Friday, August 26, 2016

Agent Spotlight - Laurie High - Creative Connection, Inc.


How long have you been in business and how did you come to be an agent?
Parker Fulton, an artist herself, started this business with two others in 1991.  After they secured 50 artists to represent very quickly, one of the partners dropped out almost immediately leaving a large work load for 2 people.  They asked me to join, and that began my journey into this business.  Not long after, the other partner dropped as well.  Parker (who is also my mother) and I have been running Creative Connection, Inc. ever since. So, I kind of fell into this, but quickly learned the ins and outs of the business including marketing, bookkeeping, contracts etc.  My college education and jobs prior to Creative Connection, Inc. did help prepare me for my roles in this business, however.
  
Who are the manufacturers you work with - how did you establish those relationships?  
Almost every year including 1991, Creative Connection, Inc. has had a booth at Surtex.   In the beginning, for several years, we also had a booth at The Licensing Show.  We secured many of our clients through those two shows.  We've walked shows and exhibited elsewhere, but Surtex has always benefited us the most, until recently.  We stopped showing at Surtex a couple of years ago and changed our tactics, due to the lessoned show traffic.  We signed up for ArtLicensingShow.com in the beta stage, and we now focus most of our attention on face-to-face meetings where our clients are located or at our office.  This seems to be working, but we won't rule out Surtex in the future.  I also spend time surfing the Internet to find clients, reading blogs, watching videos and reading newsletters, etc.  The clients who license from us the most include puzzle, needlepoint, fabric, greeting card, stained glass, and garden flag manufacturers, however there are so many other products that our designs are licensed for throughout any given year.

Do you have employees/help?
 
No, we don't have any employees currently and haven't since the Internet took off so dramatically making our marketing efforts easier and faster.  I occasionally hire a graphic designer to manipulate artwork or help me create marketing materials. Some of our artists provide their art, ready to market, on promo sheets like Jessica Sporn has done with her Wildflower Collection below.  If you scroll further, you will see another promo sheet that Karen Rossi has created - Winter in the Mountains. 


How do you market artists? 
Email is the main way that we market our artists.  If appropriate for the client and seasonal needs etc., artwork is sent to clients almost immediately upon receipt. I create promo sheets on a regular basis to email or post on our web site.  Some of our artists provide their artwork, ready to show, on promo sheets which aids in getting art before the clients quickly.  In addition, I regularly update our website, send out a monthly newsletter, advertise in at least one printed publication per year and utilize Social Media.  As stated above, we have taken a two-year break from Surtex and have been meeting with clients either where they are located or on Gibson Island where we are located.  This is working for now, but it is important to remain open to trying new things, and we are.

What do you look for in an Artist? 
 
First and foremost, really great art, so if an artist is sending through something that is not their best, then I'm likely to say no before delving any further.  Something different is important, because I am not doing my artists any favors if I bring on someone doing the same thing.  Available artwork is important also because most clients are in such a hurry that they cannot wait to commission a design.  And, finally something that compliments what we do have because this is the kind of art our clients seek from us. We are always willing to review an artist's portfolio according to the guidelines on our website, however, we are full and have been for most of the 25 years we've been in business.


How much work do you expect an artist to create? 
This depends on the artist and the style and what's currently happening in their lives.  Ideally, I'd like to see new artwork every week, but that is not always possible, especially with the highly detailed designs.  I do send periodic requests to our artists of needed designs and trends so that they always have something to work on or towards.

How has the Art Licensing business changed over the years?
Marketing has completely changed and really is much easier now for several reasons - very few color copies or mailings are needed now, high res files can be instantly sent to the clients instead of original artwork for scanning, Photoshop allows for quick manipulation of images to suit various products, and the Ipad allows for complete portfolios of our 20 artists to be carried in a brief case or shoulder bag.

Any advice or information you would like to share?
Always show your best.  Always paint what you love to paint.  Be yourself, but also grow yourself.  Read "Big Magic" by Elizabeth Gilbert which is about utilizing your creative energy to the max! 


