Tuesday, July 22, 2014

FREE Audio Series! Starts August 4, 2014


I just signed up! Did you?! If you want, we can group email chat about what we get out of it each week. 


This is kind of like Tara's Ask Calls - delivered to your inbox every Monday in August!

I really enjoy Tara's Ask Calls for two reasons. 1. I am listening to people who get artists! 2. I ALWAYS pick up wonderful nuggets of information :-)

Even if you have been in the business for quite awhile - hearing another person perspective can give you just the insight or idea that you needed. SO, I would appreciate it if you click the image above to sign up - It is FREE, I won't make any $$ from it. It does let Tara know you heard it from me which I really do appreciate!

Here is the gist of the audios that arrive in your inbox every Monday in August - more info on Tara's site CLICK HERE.

WEEK 1. The basics of art licensing

WEEK 2. How to "package" your art to appeal to licensees (the manufacturers and retailers who license art)

WEEK 3. How your beliefs and mindsets can support or sabotage your success

WEEK 4. Tips to let the right people know that you have art for licensing

I am interested in weeks 2 - 4. If you want to group email chat with me, leave your email in the comments below. OR if you are worried about spammers picking up your email, send it to me directly at anntroe@cox.net.

Looking forward to connecting with you!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Saying Yes to Less

New(er) approach that I have been taking.

Happy Friday Doodlebugerz!
I am 50 years young! The older I get, the less mucking around I want to do :-) So I thought this week I would share an approach that I have no idea where it originated from. The "is it a HELL YES!" approach. if not, then it is a NO. It kind of goes along with the "don't should on yourself" approach.

Okay, I better say right now that don't even think that I have any of this self-helpy stuff mastered. I find though that these phrases do help me move forward more easily! I let go of over thinking things more quickly. Practice makes perfect. Of course there are situations that a "maybe" is the right answer. I don't want you to take this too far and quit your day job that pays the bills! Having income is a BIG HELL YES! in my book!

Saying yes less to the neighbor, family, dog, church, school, 3rd cousin who is getting married, the long line of people who want free art/work from you for exposure......... means more room for the Yes's you want to do :-) When I ask myself if it is a "HELL YES!" it can really clarify more quickly the direction to take.

No, I don't get a "HELL YES!" to paying taxes - but I do pay, on time :-D

I was chatting through email with a fellow artists who had a pros and cons list for a decision that they were struggling to make. Of course only they know what is right for them, but I suggested that since it wasn't a strong yes, that maybe no for now was a good idea :-) Even though it was through email - it was like you could see the light bulb go on.

SO, I thought today I would just remind all of us, including myself, that a lot of times we know what to do before we think about it alot. Saying yes to less is a beautiful thing!

I really dig hearing about your experiences! Thanks for commenting below.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Artist Spotlight - Laura Levie

Tell us a bit about yourself: Did you go to school for art? Are you self taught?
I have been creating art since I was a young child. At eight years old, I began taking art classes from a local artist in Decatur, Alabama who operated a teaching art studio in her back yard. Starting with pencil, she taught me how to use all the major media - watercolor, pen and ink, pastels, acrylic and oil. It was an idyllic setting - arriving once a week after school to freshly popped popcorn, cold cokes out of the bottle and rock music playing from the radio. My friends were there, along with the older, cooler girls as well, and we pulled pranks in addition to creating art. I lost that battle when I discovered 20 slugs in my paint box. 

When I was 12, we moved to Wellesley, Massachusetts, where I took art classes at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and learned the art of printmaking. I remember roaming the hushed galleries to find inspiration from the ancient Egyptian and Greek collections. I continued to create art throughout high school. During my time at Wake Forest I majored in English and Art History and took several studio classes. My English and Art History classes created lasting impressions, inspiring me with their symbolism and lyrical beauty. After graduating, I picked up watercolor again in my spare time, painting Christmas cards and nursery pieces for my friends. Then I began concentrating on forging my career, though not in art. 

Now twenty years later, I live in Birmingham, Alabama and work as Marketing Director for a bank consulting firm. My goal for the past year has been to focus more on my art - beyond the occasional commission - and explore licensing my designs. I work my real job four days a week and spend the other three days on my burgeoning art career. Recently I printed my artwork onto baby items (onesies, bibs, tees) and sell them at a local boutique. 

What inspires you / where do you get inspiration from?
Books, songs, movies, travel, animals, art museums, cool things, everyday life. 

