Friday, June 26, 2015

Artist Spotlight - Kellie Lewis

Tell us a bit about yourself: Did you go to school for art? Are you self taught?
Yes; I attended The Columbus College of Art and Design and I majored in Illustration.  However, I ended up going into animation as a clay animator for Will Vinton Studios and then traditional 2D animation for The Walt Disney Studios.  I spent the bulk of my professional animation career between the Disney Florida studios and California studio working on feature films such as Lion King, Mulan, Lilo and Stitch and The Princess and the Frog. Disney abandoned 2D animation right after Princess and the Frog so I explored the world of children's book illustration and illustrated several titles like "When the Leaf Blew In" and "Wake up Rooster". I also produced an online cartoon strip called Wild Unknown for a couple years before my current strip Kicky Brand.

Do you work in just one medium? Several?
I learned art the old school way, but I have transitioned almost entirely to digital for it's ease and time saving capabilities. I do sculpt, and I am interested in learning more about 3D printers. If I work traditionally it's with ink and dyes.

What inspires you / where do you get inspiration from?
I love animals and have plenty of them around me.  I remember falling in love with figure drawing once I began looking at how the anatomy of my dog was put together.  A light went off for me and it translated instantly into understanding the human form.  Afterwards I took four and a half years of figure drawing just because it felt so good.  Today I have a pit bull/mastiff mix named Orem.  He is a perfect example of athletic perfection and it's easy to see the blocky shapes that make up his anatomy (he has the coolest feet).  I am inspired by other artists that I have had the privilege to work with like Chris Sanders, (Lilo and Stitch) Aaron Blaise, (Brother Bear) and Byron Howard, (Zootopia, a film I helped develop and sell the early concept for) from my time at Disney and many I have discovered online like Florian Satzinger, Goro Fujita, Hyperbole and a Half and Tumbleleaf by Bix Pix Entertainment.

Mostly though I love humor and cute, I spend most of my brain time there. 

What are you working on now?
I am trying my hand at licensing.  I think it's what I always wanted to do but, only I just became aware of it in the past couple of years.  Like everyone else, I am busy creating collections while I try and navigate the learning curve.  One of my collections centers around my studio Kicky Brand which started out as an online cartoon about horses. Those cartoons and other horse art I've created migrated onto t-shirts, I then took the next logical step and became a "company" that helps people show their love of horses through design.  I hope to grow it into a recognizable brand in the equine world.  I just licensed some work with Leanin Tree - a personal goal of mine made possible by being part of The Art Licensing Show.

You can find Kicky Brand it on Facebook:   I have an evolving online storefront:  and I also have some prints on Etsy: that are of mixed subject matter.

Anything else you would like to share with us?
I have had (and am grateful for) a professional career that dreams are made of, oddly however, I have only just now found real creative happiness by following this path of licensing.  My only regret is that I didn't know it was possible sooner.  Now I just need to become more technically savvy.

Are you an early riser? or night owl?
I tend to get up early (mostly because I have animals to care for) because I think I am at my most creative at that time,  and I am generally drinking hot chocolate and that my friends, is my real muse. 

What is your favorite food?
(Just one?!) Hot chocolate... the real answer is probably sugar in the form of hot chocolate.

You can find Kellie:

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Friday, June 19, 2015

Bo's bLAWg: What might that ‘infringing' legal language look like?


Question: What might that ‘infringing' legal language look like? - Leslie.

This question has a few different answers depending on what aspect of “infringing legal language” it pertains. There are actually two different issues that immediately come to mind.

The first is the Artist’s warranty to the licensee manufacturer or publisher that the licensed illustrations are original and do not infringe upon the rights of any other person or entity. This is a legitimate concern of the Licensee, and they can reasonably expect that the Artist indemnify them and their sub-licensees from any damages that they might incur due to such an infringement. That will usually include responsibility for their attorneys’ fees and costs in defense of any such claim.*

Keep in mind that just because your work might be “substantially similar” to that of another artist, it is not legally infringing unless “access” to the original copyrighted work occurred. Those are the two elements needed to prove any copyright infringement claim. If the plaintiff claiming an infringement of their copyrighted work cannot prove access and substantial similarity, then no infringement can have occurred.