You can find Creative Connection, Inc:
View our portfolios: www.cciart.com
Connect with us on FB: www.fb.com/creative.connection.inc
Connect with us on Instagram: artful_inspiration

 

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Friday, August 19, 2016

Bo's bLAWg - The Copyright Term

 

MJ Bogatin (“Bo”) of Bogatin, Corman & Gold, is an Arts and Entertainment Attorney in San Francisco.  He is also Co-President of California Lawyers for the Arts. www.calawyersforthearts.org www.calawyersforthearts.org Bo is available to answer some of your questions surrounding the business of Art Licensing. - THANKS BO!

 

Bo, several of your bLAWgs have mentioned that once a copyright term has expired, the works are then in the Public Domain.  Are my mother’s illustrations from the 1940s still subject to copyright so I can license them as copyrighted works, or are they in the Public Domain? 
Thank you!  Janet


Good question, Janet!  It gives me the opportunity to provide more particulars regarding the extension of copyright terms under the 1909 Act – applicable as to artworks published before 1978, as allowed by the 1976 Act.

The Copyright Act has been amended several times since the first was passed by Congress.  I think the original term under the first US Copyright Act from 1790, copied from Great Britain’s,  was for only 14 years, plus a renewable 14-year term!  Then again. people did not live as long in those days, did they?  As of 1900, the Term was extended to 28 years plus an additional 28-year renewal right.

That Term remained in effect until the “new” Copyright Act of 1976 came into effect Jan. 1, 1978.  The Term was extended under the 1976 Act to conform with those of many other countries:  The lifespan of the Author plus 50 years.  The 1976 Act also addressed with particularity how the Terms for works copyrighted under the 1909 Act would be treated under the new Act. 

The question of whether your mother’s 1970 artworks are still copyrighted depends upon whether or not they were ever published.  If they were published with a copyright notice as required under the 1909 Act, the Term became 95 years from date of publication.  (If the copyright had been renewed, 67-year renewal term is deemed added to the initial 28-year term.) 
If the original copyrights were not renewed by your mother or her heirs, her published works from the 1940s would be in the public domain.

So, if my calculations are right, if all of your mother’s works were published for the first time in 1940 with a copyright notice, her copyright on those illustrations will not expire until 2035.

If your mother’s illustrations were never published, those works are entitled to a Term of copyright protection through the 70th calendar year after her death, whenever that may occur.

In 1998, just as the Term of Walt Disney’s copyrights on its Mickey Mouse character were about to expire, Congress passed the Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA) sponsored by Congressman Sonny Bono, better known as “Cher’s first husband.”  This Act amended the Copyright term to the life of the Author plus 70 years instead of 50.  For Disney and other works created by corporate entities or under “work made for hire” agreements the Term was extended to 120 years after creation or 95 years after publication, whichever endpoint is earlier.  For the time being, Mickey was saved from ignominious treatment in the Public Domain! 

The effect of CTEA was to "freeze" the advancement date of the Public Domain in the US for works covered by the older fixed term copyright rules. Under CTEA, works made in 1923 or afterwards that were still protected by copyright in 1998 will not enter the public domain until 2019 or afterward (depending on the date of the publication).  For works created by authors who died in 1932 or earlier, that day was January 1, 2003. 

However, as mentioned last month, any artwork published before 1923 was deemed to be in the Public Domain.  Anyone can use such works here in the US for any purpose, without any license or permission.

Since I want my bLAWgs to be super helpful, here is a chart that spells out the different operative Copyright terms: 


If you have a special case that needs to be analyzed, let me know.  We’ll see if we can figure out whether or not that work is still subject to copyright protection or in the Public Domain.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website is not intended as legal advice. Because the law is not static, and one situation may differ from the next, we cannot assume responsibility for any actions taken based on information contained herein. Also, be aware that the law may vary from state. Therefore, this website cannot replace the advice of an experienced attorney. Receipt of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship. MJ Bogatin, Bogatin, Corman & Gold, www.bcgattorneys.com

Have a legal question? email it to info@AnnGraphics.com. I will forward it to Bo. It might be a blog post! You can search "Bo's bLAWg" to read more posts. I am looking forward to your comments and thanks for sharing this great information on social media.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Artist Spotlight - Elizabeth Silver

 

