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

Art Licensing

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Art Licensing Trade Show Academy – limited space available

After many conversations with artists who have taken my Art Licensing Academy and others, I have decided to offer an Art Licensing Trade Show Academy.

Art Licensing Trade Show Academy with Tara ReedThe Art Licensing Trade Show Academy is a 4 month,  Small Group Coaching Program for artists who will be exhibiting at an art licensing show in 2015.   There will be a limit of 12 participants in the group to maximize the value for those who step up.

The Trade Show Academy will allow artists access to information, support and accountability at the fraction of the cost of private coaching.  Artists need to apply for the program – applications will be reviewed in a timely fashion.

75-80% of my clients and my income are a DIRECT RESULT of trade shows.

After 12 years and exhibiting at nearly 20 shows, I have learned a few things.  I have created the Art Licensing Trade Show Academy to share my knowledge with a small group of artists who are committed to showing up and playing full out.  Is that you?  – Tara Reed

The Academy is already half full – if this is something you are interested, apply sooner rather than later and if you look like a fit, register before all the spots are taken.

You can learn more about how it will work and apply at
Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

Pantone Color of the Year 2015: Marsala

Drum roll please… (if you haven’t seen 15 posts about this already of course) – Pantone’s color of the year is Marsala!

Pantone Color of the year - 2015


As usual, it is being met with mixed reviews.  Some love it, some hate it.  Some think it’s old fashioned, others think it’s drab.  However, the color of the year always shows up in fashion, gift & home decor…

The question is:  Will you use the color of the year or skip it?  And how will you decide?

Artists are always looking for the hot new trend – whether it’s a theme, style or color.  Will it be the key to profitable licensing deals?  Can I spot trends at the beginning and ride the wave to riches?  Can I be a trend-setter?  Trends, trends trends.

Don’t be a trend junkie.  Not all trends will work for all artists.

Here are three things to consider before jumping on a trend:

1.  Does the trend make sense for your art?

Not all trends should be adopted by all artists.  If everyone created all of their art around a color, things would get a bit boring.  Some colors won’t make sense either and if you try to force a color into your work just because it’s the hot color (or theme or pattern) – it probably won’t work well.  For example, I don’t see artists who traditionally work in soft color palettes doing a lot with Marsala.

2.  How much will you use?

If you decide that yes, you like the color and it makes sense, the next thing to consider is quantity.  Will you bet your entire portfolio on this trend or just one collection.  Will it be a focus or an accent?  There are many ways to incorporate a trend – decide what resonates and makes sense to you.

3.  What process will you go through before adding it to your portfolio?

Every artist has a different way of working.  Some wake up, feel inspired and follow that inspiration.  Others are more methodical, doing research to see what is in the marketplace and then deciding how they can add their unique contributions.  Will you jump wildly or make a plan?  Will you talk to clients about what they think of the color or add it to your portfolio and show that you are “up on trends”.  I don’t know that there is a right or wrong way, but have you ever even thought about what YOUR WAY is?

Personally, I like Marsala and think it makes sense for my art, themes and color schemes I’m known for. You will see it in my portfolio and hopefully on my licensed products.  I still need to decide how much, when and where…

What do you think?  Will you use it or ignore it?  Would love your feedback in the comments!

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

P.S.  CLICK HERE to read Pantone’s big reveal post about Marsala…

Professional Artist Magazine

I am beyond honored to be included in the December 2014 / January 2015 issue of Professional Artist Magazine.  The magazine has a lot of great advice for artists of all kinds – from revamping your artist statement to acing your next art show… Writing a strategic plan, how to hire an art coach and more.

Professional Artist Magazine - Tara Reed

My article about art licensing includes contributions from Paul Brent, Jennifer Pugh, Jane Shasky, Stephanie Burgess and Alicia Dauber of Licensing Liaison.  If people look at you and scratch their heads not understanding what it is you do or are trying to do – you can hand them the article and get them up to speed.  If you are new to the concept, grab a copy for yourself!

I’m excited to read the rest of the magazine – I have yet to fully understand what an “Artist Statement” is quite frankly – my marketing degree is showing again!

I found a copy at my local Barnes & Noble.  You can check other bookstores or find it online at

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

What does health have to do with creativity?

