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Summer 2017

DESIGNS FOR EVERY SURFACE BEGIN AT SURTEX. • Meet exhibiting artists, global design studios and agencies • Source thousands of creative works for your next hit product • Spot print and pattern trends • Discover the latest colors and styles • Network with manufacturers and retailers REGISTER TODAY AT SURTEX.COM



Tracey Bearton

Editor Tracey Bearton

Group Editor Mirella Cestaro Group Advertisement Manager Ryan Horwood Publisher Mark Naish Production Director Paul Naish Managing Director Malcolm Naish Subscriptions Manager Robert Thomas



T’S ALL happening this May with no less than three major shows around for those looking to buy or licence art and surface patterns to make their products sing. Following on from the Cromocrea Textile Design Show in Italy over May 2-5, art licensing folk are off to the States where Blue Print, Surtex and Licensing Expo are all happening with a few days of each other. Studios, artists, agents, and designers from across the world will be making their way to New York and Las Vegas to show off their design skills to the waiting world of buyers for apparel, homewares, stationery, greetings cards, toys, packaging, and just about any product you can imagine. In some respects it’s a good move having all the big shows happen around the same time and in the same country, but it’s still an awfully long way from New York, where Blue Print’s two consecutive shows – yes two, turn to page 14 to find out more – run across May 18-23 and Surtex is from May 21-23, to Las Vegas and the Licensing Expo which starts on May 23 for three days. There have to have been some major decisions for studios over which to exhibit at, especially the smaller ones that can only stretch to a single show with manpower and money constraints. For the buyer and licensee it’s probably easier to get around to the different exhibitions, although they may not be able to spend quite as much time at each as they’d perhaps like. Of course, with show guides, websites and trade magazines such as Art Buyer, these days both sides have the chance to see what’s going on at all fairs


Advertisement Manager Simon Davis +44 (0)1442 289940 (direct)


Lema Publishing Ltd 1 Church Gates, Wilderness, Berkhamsted, Herts, HP4 2UB, UK +44 (0)1442 289930

@artbuyermag ArtBuyerMagazine

– and, blowing our own trumpet, it’s the mags that have a very important role here. Given that our readership is across the art licensing industry, appearing within the pages of Art Buyer means your work is put before the people who are interested in becoming licensees or buying it outright for use on their products. If your studio is at one particular show, you’ll appear in their guide and on their website, but you’ll not be seen at other fairs because they will only concentrate on their exhibitors. A buyer or prospective licensee may visit all shows but there’s always the chance they don’t get round to see everyone even if they plan ahead by checking out exhibitor lists and, of course, it’s often the walk past an unfamiliar booth that catches their attention, pulls them in with the unexpected and new. As regular Art Buyer advertisers have understood, mixing exhibiting at the shows they find best for their clientele with advertising in the magazine, alongside the guaranteed editorial coverage that it brings, means they can be seen by even more potential customers. Plus, if you can’t make the show as an exhibitor, appearing in the mag as an advertiser keeps your work in front of all readers – who may well be prospective clients who’ve not visited the shows anyway! And Simon Davis is the new chap to talk to, having taken over as Art Buyer’s Advertising Manager. To find out more about the advantages of appearing within these pages, especially for our Autumn issue which centres around the Brand Licensing Europe show in London, email him on simon@ or call +44 (0)1442 289940.

the team

It’s the trade mags that have a very important role here


Summer 2017






Exhibition Diary



Listings of art and licensing trade fairs around the world.




Interlitho, Pretty Grafik, Art Licensing Show and Mary Evans Picture Library.


Where Products Start Life Licensing Expo in Las Vegas moves forward almost a month.

Pure Imagination Cover star Michael Searle talks about the imagination needed to be an artist.

Agency, Artist & Image Library Spotlight

The Magic Words Thousands of designs are on display at Surtex.

Growing Strong Blue Print’s success sees it holding a double show this May.



Last Word Debra Valencia’s insights from licensing journey over a decade.



Licensed to design by V&A

Yellow House wrap up Cressida Bell licence CRESSIDA Bell has a major new licence as her agents Yellow House concluded a deal with leading UK publishers Museums & Galleries. The exclusive Cressida Bell stationery, card and wrap range was launched earlier in the year and M&G’s Art Director Ben Dorney said: “Her defiantly decorative brand complements M&G’s existing licences perfectly while offering something completely new and exciting. “We’re thrilled to work with Cressida and Yellow House on our new range of decorative gift stationery. Her work sits in that rare sweet spot – British and uniquely original, featuring a timeless quality which elevates it into something special. “Helping channel Cressida’s prints into a range of stationery has been a pure pleasure and we’re delighted with the outcome.” As a granddaughter of Bloomsbury Group painter Vanessa Bell, Cressida draws on a uniquely British heritage to forge her own distinctive style.

She said: “Jehane and Sue at Yellow House have worked tirelessly to bring this project to fruition, I am most grateful for their attention to detail and professional approach which has made this collaboration both easy and fun. “It’s lovely to deal with a company like M&G who are appreciative of my work and always produce quality products. “I’m very excited at the launch of this new range and to be sold alongside the V&A and the British Library.” Alongside the social stationery, notebooks, greetings cards and bookmarks, the range includes giftwrap with unique Poster Wraps that are exclusive to Museums & Galleries, with an original, concise, graphic format listing the basic ingredients and recipes to build classic dishes. +44 (0)1273 705752

Tara moves to Roaring Brook


ARTIST Tara Reed has handed over the business side of her brand to Roaring Brook Licensing so she can concentrate on all the the creative stuff. Since 2004 Tara has been involved in teaching about art licensing as well as developing her own brand, which can be found worldwide on a variety of products. She sold the teaching side of her business in July 2015 and has now decided to fully embrace her creativity by putting the business side into the hands of Roaring Brook and President and Creative Director Gary Levine. “Around the beginning of the year,” Tara said, “I took a long look at everything I was doing and decided where my heart was and how I wanted to move forward. “After working with Roaring Brook’s wall art division for the past three years I’ve come to really enjoy the collaboration with Gary and his team. I’m really excited to put the business side of things in their capable hands so I can fully focus on creating collections that will meet the needs of the marketplace.” Tara will continue to work closely with Gary on new collections that will debut at this year’s Surtex Show in New York City, including At the Lake (pictured). Roaring Brook Licensing specialise in publishing and licensing to the home furnishings and gift industries with distribution to major national retail chains, regional stores, mail order and catalogue companies. +1 888 779 9055 +1 503 841 5715

FOLLOWING much development work, Museums & Galleries have been previewing their new V&A ranges after winning the licence for branded greetings cards from the iconic museum. Since Mint Publishing’s owners Debbie and Alan Williams bought M&G in 2013, the company have held a phenomenally successful gift stationery licence for the V&A, and they are now “hugely proud” to have been awarded the deal for everyday and Christmas cards. The new ranges launched to retail in April, after much development work with the London museum, the world’s foremost collection of art and design. Debbie said: “The new everyday art range offers an unrivalled mix of imagery from one of the world’s greatest museums. Featuring a globally respected art brand, more than 100 carefully-selected new or bestselling designs across three sizes, it’s the ultimate heritage art range. “In addition, M&G will launch the V&A Luxury Collection, a boutique range of design-led premium art cards from original archive works, sympathetically reinterpreted with contemporary colours and gold or silver foil on textured board. They deliver stylish impact with sophistication, and reflect the museum’s mission to continually inspire contemporary design.”

news & exhibition diary

News in brief


DEBRA Valencia has a new licensing deal with leading tabletop company Certified International for melamine dinnerware and serveware. The deal was created by The Brand Liaison, the exclusive licensing agents for the designer, and includes including melamine plates, bowls, trays and platters, along with rights to add complementary ceramic products.

