6 “in your face” Tips on Licensing Your Art

6 “in your face” Tips on Licensing Your Art

Licensing is a clever way to get paid for the same piece of art over and over again. This means, you paint it once and it continues to make money for you, even after you’re dead!

PERSONAL EXAMPLE: About 80% of our income comes from licensing Drew’s art. (See Sigg Bottle to your left). The image on the bottle titled “PURE JOY” was painted in 1998 and the original was sold to a collector from LA at an exhibit at The Surf Gallery in 98′. I think we sold that painting for about $500, but we’ve licensed the image for so many different products over the years, it’s earned us approximately $450,000 to date, and continues to be a popular, iconic image.

So, what do you need to do license your art? Click on the “more” link for our 6 tips:


1.) GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR @&*! and make a REAL committment: because to be successful, you have to be 100% committed. It’s hard work. It’s not a walk in the park. It may take 10-20 years of developing yourself AS A BRAND to see the big time money. You can’t be one of those lazy artists that only does what he feels like doing when he feels like doing it. No excuses, no complaints, no whines. Make the committment!

2.) Learn everything you can about licensing: A committed artist will attend the Licensing International Expo, join LIMA, take the Licensing University courses, and read every book and blog you can find on licensing. I recommend Licensing Art and Design: A Professional’s Guide to Licensing and Royalty Agreements as a great start.

3.) Develop your art and yourself as a Brand: You are your brand, and so is your art. Have your own distinct style, one that is easliy recognized. People have to like you to want to buy your products – so be cool.

4.) Get an attorney that specializes in Licensing: This is so important. You’ll need an attorney to put together your licensing contracts. You can get one contract that is generally used for most deals. We do that. But please, don’t use your uncle Bob who’s a general attorney. It’s like going to a General Practitioner for a boob job. They’ll screw things up. You can find licensing attorneys at the licensing trade shows, through LIMA, etc.

5.) Always retain the (c) to your art: and have complete control over what anyone does with it. You’ll have a duty to your licensees (the companies that license your art) to not let some of your art get bastardized by someone else. The only way to ensure complete control is to ALWAYS retain the (c) to EVERYTHING, even those pieces of art that you think are not important. Trust me on this one.

6.) Strategize and plan your direction. Where do you want to have your products sold? Do you want high end items or to sell to the masses. Plan this out. And go back to tip #1……….

I have so much more to write about on this topic!

If tip #1 didn’t scare you off, please feel free to write comments and ask questions!

I want to see you succeed…..

Faithfully yours, Maria Brophy

This article (c) 2008 Maria Brophy

Spread the love
  • Maria Brophy
    Posted at 18:04h, 05 June

    Dear Christina,

    I’m not clear on what you need help with. First of all, congrats on discovering a creative process that has you extremely excited! And second of all, stop worrying about people “stealing” your idea. All ideas come from other ideas. Your fear is holding you back from moving forward. Forget about what anyone else does with your idea. You are already many steps ahead of them!

  • Christina Jones
    Posted at 16:47h, 05 June

    I have recently developed a distinct style of art that has been (surprisingly) overlooked by other artist. It is really simple, yet extremely profound when you do it right. 🙂 I have looked online for months, and have only found one other person who even ATTEMPTED anything remotely similar to it. I haven’t posted any pictures for fear of someone stealing my idea. Which my question to you is: Is there any way to speed up the process. I feel that my art has potential (and not because it’s MINE, i have many other hopeless ideas that will never work), but this one…….I really need help. And I don’t have any resources/people to look to for help or guidance. PLEASE help me!!! I want to do this FAST, for fear of someone stealing my work.

  • Diane Hoeptner
    Posted at 13:50h, 07 March

    Great advice. I’m sort of dabbling with the idea of licensing and this is a very helpful list. Thanks!

  • Lisa
    Posted at 05:36h, 14 October

    Thanks, not offended AT ALL! Those of us who are in need of constant positive affirmation to keep working need this advice, especially #1!!! You are motivating, not offensive!

  • Tamara
    Posted at 22:29h, 15 September

    Love your art and heart. Your candid advice to us struggling artists is really appreciated. Thanks!

  • Bryan
    Posted at 17:07h, 31 August

    Nice blog entry.

    That makes a lot of sense. I recently designed a t-shirt for a local mountain that could sell year after year.

    I really need to get a better handle on the business side things. I have been mistreated a few times already.

    I think I will read that book you mention.


  • Annie Roberts
    Posted at 20:00h, 18 August

    Your a little harsh! But thanks for the tips. It helps.

  • Drummerjoe
    Posted at 11:39h, 18 August

    Finding Drew and yourself has been a life changing event for me, I have a Traditional career as an Architect (for the second richest man in the world) Finding Art again and Drews approch have got me thinking. I grew up in H.B. And learned shaping from Wayne Brown and the Dyno guys. I have spent the last five years in Hong Kong and spent alot of my off time in Bali and Austrialia, This really got me missing the Ocean and the whole lifestyle. Something is really going to change in my my life and you guys are a big part of it.
    I hope to meet you guys someday in the mean time I really appreciate the career advice.
    Thanks again

  • Just2Duh
    Posted at 06:29h, 18 August

    The thought of doing this for a living has always driven me to get better, though I don’t think i’m at that level yet, I atleast have a better idea of what would need to be done, so thank you for that.

    Do you have any tips or suggestions on how to go about appoarching companies with designs or concept art? Thanks again.

Post A Comment