Archive for the ‘licensing’ Category

Monday Marketing…Catalogues? Rules? Truths?

Some nice marketing help from two of the gurus out there: Alyson Stanfield and Tara Reed. These four articles resonated with me, as their topics have been on my mind. First up, thinking about a catalog? Alyson has two articles on catalogs. “Peek Inside a Catalog of Your Art” has fabulous tips. This past spring I put together a “quickie” book from Shutterfly to showcase our work, but I would definitely do things differently next time. I lacked a good artist statement, credit lines, prices….oh so many mistakes. It did look gorgeous, all nice and big, but it could have been so much more. With the availability of print-on-demand and good software that makes designing books and catalogs easy, this is something we should all look at.

“Where to Distribute Catalogs of Your Art”  by Alyson follows up on your design and printing. Again, thanks to print-on-demand, pricing might now be so bad. Catalogs can be pricey, so think carefully about who gets a catalog. Optimize your audience.

I love this next: “Thirteen Truths About Marketing Your Art.” Oy, I need to review these every couple of weeks! Number 13 is my absolute weakness…..

Be sure to check out Alyson’s blog – loads of great advice!

 The last marketing gem is from Tara Reed of the Art Licensing Blog. Titled “The Rules of My Treehouse,” six great rules to help you continue creating art. I love “Don’t dwell on the negative.” Keep those folks out of your treehouse – and your life!

 If you are at all interested in checking out licensing your artwork, click below. I’ve used Tara’s books as I develop my own licensing plans, and they are really excellent. (Disclosure: I get a commission if you buy any of her materials off this website.) And…if you would rather be in the studio creating art, then check out Alyson’s book, I’d Rather Be in the Studio!



Make something happen this week! My newsletter is set to go out (almost written), so sign up at the top right if you’re not a subscriber – a chance to win free marbled fabric!

Interested in Art Licensing?

I think Tara Reed is pretty amazing. I bought two of her ebooks as I prepare my collections and look for a licensing agent. Yes, I’m an affiliate, and if you sign up or buy something, I will make a small commission. But as I have stated before, I only present to you  materials and people I have done business with and am completely satisfied with the product. You can’t go wrong with Tara.

Number 1, she has an extensive library of articles to read, free. Free. LOADS of information, and with the caveats that licensing is hard work and you need to do your homework.

Number 2, she’s got a great blog with lots of ideas in each. Again, free.

Number 3, her work is quality, all the way. Tara makes her living licensing her art. She’s learned the hard way, and she has a wealth of information.

Number 4, great products available. Her Repeat Patterns in Photoshop answered a lot of questions for me, as I stumbled through teaching myself a very complex program. My first repeat pattern as I worked through the ebook:

Browsing her site is well worth the time. And…if you are further along in developing your collections and ready to “get out there,” Tara, along with Maria Brophy (another master at licensing) has a new book out on understanding licensing contracts.   I have a different book that is pretty convoluted in understanding; not Tara and Maria.

Now, if you need help setting goals – and accomplishing them – something I’ve had trouble with in the past……check out her Goal Setting wheel. There is also a blog to go along with this – free – with Tara’s current goals. It’s always nice to go along with someone as they work through the same problems we artists have!It’s December 8, and I know while many of us are finishing up commitments for the year, a lot of us are thinking about next year’s goals. I just wanted to put a few things out there for you to think about…..

 

Working on Goals – Revisited

  Retirement is amazing – all the time to create art and work on the art business.I’m very busy, one one of the things I let go was the notion of substitute teaching during retirement. Nope, don’t want to lose a day to the classroom and grief when I can be making art.

Spending the money to redo the studio was an excellent investment. It means we’re serious, plus the studio is so inviting – we WANT to be in there all the time. And once I started adding fresh flowers to the studio – well, the feng shui has been very conducive to creating.

I am certainly getting things done, but what I am finding is that I need to move to getting larger chunks of a goal done within a few days, rather than dragging it out over a couple of weeks, with just doing a piece here and there. I need to get it off my list, and I think this will work.

