Ask Agent Kimberly Montgomery about art licensing free call replay

Am I wrong?

The song “Am I Wrong?” by Nico & Vinz has been stuck in my head for a few days… the first lyrics that really jump out at you are “Am I wrong? For thinking that we could be something for real?”  So for the first dozen times or so I thought it was a love song…

THEN I really started to hear the words and love this song even more.  It’s the story of a person deciding if he should try for something different than everyone else around him… to get out of his comfort zone… sound familiar? :)

Had to share it – there are many days where I feel this way.  Am I wrong to think I can do this?  Am I wrong to think I can build and grow and maintain an art licensing business?

I don’t ask myself that as much as I used to but the thought still pops up from time to time… That’s just resistance checking my resolve.  As they also repeat in the song, “If you tell me I’m wrong, wrong… I don’t want to be right.”

Listen for the first time or with new ears if you think this is a love song.  It’s my newest addition to my “empowerment playlist.”

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

“Am I Wrong”

Am I wrong for thinking out the box from where I stay?
Am I wrong for saying that I choose another way?
I ain’t tryna do what everybody else doing
Just cause everybody doing what they all do
If one thing I know, I’ll fall but I’ll grow
I’m walking down this road of mine, this road that I call home

So am I wrong?
For thinking that we could be something for real?
Now am I wrong?
For trying to reach the things that I can’t see?
But that’s just how I feel,
That’s just how I feel
That’s just how I feel
Trying to reach the things that I can’t see

Am I tripping for having a vision?
My prediction: I’m a be on the top of the world
Walk your walk and don’t look back, always do what you decide
Don’t let them control your life, that’s just how I feel
Fight for yours and don’t let go, don’t let them compare you, no
Don’t worry, you’re not alone, that’s just how we feel

Am I wrong? (Am I wrong?)
For thinking that we could be something for real?
(Oh yeah yeah yeah oh)
Now am I wrong? (Am I wrong?)
For trying to reach the things that I can’t see?
(Oh yeah yeah yeah yeah)
But that’s just how I feel,
That’s just how I feel
That’s just how I feel
Trying to reach the things that I can’t see

If you tell me I’m wrong, wrong
I don’t wanna be right, right
If you tell me I’m wrong, wrong
I don’t wanna be right

Am I wrong?
For thinking that we could be something for real?
Now am I wrong?
For trying to reach the things that I can’t see?
But that’s just how I feel,
That’s just how I feel
That’s just how I feel
Trying to reach the things that I can’t see

So am I wrong? (Am I wrong?)
For thinking that we could be something for real?
(Oh yeah yeah yeah oh)
Now am I wrong? (Am I wrong?)
For trying to reach the things that I can’t see?
(Oh yeah yeah yeah yeah)
But that’s just how I feel,
That’s just how I feel
That’s just how I feel
Trying to reach the things that I can’t see

Ask the Art Licensing Psychic!

Don’t you wish there was an art licensing psychic?  Someone with a crystal ball who could tell you exactly what to do to reach the level of success you want?

Someone who could tell you, in great detail…

  • what art to create first, second, third… to infinity – in the order that will bring you both great joy to create and amazing royalties to deposit into your bank account
  • what agent will be THE PERFECT FIT for you if you are looking for representation
  • what manufacturers to contact so you don’t waste your time on ones who won’t think your art is a fit, won’t call you back, or will send you checks so small you won’t be able to go out to dinner

You get the idea.  You may be rolling your eyes and thinking to yourself, “Tara, you are just being silly.  That doesn’t exist!”

But don’t you wish there WAS an art licensing psychic?  I know you do – because I’m often asked questions like I actually AM an art licensing psychic… or an art licensing agent matchmaker – but we will save THAT for another video.

There are basic business and creative principles that apply to the art licensing industry.  But in the end, each business is as unique as the person running it.  You get to make the rules… but you have to make the rules.  No one can tell you what is going to work and what isn’t.  It’s up to you to get as much information and inspiration as you can handle and then go with your gut and try.  You may have a hit, you will have things that fall flat. But the key to success is to keep trying, learning, adapting and seeing what works for you.

I feel that my strength is in helping artists bridge the gap between creativity and business.

I help artists take their own creativity and learn to “package it” for art licensing.  I teach the business mindsets for success and business principles and practices to help artists be perceived as professionals in the industry and valued partners with the clients they work with.  If you are looking for this type of help, look at the “Learn about…”  links in the sidebar of this blog or go to for help with specific topics.

