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10 Secrets to Success in Art Licensing

Lance J. Klass

Secret #4 – Paint to the Edges

Yes, there are a ton of specialized uses for free-floating images that don’t have 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. If a company does want to use one of your images with less background, they can always crop it out. But if you promote a shaped image to most companies, it’s very unlikely that they will spend the time building it out to the edges. Better to start with the complete image (to the edges) to give the image maximum utility.

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 has been quite successful. One of the most basic reasons for this 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 the 3:4 rectangle.

Next: Secret #5 →

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