Tell us a bit about yourself: Did you go to school for art? Are you self taught?  
I’ve always been what I call a left-brained creative. I have a head for logic and math, but also love to make pretty things, so when I went to college, I chose an art program within a larger university (Syracuse University) because the idea of ‘art school’ seemed too freewheeling for my taste. That actually turned out to be a really serendipitous choice because SU is one of very few schools in the US that had a Surface Pattern Design department. I didn’t know anything about it when I first enrolled, but Surface Pattern is a perfect discipline for me. Designing with an end product in mind and reworking motifs to fit them into a repeat really appeal to my left-brain. Now I split my time between patterns and illustrations, but of course licensing is still all about surface decoration, and I’m so glad to have gotten into it right from the start. After college I was lucky to gain tons of design and product experience in home decor and apparel, working at 2 home textile companies and then switching over to work as the print stylist for babyGap for a few years before going into business for myself.

Do you work in just one medium or style? Several?
I create art for licensing as well as for companies in a freelance capacity. For my personal portfolio, I mainly stick with vector artwork. Sometimes that starts with hand-drawn scans and hopefully most of my work has the personality of more hand done designs but I enjoy a modern look and love the flexibility of Illustrator. For my clients, I do a little bit of everything. I’ve designed everything from super traditional jacobeans to dinosaurs on skateboards so I’m pretty adept at switching styles. These days it’s primarily vector art, hand-drawn textural prints, or watercolor designs.

 

What inspires you / where do you get inspiration from?
I love conversational prints, so I’m always looking for offbeat icons to mix in with more saleable imagery like florals and geometrics. My favorite motif has always been fruit. I love the bright color and the variety- there is something so cheerful about them to me- and so when I’m a little lost on direction I try to take it back to that. Recently I was working on a collection that I wanted to be about hot air balloons, and as I was designing, it wasn’t really coming together as anything special. In the end I turned the balloons into lemons and pears, and it’s so much happier now!

How did you start licensing your art?
After working for 10 years in New York City, I was ready for space and green grass and the suburban American dream, and so I left my job to start freelancing in order to move to the outskirts of  Raleigh, North Carolina. For a few years I was only working behind the scenes at a variety of textile companies, but after taking the inaugural MATS courses with Lilla Rogers I was inspired to look for an agent. In late 2013, I signed with Jewel Branding. It’s been a learning curve for sure, but I now have a well-rounded portfolio that I’m really proud of, and I love the flexibility of designing for my own purposes.

What are you working on now?
This summer I’ve been working hard to create a lot of new collections. I love so many types of products, it can be hard to focus, but for the next few months I’m concentrating on kid’s art, greeting cards, and bolt fabric. I’m also almost done creating a course for atly.com that I think is going to be something relatively fresh for all the artists who have honed their artistic skills but still don’t have many (or any!) clients that pay them for their work. Definitely keep an eye on my instagram (@esilverdesign) for more on that, it’s scheduled to launch at the end of August.


Any great advice for our readers?
Take the time to tag and organize your designs. I use Adobe Bridge and created a ton of relevant keywords that I can check off  for each design.  Shortly after I started licensing, I made it a part of my process to finish each collection by tagging all the new work, adding copyright info to the metadata of the files, and putting it in my “Licensing Complete” folder. When I had slow work days I took the time to go back through my archives- files created for clients and old jobs- and tag them as well. I also tag any jpegs that I may have downloaded as reference, i.e. photos of animals. Now when I want to to do a new collection based on Christmas ornaments, I first search and see what ornament I already have in my archive. I don’t always find something useful, but especially working with vectors, it’s nice to have the basic shape created already in order to modify for a new project.

Anything else you would like to share with us?
In addition to my atly.com course, I launched a newsletter in February that focuses on market trends, and I have become a total convert to trendspotting! I love scanning the stores for gift and home direction and have fun putting it together every other week. Artists can subscribe to a version that highlights resources, business insights and Adobe tips along with trends and palettes. Creative Directors can sign up for a separate newsletter that features new art and market analysis. (www.elizabethsilver.com/fresh)

Are you an early riser or night owl?

