Julie Newman, CEO and Founder of Jewel Licensing and Branding, has over 20 years of experience helping to connect artists with manufacturers and licensees and getting creative work onto the shelves of retail stores. We asked her what questions she hears over and over again from creatives in the industry – here’s her take:
How many portfolio images do I need for professional agency representation?
A thorough portfolio is made up of at least 200-250 unique images. That doesn’t mean you can’t get started with less – you’ll just need a software like Artonomo so that you can upload, display, and manage your art on your own until your portfolio warrants agency representation.
What makes a “thorough” portfolio?
VARIETY!! You’ll need some images that are patterns, some that are iconic (like wall art), and some that are just basic typography. You’ll also want to display a variety of THEMES – think seasonal, holiday, birthday, Thanksgiving, patriotic, wedding/anniversary, graduation, everyday inspiration, sympathy/get well.
Should I do product mock-ups?
YES! The best way to show off your art is on products and manufacturers love to see art in use. Remember the goal of a diverse portfolio – art appears on everything from greeting cards to decorative pillows. Walk the aisles of a retail store and think of consumer products that lend themselves to displaying your work.
How do I know if I’m developing the right type of art for licensing?
Go shopping! Visit every level of retail and look at surface designs on bedding, mugs, t-shirts, greeting cards, gift wrap, journals, and wall art. Can you picture your art at that store? Check out everywhere from the dollar stores to high-end department stores, and from small independent gift shops to the big box stores like Walmart and Target. Ask yourself where you fit in. This is also a great way to identify current trends.
How important is a strong social media presence?
Incredibly important. A public Instagram account is a great way to showcase your art, connect with other artists, learn tricks and tips, and build your following.