How do you break into the fabric or stationary part of illustration? (psst, I've already listed to the first "how to make money in Illustration")

  • SVS OG

    I know that the creators of SVS are primarily story tellers. Which is awesome! I love hearing all the insights on that part of the illustration business. Just a wealth of knowledge. Honestly, that is still many years away from my skill set. What I can do, and what I want to do, I haven't really heard much about. I could be just missing it. How do you get into the stationary industry? Is that more editorial? How about designing fabrics and other products. I know about spoon flower and other pay to print places. I like my own work and what to see it purses and cell phone covers, but that stuff is pricey. I don't think anyone else wants to pay the cost of those sites when they can get something at target cheaper. Just a thought.!

    How do I turn my images to the products below? what's the best way to get into that niche? Just do the spoon flower thing and see if you get noticed? in the mean time try and build a community of people that like your work enough to pay the price?
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  • SVS OG

    Hi Whitney, I believe what you are looking for is called Art Licensing. I'm not sure if there is a class about it here at SVS but there are some articles and videos spread out online and on YouTube. Tara Reed has some books and courses on the business I believe but I have not seriously looked into them. I hope you find what you're looking for!

  • SVS OG

    Thanks! I'll check that out.

  • SVS OG

    @whitney-simms your illustrations are darling! Good luck!

  • Pro SVS OG

    I had a part of a class on this when I was at art school. Don´t remember a thing apart the fact that there are some very extensive resources online - the one we looked most into is Joan Beiringer´s blog:

    Also, there is a world-famous art-licensing fair in London every year. I wanted to go at some point but I felt it was way over my head - you can however go there and present your portfolio (if it´s geared specifically towards art licensing) to buyers.
    Art licensing contracts are so complex that there are agents specializing only in that field - they charge the highest fees in the industry, about 50% of every deal. Apparently it´s worth it 😉

  • I agree with @smceccarelli that an agent is likely worth it. About 10 years ago, I had a licensing contract with a manufacturer of products with canine images on them and their contract promised 10% royalty on the wholesale cost of each product, which was the high end of royalties at the time. Unfortunately, their mode of operation was failure to pay an artist ( or questionable amounts)until that artist terminated the contract, then move on to a contract with a new artist. A group of the burned artists communicated with each other and discussed taking legal action. I paid a lawyer for an hour of his time ($250) to write a threatening letter and I finally did get some significant payment in money and product, but who knows if it was accurate. The lawyer’s advice was that it is costly to pursue breach of contract legally and difficult to go after assets from someone in another state even when you win the breach of contract case. So one thing I learned is that the contract should include provision of statements from the manufacturer’s accounting books so you know exactly what has been sold in the accounting period. I was seeing products with my images on them even in tiny podunk towns and couldn’t figure out why I was getting little or nothing in royalties. I think an agent would be more likely to know a good contract from a bad one and have the financial incentive to get the good ones for an artist they think can make money for them. Best wishes!

  • SVS OG

    @juliepeelart thanks! I am limited in my skills, but i am happy with what I can do at this point.

  • SVS OG

    Thanks @smceccarelli and @BichonBistro ! This may be way more complicated then I realized. Looks like I have some real homework to do. I did check out the blog you mentioned. I'll have to study it out tomorrow.

    Sorry about your contract. My husband is an attorney. So I can get him to send a threatening letter for free! He does work that is completely different from contracts so he won't be help if it went past the letter.

    Thanks so much for your help guys! Maybe I'll not shoot for something fancy to come of my work and I will just assume I'll be small scale for the long haul.

  • SVS OG

    @Dulcie Mascord might be able to answer your questions. I believe she does wrapping paper-super cute too 🙂

  • SVS OG

    @Lee-White @Jake-Parker @Will-Terry

    Let me just say, my head was a little big when you announced the licensing class a week after my post on this forum. Look they did this just for me. I knew it was a long shot, but I was happy. I knew it wasn't really possible. Now I am pretty far into it and know this was filmed in October. I got all these wonderful answers from our awesome SVSers. Honestly, I got overwhelmed and felt like making art because my collection wasn't big enough to even get that far ahead. But you guys made another awesome class and got it all ready for us. I'm sure there are a million people on youtube that tell you how to do it. But I trust you guys. That's why we are all here at SVS. You know what you are doing. And when it is time to pull out another expert, you deliver! See all my kitchen stuff on tiny individual little images. I'm so excited. And taking snap shots of things, I do that all the freaking time. I just didn't snap the tags, so crap. But still. Thanks for getting this Non story telling class for us illustrating decorators. And yes, paper plates are freaking huge. HUGE! You don't know how many times I wanted to just paint my own paper plate for an event to get just the right color, theme and style. All done, going back to my class. I'll probably send her a million hot chocolate cards. Actually, I've moved onto strawberry plants and bees for spring.

