Thursday, October 13, 2011

Jumping Into Art Licensing - Artist Holli Conger


The more I learn about art licensing the more I think there are many different avenues one can take to enter this business - it is a way to commercially sell your art and how you get started in it varies, depending on each individual's situation. I think it's really a matter of setting one's own goal and defining what "success" means. What is it that I want to accomplish, how am I going to do it and is that what I consider a successful result? The variety of opinions and views about this particular topic fascinate me. So many stories... and here is a daring one, of a very busy, creative and successful illustrator and licensing artist, who's been juggling many projects at once!

Artist Holli Conger
The Moon from My Attic: Please introduce yourself - I'm Holli Conger and I've been a professional illustrator since 2004. I live and work in Nashville, TN and I specialize in the children's market for both publishing and licensing. I also license some of my photography work from my Typography Photography™ collection of letterpress blocks. You can read all about my journey here.
  
TMFMA: What brought you to art in the first place? I've always loved art and knew I wanted to be graphic designer at 8th grade career day. I got a Bachelor's degree in design, worked as a designer at a large publisher for 5 years and then went out on my own.
  
© Holli Conger
TMFMA: What's exciting about your creative work? I get to do it on my own time and I get to use my imagination everyday. Plus I can do it in my pj's if I want to.
  
TMFMA: What's your favorite medium or tool/s you create with? Right now, it's probably Photoshop. With licensing, layers are your best friend. I also love Illustrator.
  
TMFMA: Who or what has inspired you in your art? My kids. When my daughter was born I decided I wanted to be with her during the day, but I didn't want to give up my career, so I decided to push and go out on my own. When my son was born earlier this year, he's been my total inspiration for all things boy. Before I think I leaned more towards "girly" things in my art just because I was inundated with it from my daughter.
  
© Holli Conger
TMFMA: How long have you been doing art licensing? I've only been licensing my work for a few years. I started really promoting it in 2009. I exhibited at Surtex and that was really when I launched that division.
  
TMFMA: What brought you to exhibit for the first time and how many shows have you exhibited in - if any? I just needed to jump right in if I was going to do it. I've only done the Surtex 2009 show and I still hear and work with contacts I made there. It also gave me a good look at how the licensing world works and how many different brands fall under certain manufacturers.

TMFMA: Do you work with an agent or do you represent yourself? I have an agent for children's publishing but I represent myself for the licensing side of my business.
  
© Holli Conger
TMFMA: How does one go about getting licensing deals? What's the "protocol" if any? Just make contacts and keep them updated with your work. I have found that several Licensing Directors prefer to communicate though email for looking at samples, etc. so that's a real time saver. Just be sure you don't spam them with your work!
  
TMFMA: What do you suggest new artists do to present themselves to the world of licensing for the first time? Have a nice portfolio of work together. Have several pieces that go together with accompanying patterns.
  
TMFMA: Please give us your analysis of the market based on your own experience and contacts. I think the market has picked up from previous years. Licensing Directors are always excited to find the next new thing and are interested in looking at work.
  
TMFMA: In your view, what was of major interest to manufacturers this year? It's hard for me to say. My focus is more on the children's market and my type photography. I have seen more children's themed art tends to be vector based work. Not real sure why but that's what I get asked for the most.

© Holli Conger
TMFMA: How does a new artist find manufacturers that "match" their styles? My best advice is "go shopping." See which manufacturers are making what, then go back and research them, find their Licensing Director and send them your work.
  
TMFMA: What advice would you give other artists that are considering the art licensing field? Research is going to take a lot of your time away from creating so prepare for that. Things seem to go slow sometimes with contacts, but just stay with it and be patient.
  
TMFMA: Any other useful info that you'd like to share about art licensing? Stick with it.There are thousands of manufactures out there looking for art. Just send your queries and follow-up. 


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