Free Paint Roller Photoshop Brushes

These look great. Check out the website Colorburned to download.
They always have great stuff!20-paint-rollers-2

46 Amazing Resources for Patterns!

I can't believe I just ran across this great list for generating patterns ideas from Designrfix website!

What a great wealth of resources!

Here are just a *few* samples. Check out their website for all 46.

How to Stay Positive & Move Forward in Art Licensing, in a Negative Economy

Copyright © 2009 Greeting Card Designer & Tara Reed

Tara Reed is a working artist and licensing consultant, and I have listened to her interviews and free Q&A Teleseminars, and found her to be someone with a positive and upbeat attitude, even when facing large obstacles in licensing.

I contacted her and asked her to do an interview because I wanted to get her perspective on how artists can stay positive when the economy is down, and what we can do to when facing a variety of difficult challenges. She was kind enough to take out time to do this interview and provide free resources for artists.

Tara's Free Educational Resources for Learning about Art Licensing

November 18, at 5:30 PST Register Tara Reed answers art licensing questions.
December 16, at 5:30 PST Register Agent Suzanne Cruise answers questions.

Audio Interviews
Six Free Audio Interviews

(for other product items, see bottom of interview post)

Interview with Tara Reed

QUESTION: Artists are often told they need to be more "realistic" about the difficulty of getting their art licensed. When you consult with artists, where do you draw the line on when an artist needs to be "realistic" so that you don't give them false hope?

TARA: "Realistic" is an emotionally charged word. It brings up thoughts of parents telling 6 year old girls that their dreams of becoming a prima ballerina aren't 'realistic'. So what that she has 2 left feet and poor balance, maybe she'd figure it out and does she really need realism at that age?

But on the flip side is our dear parent who thinks that anything we enjoy we are amazing at and we grow up thinking we can become astronauts even if we get motion sick and have poor eye-sight.

There does need to be a middle ground. Can every artist say "I'm going to license my art today" and suddenly have manufacturers standing in line for their work? No. Is every piece and type of art licensable? Again, no. But do I think artists can learn how to think and create like an artist who will succeed at art licensing, yes, if they want to. The desire and willingness to work within the bubble of licensing is required.

I like to be "real" when I talk about what it takes to succeed in licensing your art. That means my experience and observations, without the sugar coating and without the sour flavor added. (So I'm the cool parent in the middle of the balerina and the astronaut who cheers their child on without misleading them...) Certain things go on and it is either ok with you or it isn't or you can learn to adapt. That is how you will figure out if licensing is the way to go.

The beauty and the rub of any art career is that this isn't math, there isn't an equation where every person who does "A" will get result "B". I might get "B", Mary might get "D" and Bob might win a million dollars. But there is a way to play the game, and you can make up and try out some of your own rules too.

One of my main goals in creating and any product or class about art licensing is to help people learn the rules or decide they don't like the game. I don't want to put rose colored glasses on people, give them the impression that "anyone can do it, just draw the turtle and win the prize" - we'll leave that for the Sunday paper.

- Here are a three basics that I believe you have to be ok with if you want to enjoy a career in art licensing.

1. Art licensing is creating art for commercial purposes. It isn't about self-expression, it's about mass production and mass appeal. One person needs to buy an original. Thousands need to buy a licensed product for it to succeed.

2. Creating art to go on products means you need to be flexible and sometimes change your art. Listen to your client (the licensee -the manufacturer who will send you the royalty check.) They should know their client (the retail stores) who should know their client (the customer). You get to give your opinion but you don't get to dig your feet in and cry "artistic expression". If you do, it will most likely be your only deal with that licensee.

3. Speed is essential. You may hear that the beauty of licensing is that you will be paid for the same art for 10, 20, 50+ years. That is the exception rather than the rule. Trends are changing faster than ever and sometimes you may feel like a machine, churning out art collection after art collection. But quantity will get you where you want to go. Not only do you need good work, but you need good work that can be rejected so the person choosing feels their job is of value. Take the kid analogy again - is it easier to get a child to eat vegetables if you give them a choice of peas or broccoli instead of just saying, "EAT YOUR PEAS!" It's psychology and it seems to apply to art selection as well. The more successful artists in licensing can produce a lot of art in a year.

QUESTION: I am a designer who manufactured my cards for fifteen years and then transitioned into licensing. I found art licensing to be a breath of fresh air: It was less competitive, less work, took less time, and had many more opportunities. Yet, in the licensing community, I've witnessed artists dissuaded from entering this career because they were told it was too competitive. How can we get a more balanced view of the real opportunities in licensing?

TARA: In any industry, as in life, there are people who choose a more positive or more negative outlook on things. A few months ago a friend said something very profound that has really stuck with me, "Don't let the past define you, let it refine you." Having gone through a divorce, that really resonated with me, because I've definitely seen people become both defined and refined by it. I believe the same thing applies to business, the economy, whatever. If we let the current economic tightening 'define' us, we become more fearful and negative, focusing on how great things used to be and how dreadful they are now.

But we live and work NOW. So I say let it refine who you are - look for the opportunities, the new doors that are opening while others may be closing. You have a background in greeting cards - talk about an industry in flux. With everyone online and sending email, card sales are in decline. Look at what the post office faces with so many people paying bills online and not needing all the stamps anymore. So you have a choice: whine about it and throw a big old Pity Party or figure out how you can capitalize on the behavior shift when it comes to sending greetings.

There are opportunities. Stores can't survive if they offer the same products with the same art on them year after year. The volume of opportunities has changed and hopefully it will change back. I believe the areas of opportunity are shifting as well - but you won't see it if you hang out and drink too much at the Pity Party!