VIDEO CREDITS: (I must give credit where credit is due!)

  • Jennifer Pugh as the artist wanting answers
  • Lipstick and jewelry were generously leant to the cause by Lana Jane Brent
  • Video production and filming is compliments of Paul Brent.  They co-own the cracked glass ball… if only it WORKED!)
  • Thanks Paul, Lana Jane and Jennifer for humoring me with thiswild hair of a video concept!  If the audio is a little quiet, we did the best we could filming on a whim with an iPad. :)

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed


Do you strive to be perfect?

Well… quit it.  It’s a losing battle. (I can say this as an ever-recovering perfectionist.)

Most of the time “Done is better than perfect” because perfect never gets done.

Take, for example, that art collection you are working on. (You are working, right?)  Is it perfect?  Probably not.  Will it ever be?  Probably not.  And you know what – even if you THINK it’s perfect, you will likely find someone who wants to license your perfect creation as long as you make a few changes… :) Nature of art licensing.

So I encourage you to join me in my effort to do great work but to stop over-thinking it in an effort to ‘make it perfect’.

Who’s in?

Quote - Have no fear of perfection

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

One Small Change in my daily routine that has made a Big Difference in my health and business…

Daily Habits.  It is the little things we do or don’t do that often make the biggest difference.  It isn’t just the days we are so inspired we can’t stop creating and we take massive action… they are important too but those little daily habits… they are the key to the kingdom!

In case you don’t know this yet – I’m a bit of a personal and business development junkie.  I love reading and taking classes, listening to audios, etc  How can I be more productive in my life.  In my business.  What is working for others and might it work for me…

One piece of advice that regularly comes up that I ignored until recently was this:  Don’t check your email in the morning.

I had lots of reasons why this was ok for me to do.  “I needed to know what I needed to do for the day” – to the point that I apparently thought I needed to know who had emailed me overnight or on the east coast while I was still in bed – because I would find myself checking email on my phone before ever getting out of bed!

Then in January I made a decision to take charge of my health and put myself first.  I’ve spent so many years taking care of other people and building my business that I kept coming in second… if I was lucky.

I hired a coach to kick my booty for a few months and get me on the straight and narrow.  I was instructed to get to the gym bright and early, first thing!  It was hard at first – in part, because I would look at my email.  The voices in my head – the resistance – would say things like, “You can’t go to the gym, that client needs something from you! Don’t you want the business?”  As I type it I realize that the whole thing is a bit nuts – would 2 hours (which includes travel time and a bit of padding) really be the 2 hours that gets or doesn’t get the deal? Not usually!  Especially if it is 6 am my time – who can really expect me to be up, checking my email and working at 6 am.

But those voices of resistance in your head don’t make any sense… they just try to keep you where you are.  I have discovered that daily habits can help you outsmart resistance!

I now don’t look at my phone until I return home from my workout.  Even if I still go to the gym, I don’t want to be distracted or tempted to work out a little less so I can get back and deal with the pressing email that came in at 4 am my time.  My health comes first.  And you know what?  My business is all the better for it.

What daily habits could you change or tweak to decrease your stress, set better boundaries between work and “life”, etc?  Think about it…

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

P.S.  Want to learn and read more about resistance?  I highly recommend The War of Art by Steven Pressfield [affiliate link].  Quick, easy read and powerful information!


3 things to consider before signing an art licensing contract…

Contracts are not the fun, sexy, creative side of the art licensing business… well, Maria Brophy and some attorneys might disagree because they let out their creativity in this arena. But to the average artist, it is more of a necessary evil.

I created a video about three things to consider before signing any art licensing agreement.  In my mind – I mean ANY – not just “Your First”.  With each new deal that comes my way I look at these three key points.

The 3 things to consider before signing an art licensing contract include:

1. Basic Terms.

Are they there and are they well defined.  The absolute basics include:

  • what ART is being licensed
  • PRODUCT(s) the art will be on
  • TERRITORY – where will the products be sold
  • TERM – how long the contract lasts
  • PAYMENT – how and when you will be paid

These are the basics, most contracts have more and what you need will depend on your business, the deal and many other personal factors.