May 2017

December 2017

Comocrea Textile Design Show

Showtime Market

May 2-5, 2017 Cernobbio Sport Hall Cernobbio, Italy

December 3-6, 2017 ITMA Showtime High Point, North Carolina, USA


May 18-23, 2017 404 NYC New York, USA

January 2018

THERE was a double celebration for Yellow House Art Licensing’s superwomen Sue Bateman and Jehane Boden Spiers as they collected the runners-up prizes in two categories, Small Business Of The Year and Women In Arts & Media, at the Sussex Business Women Excellence Awards.The Brighton-based licensing agents, who represent artists including Paul Thurlby and Catherine Rowe, were nominated by two independent third parties and made it through to the final shortlist from 310 original entries

MGL are excited to be working with bCreative, who offer a diverse catalogue of images as leading licensors of humorous properties, original artwork, and trend-setting brands. For more than 20 years they’ve provided top-notch manufacturers and publishers around the world with a continuous flow of quality properties for their products. And bCreative currently have 800-plus designs licensed out worldwide, primarily on stationery, home, gift and apparel products.

INTERNATIONAL design house Turnowsky have entered into a licence agreement with Lifetime Brands for tabletop products featuring the Israeli-based firm’s artwork. In the deal created by licensing agents The Brand Liaison, the products will include dinnerware and giftware distributed by Lifetime Brands under the Mikasa and Pfaltzgraff brands. The Turnowsky brand and designs are now available for licensing in products ranging from fashion, accessories, home goods, home décor, kitchen textiles, giftware, and more.

CP COASTAL’S beach and nautical artworks will be appearing on products from two more companies, Walking Dots and Check Advantage, following their latest deals. The creative art company based in Los Angeles focuses on coastal-themed works, bring a mix of modern, impressionist and vintage styles with elements of bold colours. Check Advantage are online sellers of business and personal cheques featuring original art to match anyone’s style. Walking Dots are online providers of art prints, stationery, greetings cards, calendars, journals and tech cases.

ARTIST Gina Linn Wilder has signed with MHS Licensing, who will be at Surtex and Licensing Expo showcasing her portfolio of vibrant and bold work that’s also full of subtle details. Marty Segelbaum, President of MHS Licensing, said: “She has a unique perspective having worked on both sides of the art licensing business, coupled with an amazing skill as an artist and keen awareness of trend-right designs.”

BRIDGEMAN Copyright are representing four new artists including Christian Furr, the youngest yet to have officially painted Queen Elizabeth II, and Eileen Cooper OBE, the first female Keeper of the Royal Academy in almost 250 years. The reproduction and copyright clearance of Christian’s works, the estate of David Alan Redpath Michie OBE, prints and paintings from Eileen, and works by painter and art historian Stephen Farthing are now handled by Bridgeman Copyright, with hi-res digital photographs available for licensing.

MGL LICENSING have announced the launch of the new greetings card range for artist Nick Hannaford-Hill’s Cat & Dog humour brand. The collection will be available through British publishers Paper Rose from High Street and independent retailers throughout the UK, Australia and North America from May 2017. The Cat & Dog cartoons shine a light into the mysterious minds of beloved pets everywhere and MGL’s Sophie Buss said: “With Nick’s flair for funny illustration this is definitely a very unique property perfect for greeting cards, stationery, calendar and gift products.”


PERSONALISATION is at the forefront of modern design and April marked the V&A Museum’s first foray into this increasingly popular arena. Elegant, luxurious and affordable, the range of more than 100 customisable products from the museum includes stationery, notebooks and wedding invitations to inspire putting pen to paper. The V&A and Papier have produced a unique set of notecards and journals inspired by the work of Owen Jones, 1809-1874, an architect and designer known for his theories on colour, pattern and ornamentation.

Surtex May 21-23, 2017 Jacob K Javits Convention Center New York, USA

Licensing Expo May 23-25, 2017 Mandalay Bay Convention Center Las Vegas, USA

June 2017 Showtime Market June 4-7, 2017 ITMA Showtime High Point, North Carolina, USA

July 2017 AmericasMart License & Design (part of Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market) July 11-18, 2017 Atlanta Convention Center Atlanta, USA

August 2017 Printsource August 8-9, 2017 Metropolitan Pavilion New York, USA

September 2017 Expo Chicago September 13-17, 2017 Navy Pier, Chicago, USA

October 2017 Brand Licensing Europe October 10-12, 2017 Olympia London, England

Comocrea Textile Design Show October (dates tbc), 2017 Cernobbio Villa Erba Cernobbio, Italy

Mega Show Part 2 October 27-29, 2017 Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre Hong Kong

Hong Kong International Licensing Show January 8-10, 2018 Hong Kong Convention And Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong

PrintSource January (dates tbc), 2018 Metropolitan Pavilion New York, USA

Heimtextil January 9-12, 2018 Frankfurt am Main Frankfurt, Germany

AmericasMart License & Design (part of Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market) January 9-16, 2018 Atlanta Convention Center Atlanta, USA

West Coast Art And Frame Show January 23-25, 2018 Paris Hotel & Casino Las Vegas, USA

Paperworld (with Creativeworld & Christmasworld) January 27-30, 2018 Frankfurt am Main Frankfurt, Germany

February 2018 Spring Fair February 4-8, 2018 NEC Birmingham, UK

April 2018 MosBuild April 3-6, 2018 Expocentre Moscow, Russia

Kazachok Licensing Forum April (dates tbc), 2018 Paris Event Centre, Porte De La Villette Paris, France

Comocrea Interni April (dates tbc), 2018 Cernobbio, Italy

Licensing Expo Japan April (dates tbc), 2018 Tokyo Big Sight Tokyo, Japan

surtex show preview 8

The magic words Nearly 200 exhibitors will be at Surtex showing thousands of designs which ensure the global marketplace keeps buyers and licensees coming back to see the new, fresh and original works they need.