If I had my way, I’d be neither- sleep is pretty much my number one self-care method. I have a 16 month old little boy, and he is a great sleeper like his mom, but with an early bedtime he does wake up at 6:30AM so even on days when it’s my husband’s turn, I’m up by 7:30 at the latest.

What is your favorite food?

I have a wicked sweet tooth which I am always trying to curb. In the summertime it’s definitely ice cream!
 

You can Find Elizabeth
Web: www.elizabethsilver.com
Email: e@elizabethsilver.com
IG: @esilverdesign
Periscope: @esilverdesign

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Friday, July 22, 2016

Agent Spotlight - Gelsinger Licensing Group

 
 

How long have you been in business and how did you come to be an agent?
My parents, Brian and Dona Gelsinger, started the business in 1994, at the time it was called Little Angel Publishing.  My mom had just barely started in the industry as a licensed artist with Lightpost Publishing, Thomas Kinkade’s company and they landed a deal to produce artwork for a line of collectible plates.  She also did a few deals with 2 terrific agents Elise Rosenthal and Suzanne Cruise, one of those deals is still in place today actually!  While Dona loved working with an experienced agent, my family wanted to take ownership of the entire process and create a larger business around Dona’s art, so we made the decision to start our own publishing and licensing company to promote and sell artwork.  Over 20 years later, much has changed in the industry, but the foundational vision remains the same, creative terrific art that inspires people.

Who are the manufacturers you work with & how did you establish those relationships?
If you have really good and industry relevant art, you can usually find someone who wants to license it.  The key is choosing the right partners and working together to build successful programs for everyone involved, retailer, manufacturer, agent and artist.  Our aim is to build deep and longstanding, collaborative relationships with our licensing partners.  Many of these relationships have spanned well over a decade and we’re honored to count many of our customers as also good friends.  Some of our longest standing relationships include: The Bradford Exchange, Precious Moments/Ne’Qwa. Leanin’ Tree, Manual Woodworkers and Weavers, Evergreen, Masterpieces Puzzles and many others.  We have some more recent licensing partners who are doing some exciting things as well including Burton +Burton, Timeless Treasures Fabrics, Stony Creek and Raz Imports.


Do you have employees/help?
We have 4 full time employees working on art creation, licensing and administration.  We also find it’s very important to have solid go to people to help in areas outside our area of expertise, these include a copyright attorney, CPA, insurance, etc.

How do you market artists?
We use conventional tools like an online image library, eblasts, email submissions, etc.  Exhibiting at Surtex is one of our best tools for finding new clients and fostering existing relationships.  We attend the Atlanta gift show to see product in showrooms and meet with manufacturers.  We also invest in social media marketing for both consumer awareness and as a communication tool with manufacturers.  Facebook has been our primary tool, but we’re working on expanding our presence on Pinterest and Instagram as well.  I can’t overstate the importance of social media, it’s here to stay and is a tremendous tool for artists.

What do you look for in an Artist?
Whether we are hiring for freelance work or partnering with a licensed artist, the first thing we need to see is a portfolio that shows a basic understanding of the industry.  In our industry, the manufacturer’s purpose for licensing art is to create something they couldn’t do on their own that will help them sell more product and make more money.   With that in mind, a portfolio should include themes, colors and styles that will sell in stores.  It should be unique and beautiful.  Finally there needs to be enough art in the portfolio to tell a story about who the artist is and demonstrate an ability to create many themes and collections.

How much work do you expect an artists to create?
There is no magic number for how many pieces an artist should create in a year, it depends on the artist’s style, what products they’re creating for and a whole host of other factors.  What’s more important is for artists to be self-driven, set goals for how many collections they will create in a year and stick to a schedule.   Not unlike any other career, your monetary goals should be in step with your work output.  If you want to be successful, be prepared to put the time in.  In addition to creating, they should also make time for studying industry trends, gathering reference materials, visiting retail stores for research, doing signing events and keeping up on social media.

Any great news you would like to share?
We’re really excited for our new product launch with Burton +Burton, they have created a whole line of gift items featuring Dona’s artwork for Christmas this year.
 
How has the Art Licensing business changed over the years?

