Books on licensing:

~Graphic Artists Guild PEGS, 9th edition has a small section

~Tad Crawford's "Business & Legal Forms for Illustrators" which has everything you need to know about contracts-- this book has saved me from making probably thousands of dollars in costly mistakes since I got it. WORTH ITS WEIGHT IN GOLD, NO LIE!!!

~Caryn Leland, "Licensing Your Art & Design" Very dry, but extremely useful book. (All 3 are available through the Guild

~Marilyn Moore's "Licensing Your Art" is really a guide for rank beginners - if you know anything at all about selling your work, this might be a waste of time & money (it is NOT a lot of book for almost $40 shipped!)

You can register here fr both show & seminars--

TA--DA!!! Herewith, the URL for the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers Association--

It is EXPENSIVE to join this crew-- and I don't think you get a member list unless you do, BTW--

Have a great day--
Peace & joy,

Go to It's a site for a co. that licences artwork. One of their main customers is Bentleyhouse, which you are probably familiar with.

I picked a card theme for my own series based on the northwoods of Lake Superior. This card : ST. Nick and local winter birds +sled dog +lighthouse (aimed directly at the local market). Canon color-copied 200, numbered and signed, some framed and shrinkwrapped. Then, will send art on to a licensing company or card company in Jan. or Feb. It takes me 60 hours to do a piece like this. Local $ won't do much but I get the feedback and self-selling practice. Plus, it's a fun thing to do for the community. Also giving 10% of full price to Audubon society. Retailers agreed too.

It's not a Giclee print or anything really spendy. Supposedly these Canon prints last 50+ years. Matches my colors 93-97%. Pleased. Selling well. Gives me feedback locally which I've never done before. Have only just done national ed. pubs.

It's a continuation of my summer decision to develop a line of work where I keep the rights.


Date: Sat, 12 Dec 1998 13:59:22 -0500
From: Claudia Sargent
Subject: illustration: Claudia, Joy, Kevan: Cards VS Licensing (VERY Long)

Hi Diana & all--
Your question about starting out in licensing is certainly a timely one for me-- I'm going to be looking for a licensing agent myself after the new year, so I can keep you & the list posted on what I find out as I go along. Let me try to address your specific questions with what I know so far--

"Do I submit to card company first or submit them to a licensing group? Or a Print company?...Am going through marketing books to find the right companies. Where's the starting point?"

It depends on where you WANT to start, really. If you submit to a card company, do a multiple submission (that is, find a number of companies you think you'd be a good "fit" for, get their submission guidelines, and submit to all of them en masse). I'd do the same with print publishers--- I've never worked with one myself, so I'm not the one to answer that any more specifically. I think Kelly does prints, doesn't he?

A licensing group-- I'm assuming you mean an agent?-- is for a different purpose than a card or print publisher-- THEY'D be handling submissions of your work to different kinds of manufacturers. So, address your search for them the way you would for any agent-- send samples and a query letter, follow up with phone calls, and do this with several at a time. What I'm doing is searching for five different agents that I think I'd be a good fit for, based on who they rep now and what kind of licenses they're procuring for their artists. You can subscribe to a some licensing magazines to keep up on who's doing what-- I get The Licensing Book & License! Magazine. If you go to I think you can get to the signup for License! magazine form there.

"The Licensing Book" is a trade magazine that I *somehow* got a free subscription to-- probably from attending the Licensing Show at the Javits for the last 3 years. The address is 1501 Broadway, Suite 500, NY NY 10036; Phone 1-212-575-4510, Fax 1-212-575-4521. There's a lot of editorial content that simply doesn't apply to the average individual artist, but it's a very worthwhile way to keep abreast of trends, and they do 2 issues a year on Art Licensing (that's us!).

For books on licensing, check out the Guild PEGS (which has a small section), and Caryn Leland's book, "LicensingYour Art & Design"-- both available through the Guild. I also have Marilyn Moore's "Licensing Your Art", but it's not a lot of book for almost $40. Also, Tad Crawford's "Business & Legal Forms for Illustrators", which has everything you need to know about contracts, especially the fine print.