  • Hey! Check out Surtex- I'd start there. Also it's stationEry, not stationAry (staying still). Easy to mix up.

    Is there a class on SVS that addresses licensing?

  • SVS OG

    @hopper12 there is a class at SVS that just went live last night! It is AMAZING!!!!!!! I just finished it. thanks for your help though. I will check them out too.

  • I just watched it- It was very informative. Thanks!

  • @whitney-simms Thank you so much! Gina is amazing! She's also going to keep this series going - so there's so much more to come!

  • SVS OG

    @will-terry that's exciting. She was a pleasure to listen to. I can't wait to see what else comes in the classes. I'm learning tons in your mixed media watercolor digital class. I'm not ready to paint in all grays yet! Can't give up the color in the brush. There are many things in there that I am using already in getting my art ready to print and turned into stationary. Next on the tutorials bucket list will be the composition class. Maybe I'll get those flags and plates out one of these days. The more I learn about children's books and see what the SVS peeps are doing, the more I realize that I may not be a good fit. Not now. In the next year or so my friend and I will be doing a cook book. I can listen to the carpool classes on kick starters and self publishing (those ramble ones, which are really fun as I am driving). You guys are awesome, thanks for what you do!

  • @whitney-simms Well we love it so I don't think we're going to stop anytime soon - THANK YOU!

  • @whitney-simms
    Hi, I know this topic is from a few months ago, but I just came across it and I wanted to share with you a little mini class by a surface designer, Bonnie Christine. It's more about her creative process, and it's titled "Gathering Inspiration" but I thought you might be interested.

    I hope you see this right away, since I think it's only available through today, 5/18/18--but try it to make sure, if it's past that date. Here's the link for the mini-class:
    Each presenter had a free gift & hers was 30-day access to her website, where she teaches about this niche of the illustrating industry. (It looks like it's probably the regular offer for her website & you have to enter pmt. info, and cancel before the 30 days are up--the usual get people onto a subscription type of thing. So put a reminder on your calendar if you don't want to continue after the free period!)

    It's part of a free workshop series. (Jake Parker did a session for it as well.) Here's the whole list:

    I know what you mean about wishing you could design your own fabrics, plates, cell phone covers, etc, etc, etc.! Although, you are way ahead of me in your art! Your designs look like they belong in stores! I'd love a shirt with that gray & brown floral--so pretty! I keep thinking I should paint designs on some plain colored clothes, but I haven't tried it yet, and I'm afraid I'd mess them up!

  • SVS OG

    @miriam The workshop was closed. That's okay. I didn't know about this designer. Bonnie Christine's work is beautiful! She has an entire curriculum for surface designs. I'll follow her for sure! Maybe she will throw out a free class again in the future! Thanks for the heads up!

  • @whitney-simms
    Oh, that's too bad, but like I mentioned it was really about the process of gathering information more than anything specific about that type of work. She encouraged people to go out into the real world whenever possible--like visiting a horse farm to sketch and take photos, instead of just googling horse pictures. She also spends time making lists of everything having to do with a subject before she starts drawing.

    One thing she talked about that was specific to surface design is practicing making collections of images or patterns that go well together (for things like coordinating fabrics, stationary items, etc.) I think she said something about having bolder or larger patterns/images as well as simple ones. For example, you'd have more involved designs that could be used on items like cards, and smaller patterns that could be on things like a pencil or pen for the same set.

    I'm happy that I was at least able to help you find another artist in this area of illustration, especially since you like her work. She does have a nice style!

  • SVS OG

    @miriam Thanks for passing along those tips too! Sometimes it is easy to just google an image rather than find it in real life! I'm going to do a series of ice-cream in just a bit. I think it may require lots of R&D!

    I love the idea of creating a collection as well! Prints that go with the color scheme. The idea of complex designs as well as simple ones makes sense too! Thanks!

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