SURTEX licensing and design show

Dealing with Distractions…

Have you ever had the very best of intentions – to create art, contact clients, research potential clients and more – yet at the end of the day, you find you haven’t actually done it?

Instead you have updated your Facebook status a few times, liked a few things, hung out on Pinterest “getting inspired”, did some laundry, called a friend to talk about how excited you are to get into art licensing and more…

Those are called DISTRACTIONS.

Diminish Distractions

Don’t feel bad, we all get distracted.  Sometimes it can be called PROCRASTINATION when we know we should do something and find all kinds of other things that have to be done first… but those other things are also distractions.

If they gave out degrees in “The Art of Distraction” I just might have a PhD so I assure you, I know of what I speak!

Sometimes writing this blog is a distraction… I intend to create art and then say “Well, I really need to get a blog post done for Monday…” and I start writing.  Or I get over-involved in the details of my business – things I could hire someone else to do to free up my time and head-space a bit.  Instead I do it myself… DISTRACTION.

I’m currently trying to work through my own “Diminish The Distractions” program, which I am making up as I go along… here is what I have so far:

  1. SCHEDULE YOUR TIME.  While it is sometimes tricky to say “I’m going to be super inspired and creative between 3 & 6 pm next Tuesday” – if you at least block out the time on your calendar, there will be time in your day to ride that creative wave.  If you book 40 hours a week of distractions, you won’t get much art done.
  2. HONOR YOUR INTENTIONS.  If you plan to do a new collection this week or this month, do it.  No. Matter. What.  Make it as much of a priority as going to sleep at night and eating during the day. (And while we are on the subject – GET SOME SLEEP!)
  3. MAKE IT A PRIORITY.  If you work from home you will have to be better at time management and prioritizing than if you work in an office.  In a office, you are expected to be at your desk during certain hours… your friends won’t expect you to jet off to lunch with them if the sun is shining.  In my experience, many people do when you work from home.  You need to make your work a priority and know when to say NO and when it is ok to be flexible and say YES!
  4. MAKE A LIST OF YOUR DISTRACTIONS.  Sometimes knowledge is the first step to change.  If you realize what is distracting you, you can work to change it.  Give the tasks to someone else, schedule them into your day, skip them altogether… whatever you need to do to get the real work done.
  5. CONTROL YOUR DISTRACTIONS, DON’T LET THEM CONTROL YOU.  I love Pinterest as much as the next artist but I have set some rules for myself about it.  I don’t look at it on my studio computer.  Pinterest is saved for my iPhone – when I’m waiting for an appointment, if I’m watching something on TV and for some reason I can’t fast forward through the commercials… little bits of Pinterest downtime.  I have found I can get very distracted if I look at things on my big screen… I save that for looking back at things I pinned that will help me create (like color schemes – love those Pins!)  and not for wandering about “getting inspired”.

Now I ask you… what do YOU DO to try and keep your distractions at bay so you can get the real work done?  (Hint: The “real work” is the work that only you can do…)

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

Last chance to register for the Art Licensing Academy…

The first EVER Art Licensing Academy starts this coming Tuesday – March 25, 2014!

The artists who have registered and I are gearing up and getting excited – have you saved your spot?

If you are an artist who is serious about growing and becoming successful in art licensing, this might be just the class for you.  We will meet 8 times in a 4 week period for classes (by phone) and open Q&A sessions (also by phone).  We also have a private Facebook group where artists are already getting to know each other, asking questions and getting support.

Learn more at

Art Licensing Academy - FB 032114Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

Another great Art Licensing Info Ask Call with Attorney Kyle-Beth Hilfer!

Kudos to everyone who submitted questions for the legal Ask Call with Attorney Kyle-Beth Hilfer – what a great call – I learned a lot! Tons of food for thought and ideas to grow and protect your business.

Since this was Kyle-Beth’s third call the audio is available to purchase for $20 thru April 3rd and then goes to $30 after that. Well worth the knowledge and it helps compensate regular guests for their time and expertise.

Attorney Kyle-Beth Hilfer talks about art licensingTopics covered on the call:

  • The importance of “why” and how that might relate to various questions I’ve seen online about licensing negotiations and royalty audits.
  • Can an artist learn to do their own contracts and where do they get their first contract?
  • When registering copyrights, what is considered “published work”?
  • Do you have to copyright every color way of the same pattern?
  • Does the number of images in a copyright registration affect compensation if there is an infringement?
  • What is involved in registering a trademark and how long does it take?
  • Can you use other’s art (cartoons for example, Batman, Minions, etc) if you are only doing individual pieces of art for sale and not mass producing or is that a copyright infringement?
  • What is the difference between a brand and a property?
  • Will allowing non-profits to use art for t-shirts affect other licensing deals?
  • Is it illegal to use images of celebrities in your work for licensing?


