a bit of something that might be useful to someone ....
... a colleague recently asked me to put together some answers to some questions about art licensing she is discussing with her students soon ... I thought this might be an interesting read for anyone thinking about the same thing so here are my answers on the blog too!!
What attracted you to art licensing and creating art for products?
I think I kind of fell into this really and licensing chose me! I left college being trained as what I'd call a 'regular'
illustrator, making artwork for children's books, educational books and games, editorials, advertising and so on. A
couple of years into working this way, I was contacted by an agency dealing in the licensing of artwork for products
including greetings cards, packaging, homewares etc. and decided it was another string to my bow. I have since left
this agency and am now fortunate to be working with JNA which I love. I guess I'm on a creative journey and this
seems to be my path right now. I enjoy the variety in the work: one day you might be working on a pattern for a little
girls dress and the next it might be wall art. It's fun!
What were you doing previously to art licensing (past profession, etc)?
To add to the above I also used to teach and worked as a Visiting Tutor sometimes for up to 3 days a week. In the
U.K we have a foundation course programme which lasts for a year prior to then going on and doing a BA degree
course. The foundation course covers many art and design related disciplines and I taught in the drawing and
graphic design studios. I loved it but stopped when I moved to live in Paris, France (cos I'm fancy like that!!).
Can you mention a recent licensing client or collaboration that you are excited about?
Yes! I have some wall art prints coming out next year with Oopsy Daisy! They are a company I have long admired
so I'm excited about the collaboration.
What mediums and/or software do you work in?
I love drawing and using digital software. Its my thing right now and the versatility just wows me. Illustrator is the best, but
I'm starting a course learning Photoshop in the Autumn which I'm hoping will allow me to expand on my digital skills. Before
I trained in all things digital I used to make my work just using paint (gouache and watercolour) and i have to be
honest and say i don't really miss it! I just LOVE my computer!! But the market is demanding more painterly effects
right now so I'm hoping that my soon to be new skills in Photoshop and my painting ability will bring another dimension to
When you create new artwork, do you start with it planned out? Or do you prefer to create art in a more organic way?
Nope, I don't really plan anything work wise!! One thing leads to the next and I love working in that kind of organic way. I
generally 'see' a visual solution to a brief in my mind, then I might sometimes make a few VERY loose drawings and
then just let it grow from there.
What tip do you have for people interested in this profession?
I think my tip would be coming from a 'making-a-living' perspective. its just my opinion but i would say unless you
are in a very fortunate financial situation, don't rely on licensing for your main income to begin with; couple it with
something else. That might be teaching for instance. I have a friend who couples hers with being a dental nurse 2
days a week!! Eventually when things take off and an income from licensing becomes more reliable, you can ditch
the other income steam/s (should you want to/need to).
How much do trends influence your work?
They never really used to. There is a belief that being too influenced by trends actually limits and stifles creativity
because your creative process is being too restricted by the trend boards in front of you! Before I had my kids, I
never followed trends and made an extremely good living! I'm learning to look at trends now and am trying to take
them on board, but it is a different way of working for me. I'm trying to incorporate them into my work but I have to
be honest and say I would rather just go off on my own flights of fancy. I can look at some artwork thats been heavily
influenced by trends and it all looks the same. Its not individual enough. I'm learning!
Do you have a certain method of picking colors for new work?
Colour inspiration comes from everywhere and anywhere. There are always the colours that I'm naturally drawn to,
but I try to shake those palettes up every now and again by bringing new colour in that I might not naturally think
about. This can come from fashion/home magazines, the internet, advertising flyers that come through the door...
anywhere! Its all an organic process, seeing what works and doesn't. I don't pay any attention to colour theory ... I