Saturday, April 7, 2012

Character Licensing - Part II: Artist Marty Qatani

© alex colombo
Happy Easter! And, in honor of the day and this two-part series on character licensing, here's one of my own experimental characters, Linnette the Silly Bunny! I published part I of this collaborative editorial on character licensing at the beginning of the week that featured artist Bill Abbott.

My next guest is artist Marty Qatani: "What can I say, I can't remember a time when I didn't enjoy cartoons" – Marty says. "I'm a big fan of the 60's Saturday morning cartoons from Hanna Barbera (yes, I'm old enough to have watched them when they originally aired :) ). As I got older, I would sit in front of the TV with a pad of paper or sketchbook and try to draw the various characters as shows played. Even later in life, I discovered the vintage Popeye cartoons from the Fleischer Studios... absolutely one of my favorite cartoon series."

As for a description of Marty's art and style, as he mentioned above, Hanna Barbera was a big influence on him, as well as "legendary Mad magazine cartoonist Don Martin, Berke Brethed, Rick Griffin... the influences are many, and just as varied in style," Marty adds.

© Marty Qatani - Spider Mickey
Marty's main overall theme can be described as fun, colorful, whimsical, and at times, satirical. Marty says: "Expressing some positive-ity is important to me. Too much art, especially cartoon art, has a negative feel to it." His technique: "100% of the time, I start with a hand drawn sketch, which is then scanned and brought into Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop where it is colored. Currently I am working on a design that started as a sketch, then traced in Illustrator with the brush tool (I like the various line widths and styles I get this way) and then brought into Photoshop to add color. I recently started experimenting with textures in Photoshop, which is why I'm not leaving the design in Illustrator for coloring."

© Marty Qatani - GhoulCrewTorn
What's exciting about your creative work, I asked Marty. "Exciting is an objective term. What's exciting for me may not be exciting for others, and it's hard to explain...but when something comes together, I just get a rush and it's hard to stop, even if I'm blurry eyed and know I should be going to bed. I can't stop until that rush goes away." He then adds: "My inspiration is everywhere, old posters, other cartoonist's work, old cartoon shows, music, concert posters from the 60's, color patterns I see when I'm out...it literally is everywhere."

Marty is currently working on 3-4 individual designs with no relation to each other, but each hopefully presents numerous licensing opportunities, he says. "Licensing is a hard field to get established in. I first discovered the concept of licensing years ago. I immediately wanted to get involved and it's been a learning process ever since, including exhibiting twice at the International Licensing Show when it was held in NYC. That was an expensive learning experience. In hindsight, I would have done quite a few things differently, but I'm focusing on moving forward, not looking back. Just recently I've been fortunate to sign a contract with an agent in the UK for representation for several of my designs, and for several designs they've come up with but want me to illustrate."

© Marty Qatani - Polar Bear Beach
Marty concludes saying, "Be original and don't copy what's already out there, nobody likes an imitation. Research, read the trade journals, (licensing mags, etc), join the various Character/Art Licensing groups on LinkedIn, get involved and get noticed. But most importantly, do what you love, don't fake it.

His main goal, he says, is to establish several original character based properties he's created as licensed character brands.


Find more of Marty's work here: 
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