Surface Design and Art Licensing!

On My Desk

Last year, I was lucky enough to receive the Funds for Artists grant from the Greater Columbus Arts Council. These grants are dedicated to helping artists in the Columbus area to make improvements to their careers, or get the funding necessary to create new work and try something different without having to absorb all the costs by themselves. If you’re an artist/ maker in the Columbus area, you can check out this years requirements here- I highly recommend it!!

With the grant money I signed up for an arts focused business class, Leverage Your Art by Stacie Bloomfield, to learn about opportunities in art licensing and surface pattern design, and I wanted to share a bit more with you about that in this post!

If you've never heard of it, art licensing is like renting your designs out to a company for them to use on products for a limited term agreement. They either can buy your design outright, or you can get an upfront fee and royalties on the work for each additional design sold.

As far as SquidCat, Ink goes, it’s an exciting way I could potentially see my designs on more products without being prohibited by having to spend the extra time to produce them all myself. 

A few of the industries I’m interested in building a portfolio to pitch with are:

  • Stationery (who would have guessed 😛) - especially stickers, planners, and journals
  • Children's books (secretly this has always been my biggest dream!)
  • Sustainable wrapping paper, gift and party supplies
  • Ethically made kids clothing

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that I’m creating more repeat patterns that tile together to go on into infinity, like this little leap frog and mushroom pattern I made for Leap Day this year! This is great practice for me, and is helping me create new content for a portfolio. And of course in the meantime I could potentially use them in my own product line!  

As part of this surface design learning venture this March, I participated in Stacie's #FlowerPowerChallenge. The goal was to create a hero illustration (stand alone image), repeat (like the froggies and mushrooms above), and blender pattern (more simple and abstract) all around the concept of “flowers growing out of a container” with a set color palette.

The hero illustration was no problem at all. In fact, I had more ideas than I needed for possible containers full of flowers to draw. To my surprise, creating a blender pattern with a simple mark or two is so much harder, and is pushing me creatively in a wonderful way.

This struggle is one of my favorite things about being an artist - the moment of friction when you are trying to master a new skill, and the gratification when it pays off. You have to be willing to make bad art in order to learn from your mistakes and push through and try new things until you finally end up with something good.

I have gone through several drafts and still haven't landed on something I'm quite happy enough with to share, but I'm happy in this growing process. Stay tuned and hopefully I'll have something to share with you soon!


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