QUESTION: To me, an art licensing career is a no-risk career. When you start out, you don't really have to invest money, get a college degree, and you can even try it and fail, and it won't cost you anything but your time. (That is, assuming if you don't exhibit in a show right away). If that's the case, then why don't we hear more about it? You'd think it would be plastered on every billboard!

TARA: You have an interesting take and a different one than me. To me it was a low-cost investment to try licensing - because I went from crafty stay-at-home mom who shared the family computer to needing a better scanner, printer and "What? The program is called Photoshop? What do I do with that?" So I had some expenses and learning that you already had under your belt, based on where you started. But compared to almost any other business you are right, low cost which means the risk is more in your time than your pocket book.

Why don't we hear more about it? Good question! Almost everyone I know in licensing has fallen, tripped or come in the side door. Random phone calls, casual mention at a party, etc. I have a few theories but what do I know? I'm an artist with a marketing degree! But just to entertain you - here are two.

1. My friends who went to art school talk of teachers who tell them that if they want to be "true artists" they aren't allowed to make any money. Maybe because there is too much money to be made in art licensing, teachers shy away from it as being a real art career.

2. Art licensing doesn't go back to the Romantic period in Europe and we all know that schools are often the last to catch onto new things. Perhaps they don't have the staff and understanding to cover it where the bulk of artists are...

QUESTION: Some artists think it would be easier to work with an agent than to try and get their own contracts. What bare minimum skills or collections should an artist have before they even approach an agent?

TARA: I think an artist has to have a basic understanding of what licensing is and the ability to explain where they think their art will fit. Do they think it is perfect for craft products or high end china or both? What makes them different than every other artist out there.

You need to have a basic portfolio that shows you can create art for licensing. You need collections not just individual pieces. By a collection I mean 4 paintings that go together and ideally some supporting borders and maybe a pattern or texture or two. Or you can create collections like I do - icons that you can put into scenes, borders and patterns. The more flexible your art and be and the more quickly it can be adapted to different shapes and templates, the more profitable you will be licensing your designs.

Computer skills aren't an absolute must but I think licensing is trending that way. More and more licensees want artists to be able to manipulate their art or provide it in layers - easing the workload on their graphics departments.

QUESTION: Can you give me a list of things an artist can do right now, on the spot, if they are sitting at their desk, discouraged, because they just got rejected?

TARA: Repeat this, over and over, until it becomes an attitude and not an exercise because it is the honest truth, 99.99% of the time.

"They didn't reject ME as a person. My art just isn't the right fit for their product, right now. It doesn't mean it isn't good."

Rejection happens. In licensing, in life, in everything. To me the key is to use the rejection as a learning experience. If you can stay open enough and not get depressed and defensive, you could learn what it will take to be successful the next time. ASK why your art wasn't chosen. Was it the colors, the style, the technique? Ask for suggestions about how they think you could tweak your art in the future to be a better fit.

If you are really disappointed, let yourself wallow for a bit but always dust yourself off and get back to work. If you don't keep trying your art licensing career will end with a rejection and what fun is that?


-Industry publication:
Gifts & Decorative Accessories

-Conference or show, and why:
SURTEX - I've exhibited at many art licensing shows and SURTEX is where I have made the best contacts for my art and business.

-Class or workshop worth attending, even if we have to fly there:
Feel free to take mine! I can control how good it is. I'll be on a panel about working with manufacturers at SURTEX this year.

-Design tip that saved you a lot time:
Using the clone stamp tool in Photoshop for cleaning up art after it's scanned. Learning to do repeat patterns to make one of my first eBooks .

-Way to get feedback on your designs:
Show them to manufacturers if you have contacts - that's the best way to go. You can also ask people in the industry to give you a portfolio review and feedback about where they think it would fit (as far as product categories), what could be added, etc. Networking, hiring a coach for a review, etc.

iMac and a Mac laptop. Oversized Epson scanner and a new HP Officejet Pro 8500 printer - just got the printer after and exhaustive comparison of costs per print of various laser & ink jet printers.

-Companies you like to work with: for wall art. South Sea Imports for fabric. Janlynn for rubber stamps and Thirstystone for coasters. Enjoying the people I interact with makes the whole thing more fun too!

-Companies you wish you could work with:
I Would love to see my designs in Target. I haven't done any bath products yet so that could be fun. And I have a goal to get an in-line collection with Certified International one of these days.

-Message or quotation you have on your bulletin board:
"Don't put off till tomorrow what you an create today!"

-Website you visit often for Design information:

-Blogs you read: - great source of social media, pr and marketing information

-Podcasts you listen to: - this is a great series of interviews on many topics for freelance artists that I discovered when they asked to interview me last year.

-Twitterers you follow:
I could give a list of the nearly 2000! Some that I find really helpful are -
@CartooningPro @wiredprworks @adamjury @BobOstrom @FawnKey @abstanfield @jeffherring @girlfriendology @aithene

-Art Vacation location:
I aspire to get to the Greek Islands and Italy. Always love Paris and London too...

I found this promotional video worth watching
since it explains what mockups are a very clear, visual way.

Tara Reed Contact Information:
Personal art website:
Facebook Art Licensing info

Classes and Resources:
• Art Licensing Instruction:
• Learning Repeat Patterns:
• Goal Setting Teleseminar:
• Blog:


Was this interview helpful?
Let me know and I'll do more.

Leave comments below.


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It feels very un-computer-like and no one has to be an artist to create an amazing picture.

Check it out (Make sure you click throught the "Enter" link to a blank canvas.)

It is made by Miltos Manetas and has won a webby award.

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