If you’ve been following along this year, you may have noticed that I’ve been talking a bit about self care, healthy habits and some major changes I’ve been making to my life.  With my dad slowly fading before my eyes, I’ve begun looking at things a little differently.  My family never would have expected my dad to be gone in this way, at the age of 73.  He’s 75 and still alive – but he rarely knows who we are and when he talks, he doesn’t make a lot of sense.  So “here” in a physical sense, but no longer the vibrant, funny, intelligent man that raised me.

This shift has made me look at my own life.  Am I taking care of my health and body?  Putting things off and wishing for things in the future instead of embracing and enjoying the present?  Death and illness makes you get pretty philosophical – let me assure you!

Since January I have been making changes in what I eat and how I exercise.  And I’ve fallen off the healthy habit wagon and gotten back on a few times – I am human after all and a big emotional eater… and as you can imagine, there is a lot of “emotion” around a father’s journey with Alzheimer’s.

I’ve also been looking at the connections between health, creativity and business.

The success of any art business depends on the artist or artists creating the work. ART and the creative process are the foundations upon which everything is built.

Contrary to popular belief, most successful artists are NOT depressed or suffering from mental health issues. Starving should not be the benchmark by which artists measure their success. In the 21st century, let’s embrace and celebrate the value of our creativity! Abundance – whether that means money, freedom, flexibility or anything else – is out there for the taking. The key is to tap into what makes sense for you and your business.

A little over a year ago, my acupuncturist suggested I try doTerra essential oils.  She has had me use oils before but told me this brand is the best quality she has found and she now uses them exclusively in her practice.  She is one of those people I trust implicitly so I gave them a try.  Smelled good… and then other amazing things started to happen.  I was sleeping better, stress levels were down, digestive issues improving… it was exciting!

Many of the people in my group coaching program with Tiffany Peterson were involved in doTerra so I was able to learn a lot about the oils and the business and continued to try things for myself.  About 6 months ago, I decided these products were too good to keep to myself so I began sharing them with others – and they started getting some pretty cool results too.  I have a website dedicated to doTerra but wanted to tell you about it too – my goal is to help artists and creative people learn how to use these all natural, therapeutic grade oils and supplements to stay healthy, improve health and energy so they can focus on their creative genius.

drop into creativity with Tara Reed and doTerra essential oilsI have created a pdf, Strategies to Improve Your Health & Creativity to Help Grow Your Creative Business, that gives tips anyone can use – whether you have or want to try essential oils or not.  It will only cost you your name and email and you will receive three more emails with more ideas you can use.  If you decide the oils sound interesting and you want more information, please reach out! I’d love to share what I have learned and help you implement them into your life. If not, that’s fine too – there are still some good ideas here that you can use to take care of yourself and grow your business.

Want the FREE REPORT?  Click here to sign up

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

Help spread the word: shopping at Big Box Stores Support Small Businesses Too…

It’s the week of Thanksgiving here in the US and that means lots of food, family gatherings and shopping.  Thanksgiving Thursday is followed by Black Friday – the day retailers hope to “be in the black” – as in, making money.  It’s to official kick-off of the holiday shopping season.

small business saturdayThen comes Small Business Saturday… Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local. Small Business Saturday is a registered trademark of American Express corporation.  There are lots of images floating around Facebook… like this one. (I couldn’t find the original creator or source of the image – it isn’t mine, no copyright violation is intended)

While I like the basic concept, there is definitely some black-and-white thinking that I feel compelled to address.

Specifically – “Let’s make sure our money goes to individual people and not multinational companies.”

Well… multinational companies aren’t just nameless, faceless money funnels.  They need a lot of people, resources, etc to survive.  And many, many small businesses are helped when you shop at places like WalMart, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Lowe’s and more…

THIS small business owner, for example.  And many of my friends and clients. Pretty much any artist working in art licensing is a small business that counts on people shopping in large stores so they can earn a living.

I am ONE PERSON, working out of a home office, making a living, paying my bills and taxes and contributing to my community.  I do art that goes on products that are primarily sold in large chain stores… so if you boycott “multinational companies” – this artist is going to be in a world of hurt.

