Monday, February 4, 2013

Pt. 2 - Art Licensing: Walking SURTEX, Planning an Exhibit, Working the Plan

As promised, here's part 2 of my post from last week. If you missed part 1 you can read it here:  Art Licensing: Walking SURTEX, Planning an Exhibit, Working the Plan - Part 1


Get to work immediately

Build on the excitement you have from walking the show. Don't take a break. Get your plan in motion. If you’re planning to exhibit the very next year then you don’t want to waste any time. There's much to do and the time goes by very fast. I still can't believe SURTEX is such a short time away. It seems like I was just there.

Below are some tips to help you get your plan into motion:

#1 - Determine how much money you’ll need to display at the next show. SURTEX is not cheap. You will need to pay for display items, pre-show marketing materials, promos if you choose, travel and lodging, meals and shopping - seriously, it's in New York - meals and shopping are part of the experience! Find out when the payments for the show are due and make a plan to get the money. Sell your art, do shows, crank up that Etsy shop, have garage sales, etc.

If you're limited on funds, try getting an art licensing agent to represent you. There are many companies out there. Joan Beiriger has a list of art licensing agencies, here’s the link: List of Over 50 US Art Licensing Agencies. (Joan's blog has great information for artists so plan on staying a while and check out her other posts and tutorials.) Parcai Designs is mine and my partner’s company and we will be at SURTEX in booth #765 near the Trend Theatre. If you'll be at the show and are looking for a licensing rep, we’ll have a box at our booth where you can drop your contact information. We’ll get in contact with you after the show.

#2 - How does your portfolio look? Do you have full collections or single art pieces? What do you need to round out your portfolio and set up collections? How much work do you need to do for your artwork to be ready for licensing? How are your computer skills? Do you have a computer program to transfer your artwork into digital format? Do you need to buy and learn Photoshop and Illustrator? Make a plan, and write it down. Organize your artwork into folders in the order you are going to work. Only keep the current artwork in front of you and work on it until it's finished and then move to the next one. Set a schedule to get the work done. Know when you will need to order your marketing materials and banner displays, this is your actual deadline. A bit of planning will reduce stress and help you be show ready.

Check out my post on working with Adobe CS6 in Adobe Creative Cloud: Adobe CS6, Art Licensing, SURTEX, Oh My!

#3 - Plan your day: Do you work a full time job? Do you have a family? Both? Plan time for your art like it’s just as important as anything else in your life. Make the most of what time you have. Some days my personal creative time is from 8:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m. and I make full use of it. Do what works for you. If you're a morning person and can get an hour or two before you start your day, then go for it. There are days I create in bits and pieces of time because that's what I have to work with. If you want something badly enough you can make it happen. 

Here is one of my older posts about time management: Pockets of Time

#4 - How will you display your art? Do some research and pricing with printing companies. Do a Google search and you will find lots of information about tearsheets/sell sheets and display books. A good place to start researching is on Natalie Timmons site here: How to Create a Killer Sell Sheet for Artists.

#5 - Don't be afraid to put your work out into the world because of art pirates. If you don't show your work you will never get noticed. And while the art pirates are redrawing your art from yesteryear, you’ll be moving on to something new and better from the wealth of ideas that will be flowing because you create original art on a regular basis. Do what you can to protect yourself. Copyright your work and use Tineye or other reverse image search sites to look for your art. And don't let dishonest people limit your creative flow.

#6 - Again, be original. My favorite way to come up with cool new designs is to doodle. Do this every day, doodle when you're watching television, in the waiting room at appointments, before bed, riding in the car - passenger seat please :o). I now find that the minute I lay my head down on the pillow, designs start playing like a slideshow in my head. I keep an art pad and pen by the bed so I can do a quick sketch of ideas. I’ve trained my mind that down time is time for creative thought. And it’s really nice to go to sleep with a new idea and have it waiting on me in the morning.

Here's another post about getting and keeping a steady flow of ideas: A Date With Your Muse 

#7 - Fear and negative thinking: Fear can be motivating or paralyzing, it just depends on how you choose to handle it. If you let fear steal your dreams then you will never get anywhere. But you can use fear to help you be productive. Use fear as a gauge and let it tell you what you need to work on. Are you afraid your art isn't good enough? Then do a show and get some feedback. Chances are you’re just being too critical. If it really isn't good enough, then make it better by learning art techniques in the medium of your choice. Some fear is normal, but don’t let it stop you from achieving your dreams. Keep plunging ahead. When you put enough work in, your confidence level will be higher and you will have less fear. Sit down with a pen and paper and write down what you’re afraid of. Just the act of writing down your fears will reduce the power they have over you. Look at that list and if you find valid points, figure out how to overcome them. Some fear will always be there but that doesn't mean it has to control you. Face fear and walk through it.

