Category Archives: Art Licensing & Business

30 Days of Gratitude : #17

#17: What knowledge are you grateful for?

I suppose this would have to be my knowledge of iPhoneography and Androidography aka my mad mobile photography skills 😄.

I started out late 2010 on an iPhone 3, testing out Lomography Apps. Then I got a 2nd hand iPhone 4, and more Apps, and widened my range of photo editing apps, joined a couple of forums and online iPhoneography communities. 

I was such an enthusiast of iPhoneography that I shot and edited anything and everything, from trees, swamps, flowers, sceneries, animals, architecture, landscapes…

Then in 2011 I organised and set up Perth City’s (and Western Australia’s) 1st ever iPhoneography exhibition and workshop. By the end of the year, I’d self-published 2 photo books, one on the Maylands swamplands near where I lived, the other a collection of my personal favourite photos.

In 2013, I grew tired of trying to keep up with Apple’s yearly “newest” iPhone, I mean, if it’s That good, why can’t its software just get updated yearly, instead of having to buy a completely new phone every year? The last straw was in September 2012, when I chanced to be in Perth and just so happened to come across the queue of people waiting to get into the Apple Store, just so they could buy the newest iPhone. The queue snaked round the block and nearly back to itself, like some ouroboros. 

I switched to a Samsung Galaxy S3 in late 2013, and haven’t looked back since. And now I’m grateful for having the knowledge and skills of both platforms, the best of both worlds, as it were.

Some of my photography artwork is licensed with Kess InHouse Designs, and I also have some on Society 6, Etsy and eBay. I also have a dozen Lenormand card decks of my own designs, available on eBay and Etsy. And no, I’m not rolling in Money…not yet anyway 😉. But it’ll come, it’s coming in when I least expect it, and I know the dribble will become a steady trickle soon enough, and then watch out for the flood! 

So yeah, I’m grateful for the journey my mobile photography has taken me on, these last 6 years. And I’ll continue to hone my photography skills, and work on new art and designs, doing what I’m passionate about, and loving every minute.

Food Porn – Macarons

I love macarons, but try as I might I’ve never been able to successfully get them to look like in those glossy food magazines. My macarons run all over the baking tray and end up looking like tiles off a roof. 

But hey, for every failed macaron baker there are dozens of successful ones out there. And for every successful macaron baker there are dozens of talented food photographers who make viewers drool over the page.

These days I buy my maracons from the shops…but writing this short post has started me thinking about getting some store-bought macarons and setting up a photoshoot of them. I’m kicking myself for not having considered this before now. Maybe it’s because I so terribly wanted to show off my photography and also be able to claim that I actually made the macarons myself?

Well, then…I’ve an idea now to marry 2 of my favourite things in one photography project – macarons and my collection of vintage and not-so-vintage-but-quirky teacups. Actually, make that 3 of my favourite things…I get to eat all the evidence when I’m done. 😄

Meanwhile, however, here are just some of my favourite macaron photos, curated from my Pinterest board funnily enough named “Macarons – Food Porn”. I’m aiming for the same pastel shades. It’s all in the presentation, of course. And the eating. Ahem.

These are just the photos that inspire me. Quite probably most of these were taken using high-end professional DSLR cameras, but no matter, I have my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and a whole lotta Apps I can use to produce similar effects.

Can you tell I’m trying to justify my weight gain and empty wallet from this new project? 😉

(All copyright of the photos below belong to and remain with their respective photographers).

Flowers for Kess

Kess InHouse Designs are the US company that license some of my mobile photography art designs. They make my designs into homewares, kitchenware, bedlinen, yoga mats, clocks, shower curtains, rugs, mugs, etc etc. Some of my work can even be found on duvet covers on Amazon.com!

I haven’t updated my Artist portfolio or submitted works for more than 6 months, as I was employed then. But now that I’m free again, I’ve created some new works. Here then are just a few of them.

(All Copyright by AlyZen Moonshadow).

My Brain Right Now

I feel like my brain has woken up again after a hiatus. It’s abuzz with all sorts of creative ideas, like there’s a swarm of busy bees inside that were humming away quietly for months and months, then suddenly the buzz has become louder and incessant and more demanding.

And now, after months of being repressed and just simmering under the surface the hive has exploded into a flurry of activity.