Everything is much faster now in the industry.  Products are in stores for shorter cycles, artwork rotates in catalogs faster and with the adoption of digital tablets and software, art is also created and modified faster.  This creates opportunity because the need for new designs is growing.  At the same time if you are an already established artist, you must work fast and be prolific to keep up with these cycles, otherwise you’ll find yourself losing marketshare.

Any advice or information you would like to share?
Strive to make each piece you create better than your last.  Pay attention to what is selling and try to do more of that.  Spend time at your easel, drawing table, tablet, whatever it may be, put in the work.



You can find Gelsinger Licensing Group
GelsingerLicensing.com
Dona Gelsinger facebook.com/donagelsinger

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Bo's bLAWg - Copyright and Derivative Use Rights

 

MJ Bogatin (“Bo”) of Bogatin, Corman & Gold, is an Arts and Entertainment Attorney in San Francisco.  He is also Co-President of California Lawyers for the Arts. www.calawyersforthearts.org www.calawyersforthearts.org Bo is available to answer some of your questions surrounding the business of Art Licensing. - THANKS BO!

 

Bo, can I license well known art works that I have morphed kaleidoscopically?

There is a short and long answer to this question.  The short answer is that if the artworks that you are using are in the public domain (“PD”), you can.  If they are not in the PD, you cannot without a license.

The long answer is that the issue raised is one that pertains to the fundamentals of copyright law, but at the same time has become a cutting edge issue. The fundamental right is that the Author of an original work of visual art is presumed to be the copyright holder with exclusive, theoretically inviolate, rights.  The cutting edge issue is the extent to which a second artist can so fundamentally change the original copyrighted work that it is literally and legally “transformed,” and therefore not deemed to infringe!

Exclusive Interest:

The copyright holder has the exclusive interest in the following basic rights:

1.  To reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords;
2.  To prepare derivative works based upon the work;
3.  To distribute copies or phonorecords of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;
4.  To perform the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works;
5.  To display the copyrighted work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work; and
6.  In the case of sound recordings, to perform the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.
(See 17 USC 106:   http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#102 )

The two of these that apply particularly to visual Art are numbers 2 and 5.  In addition, Artist/Authors of works of visual fine art have the rights of attribution and integrity as described in section 106A of the Copyright Act.

A “derivative work” is defined in Section 101 as: “A work based upon one or more preexisting works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted. A work consisting of editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications, which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship, is a ‘derivative work’.”  (emphasis added)
(See http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#102 )

Clearly, your “kaleidoscopic” treatment of a copyrighted artwork would be derivative as a “transformation” of the original, a right that typically must be obtained from the copyright holder if you intend to license to third parties.

However, there are exceptions to this exclusive right.  The first, referenced above, is that the artwork you are altering is in the PD.  While you can presently adapt or transform any artwork published before 1923 and legally license it for use here in the US, use of the same adapted artwork in other countries will be subject to the copyright laws of that country – which could protect works created and/or published before 1923.

The second exception depends upon whether or not your derivative use “is so transformative” as to constitute a Fair Use.  I discussed Fair Use at length in my bLAWg this past March. 
See:  http://annietroe.blogspot.com/2016/03/bos-blawg-use-of-quotes-and-song-lyrics.html

The essence of Fair Use boils down to whether or not the derivative use is a free speech right under the First Amendment to the US Constitution. If the copyrighted work is being “copied” in conjunction with news and reporting about it or its author, or as part of a critical review, these uses are fundamentally “speech-based” and the copyright work may be used for these purposes as long as the amount of use does not significantly damage the market for the original work.

This is the essence of the first of the four Fair Use factor:  “The purpose and character of the use.”  The US Supreme Court in recent years has begun to expand upon the traditional ‘news and critical comment’ purpose to apply Fair Use due to the extent that the second work is “transformative” of the copyrighted original.  The seminal case was Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc. (1994), in which the Court deemed 2 Live Crew’s rap using a few lyrics and some music from the Roy Orbison song, “Pretty Woman” to be parody.  Even under a traditional Free Speech analysis, this makes sense.  Parody is a form of speech.  Since you need to use the original work to make fun of it, the use has been deemed Fair. Obviously, the 2 Live Crew recording did not damage the market for the Orbison original.