#8 - Feeling Overwhelmed: Getting ready for any trade show can be overwhelming, even for seasoned professionals. And if this is something new it may feel out of reach and not attainable. I promise you can do this if you break all the tasks down into manageable pieces, make a plan and work your plan. Get loved ones and friends to help. Make your business a family business and get the kids involved. Children are very computer savvy. Kids have fantastic ideas, my young nephew and niece are awesome at brainstorming ideas for me and their enthusiasm motivates me. I have a list of new art to create thanks to Bryce and Bailey. Older children can do some of the research on marketing materials and art licensing blogs for you to read. Delegate and let others be part of the dream. And let them reap rewards for helping.

That pretty much summarizes my suggestions for before the show, walking SURTEX, and putting a plan together when you get home. I would love to hear your thoughts or questions.Lainey


Parcai Designs, LLC

My other posts about SURTEX and art licensing:

Planning Not Panicking - Working Toward SURTEX 2013
Adobe CS6, Art Licensing, SURTEX, Oh My!
Art Licensing Agency, Parcai Designs - Press Release

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Digital Freebies - Scrapbook Papers, Gift Tags

I've added a Freebies tab to my blog. 
3 files available right now. Enjoy!

Other new items on my blog and what's coming:

Check out the new tabs in the menu bar. I've added a Pattern and Texture button, this section features some of my photo reference library. I have more to upload but this is a start. These images are free to download (link on page) and can be used in layering in your digital images 
or just as an art reference.

I've added a Color section in the menu and will be posting new color schemes frequently.

I've updated my Healthy Living section recently so if you haven't been there in a while go and check that out. In the update I'm sharing tips that help me stay on track with my juicing 
and healthier way of living.

I will be adding an art licensing reference page soon so look for that.

I have some art and craft show tips coming in a future blog post.

And for all my Illustration Friday blog friends, I'm planning on participating in that again as soon as life settles a bit. Lately life has been crazy, exciting, but crazy!

And, of course, I'll add more freebies. I'll probably post something in that section once a month. I'll do a shout out on Twitter and Facebook when those items are up for download.

Thanks for stopping by.

Happy Creating!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Art Licensing: Walking Surtex, Planning an Exhibit, Working the Plan - Part 1

I've been chatting up the SURTEX 2013 trade show and, yes, I'm talking about it again. But this time I want to give you my take on walking the show as an artist with an eye toward exhibiting at a future event.
If you're thinking about exhibiting at SURTEX then you want to walk the show. Pay the money and go. It’s worth it. I can't imagine planning to have a booth at SURTEX and not having attended the conference and walked the showroom floor first. You will learn more by being there than you will from any website about art licensing. Just do it! I agree with all the standards you see in other posts: wear comfortable shoes (it's a big place and you will walk a lot), and please be respectful of the artists who have paid to be there. It isn't cheap and it’s an important show, so let the exhibitors maximize their time. Do a Google search for "walking SURTEX" and you’ll find some good articles and posts. This week I’ll sketch out my suggestions for walking SURTEX and next week I’ll discuss implementing a plan for your business after you’ve had a chance to walk the show. BEFORE WALKING SURTEX: Business Cards: If you don't have business cards, get some. Someone will probably ask you for a card. You can even print cards on the computer. I wouldn't spend a ton of money having cards and promo materials printed, but do have something just in case. If you’re attending the conference you will more than likely exchange contact information with other attendees. If you want to take your portfolio with you then load the images on an iPad or your phone for easy access. Learn first and then spend the money on your marketing materials. Taking Stock: Sit down and take a long hard look at your art. Having your work fresh in your mind will help you see where you need to go with your portfolio. And it’s a confidence booster when you look at the other art and get that sigh of, "yes, I think my art will be okay here." If you’re reaction is more along the lines of "CRAP! My art is CRAP!" that's okay too. I had both thoughts and you probably will also. We are our own worst critics. And there's nothing wrong with knowing there's need for improvement. Be honest with yourself and make a plan to work on those areas. THE SHOW AND CONFERENCE: Seminars: If you can, attend the seminars. You can buy individual session passes or go to the entire conference. My business partner and I chose to attend all the conference sessions. The classes are held during the show and they are worth the money. You'll hear speakers such as art licensing agents, artists, top industry trainers, and intellectual property attorneys. You’ll get information on everything from trends and how to spot them, how to create collections, contract tips and so much more. And there will still be plenty of time to visit the showroom floor. If you love looking at artwork then you will be drunk on creative goodness. There's tons of it. But if you will look past the art, you’ll get important information for your future SURTEX booth. Yes, it’s important to see what's trending, whose booths are busy and why. But take a deeper look, check out the displays - what is the material the art is printed on, how is it displayed, organized, what makes it stand out? Do certain booths stick in your mind, make you want to stop? Walk down an aisle and when you get to the end, think about which booths you remember. Chances are the most effective booths stand out because of how the art was displayed as much as because of the art itself. Every booth there last year had incredible artwork, but for many of them, I couldn't remember what the art was, who they were or even what their display looked like. But the ones I did remember, I still remember. My partner and I have a business meeting every week and last week when we were doing display planning, we both had distinct memories of certain booths and artists at the show. It has been almost a year. That is how you want a manufacturer to remember you. Notice what stands out in the displays and think about how you can bring your own unique presence to the way you display your art. When you get home or even on the plane, record your experience - who you met, what you learned, saw, and heard during the conference and show. You’ll use these notes when you start planning for your future booth at SURTEX. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Art Licensing Agency, Parcai Designs - Press Release

Our first press release is out. Looking forward to New York City in May.


