A few days ago, I posted an article on art licensing, and, today, I have an example to share. Blogger Dave Wernli has posted a great article on dealing with Emotional pain. In it he tells a very interesting story about the difference between stampeding buffalo and stampeding cattle. For the entry he uses my Bison Stampede as an illustration.
I get asked this question quite often. Someone contacts me and wants to use one of my artworks on their website, novel cover, album art, etc. This is different from an illustration contract in that the artwork already exists. Someone just wants to use it. Enter the world of art licensing.
What is art licensing?
Art licensing is how someone can legally use art for their book cover, product label, website, etc. When you license an artwork, you enter an agreement with the artist that allows you to use the artwork with the permission of the artist. Generally, you of course must pay the artist. Compensation usually takes the form of a flat fee, royalty, or both.
When it comes to art licensing, a flat fee is a one-time payment. It can be, and often is, just a simple fixed amount. Sometimes though the amount can vary based on the number of units of the product that will incorporate the artwork (note that when an artwork is put on a non-media product, such a coffee mug or tie, it is called a “design”, and when it is placed on a media product, such as a book cover or album cover, it is called an “illustration”). For example, say you wanted to use an artwork on a line of coffee mugs. The artist might charge a base fee of $100, but an additional fee of $0.001 for every mug you intend to produce using that design. The thing about this form of licensing fee is that you pay the artist up front.
A royalty fee, on the other hand, is something you pay the artist after a period of time. A royalty is a percentage of sales you made for your product that used the artwork as a design. For instance, using the coffee mug example again, say you sold 100,000 mugs for $1 each. If you had a 1% royalty agreement with the artist, you would owe that artist $1,000. When it comes to royalties, there is usually some form of payment schedule, e.g. annually.
Exclusive vs. Non-exclusive
Something else to consider when it comes to art licensing is whether you want an exclusive or non-exclusive agreement. In an exclusive agreement, you have sole right to use the artwork, whereas, in a non-exclusive agreement, the artist is free to license the work to others. Naturally, exclusive agreements tend to run a great deal more expensive, that is, if the artist is even willing to enter one.
One last thing to keep in mind is that licensing agreements generally have a time limit. That is, they are only good for a few years. After that period has ended, you can no longer use the artwork in the production of more of your product unless you renew the license, and, depending on the success of your product, the artist may wish to renegotiate the terms.
In order to make things easy, some artists will use a service or agency to handle licensing of their works. For instance, I use a website called Pixels.com. You can license just about any of my works through it. Here is the link:
So, if your looking for some art to use for your commercial projects, think about licencing existing works. It may take a bit of searching to find the perfect work to fit your needs, but it can save you loads of time and money over contracting an artist to create a work from scratch.
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A raging mammoth charges at you. Crashing through the ice age snow, this Pleistocene beast raises its huge tusks as it lunges forward. If you were a prehistoric hunter, this would definitely be a bad day for you.
I’ve created a number of artworks featuring mammoths before, but for this one I really wanted to ratchet up the action and make this extinct animal really seem powerful and scary.
A horse with a white coat, mane and tail gazes at you with deep blue eyes. It stands in stark contrast to the darkness all around it. At it’s feet a shallow pool of water reflects the whiteness of the horse in it’s ripples.
Generally, my horse themed works are “loud” and “dirty” that is full of action with dust and dirt being kicked up. For this one I wanted pure and quiet. So I went with a white coat, and had the animal stand in water rather than on a dusty plain.
To learn about how I make art check out my How It’s Made page. To find out about some of the tools I use to make this art, check out my Resources page.
As always, prints and gifts featuring this artwork are available, just click on the “Shop” button:
In the darkest part of the forest, a creepy green man with pointy ears and an oddly inhuman face reclines in a hammock that appears to be made from flesh. He is the fruit vendor in the Goblin Market. Around him are barrels and buckets full of his strange stock. Behind him a little blue dragon stands watch for shoplifters.
This is a work I had actually made made years before I published it. I started it, but then forgot about until I one day found it while trying to clean up my hard drive. It’s based on the poem “The Goblin Market” by Christina Rossetti. It’s about two sisters and what befalls them when one of them buys fruit from the Goblin market. The author apparently intended it for children, but the imagery in it can be construed as very adult.
I just published my latest wolf art. Entitled “The Staring Contest“, it features a trio of wolves trying to make the viewer feel a bit uncomfortable with their intense gaze.
This is the latest addition to my wolf art series. It was my New Years resolution to add a lot more works to that particular series this year and this is the second one so far. If you’re curios, the first was “Timber Wolf“.
As always, prints and gifts featuring this image are available. Order are fulfilled by FineArtAmerica.com. Just click on the shop button below.