HREE of the most effective words in the lexicon of successful marketing are New, Fresh and Original – and the story at Surtex 2017 is all about that trio of magic words. That makes the annual show one of the top marketplaces to which the world comes every May, seeking artworks and designs to be applied to an endless variety of products. With art licensees and art buyers always on the hunt for what’s new, fresh and original it’s amazing how artists manage to come up with such ideas year after year. Veteran artist Tara Reed, now represented by Roaring Brook Art Licensing, said: “How do I keep coming up with fresh and original art? Sometimes I wonder that myself!  “Re-creating Santa might seem hard year after year but the possibilities really are endless – graphic or painterly, serious or whimsical, digitally or by hand, in watercolour, oil, or mixed media? “There are also colour schemes, iconography, typography, and more to consider. Inspiration is everywhere – magazines, television shows, and shopping. Pinterest is a great resource. Often just sitting still, closing my eyes and thinking about a theme and all the possibilities brings ideas that I become most excited about.” “Personally I enjoy looking for and watching trends but I don’t jump on each and every one – if snakes become a trend, I will not be participating!” Now in its 31st year, Surtex is a global B2B marketplace for sourcing original art and design, connecting artists, agents, licensing agencies and licensors with manufacturers and retailers. Art and brand licensing is the largest section at Surtex where artists, designers, agencies,

and brands feature thousands of creative works available for licence. The Atelier sector is arranged in an intimate, yet open, floorplan, for talented textile design studios from around the world tosell their most trend-forward surface designs to a multitude of product categories. Launched in 2016, the Design District features first-time exhibiting artists, provides visitors with a preview of emerging artists they can’t source on your own. The annual event runs this year from Sunday to Tuesday, May 21-23, at the Jacob K Javits

Convention Center in New York where nearly 200 exhibitors, including Howard Robinson, Lilla Rogers Studio and Ansada Art Licensing, are expected to introduce thousands of designs to more than 4,500 buyers who attend in search of the trends that will set their products apart. As well as the seminars and presentations available in the Trend Theatre, new for 2017 is the Surtex Show Planner platform enhanced to optimise visitors’ event experience as, once registered via the website, they can connect directly with exhibitors.

Also available on a mobile app, it allows people to view exhibitor profiles, preview their art, save favourite designs, identify exhibitors that match categories of interest, contact exhibitors to schedule meetings and view show specials. “Licensed art and design is everywhere, from housewares to furnishings to apparel and more,” said Jill Campbell, Vice-President of Marketing for show organisers Emerald Expositions. “Since the show began more than 30 years ago, it’s become a premier global forum for the sale and licensing of art, where hundreds of artists with unique designs meet manufacturers seeking fresh trending designs for use on their finished products and goods.”

There are many paths to becoming a working artist in the industry, whether by choosing to submit art directly to a manufacturer, being discovered at a trade show like Surtex, or working with an art licensing agent. Charles Gallagher, of PTS Fabric, attends the show year after year because he knows he will find creativity: “We keep coming back to Surtex because it has such wonderful art. “It’s new and fresh. We’re looking out for new trends, something great and different.”

After her first visit in 2016 Lisa Hom, of Parasol Co, will be back this year: “I came to find amazing designers and talent from across the world that I can’t access or find just sitting at my desk. “I’m really looking for bold and vibrant designers. I’m from the baby category, so I’m looking for designs that really speak to the young millennial.”









American Greetings Anthropologie Blue Q





Crate & Barrel Creative Co-Op Galison/Mudpuppy Hallmark The Land of Nod Madison Park/iPop Mattel Old Navy Papyrus Greetings Roger La Borde teNeues



surtex show preview 10

● Melissa

● Jinan ● Louise

● Cassie

Jumpstart to students’ careers


OUR young artists representing three nations have been chosen from the Designext entries that flowed in from around the globe as the winners in the 31st Surtex student design contest. Canadian Cassie Suche, Meredith West and Jiran Xia from the US, and Brit Louise Towers are on their way to New York to exhibit their prize ideas in special booths at the show where they will compete for the $1,000 (£780) grand prize. A judging panel of experts from the design industry will review booth presentation and portfolio in order to determine the overall winner of the competition where the four winners will be jumpstarting their design careers at Surtex. This year’s Designext challenge had the Geo theme, a combination of natural geode stones and modern geometric shapes, with entrants asked to create six original surface pattern

33 Broken Bones – stand 2736 A+A Design Studio – 3309 American Dream House – 3011 Annie Moran Illustration – 3047 Ansada Group – 2929 Art 2 License – 2923 Art Makers International – 2806 Artwork Design – 3125 Atelier Mineeda – 3217 Banafshe Schippel – 3110 Bean Dog Studio – 3340 Bentley Group – 3018 Betsy Barry Art – 3232 Blue Sky Art & Design – 2824 Bluefish Tales – 2946 Boras Designservice – 3228 Branded – 2748 Brenda Manley Designs – 2707 Bridgewater + Moss Design – 3105 Bright Art – 2933 The Brooklyn Nest – 3303 Camp Collective – 2735 Cecimonster – 3133 Charlotte Nicole Designs – 3135 Christiana Designs – 2722 Colwill & Waud – 3118 Creativo Surface Design – 3205 2851 Danielle Murray – 2937 Davina Nathan Design – 3226 Daydreams & Giggles Studios – 3144 Design Works International – 3122 Designastration Studio 3325 Diane Harrison Designs – 3109 Dinah – 2743 The Doneger Group – 3053 Eagle Beak Galleries – 3141 ED Textile Design Service – 3322 E’Flomae Lifestyle + Interior 2724 Equinox Art & Design – 3032 Figgy Pudding Designs – 3128 Finch & Foxglove – 3026 Fine Art – 2943 Fiona Howard – 3221 Foliage – 3304 Four Corners Art Collective – 2723 Freudenberg Performance Materials – 3050 Gabriela Villarreal Fine Art – 3146 Galaxy Of Graphics – 3035 Gathering Gallery – 3339

designs to be presented as a collection in one of the Wear, Work, Live or Play categories. ● Cassie Suche, Sheridan College, Oakville, Ontario, Canada – Having switched from fine arts to a graphic design degree, Cassie spent a semester on an internship in print design in Sydney, Australia. Especially interested in using new technology to express abstract ideas, Cassie says she is eager to learn more about print design for interiors, and about packaging design while hoping to design prints for apparel and other products for an active-wear brand. ● Meredith West, North Carolina State University, US – A graduate student in the fibres and surface design programme Meredith is currently researching ways to use digital technologies to replicate the signature markings that distinguish products made by hand. The markings and traditional motifs associated with her NC home town Wilmington exert a distinctive

influence on her work, and she’s hoping for a career that allows her to collaborate with other artists “from concept to realisation”. ● Jiran Xia, Academy of Art University, San Francisco, US – A native of Jin Jiang, China, Jiran arrived in the US with a rich background in Chinese painting and calligraphy. Now a senior, studying fashion and textile design, she has a very clear idea of what she wants to do after graduation this summer: “I hope to move to New York City and find a position in the design industry!” ● Louise Towers, Leeds College of Art, UK – A third-year student who has followed her “innate love for drawing and incredible passion for innovative digital craft designing”, Louise’s degree is in printed textiles and surface pattern design.Louise said: “My style is constantly evolving because I strive to push new techniques and materials. My style and abilities are very diverse; therefore, I feel open to designing for a variety of final outcomes.”