Some links Kyle-Beth mentioned on the call to learn more about contracts from her blog:

Art Licensing: Key Legal Terms from the Artist’s Perspective

Art Licensing: Key Legal Terms from the Manufacturer’s Perspective

Evaluating Art Licenses: How to Tell if You Have a Good Deal

Book recommendation:

Getting to Yes [affiliate link]

Where to find Kyle-Beth Hilfer

Learn more about Ms. Hilfer at,
or follow her on Twitter @kbhilferlaw
or Linkedin at

Note: Attorney Advertising. This call will provide resource information and is not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Ask Paul Brent about art licensingNext Up… Paul Brent with his annual SURTEX Trend Review and question session

Mark your calendars for Wednesday, May 28, 2014 and submit your questions at

Art Licensing Info Ask Call with Attorney Kyle-Beth Hilfer is tomorrow!

I’m excited to have an attorney back on the line to answer legal questions about art licensing, contracts, protecting your art, copyrights and more.  I hope you join Kyle-Beth Hilfer and I for this hour long call full of great insights!

Ask Attorney Kyle-Beth Hilfer about legal issues of art licensing

If you can’t make it live, the audio replay will be available for sale for $20 for a limited time after the call and then go to the normal replay price of $30.  We appreciate your support in buying the replays that are for sale – it helps give experts who return more than once some “Starbucks money” for their time and also helps offset some of the costs of putting these calls on.  :)

If you have signed up for a call before, you will get an email today with the call in details. If this is your first one, you can fill out the form below to access the call in details.  They are always free to listen live and the first call with any expert is always free. (See all the free call audios you can get here >


Hope to talk “at” you tomorrow night!

– Tara Reed

Some days you need the determination of Scarlett O’Hara to make it in art licensing…

Recently someone posted a picture of Scarlett O’Hara in her famous “As God is my Witness, I will never go hungry again!” scene.  Well, that got me to thinking… some days we need that sort of determination to make it in art licensing.

How much do you want it?  How hard will you work to learn the business of art licensing, create the art, make the contacts and take the rejection?

It takes determination, grit and persistence to make it these days.  Competition is high, product line volumes and royalties are down.  The artists who dabble won’t make a living but those who want it and will do ANYTHING to figure out how to make it have a fighting chance.

So what are you willing to do?

Scarlett was willing to lie, cheat and kill to make sure she and her family survived the war.  Thankfully those aren’t things we need to do, but what will you do?  Will you hear NO 1,000 times and keep trying?  Will you listen to feedback that might sting and create new art that might be a better fit?  Will you invest in your education, your business, your tools, your marketing?  Will you stay up late if you need to and get up and do it all again when you feel defeated?

I will.  I have.  And I will continue to do it again and again.  Because I love what I do and the lifestyle it allows me to have.

The question is – how bad do YOU want it?

Think about that… here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

Building Creative Confidence

I found a link to the Ted Talk on Facebook the other day… if you read my blog, then I imagine you are an artist and didn’t have your creativity squashed by some girl in the third grade who didn’t like your clay interpretation of a horse… (you will understand when you watch it)  However, that doesn’t mean that our creative confidence isn’t sometimes shaken.

Hearing NO a few too many times can make the most confident of us second guess ourselves.

Going to a family dinner to be told “you would make more money if you didn’t have an art degree, and if you were a CPA or something.” is no confidence builder either.  (That ISN’T a made up example – also from a recent Facebook discussion)

I was recently talking to a 20 year old and asking what her grand plan was – what is she studying in college and what does she want to do when she’s done.  She said, “I’ve always loved art and graphic design but then I didn’t think I could make much money.  So I thought about psychology and took some classes… then I thought the medical field might be a better bet…”  She has settled on a middle ground – marketing and business with a graphic design minor because the creativity is where she is happiest. (Hmmmm… that combo sounds vaguely familiar!)

Confidence isn’t something you get and keep like a “thing” you buy at the store.  It is something that needs to be nurtured and reaffirmed and held at the core…

I highly recommend you watch this talk about creative confidence by David Kelley – it may help you see things from a different perspective.

Here’s to your creative – and confident – success!

– Tara Reed

Last chance to submit your questions for next week’s Art Licensing Info Ask Call with Attorney Kyle-Beth Hilfer

It’s almost here!  Our next call will focus on the legal aspects of art and art licensing – based on what YOU say you want to know?  Do you have questions about contracts?  What to do if you see someone using your art online?  How to respond if you are accused of copying someone else? Trademarks? Copyrights?

Ask Attorney Kyle-Beth Hilfer about legal issues of art licensing


The deadline for submitting questions that will be considered for the call is tomorrow – Thursday, March 13, 2014.  I need time to gather, review and organize them and get them to Kyle-Beth in time for her to prepare what she wants to say.  SO… ask now please!

If you can’t make it live, the audio replay will be available for sale for $20 for a limited time after the call and then go to the normal replay price of $30.  We appreciate your support in buying the replays that are for sale – it helps give experts who return more than once some “Starbucks money” for their time and also helps offset some of the costs of putting these calls on.  :)

Here’s to your creative – and legally protected – success!

– Tara Reed

Are you too worried about what others think?