I have so many ideas that I can’t wait to try out. So many innovative, creative thoughts, visions of the future. Never mind the logistics of it, never mind that I’m presently unemployed and haven’t got two pennies to rub together. I have a Dream, and I’m excited to begin working on making it come true!

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What am I on about? Watch this space, all will be revealed shortly. 😉

A Primer

To those of you who know me already, as “That crazy Blogger who writes every day”, Welcome! To those of you new to the Madhatter’s Teaparty with moi, Welcome and Thank You for joining us!

It’s been a while since I had the time to blog about my own personal creative projects, due to recent work commitments. All I had the energy to blog about then was doggy-related, as the brain can only take so much information in before it calls “Banana!” and turns to mush.

But now I’ve turned the corner and find myself facing a vast, unexplored landscape…which is really exciting, as it means once more I have an empty canvas upon which to splash my virtual paints and create whatever I want to be in my future. There I go again – the Queen of Metaphor 😄.

And so I thought to myself, what better way to wake up/kickstart my Muse, than to search for and unearth some earlier treasures from my archives. Here then are some examples of the kind of surreal, weird and wondrous Digital Photography Art that AlyZen Moonshadow is known for. (Copyright AlyZen Moonshadow. Please do not copy or reproduce these without seeking prior permission, thank you).

Rest assured, the Phoenix has arisen. Again.

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Stitched

Just some digital mobile photography artwork I created a while back. The originals were too intricate to show here, they’re quite large and these are just close-ups. I think I might submit them to my Licensing Agent for distribution.

Enjoy!

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New Artwork : Surreal Fantasy

I had a sudden surge of creativity last week, after stumbling upon some hitherto neglected filters and clipart in an App on my mobile phone. I got so inspired by the possibilities of combining several disparate elements together to create a new series of digital artwork with a Surreal Fantasy theme, that I stayed up late over several nights to finish them.

These have been submitted to my Licensing company for production, fingers crossed they pass the quality standards set by the company. Hopefully then they will be made available on various housewares, such as bedlinen, shower curtains, wall art, placemats etc.

Here are 5 examples, out of the 20 I created. I hope you like them!

image“A Sudden Grand Deluge”

image“Musical Tendrils”

image“Rain Deer”

image“Blue Ballet”

image“As Above, So Below”

These were a lot of fun to create. And I decided to give them all whimsical titles, to add to the surreal fantasy feel. Believe it or not, only 3 Apps were used to create these: PicsArt, Impressionist Fingerpaint and Photo Editor.

From Joan Beiriger’s blog : Tips On Getting Art Licensing Deals

I subscribe to Joan Beiriger’s blog on Art Licensing, where every so often, little gems of advice turn up to help aspiring art licensees get that licensing deal.

Joan’s post just the other day is just one of these valuable nuggets, and, just in case the link doesn’t work for those who aren’t subscribed, I’ve copied and pasted her wise words here for you all:

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On social media sites (Facebook, LinkedIn and blogs) artists periodically post that they are frustrated because they have not been successful in licensing their work while other artists continue to post comments and pictures about their licensing success. Why is it that some artists are successful and others not?

There are many reasons. But basically the reason why some artists are successful is that their work is very well done and can compete with other artists in the industry, have themes that consumers want on products, and has a lot of art that is licensable.

The following discusses the importance in knowing if your art is good enough, knowing what art styles and themes that manufacturers license for their products, and building a relationship with manufacturer art directors.

• Is your art good enough?
How do you know if your art is good enough (executed well, have the right themes, colors, composition, etc.) to be able to compete against other artists in the licensing industry? Below are tips on what you can do to figure out why you are having trouble getting deals and how to improve the chance in licensing your art.

– Hire a consultant
It is difficult for an artist to recognize why her/his art is not being licensed. Getting kudos from family, friends, and fellow artists will not help to get deals if the art is not licensable. And, one way to find out is to hire an art-licensing consultant. A consultant can tell you if you need to have more art, what themes you need, and suggest what manufacturers to approach. But, most importantly you need a consultant that will be very forthcoming and tell you the truth IF your art is not good enough to compete with other artists.

Unfortunately not all consultants are capable in telling an artist the truth about their art since it is difficult for many people including consultants to hurt an artist’s feelings. Thus, when choosing an art licensing consultant make sure you stress that you want to know if your art is good enough to be licensed. If the consultant says your art is not, ask why and ask for suggestions on how to improve your art. Read “On Art Licensing Coaches (consultants)” for links to some art-licensing consultants.