That said, one of my goals for this 100 days is three of the action plans in Alyson Stanfield‘s I’d Rather Be in the Studio! So as I was looking over Action Plan 1, I realized I have done pieces of this before, but not with these particular questions. I’ve looked at my target audience, my ideal customer, I’ve looked at overall goals, but never really defined success itself.

So that’s my task today. Alyson lists 20 areas to ruminate on concerning how you visualize success.

* Production of art: I want to make at least three major pieces (Gaia weavings) a year; spend time each week in the studio revising, finishing, working on at least a dozen smaller pieces. So far for this second half of the year, I think I am on track – I already have three smaller pieces just about completed, and one new major weaving sketched out.

* Quality of artwork: It’s very important to me, now that I have the time, to take some art classes, primarily studio art as opposed to art history (which I still would like to do). I want my work to be excellent and gallery-ready. I may still pursue a couple of show venues, but that’s not as important to me as it was. I want to continue to learn new techniques to include in new artwork. Both hubby and I are really looking to improve our marbling skills.

* Exhibition venues: As I said, not as important to me to enter juried shows. I want to find a couple of galleries to carry my work, beyond the website. I am entering a local show (not juried) for the possible connections, as well as seeing if I can make what is in my mind actually happen in the piece.

* Teaching venues and opportunities: hmmm, possibly, but not at this moment. I’ve done a number of local gigs over the years, but never really went prepared with stuff to sell. Maybe something to consider after I have all the other business pieces in place.

* Travel: oh, yeah, and not necessarily for business (but we always visit galleries). I want to get at least one big trip in each year. We always visit museums and galleries, so outlets for our work, as well as new ideas, are always part of our travel. We even have promo literature to take with us.

* Home, Studio, Environment: The studio makeover was critical, and it will more than pay for itself in productivity. We’re happy with our apartment and locale, although eventually we will move East again.

* Spirituality: I am practicing the principles of the Laws of Attraction and Abundance and I have been extremely pleased with my whole attitude change. I am reading Native Wisdom for White Minds by Anne Wilson Shaef, as I love the saying of our indigenous people around the world. And nothing beats standing and wondering at some amazing site in nature.

 * Health: major goal here, as I want to be around for a long time. I am taking steps to do what I need to, and hopefully with this 100 days I will see some good success.

* Leadership Roles: kinda done with this. That’s why I retired. I’m leading myself to success.

* Published Work: hmmmm. Something to think about, just not sure how I can turn the marbling into a successful book. Seems like the books that have been written about marbling and projects haven’t lasted long. And I’m not sure I want the pressure and deadlines of a book contract. Been there, done that.

* Visits to the website and blog: Numbers for the blog have been steadily increasing since I got back to blogging. The website has stayed pretty static, but I am not doing significant marketing on that yet. I’ve done some small revisions on the website, I still need to add new work, and I need to think through the purpose of the website. I want to see the blog traffic translate into sales.

* Subscribers to the newsletter: I am so lacking in this. I thought I had it under control last summer, but school hit and my time was no longer my own. I have signed up with Mail Chimp and am busy importing the addresses of subscribers so far. I want a schedule of every three weeks, but I need to spend time seriously looking at the content for the newsletter, plus be VERY prepared for this year’s holiday season.

* Social Media  connections: you can read about this progress on tomorrow’s blog. The only thing I haven’t seemed to master dealing with is Twitter.

* Sales of my book: Nope, but I’m going to change “book” to “patterns.” This is an area for long-term development. Two quilt patterns art in progress, and I need to refine my Polynomial Quilt pattern.

* Sales of my art: Definitely a big goal. I want our art business to help provide for travel in retirement. My immediate two-year goal is $1000 a month from the business.

* Grants received: another hmmm. Something to think about on down the future. I do have experience writing grants, so on down the road I will look at this.

* Articles by me: I did get paid abut 4 years ago for a series of articles on a quilting site. This will go on the long-term list of things to explore, as I do enjoy writing.