Exhibitor list Gelsinger Group – 3016 Gerry Murray Designs – 2745 Giacomo Barzaghi – 3129 Gift Of Muse – 2947 Giordano Studios – 2913 Given Campbell – 2845 Global Garden – 3137 Grafiq Trafiq – 3307 Group Four Design Studio – 3204 Haberkorn – 3142 Haley Art & Design – 2834 Happy Mrs Dahlia – 2747 Howard Robinson – 2922 Image Conscious – 2838 India & Purry By Jessica Hollander – 3236 Ingrid By Nutshell Designs – 2833 Inspiráh 3241 Jadu7 – 2750 Jane Dixon – 3218 Jane Mosse Designs – 3219 Janis Lillian – 3039 Jennifer Nelson Artists – 2711 Jenny Lemon Pattern Co 3341 Jewel Branding & 2917 Jill McDonald Design – 3029 Jilly P Studio – 3238 John Hersey – 2847 Jpegs Art & Design – 3311 Julie Bayless Illustration – 3338 Julie Hawkins – 2844 Kagan Studio – 2734 Kate Mawdsley – 2740 Katsu Creative Project – 3114 Kelly Gilleran – 3138 Kristi Caterson 2939 L’Atelier Design Studio – 3108 Lauren Larkin Art – 2945 Lauren Wan – 3211 Lemon Ribbon – 3310 Leticia Plate – 3235 Levison Design – 2825 Liaison – 2704 Lili Graffiti – 3328 Lilla Rogers Studio – 2810

Linda Bruce Kate Rowley – 3220 Linda Zara Stewart Designs – 3323 Liz Mytinger – 3233 Lizzie Clark Designs – 3041 London Portfolio – 3301 Looking Good – 2708 Lovely Bird Design Studio – 3229 Lu Hopkins Studio – 3321 Luismartinart – 3334 Lylove Studio – 3119 Lynn Johnston Productions – 2944 Magnet Reps Presents The Artelier Of Brands – 2726 Magpie Moon Design – 3336 Main Line Art & Design – 2710 Manayunk Calligraphy – 2746 Marcie Designs– 3113 Maret’s Art – 2942 Maria Carluccio – 3046 Marian Nixon Paintings – 2934 Meiihow Art & Design Agency – 3042 Mellmee Company – 3132 MGL – 2916 MHS – 2924 Misha Zadeh Illustration & Design – 2709 Nelson Makes Art 3234 Nerida Hansen Print & Textiles 3017 Nerodiseppia Creative Studio 3313 Next Art – 3043 Orozco – 3139 Painted Planet Group – 2822 Pantone – 2951 Paper & Cloth – 3302 Paper Confections Design – 2732 Patricia Nugent Textiles – 3305 Pattern Heads – 2936 Pattern Pod – 2935 The Pattern Social – 3038 The Patterned Peacock – 3044 Paul Brent Designer– 3007 Paulville Goods – 3045 Penny Lane – 3008 PI Fine Art/PI Creative Art – 2716 Pink Light Design – 2817 Portfolio Select – 2742

Potterton Books – 3224 Primosch Art – 3136 Printed Village – 2846 Prints Of Orange – 3107 Ritz Creations – 3312 Roaring Brook – 3023 Rogue – 3126 Rosenthal Represents – 2829 Sagebrush Fine Art – 3012 Sandikim – 3237 Sandra Jacobs – 3227 Sara Anderson Design – 3239 Scarlet Lake – 3240 Shannon Hays & Susan Dennen – 2712 Shannon McNab – 3037 Sheri McCulley Studio – 2738 Showoffs – 3106 Sooshichacha – 3320 Stacey Day – 2718 Stacy Garcia – 2950 Studio Gul – 3228 Studio Kelkka – 3319 Studio Sette – 3115 Sundance – 2932 Suzan Lind Art – 3027 Suzanne Cruise – 2909 Swedish Creatures – 2729 Tana Bana – 3203 Tatyana Starikova – 3034 Textile Creations By Lily – 3212 Threemacstudio – 3332 Victoria & Albert Museum 3022 Virginia Kraljevic – 3036 Vivid Art Agency – 2823 Wanderlust Designer – 2725 Watercolor Devo By Amarilys Henderson – 3134 Wild Apple Graphics – 2809 Wild Wings – 2828 Winterprint – 2843 With Love From Argentina – 2836 Working Girls Design/By Jodi – 2714 World Art Group – 2717 Yuno Design Studio – 3215 Zoejo Design Studio – 3326

Surtex booth 2929


ILDLIFE and Native American art are key to Ansada’s offer, as founder Angela Sauro Davis said: “Wildlife continues to be a strong category for us, and we represent some of the finest wildlife artists in the world. “With new artist Chad Poppleton and Mark Kelso having recently joined the group, these are traditional, representational images that remind the viewer of the beauty and peace of nature and its creatures. “We also offer incredible images of Native American people and their culture through its representation by Paul Calle and Joe Velazquez, among others.” Chad Poppleton As an avid sportsman and conservationist, Chad spends as much time in the field as he does at the easel: “Interpreting the behaviour and character of each animal in its natural environment is the motivation for my work. Studying, sketching, life painting, and observing the animal’s behavior helps me to identify their characteristics and relay that into the canvas.” Mark Kelso Currently working out of his studio near Indianapolis, IN, Mark continues to travel extensively, gathering experiences in the wild

from which to draw inspiration. His art has been exhibited and collected globally with works being hung in more than 100 museums, and he has been inducted into the International Society Of Animal Artists and Artists For Conservation. Paul Calle 1928-2010 An artist whose work reflects the dramatic era of America’s Western heritage as well as the one in which he lived, the dimensions of Paul’s art can be as vast as the wild, windswept plains of the West, as infinite as outer space when he was an artist for NSA’s Fine Art Programme and as small as the historic scenes he captured on stamps for the United States Postal Service. Joe Velazquez Joe’s fascination with the emergence of the American nation has led him to explore many stories that occurred during this short but colourful time in history. His focus is primarily on the fur trade era encompassing the Mountain Men, Voyageurs and the northern Native American cultures, and he is diligent with historical accuracy while portraying the passion and tenacious spirits of the characters. +1 941 758 0924