– Compare art
Another way to determine if your art can compete in the art licensing industry is to compare your art with art that has already been licensed. Licensed art on products can be seen in gift stores like Hallmark, at trade gift shows like the Atlanta Gift Market, on manufacturer websites, and on e-store websites.

When comparing your art to art that is already licensed the purpose is not to copy the licensed art but to look at the art and determine what it has that makes a manufacturer license it and what your art lacks. This is not very easy to do since it is hard to accept that your art may not be good enough. Thus, you need to be open-minded and willing to admit to yourself that your art could stand improvement.

Below are some questions to ask yourself when comparing your art to licensed art.
1. Is your art style licensable? Not all art styles are licensable for products in all product industries. For instance, some forms of fine art appear like the paint was slapped on haphazardly and has not well defined motifs. Is that your art style? You probably will not find many products other than home décor prints with this art style because it does not appeal to the mass market. Read the article “Editorial: Not all art is licensable” for information on why not all art is licensable even if it is well executed.

2. Is the composition of your art pleasing and the motifs well arranged? For information about art composition read “Creating Licensable Art: Composition Tips”.

3. Do you have enough or too many motifs in your image? For instance, if you have a painting of one flower with a bird and the manufacturer is licensing art with a multiple number of flowers and several birds in the image then you probably will not be able to license that image because your image is too simple. But on the other hand, if your art is very busy with a lot of motifs and the manufacturer is licensing art that is simple with only a few motifs then you would have difficulty in licensing the art to that manufacturer. Closely look at licensed art in the different industries (fabric, decorative flags, greeting cards, jig-saw puzzles) and the different manufacturers in each industry to determine what they want.

4. Does the licensed art for a particular manufacture have a bright and pleasing color combination while your art is dark and drab looking (unsaturated colors)? You probably need to pump up the color saturation if you want to license the art to that manufacturer. Or, is the manufacturer licensing pastel colored art and you don’t use pastel colors. Then, probably that is not the manufacturer for your art.

• Learn what art manufacturers want
It is REALLY important for artists to create art specifically to be licensed for products in the industry(s) they target. And because the art themes must be popular in the mass or niche markets, it is REALLY important to know what art styles and themes the licensees need to be able to sell their products. Thus, it is REALLY important to research what art styles and themes the manufacturers license.

As pointed out in “Changes in Art Styles Used on Products” each industry (decorative flags, greeting cards, fabrics, calendars, jigsaw puzzles, table top, etc.) and even different manufacturers in the same industry have different criteria when selecting art to license. The criteria depend upon the manufacturer’s customer base and how they wish to differentiate themselves from their competition. Learning what kind of art they have licensed is a MUST before submitting art to them.

For example, since I am interested in licensing my art for decorative flags, I have spent many hours on my computer researching flag images on the e-store flagsrus.org to determine what are popular themes, what makes some art on flags standout more than others, are the designs simple or detailed, what art style(s) are used, do they use borders, do they use words, etc.

I now know what art themes are used by individual flag manufacturers. And I have discovered that some flag manufacturers tend to license pretty and more pastel looking art while other manufacturers license images with contrasting and bold colors. The most used word on flags is “welcome”. Some manufacturers use words on the majority of their flags, and others only have words on a few of their flags. Applying that information when creating my art has helped me get deals with six decorative flag manufacturers. Thus, researching manufacturers in the industry you decide to target like the example above and applying that information to your art can increase the likelihood in licensing your work.

• Build relationships with art directors
The art licensing industry is all about building relationships. Building relationships with manufacturer art directors is important because if your art sells their products and you are easy to work with then they will continue to license your work.

In order to build a good relationship you need to remember that it is not what an art director can do for you but what you can do for the art director. So being willing to edit your art to their specifications, willing to compromise, being flexible, being prolific in creating art, being reliable, and showing your appreciation helps to build a strong relationship.

• Summary
Licensing art is very commercial and competitive. And to be successful, artists need to create for a commercial purpose and not just whatever they desire. The art needs to be well executed in an art style that is popular for the different mass and niche markets. And, artists need to learn what manufacturers license art, the products they sell, and what art styles and themes they need for their products. Read “Finding Manufacturers that License Art” for more information about the manufacturers.