2.  Termination Clause

How can you get out of a contract BEFORE the end of the contract term, if things aren’t working.  This is REALLY important!  What if the product is never made?  If you have no way out, your art is tied up for 2-3 years and unable to make you money.  Not good!

3.  How much will the contract effect your business – especially if you miss some key points?

My rule of thumb is this:  the broader the impact on your ability to make money with your art, the more you should consider paying for outside help before signing a contract.  Two examples of contracts I would always have reviewed include an agreement with an Agent to fully represent my work or an agreement with a manufacturer that is exclusive for an entire industry (rather than by design).  Both of these could really hurt my business if they weren’t performing and I had no way out…

Watch the video and learn more details of my thought process on this…

The good news is, you CAN learn to understand art licensing contracts and also understand when to bring in outside help.

How to Understand Art Licensing Contracts by Maria Brophy and Tara ReedA good place to start to educate yourself about the many bits and pieces of art licensing contracts is in the eBook, How to Understand Art Licensing Contracts, by myself and  Maria Brophy. Learn more and get your copy at  There are also Short License Agreement Templates available by Maria Brophy as well.

Need help with a contract?

Check the “Find an Attorney” tab on this blog (if you are an attorney that works in the art licensing industry and you would like to be included, just let me know!)  Maria Brophy also offers contract reviews and consultations as well >

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

We are what we do

Quote - We are what we doSo what are YOU doing on a regular basis?

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed


The Zen of art licensing: Make art, market collections

There’s an old Zen Saying that goes like this:

Before enlightenment,

chop wood, carry water.

After enlightenment,

chop wood, carry water.

Basically – you have to keep taking the proper actions – however repetitive and mundane they may feel – over and over and over to get what you want.


The art licensing version would be this…

Before you get a licensing deal,

create art, market collections.

After you get a licensing deal,

create art, market collections.

There is no short-cut to success.  Every artist at every level of this business is doing the same things, they simply have different levels of experience and success.  We all have to make art.  We all have to get it in front of the right eyes in the hopes of getting the next deal.  We all have to review, negotiate and sign contracts.

Take the actions. See what results you can get.  Repeat.

My goal with all of the information I share is to give artists a realistic view of the industry, a better understanding of the business and encouragement to take action.  I’m not selling a dream of making millions over night – or necessarily making millions ever.  Some will, many won’t.  But the basic business principles and actions and mindsets are the same.  How we each apply them to our own art, business and lifestyle may vary – but create art, market collections? That’s a universal truth of art licensing.

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

Art Licensing FAQs

Did you notice that there is an FAQ tab on this blog?  This is the place to find quick answers and links to more detail about some of the most common questions artists have when they first hear about the concept of licensing their art.  I encourage you to take some time to look at that info and read the blog posts.

Here is a brief rundown of the basic WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHY, HOW and HOW MUCH of art licensing.


Artists who want to share in the “success or failure” of a product vs. being paid for their time for art often choose to license their art.  Traditionally they are paid a royalty based on the sale price of a product and based on the quantity sold – similar to a sales person who works on commission.


Art that works well for licensing is art that is pretty mainstream that a wide variety of people would want to have on products.  The art’s purpose is to sell product.  Extremely abstract art and portrait style art doesn’t usually work well in licensing.  Art that is more mainstream will – for example, people always want Santas or Snowmen for Christmas products and look for new options every year.


Manufacturers and retailers from around the world may choose to get their art by licensing it.  There really isn’t a geographic boundary.  A great place to connect with those manufacturers are at licensing shows where artists exhibit and manufacturers and retailers come.  Here are the main shows that I’m aware of and a few I found today while writing this post -


Manufacturers and retailers can get their art in 4 primary ways:

  • in-house artists
  • buy art outright (copyrights and all)
  • use stock art from factories who create their products
  • license art (either traditional royalty based agreement or a flat fee but still based on a contract that defines term, product and territory and the artist retains the copyrights to the art)

Manufacturers often choose licensing for the following reasons:

  • Exclusivity.  By licensing art they can usually negotiate exclusive use of an artists design for their products – ensuring their competitors won’t bring the same thing to market.  This isn’t always the case if they use stock art from factories.
  • Flexibility.  By licensing art, companies can work with artists with a wide variety of styles that they might not be able to create with a group of in-house artists.
  • Cost savings.  When a company licenses art, they pay the artist based on how well the product sells.  So while their costs can vary, they are always directly related to the income from sales.
  • Design support.  Many artists who license their work become like a part of the design team – working together to get the art just right and often setting it up to templates for production.  This saves the manufacturers labor costs of having their own graphics team or at least lightens the load on the team they have in place.