surtex show preview

Ansada Licensing Group


surtex show preview 12

Howard Robinson Surtex booth 2922


ELFIES from Howard Robinson is a nominated finalist in the LIMA International Licensing Awards taking place in Vegas in May 2017. It’s a simple concept of adorable images of the animal kingdom enthusiastically joining into the worldwide craze for taking selfies. The images are realistically accurate and appeal to all ages worldwide with a large and diverse range of products produced so far – more than one million Selfie puzzles were sold in 2016. Licensees have been carefully chosen and custom designs created to cater for the many differing products, territories and sales channels. And 33 licensing partners across the UK, USA, Canada, Russia, Poland, France, New Zealand, Turkey and Denmark joined in 2016 to produce 638-plus items across 86 new Selfie products aimed for independent gift stores and tourist destinations and gaining mass market placements in Walmart, TRU, Staples, Target, Meijer, Aldi, Office Depot, and Carrefour. Key partners include Ceaco US, Ravensburger, Holdsworth New Zealand, for puzzles; The Mountain for t-shirts; Art Brands for transfers; Leanin’ Tree for greetings cards; Tree Free for giftwar; Unison USA, Beniamin Poland, Strecoza Ltd Russia for mass market stationery; Trends International for calendars; JR Copa for surf boards and beach towels; Elizabeth Studios for textiles; Wallsource, for murals, and TMS for 3D greetings cards in Europe. A substantial highlight has been the best in class lenticular 3D range with Prime 3D producing more than 100 stationery and gift items and the Selfies Lenticular puzzles becoming an award winner in the Independent Toy Awards for Kiddicraft in the UK. With a rapidly expanding distribution network Selfies can now be found worldwide in thousands of gift stores, tourist destinations, national parks, zoos and aquariums. +44 (0)1429 824021

Surtex booth 2810


RTIST Mara Penny has just signed with Lilla Rogers Studio, joining a roster of 32 artists around the globe who are represented by this top agency. Having signed 11 new artists since launching their Global Talent Search in 2013, this is the first time since that the agency have picked up a new artist outside of the well-regarded competition. Founder Lilla said: “Mara’s work has a happy, magical quality. Her colour palettes are gorgeous and varied. I’m particularly excited to get her a home décor line so I can have and hold her beautiful products. “I’m crazy about her tea tins – as a matter of fact, I asked Mara what would be her dream job and she did not hesitate to say a home décor collection. “She’s taken several of my online courses and really stood out. I’d been keeping my eye on her.” “I totally freaked when she Skyped me and asked if I wanted representation!” Myra said. “Lilla encouraged us to write out an affirmation on one of her Periscope sessions a few weeks ago. I wrote ‘Lilla Rogers is my agent 2017’ on a Post-It and stuck it on my computer. Imagine how I felt when she Skyped me and offered exactly that – absolutely thrilled, and a little spooked!” Mara has been kept busy since starting with the agency. Clients who wish to work with her can contact her agent Susan McCabe at Illustration agency Lilla Rogers Studio represent some of the very best artists internationally, licensing and selling artwork for surface design and stationery products, Clients include American Greetings, Anthropologie, Blue Q, Crate & Barrel, Creative Co-Op, Galison/Mudpuppy, Hallmark, The Land Of Nod, Madison Park/iPop, Mattel, Old Navy, Papyrus Greetings, Roger La Borde, and teNeues. in addition to commissions for editorial, graphic design, corporate and advertising, Lilla also teaches online courses at, which help artists create commercially viable art for 10 different markets. +1 781 641 2787

surtex show preview

Lilla Rogers Studio


cover story

There is no life I know to compare with pure imagination. Living there you’ll be free if you truly wish to be.” – Willy Wonka

Pure imagination When you’re in the art licensing industry, coming up with new ideas is the key to success and, for 3D specialist Michael Searle, it’s about having the imagination to see the images that he wants to create. Here he explains how his mother helped nurture and support that passion. Searle 14

www.searle-art +1 954 663 9933 michaelsear

cover story


OW fortunate we artists are to be able to take pure imagination and turn it into a viable business.

I count my lucky stars every time I complete an illustration and reflect back on how I ended up here in the world of commercial art licensing. My passion for art, painting and illustration began at an early age. I was blessed with a dear mother who instilled in me that I could be whatever I wanted to be in this great big world. There were no boundaries on what one could accomplish if you set your mind to it. She always had an encouraging word or two when I would show her my latest creation. I could not have asked for a mother who was more loving or proud of me. As a single mum for several years, she sacrificed so many comforts of life in order to provide the funds for me to study art and help finance my schooling in Hawaii. One of the absolutely most memorable moments of my life – more than I

could ever know – was one Christmas long ago when I was barely 15. My mum had a special surprise gift for me under the Christmas tree – she had scrimped and saved to buy a single action Binks Airbrush! I was on that art tool from the second I set it up and began experimenting with it. Forty years later I’m still implementing airbrushing into all my

illustrations and have become known for the special blending that can only be achieved with that wonderful instrument. My mother, Nancy Cookman, was such a fan of the arts, and she was also my biggest fan but, it’s true what they say about life being too short. My amazing mum passed away this past year and, although I miss her immensely, I find strength and inspiration from her example. She ins was wa always so supportive and sparked many ma a great idea for my art. Never let your passion for art be N tempered. It truly is the breath of tem life that brings so much joy and happiness to the world. Life’s simple hap pleasures are accentuated with the ple pure imagination and execution of p relevant and exciting new art.

17 15

blue print show preview

Growing strong Blue Print is the collectively-organised surface design and print fair that has been so successful it’s about to hold a double show as the fifth event in New York in just three years – and there’s even a waiting list for exhibitors.


S BLUE Print enters its third year, this time round the collectively-organised show has two sold-out events lined up – one after the other. Back in 2013 the inaugural show had just 12 exhibitors, last year there were 36, and this May there’s 64 overall, from America, the UK, France, Columbia, Germany, and the Netherlands. There are 32 studios exhibiting at Blue Print 1 from Thursday to Saturday, May 18-20, and 32 at Blue Print 2 from Sunday to Tuesday, May 21-23, with a growing waiting list too. The venue is at 404NYC on 10th Avenue in New York, just a block over from the Javits Center, so it’s very handy for anyone visiting the National Stationery Show, The International Furniture Show, and Surtex, which are on at the same time.


