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10 Secrets to Success in Art Licensing

Lance J. Klass

Secret #1 – The Winning Format

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″ × 12″ or 18″ × 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 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.

Is a 3:4 ratio set in stone? Not at all. But if the image is large enough it can always be cropped down to a 5:7 or 4:5 ratio and will work fine, if your composition allows for that degree of flexibility on the part of art directors.

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