SURTEX - the premier event for selling and licensing art and design

Art Licensing

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SURTEX conference program – a great way to learn about art licensing

Do you ever wish you could learn about the art licensing business from a variety of people with decades of experience?  Well… you can!

Each year SURTEX puts on 3 days of classes touching on a wide variety of aspects of the art licensing business.  From basics for artists to more in-depth information about contracts.  They have classes on specific industries, how to find an agent and more.

I will be speaking on a panel on Sunday -

Monetizing Your Art II: Advance Business Strategies
Sunday, May 17, 11:00am – 12:30pm

Once you’re up and running, gain essential insight into the way you need to fuel your business in all areas- marketing, promotion, sales, presentation,trade shows and portfolio management. How much of your business should be licensed? Is one better off selling work?  What role does an agent play? An attorney? A must seminar for any and all who want to make sure they do the right things to position themselves for the challenges ahead.

SURTEX class - 2015


Conference Program Costs:

  • Pre-Show: $890 April 7 –  May 16
    Onsite: $1000
  • Individual Sessions:
    Pre-Show, $90  Onsite, $100
  • Full conference program purchase includes a show badge, individual sessions do not provide access to the show floor.

CLICK HERE to see all of the details and register 

Interested in attending SURTEX?  Here are the details (taken from their website)


Show admission is FREE to qualified attendees (art buyers/licensees) who register by 11:59pm on Saturday, May 16, 2015.  Onsite, the registration fee for qualified, first-time attendees is $60.  Returning attendees who did not register in advance will be charged $25 onsite.

Suppliers to the trade and non-exhibiting designers, design studio/agents will be charged a $495 admission fee through 11:59pm on Saturday, May 16, and $595 onsite.

Registration will close at 11:59pm on Saturday, May 16.  Please register onsite after this date.


  • Company ID: at least two of the following
    • Active website address through which company/business can be validated
    • Business advertisement in trade publication
    • Product or company catalog, brochure, sell sheets
    • Press release on business letterhead about company, brands, product
  • Employee ID:
    • Must have: Personalized imprinted business card, with company name, title
    • Plus one of the following:
      • Copy of cancelled company payroll check or pay-check stub
      • Copy of w-2 form
      • Company credit card with both employee’s and company’s name
      • Copy of company insurance card with employee’s name


Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

Agency insights: Pure Illustration

Occasionally art licensing agents will contact me to be added to the list of agents and contact info on this blog. (You’ve seen the page, right?  Look at the tabs at the top!)  I also offer for the agencies to give me some information to post about what they do and who they are looking for.  They DO NOT look at the comments on my posts for new artists – if you are interested in submitting work to them, please use the contact information at the end of the post.

Here is some background about Pure Illustration out of the UK…

Pure Illustration has been representing artists in the Greetings Card and Gift Products industry since 2006 but their pedigree goes back much further. Founder and Managing Director Richard Patey started his career selling textile pattern designs to high profile individuals such as Tommy Hilfiger and Donna Karen in 1997 when he lived and worked in New York. Since then Pure Illustration have become one of the best known licensing agencies in the UK, although much of their business comes from the USA where Richard still has many contacts and friends.

Pure Illustration license artwork to big name publishers such as Hallmark, American Greetings and Papyrus but they also work with many smaller companies around the world. Artists who are represented by Pure Illustration could see their artwork on Greetings Cards, Gift Bags, Gift Wrap, Stationery, Framed Art, Ceramics, Placemats and Knapkins and even in magazines and other publications. Pure work with a wide range of clients through their staff of experienced and dedicated art agents.Pure Illustation portfolio shot

Pure Illustration currently represent 50+ artists from all over the world but due to the high demand their customers have for original artwork they are always looking to work with new talent. Advice and feedback is available through their Art Director and the art agents and assistance is always given for commissions and major projects. Pure’s artists receive monthly briefs but there are no minimum submission rules and most of Pure’s artists submit what they can when they can. Although of course the sales team at Pure have more chance of making sales when there is more art being presented. If Pure Illustration make a sale the artist or illustrator can expect to receive between 65 – 75% of the agreed fee, which is a great commission rate in this business.

Pure are looking for talented artists and illustrators who understand the traditional content required in the gift product category but who can approach the subjects and themes in an original and appealing style.


Pure Illustration Contact information:

AgentLogos-PureIllustrationPure Illustration
Units 6&7 Huffwood Manor Estate, High Street
Partridge Green, West Sussex RH13 8AU,
United Kingdom
+44 (0)1403 713778
Contact: Richard Patey, Owner / Agent

Here’s to your creative success!
– Tara Reed

Who is ready to take their art licensing business knowledge to the next level?

I’m excited to see who raises their hand and says “Yes!  I’m ready!” by enrolling in the June 2015 Art Licensing Academy.  This will be the fourth academy and each one has a unique yet amazing vibe.

I’m currently working with a handful of awesome artists getting ready to exhibit at SURTEX and the Licensing Expo.  The Trade Show Academy is a four month program and we have been going deep – not just about the how-to’s of booth design and marketing but also the internal work of managing stress and crisis’ of confidence as the shows approach.