* Commissions: just finished my first big one, and I certainly want more. To this end I need to develop and promote my contacts and collectors lists. I need to put on the long-term list to check with the local and state  arts council for both grants and commissions.

* Public or private collections: not quite sure about this – something to think about.

* Licensing: this is a major one, and I have already identified some collections. I need to begin fleshing these out till I have at least 10 developed, and then I’m going looking for an agent.

* Volunteer work: I added this one, as I want to donate time and art to a local organization called Ben’s Bells. Very worthy, and I want to help. Also, I want to continue the work for Art from the Heart (see top right of this page) to help promote peace.

If all of this intrigues you, you can pick up Alyson‘s book. WELL WORTH the investment in yourself and your art.

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Marketing – Preparing Collections

So one of my goals over these ninety days is to look at the pictures I have developed over the last couple of years, analyze the licensing materials, and determine ten collections that I can develop. According to the research I have been doing, I am going to need twelve to fifteen different collections. I have some ideas, but I need to get them organized, set up folders, look at what needs to be enlarged, adapted, and so on. I also want to see what can cross over to Cafe Press and potentially Zazzle, so I get as much mileage from some of the pieces.

Whew. There’s a lot there. One of the things I learned in the lynda.com classes was about Bridge – a program in Adobe Creative Suite that let’s me easily look at all my images and organize them easily – something I really need to do.

Now to get started….and DON’T EVEN THINK OF COPYING THESE IMAGES – ask if you have something in mind.

Botanicals: I have a LOT of photos that could go for calendars, prints, cards. Interesting – as I’m writing this, I realize I really haven’t given much thought to WHAT these could adorn. I have been through numerous stores, looking at design, but I’m not sure I have really thought about extending these pictures into more than two items. Hmmm. Food for thought.

(don’t even think about copying….)

Black and White: prints, cards, kitchen items, gifts, fabric designs.


Indigenous images: I love taking regional designs and seeing how I can interpret them through marbled fabrics that have been digitized. This would make good regional products. Cards, calendars, prints, fabric (if the repeat works), gifts.

Art Deco Revisited: taking images in the public domain and embellishing them with marbled fabrics that have been digitized. Cards, calendars, prints, fabrics, gifts. The designs are from a public source, in this case the Dover book on Art Deco Designs.

                                              Original                                                                                                                With the digitized marbled fabrics

Abstracts: digital manipulation of marbled fabrics to create a new design, in this case “Moons.” Prints, cards, calendars, potentially fabric, gifts.

Inspirational: Taking either marbled patterns or images from nature and creating inspirational/motivational prints and cards, t-shirts, calendars.

Seasons: digital marbling, as well as nature images that could be used in fabric, cards, calendars, prints. Pictures here could overlap other sections.

Nature: Places around the country and the world, cards, calendars, gifts, prints.

Southwest Designs: since I’m in the southwest, and I know how popular many of these images are. This one is already set in repeats. Lots of fabric possibilities here, as well as simple gifts.

Holidays: (valentines, etc) Got nothin’ here, and I know companies will want to see holidays, so I have a great place to start.

Interesting. That’s potentially ten collections. In my mind there were more, until I actually started listing them. Next steps: take this list of collections and go back into the stores to see how else these prints could be used. Stay tuned for the progress here.

And if you’re looking for resources, I regularly read Tara Reed, who writes an art licensing blog. Also, I have purchased materials from her about licensing (disclosure: if you purchase anything through this site, I do receive a small commission as part of her affiliate program). Also, her “Just Ask” calls are filled with great information from a wide variety of experts in the field. It’s another resource for you.  July 2011 Ask Call Replay

Top Ten Tuesday

Lots of great stuff on line this week – some very cool eye candy to enjoy!

From Cool Hunting, a site with some unusual items and projects… some original artwork “Field Recordings” by Bryan Graf

Also from Cool Hunting, one of the most unique book displays I’ve ever seen, as part of an art installation. The best pics are on the site, so check them out.

Vicki Welsh does some really gorgeous hand-dyes…here’s her latest batch for this month’s challenge. I could spend all my spare money to her weksite!

