs.

3. Read Trade Magazines

Reading the trades is the cheapest & easiest way to get an overview look at the art licensing market today.

Everyone's reading R25 - it's the most japanese-y.

Everyone’s reading R25 – it’s the most japanese-y.

Become aware of trends in the industry – watch for trends in the market and see what’s involved in being a trend-setter.

Be as aware as possible when reviewing the trades and connect that to what’s being sold in the retail market.

Look at the products in the trades and in store. See what makes a “collection”. Specifically note what design elements are repeated that help tie the collection together.

Familiarize yourself with what kinds of art are the focus for which product & manufacturers.
Like publishing – you don’t want to send your art samples to a manufacturer who is completely unsuited to your art style. Whimsical faeries don’t have much of a chance with Army/Navy gift memorabilia.

Possible trade magazines of interest:

Art Licensing;

Gift Trade:

There’s a lot of self-awareness involved in being successful in your art career, and art licensing is no different.

Come back tomorrow for Steps 4 through 6 of Art Licensing – The Baby Steps.



Art Licensing Derek Wicks SidebarIf this excites you to no end and you can’t wait to get started – get in on insider training with professional licensed artist, Derek Wicks.

I’ve got a really information-packed expert interview with Derek available in the classes and also available in The re:ACTion Lab.


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also available in The re:ACTion Lab