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Jim Carrey’s Secret of Life

This has been going around Facebook and Jennifer Pugh brought it to my attention – on the absolute perfect day for me!  I SO NEEDED this reminder – it is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day drama, decisions, fear of the present and future, questioning the past… our brains really are  amazing and can work for us or against us if we let them run wild.

So today – take a few minutes and watch this video… stop everything else you are doing.  Listen, watch and breathe.  Nothing else.  It’s only 3 minutes – you can do it and I promise – it’s worth it.

Here’s to your creative success.

– Tara Reed

Ready… Aim… Art Licensing!

Wait!  Fire!  Or is it “Ready. Fire. Aim.”?

In this video I talk about the 4 basic types of artists and how they relate to these three words – READY. AIM. FIRE.

Artist #1:

Are you a traditionalist?  Get Ready.  Take Aim.  Then Fire.  Hopefully assess how it went then start over…

Artist #2:

Or, do you go with Ready. Fire. Aim.  Take action before you might feel really ready, but then really look at what happened and calibrate your aim.

Either of these can be very effective for an artist building their business.  The next two methods are a little more precarious….

Artist #3:

Ready… ready… A-I-M… no, not ready… ready…. AIM…  - this is like the young child learning to dive into the pool that keeps thinking they are ready and stops at the last minute.  They can’t quite take the plung.

Artist #4:

The last artist spends a LOT of time AIM-ing…  they have to take every class, read every blog post, talk to anyone who will talk to them… they end up with so many opinions they don’t know what to do so they aim some more.  There is no action.  They go in circles – many times for years.

Watch this video to listen to more of my musings on the subject.  Then take a look at what you have been doing lately and decide if it is to your benefit or if some calibration would be helpful.

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

P.S.  In the Art Licensing Academy – I teach you to get ready, aim and FIRE!

My goal is to help artists take productive action – action that is well thought out and relevant but doesn’t take years to execute.  We start on October 8, 2014 and if you register by Sept 20th – you get 3 of my favorite books as an added bonus.  Learn more at

Art Licensing Academy - October 2014 early-bird bonus

FAQ: CMYK vs RGB colors – what is an artist to do?

I remember when I started licensing my art, I got very confused about this whole RGB vs CMYK color issue – it isn’t something we ever discussed in marketing class!  I assume many of you who have a degree or training in art were less perplexed by this – but I get questions pretty regularly about it so I thought I’d do a little post about color – as I understand them.  Feel free to add to my and everyone elses knowledge in the comments!

Pink Floyd - dark side of the moon album coverCMYK stands for Cyan (a pale blue) Magenta (a hot pink), Yellow, and Key (or black).  It is called “subtractive color” because it starts with something white – often paper – and filters out wavelengths by applying ink to the paper.  (Remember physics? Yes, it is coming back to haunt you! Don’t remember it?  How about Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album cover – not just pretty, it has meaning!)

RGB stands for Red, Green, and Blue.  RGB is “additive color” because it starts with black – or the absence of light – and adds light in colors as needed.

Computer monitors use RGB while most printers that print on paper use CMYK.

You might still be scratching your head and saying, “Tara, this is fascinating but still leaves me in the dark about what to do with my art if I want to license it.”

My answer: ask your clients.

Here is how I handle color – and I’m sure someone will jump in and tell me that I’m wrong but I’m just telling you what I do – my scanner scans in RGB and I like the way colors look on my monitor in RGB.  I create everything in RGB.

When I work with a new client, one of my first questions is, “What color mode do you need my art in, RGB or CMYK?”  Then I remember which manufacturer wants what and deliver the files appropriately.

But what happens when you move your art between color modes?

If you work in Photoshop, you might think it’s as simple as going to the IMAGE menu, clicking MODE and changing from RGB to CMYK.  Depending on the colors in your art, this could work with little visible differene or really change the way your art looks.

