Monday, October 10, 2011

An Art Licensing True Story - Artist Ellie Record


In networking with various art licensing artists I often find myself fascinated by their individual experiences and art processes. So much creativity! 

We all have a unique story to tell and sometimes we like to share it, too, with hopes to perhaps help another artist or maybe just inspire someone else. So I started asking this question: what's your story?


Ellie Record and Daughter Sonora
Artist Ellie Record grew up on a small farm in southwest Colorado, surrounded by animals and the outdoors. She started her art journey by moving to Denver to attend the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design. After college she started a family and also started promoting herself as a children's book illustrator.

"I strive to create excitement through my art with whimsical characters and bright colors. Creating animal characters doing fun activities, like dancing on lily pads or flying to the moon with butterflies. I also try to create excitement through whimsical twists or add a little humor, like animals all stacking up to help a little duck blow out his candles," Ellie says.  

But how did she get to be an art licensing artist?


© Ellie Record
Ellie remembers as a young child spending hours mixing her colors with her grandma. Through the years of her childhood her hobby was drawing, doodling and painting. She took many art classes in high school because they were easy for her. She was undecided about her future path for college when a friend advised her to apply to art colleges. Ellie laughed, never expecting to receive a full ride interior design scholarship. After attending RMCAD for a year under an interior design major, a teacher approached her and suggested she look into illustration because of her drawing skills. Ellie laughed again: "I jumped into illustration not knowing what the hell I was doing. Through very patient teachers and hair pulling, I found my style and talent as an artist." 

While she was at a children's book conference in NY she attended a workshop where agents suggested other avenues of using her art talent, one of which was licensing. She was inspired and thrilled to learn more. She visited the Surtex show, realizing that this was the way to fulfill one of her dreams to create greeting cards. Back in Colorado she started her research and she eventually joined some licensing groups and read many blogs.  

© Ellie Record
The main reason for getting into licensing was ... "well money is helpful," Ellie says ... but she also understood that licensing can take time, patience and faith. Her real drive is passion, dreams, and a love of what she does.

In reading a blog Ellie ran across a post about how to find an art licensing agent. She started organizing and creating so as to approach an agent, as she had promised herself after NY to not hold back on any career opportunities. Against the article's advice, she approached an agent that posted a comment on LinkedIn. The agent was looking for new artists to represent that had a whimsical-painterly style. Ellie took the chance and e-mailed the agent, not expecting any response. With much surprise, the agent responded back quickly wanting to see more of her art style. They touched base by phone and she gave her a goal assignment – "I was thrilled and anxious, but got to work. After the completion of my assignment, we decided we would be a good fit and signed a contract! I am blessed in finding a patient agent that is willing to direct me into completing a fulfilling collection portfolio."

© Ellie Record
Ellie's art is a long tedious process, she says. She starts with pastels, fine details with colored pencils, acrylics for shading and highlights and oil glazes to make colors really pop.  Her main goal and aspiration is to have her art create beautiful products, hoping that they will bring joy and inspiration to others. She also has a goal of licensing in the kid's fashion industry someday.

To other artists new to the licensing industry Ellie says: "Just keep creating. I always think of the story of the tortoise and the hare. Slow and steady wins the race!"



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