From Kate Harper’s blog – Legal Tips for the Starving Artist, and a very good review for all of us.

And even more from Kate – lots of articles on copyright and protecting our designs….I know for me this will be some serious reading this month – need to do it!

How will the price of cotton affect art licensing from Joan Beiriger’s blog – very interesting. I know that we have had to raise our prices for our marbled fabrics significantly.

If you are where I am in looking for gallery representation, then Joanne Mattera’s Art blog is for you. She has an article on gallery red flags that is very valuable….I’ve seen a couple of these flags in the past.

Also from Joanne is this article on Rethinking Artist’s Statements, again very timely for me as I redo a lot of things on the website.

Rayela’s Art (AKA Rachel Biel) is spearheading the fund raising campaign for the Textile and Fiber Art List. This is rapidly becoming THE place to find any type of textile art on line. If you are interested in becoming part of an outstanding collection of fiber and textile art, then visit and donate, even just $10. The eye candy alone is worth the donation!

Again from The Best Article Every Day comes Dear Photograph – a really cool idea to superimpose a past photograph with the current location. Clever!

Enjoy your week – send me cool stuff you find on line!!

Top Ten Tuesday – Finally!

This is now on my desktop! I found it here at  on the Kate Harper blog. After all these years of teaching, life is definitely too short to mot make art!

Now I spent the last two weeks going through all the blogs I haven’t read in two months – and mined a WEALTH of great stuff!

Zen Habits had a great and timely article on Decluttering, as I was working through all the little bits of odds and ends that I was sorting. Two key points – we don’t want to let go of the past, and we’re afraid of the future. Definitely worth a read.

From ArtsyShark – Is there a future for trade shows and sales reps – adapting to changing commerce. Lots of great points, especially if you are thinking of doing the art licensing route.

Elizabeth Barton  has a fabulous blog  with lots of food for thought. As I contemplate becoming more active with my work, this post of entering shows was extremely valuable.  Don’t you just love the colors in this quilt?

Alyson Stanfield had a guest post on Photoshop (How to Make the Best of Your Art Photos with Photoshop) by Chris Mills. If you’re not reading the ArtBizCoach blog, you should be. – http://artlicensingblog.com/2011/05/16/how-to-make-the-best-of-your-art-photos-with-photoshop-by-chris-mills/

A friend of mine turned me on to online pattern sales. I haven’t sewn for myself in years, and I never thought about the pattern lines being on line. Marcy Tilton has some really nice wearable patterns – I could get hooked! Patterns on line

The Textile Blog has an interesting article on the future of hand production, starting with a video about hand-made lace production. Here’s a quote: The video deals with the seemingly age-old problem of machine versus hand production. The video itself deals with the situation in Cyprus where traditional lace embroidery is inevitably being led towards extinction by the importation of cheap machine produced lace, mainly from China. Cyprus is by no means the only area of conflict between machine and hand production and China is not the only culprit in flooding the market with cheap products.

Sites on greeting cards – I had no idea there was so much available on line. This article is also from Kate Harper and gives 6 articles on card design tips.

Also from Kate Harper’s blog (a HUGE wealth of information), much more about art licensing…..walking the floor at the Surtex licensing show.

This week’s eye candy from The Best Article Every Day – great ads  for AT&T – forget the company, just look at the art work! This is a long graphic – go to the article and take a closer look – and then spend some time with all the rest – these articles are just the best!

Top Ten Tuesday – What’s New on the Web in Marketing

This has been a really productive week for marketing – mostly all the lose ends that we need to do to move our businesses forward. I haven’t had a lot of time for art-making this week, as my goal for the end of June and July is to do everything on the “list” to have the business ready to go for this coming holiday season, before teaching starts again in August. Lots and lots of thinking has led to this point, and now I actually have the time to do these things! That said, here’s some cool stuff I have stumbled on this week on the web as it relates to moving our art along.

