Here is just a sample from one of his articles, Ten Secrets to Success in Art Licensing
By survey, the most acceptable format for artwork is a ratio of 3:4 in overall rectangular dimensions. That means working on a flat surface (canvas, board, paper) that is 9" x 12" or 18" x 24" or some other multiple of the basic 3:4 ratio.
Yes, collector plates are round and there are lots of tall, skinny prints on the market. But most round uses of art (plates, coasters, and the like) are cropped out of square or rectangular pieces of art. And for every set of tall, skinny prints there are 50 sets of prints in standard dimensions. Remember that if you paint it round or in some specialized shape, you're limiting the uses of the art and also limiting the possibility of licensing your art.
Paint it in standard format and it can cropped for specific uses. Paint in the round or in odd shapes and there's no way it can be expanded by the licensee to fit other uses. You can pretty much assume that using a standard 3:4 ratio will increase your chances of licensing art by a factor of 10.
Secret #2 - Keep It Flat
You may like to sculpt or to create mixed-media three-dimensional pieces of art but if you do so, don't expect them to be licensable. The vast majority of businesses that make their living by selling products with appealing art want two-dimensional images. That means oil, acrylic, gouache or watercolor on canvas, paper or board, and increasingly it means digital art as well.
Secret #3 - Keep It In Color
I'm regularly approached by artists who have created superb pen and ink or pencil drawings. While these may have been popular back in the days of fine art prints and etchings a hundred years ago, they are almost impossible to license nowadays. People want color, the more the better. They want density of color, good color saturation, pleasing color, rich color. Not black and white, no matter what your art instructor may have told you.
Yes, there are a ton of specialized uses for free-floating art that have no backgrounds. These include heat transfers for T-shirts and clothing, stickers, mugs, decorative borders on dinnerware, even jigsaw puzzles, but stand-alone images with no backgrounds are definitely in the minority and such design work is often handled by in-house design teams or by hired design studios.
What can be most appealing about a piece of art is its overall composition, how everything fits together into a compelling artistic statement. You may be the world's best painter of dogs but if you paint them without backgrounds, you're seriously limiting the potential uses of your art.
Some good examples of the use of overall design are obvious: Thomas Kinkade, who specializes in creating a mood all the way to the edges of an image, and Mary Engelbreit, who creates each piece of art as a total design unit. Each artist is fantastically successful, and one of the most basic reasons for their success is their ability to design an overall and complete setting for the focus of their art. So remember, plan out your composition and take it all the way out to the edges of that 3:4 rectangle.
....Article continued... Ten Secrets to Success in Art LicensingOTHER TOPICS ON THIS SITE:
How to Avoid the Most Common Mistakes Artists Make when Licensing Their Art
How to License Your Art and Protect Your Rights at the Same Time
Who Pays What and to Whom?
How an Artist can Avoid Disaster in Today's Print Market
Hot Words to Look For in Licensing Agreements - and What to Do About Them
A Simple Beginner's Guide: How You Can Use the Internet to Promote Your Art
Crossover Companies: The New Phenomenon in Art Licensing
The Runaway License
The Future of Art Licensing in a Changing Market
Porterfield's Fine Art Licensing