Show dates Blue Print 1 Thursday May 18 – 9am-6pm Friday May 19 – 9am-6pm Saturday May 20 – 9am-5pm

Blue Print 2 Sunday May 21 – 9am-6pm Monday May 22 – 9am-6pm Tuesday May 23 – 9am-5pm

With lots of natural light coming into the building through a huge glass wall at the front, 404NYC is a stunning place to hold the show. For the past three years there has been scaffolding and boarding all over the front of the building, but the work is now complete and this is all down so the floor to ceiling window can be seen in all its glory. Attached to the venue is a deli that can be accessed directly from the mid-floor side entrance for that authentic Big Apple culinary experience. Main show coordinator Paul Turk, of Cinnamon Joe Studio, said: “Blue Print is not aimed at any one particular market, we have exhibitors that design for fabric, for the home textile and wall covering market, for apparel of all ages, and yes, of course, for the stationery market.

“There are amazing artists and illustrators alongside studios and designers that create their prints digitally too. Some exhibitors sell outright, some sell on a limited rights basis, some licence, and some do all three. “If you need artwork for any type of product you’ll find it at Blue Print – the main thing is there is an enormous choice from some of the most talented studios and artists out there.” Paul explained that a few exhibitors are doing both shows, but the big majority at the second show are all new to Blue Print. He added: “It’s great to be able to bring them into the shows this year, and there will be so

much talent on display at both so, if clients come to the first show, they will have every reason to come to the second one too. “We worked out a while ago that it’s not the size of the show that matters, it’s the quality of the exhibitors that make it invaluable for clients to travel and visit Blue Print. “Keeping each show to around 32 studios maintains the boutique atmosphere, and having no side walls

on the stands really creates a much friendlier atmosphere for everyone. “When it’s busy there’s a real buzz and lots of smiling faces, it’s a show to look forward to but a lot of work to organise – but it’s well worth it. “We draw the names of the exhibitors out of a hat to allocate the show spaces, which is the fairest way to do it, so even the new exhibitors get exactly the same chance as the regulars, as far as the position in the show goes.”


blue print show preview 20

Blue Print 1 Exhibitors

Blue Print 2 Exhibitors

A Fresh Bunch Arthouse Brenda Manley The Brooklyn Nest Cherry Design Partners Cinnamon Joe Studio Collectionstock Creativo Dessin & Cie Dot-Dash Design Elizabeth Stirling Designs Esther Bley Foliage Grafiq Trafiq Image Source Inspire Art Licensing Jelly-Box Jennifer Nelson Artists

Briagell Perret Cherry Design Partners Cinnamon Joe Studio Collectionstock Dessin & Cie Dot And Flow Dot-Dash Design Do Well Studio Dusty Pony Design Elizabeth Stirling Epluche Gather No Moss Ine Beerten Inspire Art Licensing Jackie Kohler Jelly-Box Jerome Thilly Kerrie Satava

Jerome Thilly LJ Woodhouse London Portfolio Lylove Marcie Designs Never Forget Yvette Pomelo & Pomelo Pure Illustration Purplethum Rafale Design Roy & Jane Evans Designs Sandra Bowers Tana Bana Verbeek Designs

Kimberley K Carter Margaux & Izzy Marnie Long Melissa Hyatt Nastja Holtfreter Nikki Upsher Pencil Parade Peppyink Design Studio Pomelo & Pomelo Prep + Prim Purplethum Rachel Schafer Designs Revel Designs Savi Twist

FANCY dress, cabaret, vintage visuals and cute dogs are just some of the notable things happening at Mary Evans Picture Library. They have recently added a selection of illustrations from original 1920s fancy dress catalogues published by Weldon’s and Leach’s. The dazzling designs are typical of the decade’s whimsical tastes for costumes, ranging from traditional clowns and witches to the more surreal cigar or Chinese pagoda. The catalogue covers are particularly striking and, together with the costume ideas, are a quirky vintage choice for stationery such as greetings cards and invitations, or party-themed giftware. Visit the website and type “fancy dress mar17” to see more. Murray’s Cabaret Club in Beak Street in London’s Soho opened in 1913 and is famous as the venue where Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies worked as hostesses prior to the 1960s Profumo scandal. Channelling the trend for vintage burlesque, the Murray’s Cabaret Club Collection of rare costume designs from the late 1940s and early 1950s is cheeky yet charming and comes with a fascinating heritage. Mary Evans are delighted to represent a rare collection of costume designs from Murray’s mainly during the late 1940s and early 1950s, ideally suited to apparel, beauty and giftware. See more on the website by typing “%CHR” into the keyword search. They also now represent more than 8,000 visuals from the prestigious Everett Collection in New York which can be found by searching “%EVV” on the website. The mainly 1920s and 30s images feature endless silly situations, fusing humour and history and inspiring anyone seeking new content for humorous greetings cards, as well as a wide range of other applications. Cecil Aldin’s dog illustrations are always popular, with Creative World of Craft licensing designs from the Mary Evans archive to adapt for cross-stitch kits now available in 88 Hobbycraft stores across the UK. +44 (0)20 8318 0034 +1 866 437 9381

image library spotlight

Mary Evans Picture Library


agency spotlight 22

Interlitho Licensing GERMAN-based art licensing agency Interlitho have been established since 1955 selling to customers worldwide from their library of more than 80,000 images – a number that grows from the constant additions made by their freelance designers and suppliers. Interlitho hold a large portfolio which is constantly extended and is easily available to see and select designs from the categorised website where you can search by keywords, artists and numbers. You can create a lightbox and save your selection, you can download it, and you can share it with Interlitho for availability-checking or with others. The globally-licensed painted designs cover all styles and mediums with products including greeting cards, stationery, craft, puzzles, calendars, giftware and tableware. Interlitho cover the whole range of traditional, contemporary, cute, whimsical, seasonal and everyday in American and European style. They also hold a large collection of photographic images which is constantly extended. The designs from Interlitho Licensing are developed in cooperation with their customers to suit specific demands and needs. New designs and photographic images are immediately available as high-resolution data and so permit fast and inexpensive adaptation to your particular products, sizes and specific product requirements. The designs and images are created in close cooperation with designers and artists worldwide. Interlitho work with them together from the concept to the Sketch, over the colour composition up to the finished commercial design. Thus, a continuous flow of eye catching modern and advanced designs as well as of traditional designs can be assured. Please visit the website or email Anke and Andreas Klein to find out more, and they will also be walking around Blue Print, Surtex, Licensing Expo, and the Atlanta Gift Show over the next few months. +49 221 940 5830 THE INTERNET has changed how we do business and the selection of art for licensing is moving online. Celebrating its second anniversary, the growing ArtLicensingShow. com (ALSC) website is a centralised place to discover new talent, with more than 300 exclusive licensor artist/agent portfolios and 30,000 images uploaded to date. This one-stop, shopping tool has no cost for over-inundated art directors /licensees/manufacturers looking to efficiently source art, meaning the days of overflowing inboxes filled with endless art submission attachments are over. Portfolios on ALSC are uniquely designed to be searchable by both artist and keywords, and licensors can be directly contacted to negotiate deals. Susan January, Vice-President of Leanin’Tree, said: “The Art Licensing Show has made my work more streamlined and efficient. Coming to one site, as opposed to a hundred different artists’ sites, is a fantastic benefit for me.” Members love that ALSC is economical, saving them thousands in travel and show expenses – and it’s so convenient. Licensed artist and art lcensing blogger Joan Beiriger added: “Membership with ALSC has been the perfect way for me to connect with companies that sell a variety of products to general retail, mass markets, and beyond. “ALSC is constantly promoting licensor portfolio members’ work, my art is being marketed all over the internet at no additional price. You can’t beat that!” Artists and agents may join as an annual portfolio member to gain access to a full suite of art licensing advantages including access to art challenges judged by top companies, virtual gallery shows to promote their brand, and the many supportive groups such as 2nd Thursdays Chat, Trends and more. However, the smart portfolios are the most popular benefit, giving the licensor 100 per cent control over who has permission to view their art – they choose which specific pieces and collections can be seen, and by whom. Members always maintain complete control of their work in a copyright-safe environment. Illustrator Valerie Hart said: “The most important way ALSC has impacted my art business is with licensing deals. I’ve signed two in the last six months and I’m currently at the contract negotiating stage with two more manufacturers.” +1 720 372 3909