For more good info on licensing, I would recommend going to the Licensing Show at the Javits, in June each year. The phone number for info is 203-256-4700. It's run by Expocon Associates. It's not a place for you to sell (unless you buy a booth in the Artists & Designers Showcase), but it's an invaluable way to gauge market trends & see who's doing what. It's much smaller than the Stationery Show --about 1/2 the size-- so you won't need to be there more than a couple of hours to get a good read on the biz. And what you can walk away with in terms of free trade magazines makes it well worthwhile! Also-- they run seminars on show days which are very reasonably priced & quite useful (I went to 2 last year, 1 this year & spent less than $300). Call to pre-register so you get the schedule of seminars. AND WEAR COMFY SHOES if you DO go-- the floors at the Javits are a *killer*-- the first year I went, I ended up walking barefoot & carrying my shoes, no lie!

"I spend 60 hours on a piece and can't just sell it outright."

I HEAR YOU!! I regularly spend anwhere from 50- 200 hours on a painting for a greeting card, which is why I never sell anything BUT the greeting cards rights anymore. All of the g.c. cos. I work with work that way, so it shouldn't be a problem for you. DO become knowledgable on contract terms & negotiation, since that's the key to retaining the ability to license the same image for different uses & categories of merchandise.

"If they're really detailed, how many do I need to send?"

I'm guessing 3-5. The detail matters if you're submitting to show a style, so do what you'd do if you were just sending samples for their files. If you are submitting for a whole line, I think you'd need more-- that's a Kevan question, I've never worked *quite* that way before.

"Also, how does one find out which card companies have a good marketing, distribution set-up? Ask them how many sell yearly?"

If you can find the cards easily, their distribution network is good! *G* Really, at this point, I'd just worry about getting your samples out there to companies & getting assignments or contracts from whoever will buy g.c. rights only & give you a royalty. I've worked for some of the TOP companies and have been really shocked at what has happened to sales in recent years--with Schurman in particiular, but also with Sunrise. Find a good home for the work, get as many free samples as you can (my contracts say that I get 48 free samples per design, and I have the right to buy more at wholesale or less) and use those as samples to get new contracts with new companies.

If there's anything else I can help with, just ask--I'm still pretty new at licensing, but I'm always reading & learning about it--IMO, it's the future of the illo biz!


Date: Thu, 4 Feb 1999 19:55:43 EST

There is a terrific liscensing lawyer in NY-Caryn Leland-she also wrote a book called "Licensing Art & Design" ISBN 1-880559-27-7 for $16.95-when I bought it. If you need help w/ this contract hounding client I'm sure she could help you. Her # is 212-274-0707. However, this will probably cost.

Good Luck!!

Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999 16:44:48 -0500
From: Claudia Sargent
Subject: illustration: licensing contract question

Sarah Dillard said: "I am working on a licensing contract with a new client. They are agreeing to everything on my contract but on my section on the royalty percentage I have written __ percent of invoiced sales of licensed products less shipping and returns -- they have added credit deductions, advertising, display and promotional allowances. I'm not sure exactly what this means. Do they mean that I am in effect, paying for their advertising by taking a cut in my royalties for that?

Hey, Sarah--
Sorry it took me so long to get to this--

You're not really taking a cut in your royalty, which will be a fixed percentage of the invoiced sales--what they're doing is reducing the gross figure on which your royalty is based. But, yes-- the royalty income you get would reduced if they deducted these expenses from gross revenues, because they are making the net figure [of which your royalty is a percentage] smaller.

You can get around this several ways. You can try negotiating to eliminate some, if not all, of the extra charges they're trying to add, by pointing out that advertising, display & promotional costs should be considered as part of their overhead, as manufacturing costs are. Or, you can set a ceiling on the amount they can charge against the gross receipts-- for instance, adding a phrase like "such charges not to exceed 10% of gross revenues" at the end of that section. Another way would be to try increasing the royalty rate so that you recoup the money that way (very chancy, since it doesn't encourage them to limit their costs in any way-- they just make the "pot" smaller, while your portion of the now-smaller pot gets bigger-- you could still end up with far less this way). Probably the easiest way to do it is to try to set a ceiling-- this way, they would be contractually obligated to keep their costs in line; probably the best way is to try to elimnate as many of these additional charges as you can, and require them to report to you what those costs actually are.

It might be worth your while to run this past a good *licensing* lawyer BEFORE you sign it-- you can bet they're running it past their Legal Dept.!

If you need names, e-mail me-- I've got a bunch of them.

Peace & joy,

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