On the horizon, as the title of this post implies, is another Art Licensing Academy.  It’s a four week class with lecture-style calls, Q&A, a private Facebook group where you can also ask questions and get feedback not only from me but from others in the class.

Artists who commit by May 2nd get some extra goodies… here is what a few past participants have to say…

Art Licensing Academy - feedback from artistsLearn more and save your spot at today!

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed


Ask Paul Brent call & SURTEX review is next month!

On May 27, 2015, our most anticipated Art Licensing Ask Call of each year will take place.  Paul Brent will be doing his fabulous SURTEX trend review for the first half and answering questions the second half…

This is where WE NEED YOU… we need your questions to make these calls great.

Paul Brent answers questions about art licensing and provides a SURTEX trend reviewSince both Paul and I will be exhibiting at SURTEX the week before the call, we would so appreciate you sending us some great questions NOW and not waiting till the last minute.  (I’ll beg… do I need to beg?  Please don’t make me beg…)  Many artists are surprised to learn that while we often have 100+ artists calling in and listening live, I also often receive only 10-15 questions.  We need more to make sure there is variety so can choose a group of topics that will help you better understand the business.

It’s simple – in the box below, please enter your name and email and a question that you have about how the art licensing business works.  It can be anything from art to marketing to business practices… what do YOU want to know?


Thank you in advance for getting us your questions asap and we look forward to the call in May!

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

The next Art Licensing Academy starts in June – who wants to get serious about their art licensing business?


The Art Licensing Academy is a Group Coaching Program that allows artists access to information, support and inspiration at the fraction of the cost of private coaching.

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 and the next session begins on Wednesday, June 3, 2015

By working together for 4 weeks we are able to cover a lot of how-to’s as well as personal development and mindset concepts that are the backbone of a sustainable business.  You will get answers to your questions and learn from questions asked by others as well.  Our private Facebook group is an amazing way to stay connected and supported throughout the program and beyond as well.

Bottom line:  It’s affordable and effective.  (You get more than you pay for!) Why not join our next class?

Learn more and save your spot at

But don’t take my word for it, here are a few comments from past students:

“The real value I found in this class was in the private Facebook group. The class and Q&A were great but Tara really went above and beyond answering questions, giving feedback and more in the private group too.”
– Kaitlyn Goodey,

“Thank you so much for sharing, I hear the authenticity in your voice – bringing both the personal side (real life) along with the down to biz side together and how it can work! I’m starting to look at things differently.”

– Ara Atkinson-Skinner,

testimonial - Rachel PlaceI can’t say how much I love your class so far you are a great instructor and motivator.  Thank you for planting the seed and making me think so much about my brand – I have updated my logo and website to better represent who I am, what I do and where I want my business to go.”

– Rachel Place,


“I want to see my “Art on Stuff”, and I believe Tara is the best Teacher to learn from (I did a big search on this, she licenses a lot and knows of what she speaks).  The private Facebook group is priceless, it’s like being in a real Class and Tara does not miss a question. Believe me.  You will finish this course and ask Her to make a second level class about Art Licensing.”
– Deborah Faenza | Super cute illustrations,

Read more testimonials and save your spot at

Have you listened to all 21 hours of FREE art licensing info?

Since December 2008, I have hosted 51 Art Licensing Info Ask Calls.  That’s 51 hours of experts from the industry answering questions submitted by artists like you.  Of those 51 calls, 21 were with different experts and 30 were with experts who came back again.

Every call is free if you listen live. (And yes – I understand that for artists in Europe – the timing of “live” is not ideal.)  The first call with any new expert is also free – forever.  That means there are 21 hours worth of information available to you – all you have to do is head to and register for the audios you want.

21 hours of free art licensing infoHere’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed


How licensing your art is like owning beach-front property.

If you’ve lived away from home, you understand there are a few ways to get shelter.  (If you still live with mom & dad, there will be a double lesson for you here!)

First, you decide between a house, an apartment or condo.  Then do you rent or do you buy?  When you are making these decisions, you are in essence, acting like a manufacturer who needs art to go on their products.  Do they buy the art or do they rent – renting being the art equivalent to licensing.

Sell vs license artNow let’s put you in the artists shoes.  Your art is now beach-front property.  You need some money so you have two choices – sell the house, pocket the money and walk away.  Or, rent the house.


If you rent the house, you don’t get as much money up front.  You have to find people who like the property and will agree to pay you money to use it for a set period of time.  If you have a nice house, you might have checks rolling in all year!  And the best part?  You still own the house so you have the potential to use it to make money for years to come!

That is the basic difference between selling your art and licensing your art.

If you sell your art it’s like selling the house. One person buys it.  They now own it and you need to find or create a new house (or more art).

If you license your art, it’s like renting the house. Lots of people can pay for the chance to use the house (or art)- your money just comes in over time.  But you still own it.