Since 2 Live Crew, there have been other cases expanding upon the scope of transformative use so that it can be applied to visual art as well as music.  The purpose of the transformation no longer is limited to “parody.”  The Court now examine whether or not the derivative work  “merely supersedes the objects of the original creation…or instead adds something new, with a further purpose or different character.”  (Campbell)   A work can be deemed transformative “if it adds value to the original; basically uses the original as a raw material which is then transformed “in the creation of new information, new aesthetics, new insights and understandings.”  (Castle Rock)   When considering whether a work is transformative, the courts are now evaluating factors such as changes in aesthetics and meaning.  (Cariou v. Prince).

Clearly, there is a legal argument to be made that your kaleidoscopic treatment of these copyrighted works is sufficiently transformative as to be deemed Fair Use.  However, this in no way prevents you from being sued for copyright infringement.  Fair Use is only a legal defense, not a bar to an infringement action.  And, because each Fair Use case has to be considered upon its own merits, there is a good chance that you will not learn whether or not you are entitled to use the copyrighted work in this fashion or if it will be deemed an illegal infringement  until the case is tried in court.  And then the decision of the trial court is subject to appeal!  Is this a risk you can afford?

I should also mention that a ‘creative’ litigation attorney could also make a Right of Publicity claim against you if you use the name of the artist of the underlying work in the promotion of your own transformative artworks.  As discussed at length in my bLAWg from this past February, the essence of the Right of Publicity is that under these state statutes, a person who knowingly uses the name or image of a person for commercial purposes without their permission is liable to that party. (See http://annietroe.blogspot.com/2016/02/bos-blawg-right-of-publicity.html )

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website is not intended as legal advice. Because the law is not static, and one situation may differ from the next, we cannot assume responsibility for any actions taken based on information contained herein. Also, be aware that the law may vary from state. Therefore, this website cannot replace the advice of an experienced attorney. Receipt of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship. MJ Bogatin, Bogatin, Corman & Gold, www.bcgattorneys.com

Have a legal question? email it to info@AnnGraphics.com. I will forward it to Bo. It might be a blog post! You can search "Bo's bLAWg" to read more posts. I am looking forward to your comments and thanks for sharing this great information on social media.

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Monday, July 11, 2016

A bit about "2nd Thursdays" chat group on ArtLicensingShow.com

Hi Everyone!
Quick post about my "2nd Thursdays" group on ArtLicensingShow.com. We meet the 2nd Thursday of each month in a text chat room. 6:30 PM US Central Time (Chicago). Everyone is welcome who is interested in any aspect of the Art Licensing business. You do need to be a paid member of ArtLicensingShow.com to get access to the group. You can sign up for ArtLicensingShow.com for free if you want to look around and see what it is like & get a free business directory listing.

If you are already a paid member of ArtLicensingShow.com - I send out invitations to the "2nd Thursdays" group to everyone. If there is a glitch, just request to join :-D.

We usually keep the format open so that we can put our heads together. Cherish, Founder/CEO of ArtLicensingShow.com attends almost all of the chats. She updates us on any new features on the site, exciting news and answers any questions you may have. The group came up with the very successful holiday coloring book idea https://artlicensingshow.com/holiday-coloring-book/, I believe it has had 6,000+ downloads. Recently we had Susan January, VP Leaning Tree, answer all of our questions around the greeting card industry. https://artlicensingshow.com/2nd-thursdays-special-guest-susan-january-of-leanin-tree-chats-about-greeting-cards/.

Join us! we try to keep it to an hour long - always some great ideas and topics on everyone's minds.
Really looking forward to chatting with all of you!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Artist Spotlight - Leslie Ann Clark

 
 
Tell us a bit about yourself: Did you go to school for art? Are you self-taught?  
I began drawing cartoons in college. I could not find a class to take so I worked with my professor and came up with an independent study. From there I ventured into the business on my own with some workshops and classes over the years. If I needed to learn something I figured out how to do it.

