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Art Licensing Tip – Marketing Art With Tear Sheets

Creating tear sheets (also called promo sheets or storyboards) is an excellent way to market your art to potential licensees. There is no right or wrong way to create tear sheets and any art can be placed on them. Some artists put four to six different central images (paintings, illustrations, or images) on a sheet. Others place art and digitally created product mockups* of one art collection* on a sheet. Personally I think tear sheets with one collection containing one or more central images with mock-ups makes a statement and showcases your art. A single 8-1/2 by 11 inch sheet is often used but any size is okay. Placing artist contact information on each sheet is a must. It also helps if you include the number and name of the collection. When talking to a manufacturer, it is easier to refer to the collection with a name and/or number than trying to describe it.

I format my tear sheets in several different ways depending on what manufacturer(s) I am targeting the art toward. If I am doing a mass mailing to different industries either by email or “snail mail,” I put a central image(s) to show what the original art looks like. And, I also include numerous mock-ups to show what the art looks like on products for different industries. Better yet, I find it really effective to create sheets customized to individual industries and to contact each manufacturer separately. For instance, if I am targeting manufacturers that produce paper party supplies, I would include mockups for a paper napkin, plate, cup and possibly a tablecloth. For manufacturers that produce decorative flags and mail box covers, I would include mockups for flags and mailboxes. For quilting fabric manufacturers, I would place a cohesive collection of pattern swatches on the sheet.There is no one way you should format tear sheets. Contact information can be placed anywhere but some artists prefer that it is at the bottom. The art and mockup images can be separated by spaces and lined up or can be artistically overlapped. Some artists like to put a pattern border of art across the top of the sheet to differentiate each collection at a glance. They claim that it is easier for manufacturer art directors when they have a slew of printed sheets and need to flip through them.

Just like there is no one way to create and format tear sheets there is no rule on how many sheets you should submit to the manufacturer at one time. Personally I submit one sheet when doing doing an initial contact to a manufacturer by email. Then I may followup by shipping hard copies of three to six tear sheets of different art collections.* Product mockups are examples of what the art looks like on different product shapes. Art collections are a series of cohesive central images and related icons, patterns and borders.