Wednesday, June 3

Licensing Art Part 1 - Definitions

See that little bag in the middle? The one with the blue monster and orange background? That is one of my many licensed images, manufactured by Garven LLC and sold at Target. Pretty cool, huh?

Illustrating is a lonely, hard road as a career choice. There is a variety of options: comic books, children's books, editorial (magazines and newspapers), medical, advertising, packaging, etc. The biggest challenge is getting people to 1. see your work and 2. want to use your work instead of stock.

Licensing is one more way to earn an income (albeit it's the get rich slow method) and one can never have too much money, right? Licensing is allowing someone else to use your work for a particular product for a limited time. You earn and advance and royalities on your art and everyone wins. You still maintain the copyright and still maintain the right to license the work again to a non-competitive client. For example, you allow licensing of your art for a gift bag. Someone else approaches you to use it on a baby bib. You have the right to allow both to use it thereby increasing your income with the same piece of art.

Note: An advance is an upfront payment to you which comes from projected royalties. Royalties is a percentage of sales and can be based upon manufacturing, wholesale or retail sales figures. You don't receive royalty payments until the amount of money exceeds what they paid you for the advance.

One can also do Limited Use Rights which is a form of licensing. That's when a company pays a certain amount (usually much more than a standard advance) to use your art on a specific product for a specific amount of time. There are no royalties involved. This is not selling your art outright, however. You still maintain the copyright for this option as well. If the company wants to use the art on a second product, they owe you another payment.

Last way to sell your art is to Sell it Outright. Many companies try for this method as it's most economical for them. This means they pay you for a piece of art and you hand it and your copyright over to them. They are then allowed to put it on as many products as they wish without having to pay you again for it.

I prefer to License or do Limited Use Rights as I am not a prolific illustrator. I can't produce a piece a day for 365 days a year. If I did, then maybe I could Sell Art Outright and not feel like I sold a piece of my soul.

Stay tuned for Part 2 - How To Break In To Licensing

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