Do you work in just one medium? Several?
I begin traditionally with a pencil!  From my pencil sketch I go to ink. When I get my lines inked, I scan my drawing and bring it into Illustrator.  I select my image and hit “Image trace”.  It gives me a nice clean line. I save it and bring it into Photoshop to color it.  I LOVE color!  My style is evolving a bit with the introduction of my Cintiq.  It’s a wonderful tool that I recommend to anyone who works in Photoshop.

What inspires you / where do you get inspiration from?
Inspiration!  Gotta have it!  It comes from so many sources.  I have a wonderful licensing group that meets monthly.  Being around my artist friends is very inspiring.  I love looking at their art to see what they are up to.  I think meeting with others in the industry is important.  We help each other and encourage each other.

I also look for inspiration in magazines.  Color combinations inspire me. I am forever ripping out pictures and taping them into my sketchbooks. I spend some time in the library too.  I love children’s books! .. but I don’t rip up children’s book.  Haha!


How did you start licensing your art?
In the late 90’s I discovered an Illustrators group on Yahoo.  I met a lot of people who were making money with their art and many of them were going to NY.  I took a leap of faith and flew to NY for the National Stationary Show/Surtex Show.  I was like a kid in a candy store.  There was art everywhere!  I saw all the possibilities.  I had worked hard on my portfolio and brought it to the show.  I was completely OUT of my comfort zone as I lugged around that portfolio searching for art directors.  I landed in a greeting card booth behind a line of other artists who were sharing their work with an AD. When she got to me, she looked through my cards quickly and said, “Do you have anything else?”  I went to the back of my portfolio and pulled out an image of a baby.  She loved it!  She asked if I had anymore and could I email them to her.  Of course I said,  “YES!”
I drew babies all the way home on the airplane and had a nice selection ready in a few days. After that first trip, my road has taken twists and turns.  It’s quite a journey!  I am still learning!

What are you working on now?
At present I am working on some juvenile fabric designs for licensing and some work on my books.  I have written a series of five children’s books featuring Burl the bear and Briley the beaver. I am looking for a publisher now so I have to put on my marketing hat.  I am also looking for a literary agent.

My next book features a young boy named Jack who goes on an adventure in his imagination. Its great fun!  I can almost feel what Jack feels as I write his story. All of my stories show the children that all things are possible if you believe!

I am also expanding many of my lines.  My Chicz make me laugh out loud. They remind me of my friends.  Haha!

Any great advice for our readers?
The best advice when getting started is to make a place in your home to work. I started in a small corner of my living room… my art supplies began taking over so I was moved to a back bedroom, then the front living room… finally, my husband saw the need and built me my little studio in my backyard.  It’s getting smaller by the day!  My next dream is for a second story studio above a garage.
Both need to be built! … But then again, all things are POSSIBLE!

Once you get a handle on your workspace, you need to keep working! It is easy to get distracted in a home surrounding but if you get your space settled, it’s easier.

Anything else you would like to share with us?

I was able to write and illustrate two board books with Christian Art Gifts and two picture books with Harper Collins.  The little ones LOVE him. Peepsqueak had quite an introduction.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdllelLIRS4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juL0WQmK0O8

I have recently fallen in love with a new character. I call her Babe.  She is a wee little hedgehog who lives in a garden. She is part of my Milo the fox collection. I learned that in England the hedgehogs are loved and that some folks make little holes in their fences so they can get them to come into their yards.  I loved that idea! So little Babe was born.  Take a peek. http://leslieaclark.com/leslieaclark.com/Babe.html

Are you an early riser? or night owl?

People used to ask this question a lot.  My answer was always, YES!  I simply loved being AWAKE!  They say you get wiser as you get older… burning the candle at both ends quit working.  Now I am an official early bird!  I get up before the sun and go for a nice work out at the local Y, after that I am in the studio for the day.

What is your favorite food?

I would say chocolate… but then I love biscuits too… but since I was diagnosed with an extreme sensitivity to gluten my diet is radically different. I finally came up with a GF recipe for Pumpkin Cookies… with chocolate in them!  They are low in sugar and rich in all sorts of things good for you.  If you stay healthy, your brain can stay happy too and you can keep creating!

 

You can find Leslie
Feel free to visit me on my website!  You will find many more little characters awaiting your arrival!
leslieaclark.com


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