● Clockwise from top: JJ Galloway, Leticia Plate, Madiha Yearwood, Cathy Hunt, Sydney Wright

● Clockwise from top: JJ Galloway, Leticia Plate, Madiha Yearwood, Cathy Hunt, Sydney Wright



artist spotlight 24

Prettygrafik Desigh Studio SARAH and Gabriel are the husband and wife team of designers behind Prettygrafik, the dream studio they started a little over three years ago. It all began after they left the family business and became one of the top-selling artists on Etsy in the digital scrapbooking market. With a background in photography, product design and business development, they have more than 15 years of experience in the giftware, stationery and graphic design industry. With a fun and bright style, their art comes from their inner child, where creativity meets innocence. They specialise in complete collections and artwork toolboxes, including icons, characters, surface design and product design for a whole cohesive look. Sarah and Gabriel’s imaginative and playful style has secured multiple contracts with various manufacturers and retailers, notably the giftware giant CBK Midwest. With a passionate and creative approach, they pride themselves on designing original hand drawn and digital layered art in close partnership with their clients. From licensing to commission work and outright sales, Sarah and Gabriel aim to ensure clients can find everything you need at Prettygrafik and they look forward to working on your next project. +1 514 816 8318

Spotting trends, building partnerships and securing rights are what Licensing Expo is all about, with the Las Vegas show a meeting place for connections to be made – and, among the big-name characters and brands, is a sizeable Art & Design sector.


ILLIONS of products across the world started life as a conversation at Licensing Expo where connecting entertainment, character, fashion, art and corporate brand owners and agents with manufacturers, licensees and retailers has been the aim for more than 35 years. The UBM Americas-organised event in Las Vegas, which has moved from its customary June slot to May 23-25, is a meeting place for the global licensing industry to spot trends, build strategic partnerships, and secure the rights to brands and artwork for products. With three main product categories – Art & Design, Brands & Agents, and Character & Entertainment – across the show at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, the roster of 480-plus exhibitors sees 85 involved in showing surface pattern, artwork and design including studios, licensing agents, and brand management companies. The Art & Design Mixer is an exclusive event for exhibitors in the category to enjoy drinks and appetisers while making contacts after the expo hall closes on the middle day of the show – for an invitation email enquiries@ The mixer is part of the new Licensing Week, aimed at bringing together the best networking, learning and deal-making opportunities surrounding the fair to help all participants make the most of their time in Vegas. There’s also the annual Opening Night Party, on Tuesday, May 23, which is returning to the Tropicana this year, where it will be co-hosted

● Jessie James Decker

by Sony Music with country music singersongwriter Jessie James Decker as the special guest performer. And the International Licensing Awards winners will be announced on the same night, with Howard Robinson, Debra Valencia, and the V&A Museum among the seven finalists in the Art & Design category. Licensing Week events are listed on the website, starting on Monday, May 22, the day before the expo opens, and running through to Thursday, the day after it closes, while exclusive show sponsors the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association have brought back the Licensing University seminars and presentations. LIMA have revealed more than 25 sessions in the long-running educational series, with the opening trio of basics sessions on Licensing, International Licensing and Licensing Law, taking place on Monday to enable more exhibitors to participate before the show proper begins. Cole Gahagan, chief commercial officer of Fanatics, will deliver the

keynote Licensing University address on Licensing In The On-Demand Economy, on Tuesday, May 23, from 8am-9am, looking at how millennials and the generations that follow them have shaped the company’s strategies as well as how it views the road ahead. This year’s Licensing University will include a variety of hot topic sessions, such as Growth Markets – India, China & Brazil; Planning & Executing Your Social Media Strategy; The Basics Of Art Licensing; Everything You Need To know About Royalty Rates; Minimising Risk In The Global Marketplace, and Working With Agents & Consultants. The keynote presentation is free to all attendees and exhibitors, an all-access pass to the Licensing University sessions cost $170 (133), or $150 (117) for LIMA members, from the website. Licensing Expo also have their exclusive Matchmaking Service – which saw more than 2,560 meetings booked for the 2016 show – where preregistered attendees and exhibitors can search, connect, and schedule meetings.

● Art & Design Mixer ● Cole Gahagan

Licensing Expo Preview

Where products start life


Licensing Expo Preview

Record year for awards


OWARD Robinson’s Selfies collection has been nominated ed as one of seven finalists, alongside Debra Valencia in the he Art & Design category for the International Licensing Awards dss taking place in Las Vegas in May. “Just to be nominated is a great achievement,” Howard said, “for an artist working alone from my home studio in the UK taking care of everything from initial concept to

Show dates Tuesday, May 23 9am-5.30pm Wednesday, May 24 9am-5.30pm Thursday, May 25 9am-3.30pm

Licensing University May 22-25

Location Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada artwork creation, publicity, website, licensing, accounting and administration.” The awards are run by the Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association and the 2017 winners will be revealed at the ceremony on Tuesday, May 23, during Licensing Expo. Celebrating the best of the licensing industry across 20 categories, there were a record 461 submissions which have been narrowed down to a final 125 nominees from 10 countries, with LIMA members voting on who takes the prizes.