Many of my clients, who are vendors to the big stores, are US based small businesses.  Their livelihoods are also tied to big stores.

I’m not saying don’t go to that craft fair or locally owned hair salon – don’t get me wrong.  But I think the message is getting a little too cut and dry – David vs. Goliath if you will.  Goliath supports a lot of David’s in this new world economy.

I posted this same post on my art blog and posted it on Facebook last weekend. One person commented, “Very good point, Tara…I had not looked at it this way.”  And THAT is the point – we need people to look at things a little differently… see more than the black and white of  “Etsy shopping good, Chain store shopping bad”.  Many of us make a living from both of those distribution channels.

How about we all “mix it up” this holiday season?  Don’t ONLY shop at WalMart but don’t avoid it out of principle either.

Napkins at Walmart - 2014While we are on the subject of WalMart, if you do find yourself in there, look for these cocktail napkins – designed by me.  Manufactured by a company in Philadelphia.  Moved around to all the locations by trucking companies who bought gas, food and probably coffee, all across country.   If your WalMart has canvas wall art for Christmas, you might be supporting my friend Jennifer Pugh – another one-woman artist business out of Utah.  Her family thanks you for your support as well.  Paul Brent has everyday wall art in WalMart – he thanks you.  I’m sure, do many other artists who might read this blog also have a wide variety of products there.  I’m just using WalMart as an example of course – we could talk about any chain store and come up with many of our peers who would benefit.

If you find yourself at HomeGoods or Marshalls, check the coffee mugs.  I have a lot of designs in those stores as well – my logo will be on the hangtag so you can feel good about supporting a small business.

Just some food for thought – BIG doesn’t necessarily mean BAD. If we all share this concept perhaps there will be a little more understanding that simply SHOPPING helps businesses of all sizes.

Have a very happy holiday season – wherever you choose to shop!

– Tara Reed

P.S.  Don’t forget about Cyber Monday either – that’s when you will find the deals for online shopping. ;)

LAST DAY for introductory savings on the Trade Show Success Secrets eBook

Art Licensing Trade Show Success Secrets ebook by Tara ReedTODAY!  Monday, 11/24/14 – is your last chance to save $20 on my newly released ebook – Art Licensing Trade Show Success Secrets.

I won’t waste your time here – if you are even considering exhibiting at the Licensing Expo or SURTEX in the next few years, you should consider this resource.

Go to to get the details and grab your copy while it is $20 off.

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

If not you…


Fear and well-meaning friends say it can’t be done.  Say you have to have connections.  You have to have money. You have to have an agent.  You have to have _________________.

Who says?

There are things you DO need to have to succeed in art licensing.  Here three basic must-haves…

ART.  If you don’t have art that will work for commercial products, and art that is in collections, it will be very, very hard.  This is the very first step… build all the relationships you want but if you don’t have the art for them to choose, it won’t matter.

GUTS.  Being in business takes guts.   It takes dedication.  It sometimes takes tissues because tears may be shed… but it can be very rewarding.  You need to have the guts to try.  To create the art – in collections – and then see what the market says about it.  And then be willing to do it again, and again, and again…

MONEY.  Yes – I said it.  Money.  You don’t have to have $100,000, but you have to have some money to invest to get started.  You need a website, art supplies, computer software.  You might invest in a trade show booth when you are ready… there are costs to any kind of business and art licensing is no different.  For the first few years I regularly had $10-20,000 of my own money invested in my dream.  I did shows.  I hired coaches.  I did what it took to learn the business, adapted my art and made it happen. It’s true what they say – it takes money to make money.

If not you, who?Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

P.S.  If you need help – don’t forget about all the eBooks on a variety of topics available at


Feel like you are on a roller coaster with your dreams and aspirations?

I know I do – OFTEN!

You get excited, fired up, you make a plan… then you start to work and it feels daunting.  Then you talk to someone who questions your ability to make it happen… or you read a negative thread on social media, or something else happens that leaves you disheartened.

But you aren’t a quitter!  You pick yourself back up, change your attitude and start over… let’s just say this, “Art licensing isn’t for sissies!”