Steve Jobs

* The World of Apple –  “Invincible Apple: Ten Lessons from the Coolest Company Anywhere.”  I have been an Apple user since 1989, and I’m on my 4th Apple (I make them go a looonnngggg way). This is a look at how Jobs and crew – mostly Jobs – makes the Apple brand so powerful.

Tara Reed

* Tara Reed is an expert in art licensing. This is a listing of her ezine articles for those of you interested in looking into licensing. She has loads of information to help you navigate a HUGE field. Here’s her website for more information.

Lateral Action

* Lateral Action – creativity plus productivity equals success. Here’s a recent post on things you Do and DON’T need to sell your art.

Dilbert

* All Art Licensing – again, great info if you want to look at licensing your designs. J’net Smith made Dilbert a phenomenon.

Blurb

* Blurb – a great way to make a portfolio of your work, plus loads of ways to get marketing materials based on your own designs.

ProBlogger

* Problogger 52 Blog Tips to Kick-Start Your Blog – good all year round, if you’re having problems getting your blog off the ground.

Art Calendar

*Art Calendar A must for any artist – see what’s new in shows and opportunities.

Social Media Examiner

* Social Media Examiner – Your Guide to Social Media – sign up to get the Twitter tutorial, which is extremely helpful.

100 Places 10 Appreciate Art

* 100 Best Places to Appreciate Art Online Galleries, Porffolios, artist sites – look at what’s new in the art world.

Number 10??? What have you discovered this week on line that could help your marketing? Let me know!

My Ideal Day…

I have been busy this week with an online course on landscape quilts through Joggles, with Judy Alexander. I also am working on a marketing class that I hope will lead to some new work and some additional income as I approach retirement. I’ve done loads of reading on marketing, and when I had my non-profit learning center, I was very good at what I call “shoe leather marketing” – what you do when there’s no money for marketing. But I am getting very serious about my art, and I want to be able to sell it in the next few years. So this is one avenue I am pursuing.

Now most courses always have exercises for you to do, and I tend to read them and then move on to the next bit of information and not do the exercise. Not this time. I am going to do this full-bore and see what happens. So, one of the first exercises is to look at your ideal day. No barriers, just imagination. I can see the value to doing this already, as it will begin to help me focus on who and what I want to be in the coming years. I also can see myself doing this exercise again in three and a half years when I officially retire. But it seems practical to do it for now, as I am committed to teaching for the next three-plus years – unless I REALLY do well with all of this, and who knows!!!

I see a day where I get up refreshed and not exhausted and have a light breakfast. I’m off to a job I really like and enjoy. I usually head out early so I can get some things done before kids start coming in for conferences. I want to try and get out and walk at lunch to continue my plan of increasing exercise during the day. I would like to take the bus in to work at least once a week to save on gas and the environment. I hope to have a bit more time during the school day to get papers corrected and lesson plans done. Next year I will be going back to a regular contract of five classes, instead of my current schedule of six classes. It means losing a considerable amount of additional income, but I need to consider my health, my physical abilities, and my growing art interests.

I leave school with minimal work for the evening, preferably nothing, so I am free to pursue my art and my writing and marketing. I walk to the bus stop, adding to my exercise plan. This is really important for me to continue, as I need to monitor my body for its health. Once I get home, I want my time for my blog and my art. This is where I see myself developing the ideal afternoon/evening….

I see several paths. One is licensing my art designs, so I will plan at least an hour each day for reviewing emails concerning prospective sales, bookwork tracking existing and new contracts, and some Photoshop work as I prepare new samples and designs.

A second path is my fiber art, so I will always have handwork available for downtime in front of the television with hubby. I will take three hours each day of the weekend to do sewing, design, cutting, planning patterns so that on the weekdays I have small projects.

A third path is my art group, Mixed Media Arts – soon to have its own Word Press site. I will spend an hour on this, marketing, writing, getting interviews and connections. This is where I see the BlogMasters coming into play. A last path, but certainly not the least, is my marbling. At least twice a week I want to marble paper and fabric for the small quarterly orders that we have established.

