This week I want to explore more about a style my guest artist Julie Dobson Miner refers to as "diverse, ranging from realistic (often with a contemporary twist), to fun, whimsical character-based artwork that shows a childlike innocence."
Julie says: "Even since early childhood, I've known I wanted to be an artist. My mom let me have a corner of the basement where I'd sit and work on my creations, usually working with colored construction paper and chalk. I would come home from school, make peanut butter toast and go downstairs and immerse myself in creating my own little world." Her agent, Carol White of Artworks! Licensing has said (and it tickles Julie) "I wanna be in your world." Many times she suggests themes to work on and at the end of the projects comes up with some clever collection names, Julie says. "My favorite theme, even as a child, has been Halloween, closely followed by Winter and Christmas themes."
|© Julie Dobson Miner - Jolly Jingle Snowmen|
"I took a watercolor class and I was hooked! Within a few years, I opened a gallery studio in a quaint little Minnesotan town called White Bear Lake. I had a gallery of my work, taught watercolor classes, and continued with my graphic design. I won a few awards for my watercolors and was featured a few times on a local cable television station teaching my watercolor techniques." One of the shows she put together was on the elements and principles of design and she gave the same talk to Minnesota Watercolor Society.
|© Julie Dobson Miner - Pumpkin Gang Collection|
|© Julie Dobson Miner - Flipper Circus Circus Wiener Dog|
|© Julie Dobson Miner - Eek Monsters|
So what's exciting about your creative work, I asked. "I love the idea of presenting a lighter side of life. My most recent license was birthday party-ware with my Eek Monsters. They are manufactured by Unique Industries for Walmart. I posted on Linkedin with such joy, "I just made it into Walmart!" never expecting to hear anything back. It was my first post ever and I was blown away with all the well-wishing I received from other licensing artists." Her little cousin in Colorado had an “Eek Monster” birthday party. "That was so fun for me!" Another recent license is with Counter Art putting "Sweet Shoppe Cupcakes" onto coasters, she adds. "I just got samples yesterday. I lOVE them. I'm using them at my desk right now."
|© Julie Dobson Miner - Kitty Witt|
|© Julie Dobson Miner - Sweetshoppe Cupcakes|
Julie says: "I have never tried to market myself. Upon signing with Carol I stressed that communication is very important to me. I asked many questions up front. She said she had never seen so many. I think it's important to be on the same page in how the relationship is going to work. I've heard it being compared to a marriage."
She has never exhibited at a licensing show but she has walked Surtex and the Craft and Hobby Show when it was in Vegas. Julie also has some local artist friends that work in licensing and sometimes travel together to the shows. Her beautiful work has been featured on greeting cards, pet mats at Petco and Petsmart, "Studio e fabric" lines for quilters (five or six collections a year), yard flags, party paper goods, ceramic ware, coasters, trays, scrap booking supplies, gift bags and boxes, and kids furniture. Julie concludes saying: "I believe in our industry success is achieved by 70% persistence, and 30% talent and skill."
|© Julie Dobson Miner - Bow Wow Dog|
She continue saying: "Look at what is selling. Make yours the best artwork you can with your twist. Your art may be beautiful but if it won’t sell the product it's on it won't be licensed. It's tricky. There is a lot of art out there that just isn't right for licensing. Many times your art is not chosen for a variety of reasons. It could be the company just did something similar, the artwork is at the bottom of a trend curve, or it could even be budget cuts. It could be your art fits better in another market. If it's a good fit for the market, stay the course.
Like a college teacher of mine once said, "Do the work and the money will follow like Mary's Little Lamb." - (Dean Kevern) "Well, we hope so, right?"