Earlier this week an email hit my inbox from Marie Forleo that made me smile… the timing was perfect and I had been talking about this exact thing the day before.  Caring TOO MUCH about what others think about you and what you are doing can really hold you back from achieving your dreams.  Wanting everyone to like you (which will NEVER EVER happen no matter how hard you try) is another side of the same coin.

I was apparently born as a big old people pleaser.  I followed all the rules as a kid, didn’t have a wild streak in high school or college and have been fine following the straight an narrow.  Made being my parent a lot easier than it could have been but it also caused me a lot of stress over the years.

Here are a few things that come to mind that I have done or not done over the years because I wanted to please others or make people like me (even if it wasn’t what I wanted to do):

  • Kept my mouth shut when my opinion was different from the ‘crowd’ – don’t want to stand out and risk rejection or ridicule!
  • Smile and agree to someone else’s plan to keep the peace.
  • Keep good things happening in my life to myself so people with problems don’t feel bad… or get mad at me… etc
  • When I was dating I went on many second and even third dates because I didn’t know how to say no – even though I wasn’t interested apparently my desire for them to “like me” was stronger than my desire to not go out with them.

That’s just a few random things and I’m shaking my head and laughing as I type them.  Pretty crazy to read in the light of day and not in the stress of the moment.

The older I get the more confident I am in myself and more willing I am to speak my truth and let the chips fall where they may.  If I hadn’t, this blog would never have been started or would have stopped pretty quickly.  There were many people who didn’t like me sharing my thoughts or teaching about the business.  Did it sometimes stress me out? Absolutely.  Were tears shed on occasion? Yup.  But I felt strongly about what I was doing and did it anyway.  And there are lots of artists who are thrilled I did – I put myself at the top of the list because I love writing, speaking and teaching and sharing my perspectives on this wild ride of art licensing.

Here is what Marie Forleo had to say on the subject:

You can read her whole blog post on the topic here >>

The bottom line is this:  there will be people who like you and people who don’t, no matter what you do.  SO will you limit yourself and spend your energy on the impossible task of trying to please everyone or will you go for your dreams?

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

Confused by collections? Let’s look at some products…

One of the most frequently asked questions I get from artists just learning about art licensing is about collections.  ”What does that mean?” “What needs to be in a collection?” “How do I figure this out?”

I thought I’d do something a little different to help you understand the concept and learn to LOOK at everything through the filter of an artist who has to create the art.  You can do this with anything – cards, dishes, fabric, rugs… anything.

Since St Patrick’s Day is coming I went to (no affiliation – just liked the image I found with a quick google search).  While the average consumer would look at this and decide if they liked it or not so they decide to buy or not buy… we are going to look at it as an artist.

WHAT images, colors, patterns, etc did the manufacturer need to create this group of products?  Images, patterns and colors.  Then these elements needed to be formatted – notice that the green checks are in a straight link on the napkins and on a circle on the plates.

St Patricks Product Dissection


This is just one example.  The number of patterns and images, etc will depend on the theme of the art and the products you think it will work for.  My St Patrick’s Day art collections are always smaller than Christmas because there are many more products that use Christmas art than St Patrick’s Day.

Hope this example helps!

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

A few FAQs about the new Art Licensing Academy

Since I mentioned the Art Licensing Academy on February 17, 2014, I’ve had a few questions come in.  I thought I’d clarify a few things for any other artists out there wondering the same thing and trying to decide if this program is for you.

Art Licensing Academy by Tara ReedQuestion 1:  Where is Art Licensing Academy held?

Answer:  Anywhere that there is phone coverage.  If you have a phone, you can be a part of this program.

Question 2: What if we can’t listen live?

Answer: That’s ok!

The Tuesday calls – where I talk and share information about the topic of the week – are recorded.  You can listen live or listen to the replays that are available to every participant.

The Friday calls are Q&A calls – so whoever shows up live can ask questions and get live answers – we will record these as well and send out replays.  It’s a great way to get info, try it out and then get questions answered when you realize what puzzles you. :)  So even if you miss a Q&A when it is live, you will still learn something if you listen to the replay.

Question 3:  How does this course differ from your Licensing E-Books?

Answer:  The course has some of the same things found in a variety of eBooks and some new content.  While the eBooks focus on a specific topic or the basics (in the “How to Get Started…”), the Art Licensing Academy is designed to be a more “all inclusive” look at how to build a successful business from the art, the legal, marketing AND self care and nourishing your network.  So some review if you have several of the books and some new things and some ideas presented in a brand new way.

Question 4:  Will this be good for me?

Answer:  Maybe…  This will be a great class for someone who learns by listening and doing rather than reading and working on their own.  There will be support from the group of artists in the class (and me) in a private Facebook Group as well as the open Q&A calls on Friday of each week.  With a class over a 4 week period, you will be more immersed and scheduled with your focus and therefore make more progress than if left to your own devices. :)

So in a nutshell…

  • • If you have a phone, you can join us.
  • • If you won’t make every sessions, it’s ok, we record them.
  • • If you learn well by listening and doing, this will be a great fit.
  • • The first ever class begins on Tuesday, March 25, 2014.

Click here to get all the details and save your spot!

Art Licensing Academy by Tara Reed