Darren Hardy, publisher of SUCESS magazine has just released a new book that speaks to this very issue.  I ordered a copy and can’t wait for it to arrive!  His work is always positive, uplifting and HELPFUL.  It’s not fluff – he always presents concepts and strategies that work, both in the magazine and other books I’ve read.  (The Compound Effect [affiliate link] being one of my other favorites.)

Here is a video from his newest release, I will be surprised if this doesn’t have you nodding your head in agreement with a “been there, done that!” feeling!

And here’s a link to learn more about the book (and this isn’t an affiliate link – it isn’t available on Amazon just yet!)

Here’s to YOUR creative success!

– Tara Reed

Art Licensing Trade Show Success Secrets eBook RELEASED!

Art Licensing Trade Show Success SecretsDrum roll please…

I’m excited to announce that my newly revised and re-written ebook – Art Licensing Trade Show Success Secrets – is now available!

There is an introductory discount of $20 for anyone who purchases the eBook by Monday, 11/24.  It will automatically apply the discount when you visit the web page and click on the “I want the ebook” link…

This eBook is for artists who are exhibiting at SURTEX or the Licensing Expo within the next year or so.  It will help you understand the shows, who you will meet and how to prepare and present your art.  You will get “Success Systems” created, know what to say and more.

Watch this video to learn more or go to to get your copy today!

Here’s to your creative trade show success!

– Tara Reed

P.S.  Looking for resources for printing, banners, books and more?  We have a growing one here >


US Copyright Office Ask Call replay is ready!

Ask call replay - US Copyright OfficeIn our call we had attorney John Asley, Esq – also a photographer! – of the US Copyright Office on the line. He is the chief manager and supervisor, visual arts division, which is a part of the Office’s Registration Program.  All copyright claims based on visual arts are examined and decided in his Division. John manages a staff of about 30 experts on visual arts copyright.  His entire federal career has been with the Copyright Office’s Visual Arts.  He teaches copyright law.

It was an amazing and information packed hour! I came away with a much better and clearer understanding of the copyright process and why we need to register our work.

In a nutshell, get your free copy and listen to it. It will be the best hour you invest in your business.

If you want more than that “trust me” recommendation, here is what we covered.

Mr Ashley mentions the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition frequently in the call and is very helpful in giving us chapters and page numbers to reference for certain topics. Here is the link to the page with the document: I will put chapter and page numbers in parentheses after subjects, when applicable.

  • WHY do we need to register with the Copyright Office – don’t we “own” the copyright by simply creating the art? (Compendium,Ch 200 pages 5-6.)
  • Do you recommend people register copyrights under their name or under their business name?
  • Dispelled the myth of “if you change something 15%, 25% etc it’s ok to use someone else’s work” – NOT TRUE.
  • Is it ok for an artist to have their agent register their copyrights? What should we be aware of if they want to do the registrations?
  • Do artists from other countries need to register with the US Copyright Office?
    • CORRECTION to the info if you listened live: one mistake – the Foreign copyright owner does not have to register in Office in order to get into federal court; a US copyright owner is subject to this requirement, but not the foreign author. Why difference? Because a major treaty we joined in 1989 (Berne Treaty) forbids applying this requirement to foreign-Berne copyright owners.
  • Do you recommend people register copyrights under their name or under their business name?
  • How important is it that a copyright notice be placed on all work – if the notice isn’t there, does it lessen our claim if someone infringes on our work? (Compendium ch 2200 p 5&6)
  • Can you clarify what makes a work “published” or “unpublished”? (Compendium, ch 1900, p. 4 / ch. 1000 p 18-23)
  • Can you help clear up confusion about what constitutes a “collection” of art for group or bulk registration purposes? What types of registrations are available for visual works of art? (Compendium ch 900)
  • Does registering in a collection affect statutory damages that could be awarded during a lawsuit?

If you didn’t get an email with the links to download the audio or to listen online, register below to claim your free copy.

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Ask Maria Brophy and Tara Reed about art licensingNext Up…

You get two for one!  Maria Brophy and I will be teaming up to answer your questions on Wednesday, January 21, 2015.  Submit your questions as soon as you think of them so I don’t have to beg when it gets closer, ok?  :)

Go to to submit your questions.

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

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