The seven Art & Design finalists are: ● Andy Warhol – The Andy Warhol Foundation For The Visual Arts ● Debra Valencia – Debra Valencia/The Brand Liaison ● Matthew Williamson – Matthew Williamson/Beanstalk ● Pets Rock – Takkoda/multi-agency ● Selfies – Howard Robinson Illustration ● The Very Hungry Caterpillar/The World Of Eric Carle – The Very Hungry Caterpillar/The World of Eric Carle/The Joester Loria Group ● V&A – Victoria and Albert Museum Debra added: “This is thrilling news! The nomination in itself is an honour – especially considering the stiff competition in my category!” She is represented by The Brand Liaison who will be exhibiting new Debra Valencia collections at Licensing Expo, while Howard will be exhibiting his work at Surtex at New York’s Javits Center. “The LIMA Licensing Awards programme

recognises outstanding performance across a range of categories throughout the global licensing industry,” said LIMA President Charles Riotto. “The level of excellence exemplified in this year’s submissions was truly impressive and it is a testament to the impact LIMA members are having all around the world.”

Licensing Expo Art & Design Exhibitors’ List


360 World Atlas – F77 Alchemy – G76 Art Brand Studios – D134 Artestar – F107 Art In Effect – H79 Art Nation – E128 Authentic Brands Group – N214 Ben Cooper Halloween Costumes – A124 Benton Arts – J63 Big Hed Designs – E88 The Brand Liaison – E154 Brown & Bigelow – G86 The Buffalo Works – D114 CAA-GBG – G144 Cameron Studios – F85 Candlewick Press – C113 Casweck Galleries – H73

Character Link – J192 CMG Worldwide – H86 Craig Snodgrass Art – F79 Crayola Properties – A154 Curtis – L214 Dark Horse Comics – H235 Denyse Klette Art Studio – G74 Dezign Your Mind – G101 Diane Packer Studio – G79 Dimple Street Kidz – G75 Dr Krinkles – H233 Electural – J192 Emoji Company – A143 ENS Global Marketing – B133 Firefly Brand Management – C117 Frida Kahlo – H236 Fuzzytails by Lisa McCue – B107 Giordano Studios – G89

Glory Innovations – B85 Green Kids Club – G232 Hallmark – A154 HCA – G93 Hopee World – B90 Jewel Branding – H94 JQ Licensing – F86 Katherine Brannock – E77 Kellyportfolio Illustrations – F78 KFR Creative – F96 King Features – D154 Knockout – A196 Lawless Entertainment – B103 Lion Forge Labs – F95 Lisa Marks Associates – H102 LoCoco – G228 Lonely Dog – H80 Manu – H95

Mercis – L204 Merch by Amazon – K74 MHS – G85 MNS Creative – C105 Moxie & Company – D108 NanoGrafix – G234 Ninobuni – A126 Old Guys Rule – E87 Paintings by Dakota Daetwiler – E75 Patterson International – E82 Peridot Management – G88 Pink Light Studio – F108 Pyro Painter Art – H87 Renee Graef Travels – E80 San Diego Zoo Global – F94 Sean Danconia – B96 The Sharpe Company – A106 Spotlight – A196

Studio Anja – F102 Susan Rand – E78 Synchronicity – D88 Tate & Co – G80 Techstorm Dynamics – F142 Timree – H85 TriForce – A185 Tiralba – H240 Ustwo Games – C87 WhimsiClay by Amy Lacombe – G77 Vooz Co – S226 Waldoodles – C93 Wild Apple– G90 Wild Wings– H89 Women In Toys – D68 Zolan – H101

Reinvention by accident

last word

● On show – Debra Valencia will exhibit at Licensing Expo 2017 in booth E154

When Debra Valencia began her design career she knew nothing about the world of licensing but it has all changed over the past decade. Here she looks back over her journey and how others can benefit.


DUCATED as a graphic designer and enjoying a successful career, I was cruising along with a busy design studio, 50-plus clients and five full-time staff members. I was really very happy, creatively fulfilled, excited to tackle every assignment, and earning a decent income. Life was good. But I realised several of my clients were making millions of dollars from my product designs as they continued to sell and reorder new runs of the same product over and over. I’d only been paid a flat design fee so wasn’t profiting from the product successes. I decided the solution was to become a manufacturer myself in order to benefit from product sales bearing my designs and, in 2006, launched my own line of pop-up greetings cards and debuted as an exhibitor at the National Stationery Show in New York. During the show, I chatted with artist-owners of other card lines as we stood around our booths waiting for buyers. They explained it was impossible to make a living from a boutique product line alone, and that they supplemented their income by licensing artwork for use by other manufacturers. I’d never heard of earning royalties for designs but quickly grasped the concept so decided to learn more about this mysterious new business model which had somehow remained a secret from graphic designers. By the following year, I was able to license my entire greetings card line to a larger stationery

company which freed up my time from the burdens of marketing and selling goods, managing a warehouse stocked with inventory and organising fulfillment to retailers. I was then able to pursue licensing of my artwork with full force — landing my first art licence in late 2007. I started making online submissions to a variety of manufacturers getting a few more in 2008 and then exhibiting at Surtex in 2009 for the first time. The Debra Valencia brand was born and I was able to build up a roster of about 20 small licensing deals on my own then, in 2013, I partnered with The Brand Liaison as my USA agents and have never regretted it for a minute. Thanks to founder Steven Heller and his team, my business has grown by leaps and bounds, exceeding my expectations to being currently licensed with more than 30 manufacturers for a full array of products, mainly sold in the US. Steven’s experience and vision means newer engagements are larger in scope, targeting additional categories such as apparel, fashion accessories and luggage, and poising the brand for growth. Recent products on the market include fabric, bedding, tabletop, cell phone cases, jewellery, eyewear, bath/body products, back-to-school supplies, fashion stationery, trinket trays, personalised notecards and holiday cards, planners/agendas, puzzles, wall/desk calendars, four colouring books, and the Sewing Pretty Bags craft book. I never imagined having my brand name and designs on beauty products or eyewear, or being an author of several books. Now nominated for the LIMA Licensing 2017 Program Of The Year in the Art & Design category, I am beyond thrilled. Although I don’t expect to win at the presentation in Las Vegas on May 23, with stiff competition including Andy Warhol and V&A Museum, I’m highly honoured to even be considered. So it’s only been a little over nine years since landing my first licensing deal and reinventing myself from designer for hire to a lifestyle brand. My change in career direction wasn’t really planned. Somehow it all worked out and

nothing has gone to waste. Every single skill and bit of knowledge I acquired as a graphic designer – branding, website, marketing, sales presentations, packaging, style guides, production art, technical requirements and printing processes – has come into play and made it easy to make the transition. However, I wouldn’t recommend this reinvention for the faint hearted – it definitely took a strong entrepreneurial spirit, long work hours and a giant salary cut over the initial few years to bring this to fruition. What does the future hold? Well, my Israeli agents Ginja Licensing have done a fantastic job obtaining several licensing deals for products sold exclusively in Israel since 2012, and I’m hoping to crack the European market so working on building a network of licensing agents well connected in their respective territories. World domination here we come! +1 310 266 1577 +1 855 843 5424


Profile for Lema Publishing


Summer 2017


Summer 2017

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