Do you work in just one medium? Several?
Currently I work in watercolor, using a whimsical illustrative style. 

What are you working on now?
After returning from my first time exhibiting at SURTEX in May, I've been rounding out my collections, adding new holidays and contemplating what collection to begin next. I've also been following-up with contacts I met at SURTEX, sending samples and preparing my artwork for artlicensingshow.com

Anything else you want to tell everyone?
I love music almost as much as I love art. Whether I'm painting, exercising, working, cooking, driving or just hanging out, I am always listening to music. In my artwork, every brush stroke has been accompanied by a chord of music, usually something from the 60s, 70s or 80s. 

As I'm new to art licensing, I would welcome any feedback on my art or my approach to licensing.  There are so many talented, supportive, gracious artists in this community, and I look forward to meeting more of you. 

You'll soon notice my affinity for incorporating mice in my paintings.  I like to think there are clever, industrious mice behind the scenes of our lives, making everything more joyful, magical and imaginative. 

Are you an early riser? or night owl?
I used to be a night owl (didn't we all?), but now I'm an early riser and look forward to drinking coffee, reading the newspaper and easing into the day (when I'm not headed to work, that is). 

What is your favorite food?

You can find Laura 

THANK YOU for stopping by my blog!
Do you want to be spotlighted? Send me an email: anntroe@cox.net
Make my day and follow this blog :-D

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Fourth of July Fun

Happy Friday! Click photos to view larger.

Just a quick post on a bit of fun my daughter and I had lately. We on occasion go to a paint your own pottery place.

Above left is my 4th of July themed plate. I used a sponge to paint the blue and red stripes on the rim, just one coat. Then added a few dots by dipping the handle of my bush into the paint to make the dots. Painted the 3 stars by hand - two coats, three coats would help them be a brighter white on the blue.

My daughter painted memo tiles :-) I didn't watch her process as I was painting. She will put these up on her dorm room wall and use a dry erase marker to write memos. Cute!

All of you in the United States, have a happy and safe 4th of July! Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, June 27, 2014

Artist Spotlight - Kathleen Tennant

Kathleen's art really has brightened my rainy Friday!

Click images for larger view

Tell us a bit about yourself: Did you go to school for art? Are you self taught?

I am completely self taught. In fact, I have never had an art class since Grade 7 when it was mandatory. Art was never something I was interested in. The process of creating art crept up on me and has been quite the beautiful surprise. Several years ago, I started making cards, scrapbook style, on my kitchen table. Shortly after, I was introduced to an art journaling book and put some of the techniques to work. The process was transforming and I found my passion. When paper meets ink and the paper crinkles and bumps and crackles happen I lose track of time and crave the finished piece. 

What inspires you / where do you get inspiration from?
Life inspires me. Sometimes it is people and conversations and other times it is music that sets the mood. Both spark creativity and ideas start forming.

Do you work in just one medium? Several?
I mash many mediums together. I classify myself as a mixed media artist. I have been known to use dried flowers, drywall tape, spray paint, inks and acrylics all in the same piece. 

What are you working on now?
These days I have been working on a few new designs for my greeting card line. I actually just signed my very first license agreement with a company in the UK and several of my designs have been licensed for greeting cards, stationary products and wall art. I am soo looking forward to those hitting stores and am hoping they will be well received. I feel so grateful to have the opportunity to be able to share my art with parts of the world I have never even been to. Nothing makes me more happy than hearing how one of my creations has touched the heart of someone else. 

Anything else you want to tell everyone?
Art has changed my life in ways I could never properly express. I believe the torn edges of life are beautiful as with torn paper, the inner fray represents our inner beings - our thoughts, our dreams, our hurts. I truly believe everyone can create art and when we take away our own judgment or the judgment of others beautiful pieces are created. And, I totally believe the creative possibilities are endless.

Are you an early riser? or night owl?
I am a total early riser. I LOVE the peacefulness of mornings.  

What is your favorite food?
My favourite food is a hamburger more specifically a mushroom and cheddar burger - especially from a pub! YUM!!

You can find Kathleen: 
604 240-3117

THANK YOU for stopping by my blog!
Do you want to be spotlighted? Send me an email: anntroe@cox.net
Make my day and follow this blog :-D

Friday, June 20, 2014

WHY I Want an Art Licensing Agent

You all are wonderful people. I really appreciate all the comments and feedback. After I updated my post on HOW I Found an Agent, a few of you asked Why did/do I want an agent? So here goes and let me know if this was helpful.

