What is Art Licensing?

Art Licensing Defined

Art Licensing is a way to covert Art Making into a Business

Manufacturers want to license art to use on their products. But what does it take for artists get their work seen and acted-upon by licensing decision-makers?

Art licensing – in it’s details – can be a rather complex beast. It can involve complicated contracts, convoluted financial terms, guarantees regarding copyrights (from both parties), territory, length of license term and other factors.

None of which will ever come into play unless the artist can find someone willing to risk the up-front investment needed to produce the product incorporating (and whose success depends upon) the artwork.

An image may be great, but if the artist is not a productive salesperson, then it is unlikely that the artwork will make it onto a licensed product.

Art Licensing – What, Who, When, How

WHAT – here’s what you need to start licensing your art:

  • A clear understanding of what licensing is and how it works.
  • A professional appearing website focused strictly on licensing your art.
  • A quick loading, well organized, easy-to-navigate web site.
  • A well-crafted introductory email.
  • A thorough understanding of what licensees want from an artist.
  • The ability to deliver high-quality artwork in digital format.
  • An Unique Selling Proposition (tied to your brand).
  • An understanding of copyright ownership in terms of licensee requirements…


  • you need to know who to contact…


  • you need to know when to submit art – and that means understanding the client’s design-to-sales cycle…


  • you need to know how to present the art for review…
  • you need to know how to sell yourself and your art in order to gain a license…
  • you need to know how to determine if a license is a “good license”…
  • …which means you need to know how to read a license agreement (contract); or be prepared to pay an Intellectual Property (IP) attorney or other appropriate business management professional to do it for you.

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