Art licensing is done through contracts.  An agreement is made between the artist and the licensee (manufacturer or retailer) about what art is being licensed, for what products, to be sold in what territory and for what time frame.  Payment amounts and time frames are also included as well as many other details – but these are the key points. (Learn all about contracts from the eBook How to Understand Art Licensing Contracts by Tara Reed & Maria Brophy)

Artists can do their own marketing and work directly with licensees or choose to use an art licensing agent for that side of the business.  (read the blog post: Agent or Not)

There is a lot to the “HOW” piece of this puzzle – how to create art for licensing, how to connect with people who license art, how to negotiate a win-win contract…  More information is available in the FAQ page links, from eBooks or the Art Licensing Academy.


The “how much can you make and how long will it take” question is pretty much impossible to answer.  There are so many factors that go into it – including but not limited to:

  • how much art an artist creates for consideration for licensing
  • the relationships an artist develops with licensees – how many eyes can you get on your art?
  • how well the art fits the market, the product, etc.
  • how well the product sells, where it sells and the price point
  • how much you make in royalties or a flat fee

I know artists who make $1,000 a year and some who make mid to high six figures.  This is both good and bad – the sky is the limit (that’s good!) but when you are beginning it is hard to get a feel for how you will personally do.

You have to take a long-term mindset if you jump into licensing your art. While I can’t guess what you will make, I can pretty much guarantee it won’t be fast money.  It can take 2-5 years to get enough in the pipeline to start earning any kind of consistent income, so have a way to pay your bills in the meantime.

SO… where do you go from here?  If you are interested in seeing what you can do with your art in the art licensing industry, I recommend you do the following:

  • Read through the FAQ page and associated blog posts on this blog. (just click the tab at the top of the blog!)
  • Subscribe to my bi-monthly eNewsletter – you will get a free audio about the industry when you sign up and each newsletter has links to blog posts here as well as links to other articles and posts I think are of interest to artists learning about art licensing.
  • Participate in the bi-monthly Ask Calls.  Every other month I host an expert in the industry for an hour-long teleseminar (a seminar conducted by phone) where we answer questions submitted by artists like you.  Send us your questions.  Listen to the calls.  Check out the replays.  There is SO MUCH knowledge to be had through this program!  Learn more and bookmark
  • Consider the eBooks and audios available on specific art licensing topics.  Learn more at
  • Really ready to dig in?  The 4 week group coaching program – the Art Licensing Academy  - might be a great next step.  Visit the website to see when the next session will start.
  • Take action every day!  Create art. Build collections.  Build your portfolio. Get it in front of decision makers. Repeat.

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

Art Licensing is a bit like the Wild, Wild West

This post is inspired by the June 2014 Art Licensing Academy class.  I find myself saying and typing #WildWest a lot!

While I have recently written about how the industry is evolving and is, in my opinion, no longer in the growth phase, that doesn’t mean there are hard and fast rules about how things are done.

Every artist, manufacturer, retailer and agent gets to decide how they run their business.

From the terms they offer or accept, the work they will or won’t do.  The art an artist creates – and how they create it – is up to them.  There are people, like me, who can guide you and tell you what has worked for us.  But if you learn from 5 people you may end up with 5 opinions.

This is a GOOD thing… it means you get to decide!

Since we aren’t engineers or accountants, there is no hard and fast rule.  No right or wrong.  This can be uncomfortable and confusing for artists starting out but you will come to see it as a pretty cool thing.  You are free to learn, absorb and decide what makes sense to you and what doesn’t.  You don’t have to do things that you don’t like.

Don’t like picking up the phone or finding clients?  Find an agent and let them do that for you.  Love doing that and creating art?  Awesome!  Represent yourself.  In the art licensing industry you can do it either way.  Love creating patterns?  You will find clients that love you because you do it and they don’t have to.  Don’t love creating patterns?  Find those clients who still have enough in-house support to toss your icons to their hearts content.

So today I leave you with this thought and this song – if art licensing really is like the Wild West – it’s only in the fact that we make our own rules and decide how we want to show up.  (It’s not that we are out there shooting each other in the back! Please, no!)

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed