Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Is Your Art Licensable?

There are a lot of artists and photographers out there who aspire to make money from their creations. Nowadays, with the current technology, it is easier than ever to develop a web presence and offer your work for sale with little or no cost. Your ability to succeed depends solely on the likeability of your art and your ability to promote it.

However, licensing your art is a completely different ball of wax. There is so much that goes into licensing and so many factors that contribute to your success. But before we can even start talking about all of that, you first will need to ask yourself whether or not your art is licensable.

First off, there is a market for most kinds of artwork out there, if you know how to find it. Abstracts find their biggest market in the interior design industry. Landscapes and Seascapes have a large market in interior design, but are also more marketable on things like calendars, puzzles, merchandise, and other things as well. Florals are extremely popular. And don’t forgot other niches like cartoons, fantasy art, pop art, patterns, and so on. The only thing is, just because you have created something that fits one of these categories doesn’t make it licensable.

For starters, there is already so much of this flooding the marketplace that only those who are truly exceptional really stand any chance. So your art might even be good – but good is the kiss of death. You need to be great. You need to have spent the years and dedication necessary to have become a master at your craft. If that isn’t enough, even people who are great aren’t always successful. You have to do something different. You have to step outside the box and create something new and fresh. By doing so, you become a big fish in a small pond, rather than a small fish drowned out by a hundred other small fish in a lake.

I’m not trying to discourage you – really. It is very possible and completely doable to make a name for yourself in the licensing industry. The point that I’m trying to make is, I see artists and photographers wanting to skip ahead to the making money part, and neglect the #1 thing that will ultimately determine their success or not: the quality of their art. It’s far too easy to go out and snap a few pictures that look nice with your digital camera and say, “I’m an artist!” The shots might be nice, but it takes hours and months and years of practice to hone a discerning eye. You might see nothing wrong with the picture, but professionals who have been doing this for much longer than you have will look at it and see the progress that still needs to be made before they can sell it.

Licensing is a very lucrative market and there are always new opportunities for artists. But don’t become so wrapped up in making sales that you forget how important creating is. Your passion and love for making beautiful things and incessant practice is what will determine whether your art is good enough to license. Make this your #1 priority, and you will stand a much higher chance of being successful.

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