Friday, July 25, 2014

Artist Spotlight - Madeline Faiella

I met up with Madeline at Surtex this year (2014). I love her energy! you will too :-)

Tell us a bit about yourself: Did you go to school for art? Are you self taught?I studied art at The School of Visual Arts in New York City but started drawing when I was about 3-4. Just before graduating with a BA I went off to sing for the next 23 years. I was in college at 16 so I guess I felt I wanted to head out there. The first of all the cousins in an Italian/Sicilian family, it was very odd for me to be heading out into the world, a woman on her own. Even though I was in one form of art, I continued with my art, often selling along the way. 

The self-taught part of my journey continues and always will. I read a lot of books on artists, techniques, and artistic energy. What fun to bring it all together in Photoshop and Illustrator!

What inspires you / where do you get inspiration from?
I am inspired by fashion, architecture, color, shape, balance and energy. I might even be inspired by a crushed can I see on the street.

People inspire me and I am in a love relationship with eyes and faces. Whimsical images with a touch of mystery inspire me much like people at the Venetian Ball with their ornate costumes and masks. I love all that. 

I am also very much inspired by pattern and fabric. I learned to sew from my Mom who was a professional seamstress. She wanted to be a designer but had us instead. I can cut a pattern from newspaper because of her. It’s natural that beautiful patterns turn me on.

Do you work in just one medium? Several?
I think it’s easier to ask which medium I do not work in. I paint with everything except oils. I use Copic Markers, colored pencils, chalks, graphite, Sharpies and any other drawing tool one can imagine. I might just sit down and use an old school pencil to draw if it’s handy. As a mixed media artisan I use wood, I do wood burning, I sew, refurbish things and use tools like crazy. My studio has everything I need to make anything. 

Oh, and of course, as I mentioned, now digital work as well.

What are you working on now?

I have a license with KekaCases and they are expanding into more home d├ęcor. I’m happy about that.  I have pillows in two sizes, coasters in leather, electronic device covers and more.

SinCityStamps partnered with me to do rubber stamp designs, stencils, chipboard designs in 3D and more. That’s a fun license so far.

I have two other submissions that I am waiting on but due to confidentiality I’m quiet about it yet. I feel good about them and as soon as it’s a signed deal, you will be the first to know.

I also have a line of paint called ART JACKET ARTISTS’ ACRYLIC PAINT.  I am licensed with Earth Safe Finishes for this. It’s a completely non-toxic product and as I will be doing some kits with one of my licenses, it will be easy to add the paints; no problem for kids or people with allergies.

Anything else you want to tell everyone?
I love the idea of doing something that will make someone happy. I have never had a smug attitude about art or my music for that matter.  I feel it’s something to be grateful about. Practical art that makes someone smile or think is fun. The challenge of art licensing has been one of my dreams and when I officially started Madeline Faiella Designs, LLC a year ago, I was able to work with a focus on my art. No more day job. In this last year, everything we talked about here that is not in the far past came to fruition in the last year.

I am easy to work with, hit deadlines on time and I’m open to constructive criticism. I’m not afraid to try new things like when I skied from the mountaintop arriving there by helicopter from Switzerland to Italy or when I did white water rafting in Wisconsin. Or helicoptering behind glaciers and up to the Matterhorn. As much as I enjoy my independent creativity, I apply it to what the client wants and I also find joy in that.

Are you an early riser? Or night owl?
When I was born my Mom asked who was the baby that kept her up all night. ‘Nuff said.

What is your favorite food?
Difficult to answer. Having traveled for so many years and having lived overseas for 10 of those years I am fortunate to have enjoyed many cultural delights. Not many I didn’t like. Some of the more extreme were not for me but I did eat a quail egg that was buried for 100 years. 

I love Mediterranean food and Japanese food. I enjoy a fabu pizza from the Bronx or Brooklyn and the best Tiramisu truly was in Italy. I love the Swiss fondues and German pancakes. Of course, I am a good girl and I love my veggies.

Now that I am home I eat sushi on occasion but I LOVE LOVE LOVE ice cream. I can’t even keep it in the house!!!!  Lol!

You can find Madeline:

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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

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

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:
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:
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.

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