Certain colors – blue in particular – really change when you make them CMYK.  Below is an example of a blue square I created in an RGB space – nice and bright!  I then put it in a new file and simply changed the color mode to CMYK.  See how drastically it changed?  Pretty significant!

Color is a huge issue in art and printing and will vary by the factory doing the printing, what is being printed on – paper, ceramic, fabric, etc.  There are no easy solutions.

Here are some suggestions to make color – and your clients – your art’s best friend:

  • Think about the end printing process when you create if possible.  If you know you are designing something for a company that needs art in CMYK, know that the brilliant blue you paint won’t be quite so bright in the end.  Be willing to accept some changes – it’s the nature of the business.
  • Get some Pantone color fans. 
  • When I design for ceramics, rugs or some fabrics, a few clients ask me to give them the closest Pantone Fashion and Home color matches (TPX) to my art.  So I paint, then sit with the fan and place colors next to them to make my choices.  It helps them communicate color with the factory and get the best results.
  • The Color Bridge fan is helpful to see how colors will change from RGB to CMYK since they have the swatches side by side.  You can get more technical if you have the “coated” or “uncoated” fans to see how the colors work on coated or uncoated paper.
  • Learn more at
  • Really controlling and picking colors is easier if you are a digital artist who creates on the computer.  Artists like myself who paint by hand and scan have to understand that the colors may shift a little more.  The important thing is to remember that your client’s goal is to get it looking as good as possible – that is what will make it sell.  So I pay attention to color, but I don’t obsess about it.

Hopefully this helps… now all you color experts, chime in in the comments and teach us more!

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed


Keep moving…

Some days you may feel like you are stuck in quicksand and others like you could run a marathon… that’s just how it goes.  The most important thing?  KEEP MOVING.

What will you do TODAY to move your art business forward?

Here are 5 ideas:

  1. Start a new art collection.
  2. Look at art you have and see if you can add things to make it a collection that would work well for licensing.
  3. Submit your art to a manufacturer.
  4. Follow up with a company you have shown your art to.
  5. Look at your website and make sure it makes a great first impression.  If it doesn’t – change it.

Quote - Martin Luther King

License 2 Grow – who wants to spend a day at Lake Tahoe talking about art licensing?

It’s the best of both worlds… gorgeous location and my favorite topic.  It has been years since I’ve been to Incline Village, NV – on the edge of Lake Tahoe.  My parents lived there for about 8 years before moving to Reno and now Portland… I have lots of fond memories of the amazing views and not-as-fond memories of some issues I had with the altitude. (I live at sea level so it’s an adjustment!)

I’m excited to be going back in October to do an all day art licensing event – License 2 Grow – with agent Kimberly Montgomery. Who is going to join us?


Date: Sunday, October 19, 2014

Time: 9 am – 4 pm

Who:  Artists wanting to spend a day in-person learning about how to make art licensing a part of their creative business

You can get all the details and save your spot at  Remember – if you register by 9/20 you can also join the Art Licensing Academy for 1/2 off AND get in on the 3 extra free books I’m offering for artists who register for that group coaching program by the same date.

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

A contest for flooring contractors…

So I have a floor I would like to have replaced in my house.  It’s one of the surfaces we have yet to touch.  I’ve decided to run a contest for contractors who do flooring in Portland to win the chance to replace it.

Here are the rules of the contest:

  1. Any interested contractor should contact me, come measure the space and then put forth their best ideas.
  2. The contractor must have all of their licenses and insurance in order to qualify.
  3. They should share their design concepts on social media and use #flooringContest when posting.
  4. Samples of the materials to be used, are to be submitted in person.
  5. The winner will be allowed to replace my flooring, free of charge, in exchange for lots of rave reviews on Yelp, Facebook, Twitter and the like.

Seriously… who would enter this contest?  NO ONE.  That is why you don’t see them out there.