Mostly I want my late afternoon and evenings to be art-related. I want to relax with my husband, talk about art, read about art, go to galleries and add to our own art collections, small though they may be. Money is not an issue, and neither is health care. We are together, we enjoy a small circle of friends, and if we want to go out to dinner, buy some books or art, go to the movies, or be spontaneous and get out of town suddenly, we can do that.

I do see some of this changing in three years – primarily with planning for our travels and seeing how to make the new art business fit a new schedule. It might seem as though I’m “settling” for the immediate future, but I don’t think so. I think it’s more realistic than anything else. I have been more productive over these last few months, and I see this continuing. Last year’s goals were to enter and be accepted to two shows, and that happened. This year I have a show to prepare for in March, and several licensing opportunities to explore. Plus I am doing more writing, which I really love.

I look at this and wonder where the dreaming went. Have the last few years (well, two decades, actually) been so tough that the dreams of the 20s and 30s are totally gone? Is it realistic or is it what I really want? I think I’m going to have to really ponder this one….

Licensing, San Diego, and Other Loose Ends ….


Lots going on it seems, and there are times when my head just feels so full and I don’t know where to begin. I do have some upcoming deadlines, but there are so many things to do….it seems that making lists isn’t even helping. So I have to go step by step, until I get a handle on everything happening.

First up is this fat quarter of silk, up on ebay this week. We aren’t doing a lot of marbling in our large tray, as we have just been enjoying the small work, but we are trying to set up the big stuff at least once a month, as we have some steady customers on ebay who buy regularly. You can check out this piece here.

I think I am getting hooked on marbling paper. I set up a small tray this morning and did half a dozen papers. I finally was able to improve on a traditional moire pattern, which turned out great. I am trying to do more with flowers, as some of the traditional Turkish marblers do, and I had medium luck. But the piece did turn out pretty cool, with some adaptation on my part. That said, take a look –

These are available for sale. Paper 9 x 12 inches. Four sheets $10.00. Email me for more information.

Licensing is moving along. I realized today I need to start a list of what I have done so far so I know exactly what to follow up on. I am thinking that Zazzle will give me a chance to play around with images and items to prepare a portfolio for presentation. I am going to try and attend the licensing conference in June in Vegas, so I need to be prepared.

I’ll close with a couple more of the photos from our San Diego trip. I love this one – like a sentinel of Bird of Paradise – which was the main flower in my wedding photo.

We spent a morning at Point Loma, taking in the views and visiting the light house. What a gorgeous spot – and it was a perfect blue sky, although a tad brisk first thing in the morning! This is looking at North Island Naval Station on Coronado, with the skyline of San Diego in the background.

This is taken from the light house, with the Cabrillo Monument in the center. The lone person standing there is hubby – the light house is considerably higher – in fact, it didn’t really work well as a light house, because it was higher than the fog, so ships weren’t able to see it.


What is like about this one is the cactus on the edge of the cliff. We usually assocaite cactus with desert, and it just seemed very strange.

More on the Mingei Museum next time.

Let Me Zazzle You!!

Ever since Anne over at El Milagro Studio posted her extremely cool coffee mug, I have been revisiting the folks at Zazzle. I set up a store there probably four years ago, but could never quite figure out what to do. Fast forward to this weekend – I spent three days reading documents about Zazzle, viewing other sites, and then playing around with some of my marbled patterns – spent yesterday evening scanning our marbled patterns so I would have some really good stuff to work with. Had some quirks in Photoshop – seems like it quit after scanning and manipulating three sheets of paper, so I restarted the program 5 times…checking today to see it never actually saved some of the papers, so I need to rescan them.

Add a few more hours today, a lot of thinking while walking today, and I have a store set up, and my first product completed. Hopefully new products will go a whole lot faster!! The above image is now available on a coffee mug – I have to figure out how to get the pics on the blog, but at least you get the above shot. You can also click here to go to my beginnning efforts.

I think as I approach licensing that this might be a good way to start, as I explore the field. I’ve been doing lots of reading, as that is usually how I approach something, so stay tuned as I explore and no doubt learn lots more!

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