Friday, September 8, 2017

Ronnie Walter Talks About Making Money with Art Licensing and MORE!

Hey Ronnie! I consider you my go to person for all things art licensing. Would you take a minute and give us a little background on you for our readers?
Of course—I’m a licensed artist, writer, and also an art business coach and teacher. After getting my BFA I worked a variety of jobs in my quest - I worked in the ad department at a major retailer, sold color separations back when there was such a thing, became a staff illustrator and then Art Director at a stationery company, and then finally went out on my own as a freelance illustrator twenty-some years ago. In 2000, I formed Two town Studios with my husband Jim Marcotte, and we worked as licensing agents for a number of artists and properties for the next 16 years. I’ve licensed my art on all kinds of products including fabric, giftware, home goods, stationery, greeting cards and more. I am the creator and illustrator of the 17 Coloring CafĂ© coloring books, and have self- published and traditionally published a number of both fiction and non-fiction books including License to Draw. I tend to keep busy!

I like to think that my art led to writing, my writing led to coaching, and my coaching has now led me to teaching! It goes to show you that if you keep moving forward, our creative careers are ever-evolving and endlessly interesting! But as much as I love all of it, my first love has always been drawing, and coming up with interesting concepts to help people say the things they might not be able to say on their own—and that will never change!

I hear that you have a new service you are offering? Tell us a bit about it.
A few things are happening simultaneously around here!

I launched the first in my series of classes on How to Make Money with Art Licensing  is live now and is designed for artists to understand the basic details of the business—everything you need to find out if this is the best way to monetize your art, and how to get started doing it. It's an easy format, and it will only take you a little over an hour to go through the videos. An hour chock full of information!

I am also launching a live, multi-week class called The Licensing Ladder. It’s a more intensive class, positioned for artists that feel confidence in their art and portfolios (for the most part; I totally understand how a portfolio moves and changes as we do), but who are hesitating—or are flat out chickening out—and not getting their art in front of the clients who can license it. It's also for artists who may have had some traction, but feel like they are not hitting the right product categories or right potential clients.

I was not a natural salesperson, but once I decided that licensing was the right method to make money freelancing with my art I had to devise systems that got me in front of decision makers. I also needed a system to keep me confident so I wouldn’t panic each time I was ready to contact a new client. Participants in The Licensing Ladder will learn these systems—ways to identify your right clients, and then communicate with them in a manner that feels comfortable and not all “salesy”. (NOTE: Check with Ronnie on dates for The Licensing Ladder - Hurricane Irma has postponed it)

And there one more project I'm excited about. Over the past year or so I have been working on a planner specifically designed with people like us in mind. It’s called the Next! Planner for the Creative and Active Mind. I’ve gone through a beta testing period with a group of artists and creatives, and right now I’m putting the finishing touches on the publication copy. I also use it personally and love it - it works! It will be officially published in the next few weeks—don’t worry, I’ll let everyone know when it's out!

What types of things do you cover in the Licensing Ladder?
In The Licensing Ladder, I first help the participants identify key components of their work. Once we have that, we discover the product categories most likely to bring success, and then go through the steps to determine what manufacturers might best suit them. It’s a standardized, step by step repeatable process, and it works whether the artist is looking for clients or an agent. It’s worked for me, and it’s also working for the artists who tested the class with the me this summer.

One of the important features of this class is that it’s a live on-line class—so there’s lots of opportunity for interaction between me and the group as well as time for questions and answers. We DO actually talk about it! Because of that, I’m limiting it to 12 students so I can give maximum attention to everyone. All the details are on my website.

How do I (and our readers) know if this is a fit for me and what is the cost?
I wrote a blog post to help people decide which of the classes are right for them. (Read it here.)  Even if you have been around the licensing world for a while the Skillshare class (How to Make Money with Art Licensing) is a great refresher.

If you think you're ready to launch in licensing (or have already) and really want to see results for the hard work you’ve done on that portfolio, then The Licensing Ladder is for you!

Do you offer any follow up or support after I finish the class?
Why, funny you should ask because yes, I do! Each Licensing Ladder class will have their own private Facebook group, plus, after the 5 week class is over we will get together again in online live sessions at 30, 60, and 90 days so you don’t lose momentum once the lessons are over. They actually turn into reunion type of events because the class participants have become friends and are very supportive of each other.

Do you want to talk about Jim’s expertise/skills at all?
Jim? Jim who? Actually, I do! After our years working together as Two Town Studios we have developed a shorthand type of communication and collaboration. He weighs in on our overall strategy and helps behind the scenes on much of what we do, thank goodness! Not only does he know this business, he is an accomplished copywriter and editor, and is very good at polishing all of our marketing, communication and production copy. He also does that for some other established artists in the business - but he hasn't marketed that much, nor does he kiss and tell. If you need a sticky client or contract question answered, or a letter, sales or web copy written, he's your guy. I'm so lucky to have him. And Larry (the greatest rescue dog ever) too.

I thank my lucky stars every day to be living this life and doing the kind of work I love.

Find Ronnie

Coming up! Ronnie will be joining my 2nd Thursday chat group, October 12th, 6:30 pm CST, on . Answering questions around time management and more! Please join us, it is always a fun and interesting time :-D
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