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

The Licensing Expo is another opportunity to learn about art licensing

It’s been a while since I’ve been to the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas but I’ll be there this year!  I will be leading a class on Tuesday (11:30 am – 12:15 pm) called

Key Factors To Consider Before Jumping Into Art Licensing.

Joining me will be Jennifer Pugh and the two great minds behind Ideaologie – John Mavrakis and Melissa Schulz.  We are going to be going over the things artists need to consider before committing themselves to making a go at licensing their art.

Licensing Expo class 2015

The class is part of the Licensing University program presented by LIMA.  You can get an all-access pass for $170, LIMA Members pay only $150.

The Licensing Expo takes place at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas – June 9 – 11, 2015.

Learn more about the class and the show

See all the classes taking place

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed




Some do’s, don’ts and suggestions for walking the SURTEX show

SURTEX is coming! SURTEX is coming! (Say it fast enough and it can morph into “the circus is coming” and honestly – it can be that too!)

Lots and lots of creative people will be descending on New York City for the show which takes place from May 17-19, 2015. Manufacturers and retailers will be coming to find art for their products. Artists will be coming to exhibit in their booths. Agents will have booths too and represent all the artists in their roster.

Many artists will also be coming to check out the show, to take classes and learn more and to decide if they too, might one day want to be an artist in a booth. Some may be coming in search of an agent.

Here are a few things to remember if you fall into the non-exhibiting artist category of creatives that will be at the show:

1. You can not stop manufacturers in the aisles and ask them to look at your portfolio.

BIG NO-NO that will get you escorted off the show floor if you are seen. The artists, like myself, who exhibit are paying a lot of money to be at the show – why should we in we could just stop everyone for a chat in the aisles? Without exhibiting artists the manufacturers wouldn’t be there… be respectful of the show and don’t come with the expectation of making amazing contacts in the aisles.

2. Be incredibly aware of your surroundings and respectful of an artist’s time if you stop and talk with them in their booth.

Manufacturers won’t know if you are a potential client or an artist and may keep walking instead of coming to learn more about our art. While most artists are happy to answer a question or two – remember that our #1 goal is to connect with clients so we can keep paying for our booth and building our business.

If you are talking with someone and see people come up the aisle, politely step away.

If you really want to connect, ask questions and chat with artists who are exhibiting, Tuesday afternoon is your best bet. The show gets pretty slow then so we have more time – bring treats and I bet you make even more friends happy to give you a little friendly advice. :)

3. Don’t take photos.

There will be plenty of photos of booths to be found online after the show – never take a photo of someone’s work without their permission (yes, we can usually see you sneaking that pic with your phone when you think you look like you are texting :) )

4. Do take classes!

If you are spending the time, money and effort to come to the big apple to learn more about art licensing, spend the extra money to take the classes. Years of experience are represented by all of the people that are conducting the classes and a lot can be gained by attending. Many are also happy to stay for a few minutes after the class to say hi, take business cards, etc. If someone you really want to connect with is teaching – take the class then get their card. Then you will have a way to connect and follow up. “Took your class – loved what you said about XYZ…” etc.

5.  Advice if you are looking for an agent.

If you are looking for an agent, here is some great advice from art licensing agent Alicia Dauber of Licensing Liaison

Although most agents are interested in seeing  new work and meeting new artists, please keep in mind that the trade show floor is not the place to review your portfolios!   Trade show expenses including the cost of a booth are extremely high and the agent has spent thousands of dollars to be there.  They have to make it pay for themselves and the artist partners they represent by following up on as many appointments as they can for the artists that are currently in their stable.

It is absolutely acceptable to unobtrusively leave a business card or flyer on their table while making a note of the agent’s  name for future follow up after the show.  If the agent is not busy speaking to a client when you walk by, a quick hello and that you would like to email him or her about your work after the show is completed is fine.

Have fun!!  Wear comfortable shoes, enjoy the show and the education about the industry that it brings you while being appropriate and considerate of those who have paid to be there to work.    And BEST wishes to you in your search for an agent!

This advice is great in regards to artists as well.  I love meeting people who read this blog, listen to the Ask Calls and more but it can be overwhelming to try and juggle meeting artists with the main reason I’m there – to meet manufacturers.  So if you are there and I’m busy – be sure to wave and if I’m not – say hi!  As I mentioned in #3 – Tuesday afternoon will be your best bet to stop by and find me idle… I will be in booth #416.

Here’s to your creative success – maybe I’ll see you at the show!

– Tara Reed

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

Copyright Registration: a note about “claimants”

So last week I got a few emails from the Library of Congress’ Copyright Office.  (They are very nice is helping you sort things out if you check the wrong box or something looks weird on their end.)

If you recall from the call with the Copyright Office (if you don’t, click here to get your free replay) I talked with them about WHO should be the claimant – myself personally as the artist or my business, since I am incorporated. (I’m not 100% sure if the rules are the same for an LLC but I expect they would be.)  He said that if the art was created and necessary for the business to do business, the business should be the claimant and own the copyright.

In a recent filing, I put myself as the author and my business as the claimant and I checked off that there was a transfer statement.  I thought that was the correct way to do it – apparently not.

Here is what they told me:

If an employee of the company made the work then the company should be the author and copyright claimant with no transfer statement.

So I guess as Tara Reed, an employee of Tara Reed Designs, Inc, I’m doing ‘work for hire’ so there doesn’t need to be a transfer statement.

Thought I’d pass on the info in case anyone else has been confused about that part of the registration process!

Here’s to your creative – and protected – 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

Expand your Horizons…

Expand your HorizonsWhere does your creativity come from?  Is it from within – do you need to sit and be still, close your eyes and let your imagination take over?  Or is it from external stimuli – things you see, places you go, things you do.  No matter where your creativity comes from you are at risk of falling into a rut.  To think, “sitting and thinking brings me the best ideas” so you continue to sit and think, think and sit.  But sometimes it is good to throw a stick in the spokes – do something out of the ordinary to jumpstart what your mind can come up with.

This week I encourage you to go do something different – something out of the ordinary.  Expand your horizons and increase your creativity!

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

Self Care = Success

I didn’t believe her but after going through Tiffany Peterson’s Inner Circle coaching program I know it to be true!  She PUSHED us to take care of ourselves… even when we felt like we didn’t have time.

I’ve been in that space this week – I was on vacation last week and had big plans to get lots done this week!  I mean really – do I have time to sit around with SURTEX less than 50 days away and lots of things on my to-do list?  No!

Well… my body had a different plan. I got off the plane and landed in a vortex of pollen – my allergies went nuts and a virus took advantage of the opening and decided to hop into my head too.  I have been SO TIRED. So congested.  And honestly… I can’t think straight! (Seriously – I went to make a hotel reservation for September but made it for June… and didn’t realize the mistake for about 1/2 hour – it’s BAD brain fog!)

At first I went to my default setting of “too bad Tara!  You just had a week off, you need to push through!”  Then I could hear Tiffany in my ear saying, “Be gentle with yourself Tara… what are you doing to take care of yourself?  You won’t get better if you don’t rest.”  So this week has been about the must-do’s and lots of rest, napping and fluids.  All of that on top of the self-care habits that have become a daily routine since working with Tiffany.

Watch this video and see what you think… I can tell you it’s made a difference for me in my business, my personal life and stress level.

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed