Q & A on Art Licensing – How to Present Artwork


We receive lots and lots of questions from artists, and some questions and responses touch on important subjects for any and all artists who wish to promote and license their artwork. Here’s one recent query, and my response:

Q – My question deals with targeting certain business for licensing. What is the best way to grab a potential client’s attention? Postcards, a packet mailed that focuses on that client’s needs? What do you find really works here? Sometimes it seems like you have to have an inside connection or it is just not going to work.

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A – Sending artwork ‘cold’ to an info@ or creative@ address isn’t an ideal way to get artwork into the hands of the right people at the company you want to have pick up your artwork for product.

Don’t Bother With Mailed Submissions

As for sending materials cold through the mail, that rarely if ever works as such submissions take the recipient a lot of time to process (unless they go right into the trash) and most everyone has moved over to digital submissions.

Most companies that used to be inundated with mailed submissions have either reassigned the personnel who handled that continual inflow, or have let them go.

Personal Relationships Are The Way To Go

While your initial goal is the opening of the door at the company leading to a license for the use of your artwork, what you really want to develop is a close, friendly, personal working relationship with the key person or persons at the company.

You would ideally build that relationship over the years and it would lead to a steady run of licenses with the company and thus a steady source of quarterly royalty income as well.

It’s that personal relationship with the right person that’s essential.

How Do You Get There?

There are several pretty good ways. You meet them at trade shows, generally those at which you exhibit and where the representatives of the companies come to you looking for possible new art for their products.

You don’t usually meet them at shows that you just visit and walk around, because those are selling shows. The people in the booths or showrooms might be just sales staff, and they might not be all that excited about taking time to speak with an artist.

You see, what they really want to do is be available for new or active clients so they can write orders for product. Still, you can always ask a person in a booth whom you should contact at the company to send in new art for licensing. Ask for a specific name; even better is a name with an email address and/or phone number.

Cold Calls Are A Long Shot, But Sometimes Open The Door

Another thing you can do is to call a company and tell the person who picks up what your name is and that you’d like to speak with the creative or licensing director. Work your charm and get through to a person at whatever level. Be sure to get the key person’s name and email address, and you’re good to go.

Follow up that contact with an email, perhaps with a few low-res jpg’s of your best images or those you consider might be most suitable for that company. Ask who in the company normally screens new art for consideration. Do they have a licensing director? If so, what is his or her name and email address? Then take it from there.

You can always network and ask friends and associates in the industry whom you should contact at such-and-such company. It’s that specific name and email address that you want to score. That’s the first step, the doorway you need to find to get into that company. You have to know whom to contact and how if you’re ever going to build a strong licensing relationship.

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(c) Lance J. Klass. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reproduced without the expressed written permission of the author.

For information about copying all or part of this article, contact the author at art@porterfieldsfineart.com

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2 Responses to “Q & A on Art Licensing – How to Present Artwork on “Q & A on Art Licensing – How to Present Artwork”

  • Hi, i’m doing research on art licensing for a class of mine am i allowed to use some of this information and cite your work? I can’t seem to find a lot of information about this topic I keep getting art licensing companies.

  • You can quote from any of my articles just as you would from any written source, so long as you use proper attribution.

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