Of course there is a bit more involved in renting a house or licensing art than in selling.  If you sell, there is one contract and you are done.  No need to keep track and make sure nothing overlaps.  No need to make sure you are actually being paid as agreed to.  If the work involved in renting or licensing is overwhelming, that is when you look for an agent to handle it for you.  And agent, both in homes and art, takes care of the marketing and contracts in exchange for a percentage of the profits.  They are your partner and share in the success – be in small or large – of your property (beach-front or artistic).

Each artist will make their own choice about how to earn an income from their art. There is no right or wrong way, just the way that makes the most sense to them at the time.

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

How the World Sees YOU – book review

One thing I love about social media is stumbling across new books, resources, vacation ideas and inspiration.  A few weeks ago Michelle McCullough posted a photo from the book, How the World Sees YOU [affiliate link] by Sally Hogshead, on instagram.  I was attracted to it immediately because I liked the infographic. (It isn’t in the book, I think she heard the author speak – I hope to one day!)

Different is Better than Better

Since one of my favorite things is learning more about what makes people tick and for that matter, what makes me tick, I was intrigued.  I immediately ordered the book and devoured it when it came in.

This is the first book that I’ve seen that focuses on helping you determine how the world sees you, instead of how you see the world or how you think and react.

Not only does it give you insights (after you take an online quiz) but it also talks about how to use this potentially new knowledge to market yourself, connect with others in a better and more meaningful way and more.

It’s a personal development book and business and marketing book all in one, and it’s an important thing to consider.  When you look at how many artists are trying to get into licensing and how many options manufacturers have when choosing art, what are the differentiating factors?  One would hope the look and style each artist brings to the table would be different but often there are more than one with a similar look and feel and always more than one option that would work as well as the other.

So then what?  It’s the person (YOU) and the relationship that can come into play.

People can outdo your strengths. But nobody can outdo who you are.  Your personality is the only aspect of your work that nobody can copy. – Sally Hogshead

Book Recommendation - How the World Sees YouLet me ask you this – how much of your personality is in your business or how you are doing business?  And are you leading with the things that stand out the most to others or with the things YOU think stand out the most?  For me, it’s the latter and I plan on looking at how to shift that a bit.

I’ve been leading with my business background and savvy – feeling it was a differentiator for me.  It is, and the way I look at and see things IS different than many others.  But after going through this book, taking the quiz and thinking about the feedback I’ve received over the years, I realize it isn’t my BIGGEST strength.  According to the book, my two primary advantages are PASSION (relationships) and INNOVATION (creativity).  (Making my personality archetype “The Catalyst” of the 49 options) After thinking about it I realized that while both artists and clients appreciate my business sense, I get more positive feedback about HOW I RELATE IT – how my personality, passion and honesty come through as a key factor in what draws people to learn from me or license from me.

While it wasn’t a huge surprise, it definitely got me thinking about how I can strengthen what I’m doing in my business.  Perhaps it can help you too!  If you take the quiz, I’d love to know where you fall on the personality types and what you think of it!

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

P.S.  If you like this sort of thing, I also highly recommend Strength Finders 2.o by Tom Rath and Your Emotional Fingerprint by Woody Woodward. (both are affiliate links) With all three you will find your strengths, the things that make you feel important (and therefore why certain things might push your buttons) AND how the world sees you.  You will be unstoppable!


Ask Call with Cathy Heck replay is yours for free!

Cathy Heck talks about art licensingWe had a great chat with artist Cathy Heck – I loved how much she shared about how to “breed help” for your business yet not let them come to work for you right away… seemed like a great balance of getting on-the-job experience before joining the family business. She also shared tips on balancing work and family, her favorite family dinner table game…

In addition to giving us a peek into her 30+ year career in art and art licensing, we had time for a few questions submitted by artists. (Thank you to all who submitted and we are sorry we couldn’t get to them all!)

Here are some things we covered:

  • How did you know you were a serious artist?
  • What three habits do we need to be successful in art licensing?
  • How do you prioritize your time between projects and family?
  • How should I approach the market as a new freelance artist?
  • What can you tell me about royalty rates and advances?
  • How can we learn about and break into art licensing if we can’t afford to exhibit at a trade show yet?

If you get the emails about the Ask Calls, you should have one in your inbox with a link to get your free audio.  If not, please fill out the form below to get your copy.

Here is a list of places Cathy suggested to learn more about art licensing – in no particular order:

ask Paul Brent about art licensingNEXT UP… Paul Brent with his SURTEX trend review!  He will also answer questions so PLEASE, let us know what you want to know!

Submit questions at

DID YOU KNOW… there are 21 hours of free audios with 21 experts available?  Go to

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

Exhibiting at SURTEX? Mark your calendar for my webinar this Thursday, 3/12/15

SURTEX, the premiere event for selling and licensing original art & design, has a great series of webinars for exhibitors to help them get ready for the show.  This Thursday I will be presenting “5 Tips for Bringing Your A-Game to the Show Floor”.  These are ONLY for registered exhibitors but if you are registered, check out the remaining webinars and take advantage of as many as you can.  Click here to register and I hope to talk to you Thursday!

SURTEX exhibitor webinar - March 2015


Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

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