First - an agent isn't for everyone! You are going to split royalties with them. Just thought I better put that out there right off the bat :-)

Personally, I have a graphic design business that is 16+ years old. I really enjoy all the hats I wear from CEO to janitor. I have learned so much and continue to learn every day. I also like the variety, even the bookkeeping! Marketing is fun for me, discipline comes easily and I am not concerned that I don't have any contacts in the art licensing industry - I will :-).  With my trusty intellectual property lawyer in my back pocket, I could license my art without an agent.

So WHY have an agent? I don't want to do it all. My plate is full enough. When you toss in making art collections with my graphic design business, blogging/social media, family! and all the other stuff we all do, I need help! So I decided I wanted help with the business end of art licensing. Having an agent sending out my art speeds up the process by cutting out steps I would have to do if I didn't have an agent. They get ready for and go to Surtex for me etc. Besides, it is SO DARN FUN to make art collections for products —I want to do that part. That is why I have an agent.

When I first started to think about whether I wanted an agent or not my head would spin. I was really hung up on splitting royalties. I could hire help for the graphic design business and do all of the art licensing business on my own. I made a pros and cons list. That with a little bit of time I realized that an agent was the way to go for me. I found a free download of Tara Reed's that was helpful "To use and agent or not to use and agent, that is the question..." Scroll down just a bit. The link is right above the big blue banner. This is also when I found her eBook "How to Find an Art Licensing Agent" that I mentioned I purchased in the blog post HOW I Found an Agent.

Do you have or want an agent? Why or why not? Let's chat about it :-)

Thanks Doodlebugerz, it is great to connect with all of you.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Artist Spotlight - Susanne Kasielke

I met Susanne at Surtex last month - Can't wait to see what she does next!

(click photos to view larger).

Tell us a bit about yourself: Did you go to school for art? Are you self taught?
For as long as I can remember I loved to draw and my favorite medium has always been pencil & paper. After finishing highschool I only dreamt of making money while being creative. I decided to study Mathematics instead - because that was the other thing I was good at. But let's put it this way: It wasn't for me. After one semester I knew I had to figure out a way of pursuing my creative dream.

I found a wonderful college which highly valued original fine art techniques & at the same time offered a graphic design education. Until that point I was convinced that working on a computer was a necessary evil to make a living. I couldn't have been more wrong: It took a while but I got completely hooked: I realized how much fun & how many endless possibilities working digitally offered. I do think that it's important for artists to know & understand old painting techniques; I was very lucky to have been taught by incredible & inspiring teachers.

A Master's degree in fine arts & graphic design and 5 years later I started as a graphic design intern in a big advertisement agency in Munich/Germany. Just to show everyone that I've tried the agency path but that it wasn't for me. I ended up staying for 4 years, because surprisingly I really liked it (most of the time). I've worked with wonderful people and learned incredibly much. These  years of professional experience showed me what I'm capable of, what my strengths are & how the business works.

When I moved to DC in 2009 it was the perfect moment to start fresh, work freelance & focus on my art. If I had known how many endless possibilities for creative people existed I would have made this switch sooner!

What inspires you / where do you get inspiration from?
I think that all my artwork – painting, pattern or drawing – shows my love for antiques. I'm fascinated by old & vintage objects, because they carry so many memories & always tell a story. My inspiration is basically everywhere – by noticing a broken chair in the streets, by strolling around flea markets or by seeing an old wall with paint coming off. Once upon a time I started to collect vintage objects (preferably old suitcases & books). Old things represent the past. Without the past we wouldn't have precious & important memories and we wouldn't be able to grow & learn. I personally like to link memories to objects. It's very important to me to remember and appreciate history – It's what brought us to this moment.

But despite all things vintage, there are so many incredibly talented designers, artists & crafters out there – every day I'm inspired & amazed. I can't get enough of following them on their creative paths. They are the ones who teach & introduce me to (creative) possibilities that I haven't thought of. I am learning every day & I am so thankful to them for inspiring & helping me pursuing my creative dream.

Do you work in just one medium? Several?
I live by the motto: Do one thing every day that makes you happy! For me that means to being creative: to paint, illustrate or design.

