Last week I shared Part 1, you can read it here.
When I began my art business I knew “zilch” about licensing art. It was a huge learning curve, thank goodness for t’internet! (as we call it!) Don’t know how artists did it before. So I researched products that I wanted my work to be on, and then I set out to create designs in my style for those types of products. I did my degree in illustration, so I focused mostly on childrens’ products to begin with.
In 2008 I launched my website, I submitted designs to companies that I wanted to work with, it was hours and hours of work. Companies don’t respond, only if they’re interested because they don’t have time to respond to everyone. One day I got an email from a company interested in my transportation art, they asked for more samples, so I created more. They liked my designs, and to my surprise they asked me if I would be interested in creating some art for Target stores. I was absolutely floored!!! Of course, I said YES!!! I spent the next few months creating seven pieces of children’s wall art for Target. It was quite a process, going back and forth. It required lots of patience, but it was still very fun! They had the final presentation and called me the next day. I was thinking they might take one, if I’m lucky. They took all seven, I just could not believe it. I felt like all my dreams of being an artist were coming true and that all my hard work and patience was finally paying off. In 2010, my children’s wall art was in Target stores, nationwide. You can see a picture here. I love the idea of children looking at my art in their rooms, hopefully inspiring some young artists out there. After that, I created more pieces for them and it continued to be a great relationship to this day.
I wanted to go to Surtex, a tradeshow for licensing. so I saved my pennies for a couple of years and in 2011 I had my first booth. It was such a great and nerve-wracking experience but I felt like it was a successful first show. The “interesting person” I mentioned in the previous post, who came to my Surtex booth, was an art buyer from the manufacturing company I left. Remember the lady who had me making labels and filing? Well, I ended up working with her again to license my work on their products. It was fun to work with them on that project.
One thing I have learned over the years, is that every artist’s journey is different. I had and still have artist that I admire and look up to but it’s important to find our ‘own way’. There is not certain way to become an artist, my advice is to follow your heart and be open to trying new things, don’t hold back. Start with ‘one thing’ and ‘it’ will grow from there.
Next week I will share Part 3, what came after Target and my first trade show with Surtex.