Friday, April 13, 2012

Inspired by Nature - Artist Valerie Greeley


In preparation for Surtex I've been working to get more collections completed but also to create art pieces for some promo/marketing that I will be publishing in trade mags and so on. Starting next week I will be publishing free ads on this blog of newbies and established art licensing artists exhibiting at Surtex. 

And this will be my first interview to be tweetted - I'm very happy to host this interview with a wonderful artist who has been in licensing for quite sometime. Her name is Valerie Greeley.

Artist Valerie Greeley
She lives in Cheshire, England with her husband. She has two sons and one grandson. Her background is in design – she studied Textile design at Manchester Metropolitan University and her career in art spans three decades.

TMFMA: What brought you to art in the first place? I can't remember a time that it was not part of my life. When I graduated from university I became a freelance textile designer, working directly with manufacturers and also through agents. Later I moved into stationery and children's books. I have lived for most of my working life in and around the pottery producing areas of Stoke-on-Trent and found freelance work with many of the factories there.

© Valerie Greeley
TMFMA: What's your favorite medium or tool/s you create with? I prefer watercolor for the very detailed pieces but have tried to keep up with new technology, so sometimes I combine traditional drawing and painting with digital effect. I very rarely do a piece of work entirely digitally, most pieces start with a drawing by hand in the time honored way. When I worked on the illustrations for "The Bird with the Rainbow Tail" I used a black pen drawing and worked patterns and textures digitally. For textile designs and work that requires color separation I sometimes work in gouache, mixing up eighteen different pots of paint!

© Valerie Greeley
TMFMA: Who or what has inspired you in your art? As a student I was very influenced by the exponents of the Arts and Crafts Movement, in particular Walter Crane. I am drawn to decorative work and love Japanese textiles and wood engravings. Above all I am inspired by nature and find inspiration in the woodlands and gardens around my home.

TMFMA: How long have you been doing art licensing? My career has many ups and downs, for many years I was fortunate enough to have a publisher who allowed me to create children's picture books. In the mid nineties, just as things were beginning to get difficult for picture book publishers, I received a letter from an art editor at Amcal who had seen my books in the USA. She invited me to submit my work for their publishing program. We did calendars, note cards, etc.

© Valerie Greeley
This was my first introduction into the world of royalty based licensing although prior to this I had done some flat fee licensing, we just did not call it licensing then. For many years after leaving university I sold work outright, mainly for textiles and stationery and ceramic decals. Things have changed so much since then.

TMFMA: Do you work with an agent or do you represent yourself? I work with Advocate Art and have been with them for over three years. I also do some work independently as my contract allows.

TMFMA: What do you suggest new artists do to present themselves to the world of licensing for the first time? I learned a lot from other artists, I did Surtex several times which was enormously helpful and I would recommend taking part in the show if possible. In the UK we have The Spring Fair, all good places to learn the ins and outs of the business.

© Valerie Greeley
TMFMA: What advice would you give other artists that are considering the art-licensing field? This may seem rather obvious but you need to keep good records. Invest in a good scanner, learn Photoshop, digitize your work and make back up copies. Give every design a number and a name and keep everything on file. I now have over 600 images and cannot possibly keep them all in my head! Print out physical copies in case your computer crashes and email high-resolution files to yourself. Make copies in a lower resolution for email submissions and keep any layered files separate. Play to your strengths and try to be true to yourself and above all keep an optimistic frame of mind.


More lovely artwork by Valerie 

© Valerie Greeley

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