But there seems to be a culture of art contests that just keeps growing and growing.  The most recent – that has gotten a lot of attention – is the art contest that Showtime is holding for the upcoming fight between Mayweather vs Maidana that will take place on September 13th.  Apparently they emailed information to some artists that they admired in an effort to get them to enter the contest.

fight contest

One artist, Dan Cassaro, replied and his response has gone viral.  It has started an important conversation, in my mind, about art contests.

Dan Cassaro’s response to Showtime was as follows:

Thanks for your thinking of me for this! Glad you are digging my style!

It is with great sadness that I must decline your enticing offer to work for you for free. I know that boxing matches in Las Vegas are extremely low-budget affairs, especially ones with nobodies like Floyd “Money” Mayweather. I heard he only pulled in 80 million for his last fight! I also understand that “mom and pop” cable channel like Showtime must rely on handouts just to keep the lights on these days. Thanks a lot, Obama! My only hope is that you can scrape up a few dollars from this grassroots event at the MGM Grand to put yourself back in the black. If that happens you might consider using some of that money to compensate people to doing the thing they are professionally trained to do.


Of course this isn’t the good PR Showtime had hoped for so a spokesperson made the following statement:

Showtime is a strong supporter of artists around the world. This contest, like many others, is entirely optional. Under the contest guidelines, those who choose to submit their art are eligible for a grand prize of a Las Vegas trip, in addition to invaluable national exposure across multiple platforms.

I found this response and you can read more about it on BuzzFeed

Once again – many, many artists will enter this contest for a chance to get a trip to Las Vegas and gain “invaluable national exposure”.  Good for Dan – he is getting national exposure by calling a spade a spade.

Is there anything illegal about what Showtime is doing?  Of course not.  It’s a marketing plan to get people excited and sharing about the fight – and to get some free work.  And as long as artists are willing to do this sort of thing for the free exposure, they will continue to exist.  We live, after all, in a free market economy.  If it works and everyone agrees – it’s ok.

But what is the cost to professional artists?

Our value and services are deemed less valuable.  I’ve seen it in the art licensing industry as well.  If a company can run a contest for art and the winner gets 6 free samples and the company gets free art for products, why license or buy art?  Just hold a contest.

Does this mean I’ve never entered a contest where I too, had to try and drive traffic to a site to get votes?  No.  Just last year I entered the Chase Mission Main Street Grant contest in the hopes of winning a $250,000 grant.  I got the votes and got a chance for the money…. but I didn’t win.  I learned that I don’t like begging for votes in the hopes of getting money or exposure and won’t likely do it again.

I think this whole model is something to think about.  The next time you decide to take a deal “for exposure” – think about the true cost – not only to you but to all the artists in the industry.  Is it really worth it – or would things improve if more of us acted like Dan Cassaro and said “NO” – understanding the value we bring to the table?

Food for thought…

– Tara Reed

Never Stop Learning…

Quote - Never Stop Learning

Live in the present, look to and believe in your future but don’t forget to take a moment to acknowledge and celebrate what you have accomplished thus far…

Be a life long learner.  Change is constant:  be observant, watch and learn how to adapt and thrive.

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

how 20 seconds of courage can change your life and your business…

I’ve been an on again  - off again subscriber to SUCCESS Magazine over the past few years and a follower of it’s creator, Darren Hardy.  I really shouldn’t go “off” as the magazine and accompanying CD is always full of great ideas and inspiring stories about people who have been successful in business and life.  But my letting my subscription drop from time to time isn’t the topic of today’s post!

Darren Hardy started a program – similar to the Art Licensing Info Staycation but on a much larger scale – called Darren Daily.  Every week day for a year he sends out a video, or audio or quick food for thought that you can consume in 2 minutes or less, and then an action to take.

This week began with the video below – about courage.  We all have things we fear doing from time to time that will benefit our business… we don’t want to pick up the phone and make a call, we’d rather sit safely behind an email.  We don’t want to go to that networking event, we don’t want to put ourselves out there for fear of rejection… EVERYONE struggles with fear on some level at some time.  And some days it’s worse than others.