The other “infringer” issue pertains to who has the right to bring an action if the Licensor Artist’s copyright has been infringed by a third party. Usually, this will be in the context of a competitor of the Licensee, but the provision can be drafted so broadly that if the licensing Artist is not careful, her copyright infringement claim can be exercised by the manufacturer or printer whether or not the infringement involves competing goods to theirs.

So, first, the third party infringement rights provision should be edited to limit the Licensee’s rights to bring legal actions to those having to do with infringement in conjunction with competing goods.  Second, the Artist wants to make sure that she has the right to participate fully in the action as a party plaintiff.  Often, the manufacturer’s License template will say that the manufacturer alone can bring an action and it alone obtains the benefits of the action.  This can create a windfall recovery for the manufacturer in which the Artist does not share whatsoever!  If the infringement has resulted in a substantial loss of the licensed manufacturer’s sales, then the Artist will have been deprived of her royalties on such sales.  There is no legitimate basis to deny her right to share in such a recovery.

In fact, even if the infringer has made no profits on its use of the Artist’s copyrighted image, an action for willful infringement can be the basis for a judgment of up to $150,000 in statutory damages, plus reimbursement of the plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees and court and discovery costs.**

Keep in mind, even if the defendant has limited assets of their own, they may well have an insurance policy that provides coverage for negligence like an infringing use of a copyrighted work by a company employee.  If that use was “intentional,” as it typically is, the otherwise negligent act still provides a legal basis to claim statutory damage limits as willful use!

The best provision regarding action on infringements against such third parties allows the Artist to be an active participant if she wants to, and to be a passive participant if she prefers, and to share 50/50 in the net recovery after payment of attorneys’ fees and costs out of any settlement or judgment. In the event of a negotiated settlement, she wants the right to approve the terms of settlement as they directly affect her interests.

Alternatively, if the manufacturer or publisher Licensee elects not to pursue the infringement claim, the provision should include timely notice to the Artist so that she can pursue that claim herself should she want to. She has not only the prospects of obtaining a substantial settlement or judgment for herself, but it is possible if not likely that she will find a copyright litigator who is willing to take the case on a contingent fee basis. If she does not prevail or settle, she will have no attorney’s fees to pay. If/when she does settle or collect a judgment, the attorney is paid out of that judgement, usually 40-50 percent.

If the infringement has been widespread and the Artist’s loss of royalties and/or license fees substantial, including use beyond that licensed to the manufacturer, she might even be able to settle or obtain a judgment in excess of the statutory fees maximum of $150,000 per infringement. She cannot know the value of the claim without some investigation of the scope of infringing activity; an investigation which Licensees often do not bother to even consider.

In summary, make sure you look carefully at any infringing activity that involved your illustrations, and don’t give up those rights to the Licensee without a fight to share in the prospects and benefits.

* You may want to make sure that such indemnity provisions do not include “claims” against the manufacturer or publisher as distinguished from an actual breach of the warranty. Anyone can claim their work has been infringed. However, if there has been no access and the similarity is not the result of copying, then the manufacturer is in a much better position to defend a meritless infringement claim than is the artist. At least that’s my argument in negotiating edits to that provision of the License Agreement.

**Remember, to qualify for statutory damages and prevailing party attorneys’ fees and costs, the Artist must have registered her copyright in the infringed illustration before the infringement occurs, or within three months of its original publication. Otherwise, only the infringer’s profits can be awarded under the US Copyright Act, and fees and costs will be out-of-pocket.

If you have further questions about this that you want to direct to me personally, I can be contacted through my website linked below. 

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,

You can use the search box at the top of the page to read more Bo's bLAWgs.
Send me your questions for Bo! Thanks,

Friday, June 12, 2015

Artist Spotlight - Jyotsna Warikoo

Tell us a bit about yourself: Did you go to school for art? Are you self taught?
I am a textile/ surface pattern designer based in Seattle, WA. I own a design studio called “Jyotsna Warikoo Designs” that offers unique and contemporary designs for a variety of industries. I grew up in India and graduated in Textile Design from the National Institute of Fashion Technology.