Good Luck on Your creative journey! 🙂

Some more Mashups

Just some digital mash-ups of my Gelli plate monoprints, that I created using just 3 Apps, namely Photo Blender, PicsArt and Photo Editor. I love the riot of bright colours.

I might put these up on Kess InHouse Design’s website. I’ve been rather neglectful about updating my artist portal on Kess InHouse Designs. It’s high time I posted up more designs to be licensed, and why not these? I think they would translate very well to duvet covers, cushions, wall art, rugs etc.

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Pack Lightly, Travel Far

We all have periods where we may get obsessed about something (or someone), and spend a good proportion of our time and money going about accummulating information/books/items/memorabilia/paraphernalia in relation to these things.

Some people develop one obsession and stick to it their entire lives. For example, my husband’s been obsessed with Tangerine Dreamand its founder, Edgar Froese, since he was a young teenager. That’s more than half his life now. He has over the years accumulated thousands of CD albums, badges, posters,  backstage passes, photos, tribute albums, t-shirts etc all in relation to Tangerine Dream. Now that Edgar Froese has passed away, hubby knows the value of these items will rise and rise. But he’s not letting anything go, no way, Jose! 😄

As for myself, I’ve run through a gamut of obsessions. They range from teddy bears, to teacups, cheesemaking, angora goats (yes, really, though I did not get quite as far as purchasing my own flock), handmade handbags, handmade paper, handmade books, soapmaking, felting, needle-felting, raising worms for composting (That did not work out too well), creating recycled art, assemblage, Steampunk, just to name a few.

I believe in the principle of Total Immersion. LOL.

Lately though, I’ve had an Epiphany. And I lament the thought of all that money gone to waste feeding my obsessions. I don’t begrudge the Time and Effort spent searching for these items, but I do the Money.

For you see, now I realise one major flaw in human nature: the need for Ownership.

If you think about it, really, we never own anything. Nothing really “belongs” to us completely, it’s always temporary. You can’t take anything with you when you die. Not a single thing. Zilch. All those years of buying and hoarding stuff…nope, sorry, you won’t be able to take it with you up to Heaven.

But I can leave it to my children and my children’s children, right? Nope. You may be able to pass your stuff down to them, sure, but if they have the same attitude of hoarding them, and not being able to enjoy them right now, then it’s a wasted exercise. Plus, the time will come when They realise that it’s only Stuff, and they can’t take Stuff with them when it’s their turn to die.

The solution? Simple. Pack Lightly, Travel Far. Stop accummulating Stuff. Or, if you really have to, do it in the name of Research and Product Development (if you’re an artist like me, you may understand the need to get your hands on some tangible Art or books on artists and techniques, so you can study them in depth and learn from them).

And afterwards, Let Your Stuff Go. Do not keep them or hoard them with the hope that they will bring you lots of money later, when their value has risen. Because, I can guarantee that when that time comes, you’ll not be wanting to sell them, but instead you’ll be thinking that if you keep them just a wee bit longer, they might fetch just that little bit more later. And a little bit more even later. And then you will never be able to part with them at all. Ever.

So, with that in mind, these days I travel light. Admittedly I do have a small and growing collection of fortune telling cards – Tarot, Oracle, Lenormand and a few other esoteric oddities. Yes, it’s tempting to hold on to them and hope to sell them at a premium later on. But, the main difference between me 10 years ago and now, is that now my intention, after having studied the artwork and little instructional booklets that come with most decks, and taken inspiration and ideas from them, is to put them up for sale…Not to make any profit, but just so I have less Stuff cluttering up my home.

I don’t, and You don’t, need all that Stuff. All that food at the supermarket? Leave it there til you really need it, after all they have better fridges and bigger freezers than you at home. All those lovely clothes you could buy and wear perhaps once, maybe twice? Leave them on the shop’s mannequins, and enjoy looking at the mannequins wearing them until the fashion breeze changes 2 weeks later. All those beautiful items you’ve just seen at a home decor store? Enjoy them while they’re there on display, feast your eyes and savour the memories. Do you really want your home to be so cluttered? Next month, visit the store again, and enjoy savouring the new displays as if they belonged in your home…only you won’t have any tidying up or dusting to do.

So, pack lightly, and travel far.
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