I love what Darren talks about here – and the science behind it.

The ANTICIPATION of doing something you are uncomfortable doing is usually worse than the ACTION – if you look at the physiology of your body.

You are under more stress thinking about picking up the phone than in making the call.  So watch the video and remember that the next time you are getting anxiety thinking about something you know you should do.  Give your body a break and just get it done!

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

3 ways to uplevel your art licensing business in September & October

Wowie is fall looking like fun!  I am going to be doing 3 different events in September and October that give you several ways to uplevel your art licensing business – the question is, are you ready?

September 27-28, 2014 – School House Craft – Live Conference in Seattle, WA

School House Craft fall conference for artists - Seattle WAThis is the 5th year of the School House Craft program and I’m honored and excited to be participating!  There will be two days of focused small business classes and workshops led by some of the community’s most knowledgeable and inspirational speakers along with many opportunities expand your network and connect with your peers.

The 2014 School House Craft Conference will be held at the Sunset Hill Community Club – a beautifully restored two-story Arts & Crafts style clubhouses located in the heart of the friendly Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, WA.

I will be teaching an intro to art licensing class on Sunday and a Goal Wheel for Artists class on Saturday.  In addition, I will be hosting one (or two?) lunch roundtables and of course hanging out and having fun.

This conference isn’t just about art licensing – I’m one little piece of the puzzle.  It is for:  Artists, Crafters and Makers, both emerging and experienced, who are looking to invest in their businesses and learn a wealth of information that will help them start, run, and grow their small creative businesses more efficiently and with greater success.

Live in the Northwest and want to learn more?  Visit


 Art Licensing Academy – next group coaching program starts October 8, 2014

Art Licensing Academy group coaching program with Tara ReedThe next Art Licensing Academy is open for registration!  We meet on Wednesday and Fridays in October (if you can’t listen live, everything is recorded so no worries!)

Succeeding in art licensing – or any business for that matter – requires more than just the core skills or talent.  In art licensing, the “core skills” would obviously be artistic talent.  If you have the talent, you then need to learn how to apply it in a way that works for products.  You need to learn to see trends and decide if they make sense for your style and focus.  I consider the core skills the art related skills.

Beyond the core skills, you need business skills -  sales & marketing, building and nurturing relationships, understanding and negotiating contracts, etc.

But don’t forget about your “personal” core.  Without understanding yourself and what motivates you and what might make you sabotage yourself, you won’t have everything you need to maximize your success.

I have designed the Art Licensing Academy to support you and help you grow in all three of these areas.

There are free bonuses for artists who sign up by September 20th.  Get all the details and save your spot at

License 2 Grow – Live Event – October 20, 2014 in Kings Beach, CA (Lake Tahoe!) with Tara Reed & agent Kimberly Montgomery

License 2 Grow - art licensing event with Tara Reed and Kimberly MontgomeryTara Reed & Agent Kimberly Montgomery of Montage Licensing have teamed up to create a day long event for artists looking to dig in and get serious about licensing their art. Their combined 30+ years of experience in the industry – Kimberly as an artist and now an agent and Tara as an artist and educator – ensures you will leave with a solid plan for what to do next and a the excitement to make it happen!

This event is for artists who are ready to step up their game. If you have an open mind, are ready to learn and then take action – we’d love to have you join us!

Artists who register for the License 2 Grow event by September 20th can also join the Art Licensing Academy – for half off!  Details are on the website at

 SO… who’s in?  I’d love to have you at one, two or even all three – the choice is up to you!

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

What do you see?

Quote - What you see

Personally, I think both what you look at  as well as what you see are crucial…

What you focus on AND how you interpret it – or what you see – will have a big impact on your life and your business.

Some food for thought… for the rest of the day I invite you to be aware of what you are looking at / focusing on and how you “see” it.  Is there another way that would make your life easier, happier, more peaceful?  Does one view make you anxious and another make you hopeful?

Shift your focus to improve your life.

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed


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