Do you work in just one medium? Several?
I have been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember. I love working with pencils, charcoal, water colors, watercolor pencils and Acrylic paints. I also like to digitally manipulate my drawings and patterns using tools like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.

What inspires you / where do you get inspiration from?
I draw a lot of inspiration from the multicultural mix, craftsmanship and textiles of my East Indian roots. I love pop and modern art for its optimism and work to combine my love for modern aesthetics with the beauty of folk design…..modern meets folk, trendy meets beautiful.  I also draw a lot of inspiration from nature and birds have a very special place in my heart.

What are you working on now?
I am currently working on building collections for art licensing especially targeted towards the gift and stationery industry. Besides this, I am also working on creating modern print collections targeted towards the kids/ baby product market. I am planning to exhibit my work at Surtex 2016 and would love to connect with like-minded designers to collaborate and work together as a collective.

Anything else you would like to share with us? 
I have been working in the industry for many years now however I consider myself new to the world of art licensing. As I start to make inroads, I really appreciate the support and feedback from the design community. It is wonderful to be part of such a warm hearted and supportive group of creative souls. A very special thanks to you Ann for including me in your blog as well.

Are you an early riser? or night owl?
I love early mornings…the smell of fresh air, the soft chirping of the birds and the beautiful dim light at dawn. And I equally enjoy the quiet and calmness of working at night. When I am working on something that really excites me, time just flies.

What is your favorite food?
I love to cook and eat. I am a vegetarian and love eating fresh organic fruits and vegetables. If it’s good for me, it will taste good to me too ☺

You can find Jyotsna:
Society 6:
The print community:

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Friday, June 5, 2015

Favorite tools and a few tips for different art jobs!

Hi Everyone! Giving you a peek into my art life/tools I really like.

Click images to view larger.

I buy as small of a bottle or tube of paint etc. that I can (except for black/white paint) since I switch mediums. A lot of times stuff dries up or goes bad before I get back to it again. My masking fluid (above) is dried up :-( It is quite full!

Above is my ALL TIME favorite brush/shape. I like that I can get a fine line to a decent size brush stoke width with out switching brushes :-) Blick art materials refers to them as "angular"

Love particle board or heavy card board. I just use cheap masking tape to tape down watercolor paper. Don't leave it on for too long - the tape gets goooey. If I will be using a lot of water/washes. Artist tape works better.

Second favorite brush is a square shape :-) I like the shorter stubby ones for lettering.

White ceramic plates for mixing watercolor / guache. Also, if you do any cutting, get a cutting mat. it makes cutting so much easier! I picked up the plates on sale at Target. This cutting mat came from Blicks


My newest tool is an easel. TIP: buy it during back to school sales and get a great price! . I used to hunch over my light table or hold the canvas in my left hand! This makes life so much better :-) Be sure to check the extension height. Mine goes up to 8 feet and just misses the ceiling.

This photo gives you a peak at my ALL TIME favorite tool! A light table! It is 20+ years old. Thanks Mom and Dad still love this present :-)

I use two mason jars for water. I will have a scrap piece of paper to brush out a color I am done with, then I wash it in one water jar, and then give it another wash in the 'clean' water jar. I have a thing about keeping my brushes in good shape. Lay them flat until dry.

As you can see, I use a disposable palette for acrylic paint. I will use it for quite awhile. You can peel off the paint after it dries.

In the photo above is a jar of molding paste. See image below to get and idea of how thick you can make it. Yup, I like texture! You can get higher peaks than this quarter inch thick butterfly wing.

Palette knives rock! If you haven't tried using them, give it a shot. Below are my two favorite. The plastic ones are a couple of bucks for several in a package. That is an 8"x10" panel so you get an idea of the scale.

Trusty tools and long time favorites. Of these, I like a kneaded eraser the best. Besides the obvious that it erases, you can use it to lighten and smear. I also play with it while I am 'thinking'.  C-thru rulers are just so darn handy. Everyone needs an X-Acto knife :-)

Love or hate any of these tools? :-) Please share what you use and any great art tips you have - would love to hear!
Thanks so much for stopping by the blog.

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