I work in very different mediums, but at the end there's always a digital connection. For my DC LOVE illustrations & products (above), I use my all time favorite medium: pencil. As a next step the finished drawing is scanned and digitally colored. The same goes for my repeating patterns. I usually start with hand-drawn sketches & doodles. Once digitalized I bring the different elements together by collaging & layering. When I paint, my way of expressing is abstract. I work with canvas & handmade paper by using gesso and different layers of paint (oil and acrylic color). Between those layers I use sandpaper to bring out structure and texture. The combination of sanding, scratching and applying layers of paint emphasizes special areas but at the same time it brings out unexpected shapes and forms.

What are you working on now?
As I mentioned before I'm working in very different mediums and I've been struggling with integrating the abstract paintings into my patterns. That's why I was especially over the moon, when DENY DESIGNS (http://www.denydesigns.com/collections/artist/ar-susanne-kasielke) chose to license 16 vintage inspired patterns including my Dictionary Love series. In March my designs went live & I'm super excited about my art on their wide range of products: There's something for everyone: from bedding sheets to jewelry boxes to dog pillows. It's really fantastic to see on how many different products my art can be used.

Did I mention that I LOVE leggings? I can't believe there are people who think leggings aren't pants. I couldn't disagree more! I'm so happy that my brand new abstract art leggings are now available at ArtofWhere (http://www.artofwhere.com/shop/artist/susanne-kasielke). And believe me: I'm my best customer.

Living in my favorite city ever – Washington DC – made me create my DC LOVE series (http://www.susannekasielke.com/dc-love/) consisting of souvenirs like magnets, pocket mirrors, bottle opener & postcards. The illustrations are based on my original pencil drawings which are digitally colored and reproduced. I am super excited that starting this week they are available in two stores at the DCA (Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport). My plan is to extend my souvenir collection to many other cities, first within the US but eventually I'll take over the souvenir market of the world. (A girl has to have dreams, right?)

After Surtex is before Surtex, right? I just walked the licensing trade show for the first time in May, because I plan on exhibiting in 2015. The experience was incredible, I met so many talented & inspiring artists (finally in person!) & got many valuable tips. It showed me how much I really want to succeed in the surface pattern world. I can't wait to be an exhibitor next year. It seems a bit far away still, but there is so much planning ahead involved – It's never to early to start...  

I'm always looking out for new surface pattern & licensing opportunities. The best thing for me is to see my art on products. Every new product with my art supports my dream & brings me one step closer to succeed as an artist.

Anything else you want to tell everyone?
Some little facts to get to know me better:
- I write & paint with my left hand but anything else I pretty much use my right hand for (playing pingpong for example)
- I always carry a (lucky) penny with me (got that from my Grandmother)
- Never talk to me when I'm hungry (I have many friends who can confirm that)
- (Because of the above) It doesn't matter where I go, I always have something to eat in my bag
- I love Mini-Golf
- My favorite band ever: Take That
- My crafts are totally inspired by my Mom – as a kid we used to make detergent boxes pretty by collaging wrapping paper around them
- I like going to bed early (I need a lot of beauty sleep)
- I love Snugglebumms - I think that's the first thing I've ever bought from my pocket money
- I've never met someone who loves Washington DC more than I do

Are you an early riser? or night owl?
I'm definitely the early bird type - If I don't get things done in the morning, I won't accomplished anything in the afternoon or the rest of day.
The best time to work for me is when the beautiful morning sun is shining into my apartment. After breakfast I sit at my desk with a hot cup of tea and start my work day well rested and relaxed.

What is your favorite food?
I have two favorite dishes actually: Spaghetti Bolognese and Chicken Quesadillas.
My Spaghetti Bolognese obsession started many years ago while I was living in Munich. A very close friend would make the best Spaghetti Bolognese that I've tried until then. (Many years & probably 437 Spaghetti Bolognese later I modestly think I've perfectionized the dish myself - Hopefully she doesn't read this...)

The Chicken Quesadillas are kind of a 'new thing' for me. The more I eat the more I like them (also: the more guacamole comes with the quesadillas the better).

You can find Susanne:
Website: http://www.susannekasielke.com
Email: info@susannekasielke.com
Phone: +
Blog: http://www.susannekasielke.com/blog

What did you like best about Susanne's Spotlight? ME, "I'll take over the souvenir market of the world. (A girl has to have dreams, right?)" RIGHT ON! :-D

Do you want to be spotlighted? Send me an email: anntroe@cox.net
THANKS for stopping by! - make my day and follow this blog :-D
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