Press Release
January 22, 2013
For Immediate Publication


Parcai Designs will display a wide variety of art at SURTEX 2013. SURTEX is the most important show for the art and design business and the only marketplace in North America dedicated to the sale and licensing of surface designs for products of all kinds. SURTEX is held at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City, May 19 to 21, 2013. Look for Parcai Designs in booth 765 on the showroom floor.

Parcai Designs, LLC is an art licensing agency based in Dallas, Texas, representing artists who license their art to manufacturers for use on their products. Parcai Designs is a new company, but our company members are not new to the industry. Our team brings a wealth of experience in gift product manufacturing, graphic design, marketing, and legal expertise. From timeless classics to current trends, Parcai Designs is committed to developing lasting relationships between art and industry.

For more information:
Teresa Cain


My other posts about SURTEX and art licensing:
Walking SURTEX 2013, Planning an Exhibit, and Working the Plan - Part 1
Planning Not Panicking - Working Toward SURTEX 2013
Adobe CS6, Art Licensing, SURTEX, Oh My!

Look for my coming post, Walking Surtex 2013, Planning an Exhibit, and Working the Plan - Part 2. I'll add this post Monday, 2/4/13.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Planning Not Panicking - Working Toward SURTEX 2013

                                                                  © 2012 Lainey Parker

I create lots of art and I've sold my art for many years. I do regular shows and the creation process, show set-up and break-down are all part of my regular routine. But now I'm moving in a brand new direction with a different creative process and, when I started on this new path, I was back in the role of a frantic, panic mode.

As I've said in my recent posts, I'm doing SURTEX this year. The show is in May and I've been working towards this for a while now. And even though I have tons of artwork, I have to do some work to format my designs for licensing. I'm creating collections around my main art pieces, adding coordinating pieces, repeat patterns, and even creating new artwork to broaden my portfolio. It's both exciting and scary. Good scary. It takes extra thought to put everything together and get the collections to where I'm happy with them.

I don't have a shortage of ideas, I've become really good at gleaning every ounce of creative thought from my daily life. But, as thankful as I am for the flow of ideas, it can be overwhelming. It's just as hard to narrow my focus as it is to come up with new ideas when I'm in a creative block. And when starting a new venture, I admit I can get a bit paralyzed. I just freeze up and find myself looking for diversions to help me escape from the panic. Getting back to the basics helps get my focus in check.

Making Lists - This is one thing that always helps me focus. Getting all my thoughts out first calms the many thoughts vying for attention and, by writing them down, I won’t lose any of the creative stuff that's taking up space in my brain. I keep a pad of paper nearby and write everything down as it comes in. After a while my head will clear. And I've found it's better to write these things down than to spew them out of my mouth to anyone in earshot. That doesn't really get them out of my head and the massive amounts of ideas can be a bit overwhelming for others. (Maybe this just happens to me - anyone else?)

Categories - After the brainstorming lists, I decide on the projects I want to work on first. If I have part of a project started, it goes on the "do now" list. Next on the list is art that will work well with what I already have, or pieces that I need to add to round out my portfolio. I end up with 2 lists: what I will do now and what will be created later. My first list is manageable. If I look at it and feel overwhelmed, I cut it down a bit more. All new ideas not directly related to the list I'm working on go on the 2nd list for later.

Even after making lists and categorizing, I sometimes still find it hard to begin. Nothing to do but dive in and start working on the first item on the list. A bit of ritual helps, I do a quick clean of my studio. I remove all the clutter and make sure the surfaces are clean, supplies set up the way I like, and I turn on my Spotify playlist or a video for background noise. For me that bit of ritual is my cue to get to work and it helps. It doesn't take long to get that laser focus that will get me to my goal. Once I start working I find that I'll run through my list and I’ll start knocking out the items on my future list. It's all a matter of clearing my mind and starting somewhere with a path and end goal, clearly visualized. My confidence level increases, I have good focus, my sense of peace is renewed. The rest just happens.

At this point I'm well into setting up my art licensing portfolio. I’m able to look at a piece of art and see what it needs to become part of a collection. I love the feeling of progress. And even though I still feel that bit of panic rising up from the middle of my gut now and again, I know I will get everything done. That feeling, the one that used to make me want to run, is my friend. It lets me know that I need to be at my art desk getting the work accomplished. Really there isn't any place I'd rather be. And as scary as it is, there's nothing better than the ride of a new venture.

If you are going to SURTEX, let me know. I'd love to see your blog posts and/or say hi to you in New York. And if you're starting a new venture, whether it’s art licensing or something else, I'd love to hear how you get past your blocks and get to your goals. 

Happy creating!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Shutterfly Books for Surtex? Maybe?

The artwork in my test book is from one of my scrapbook kits. You can find the kit at

I'm thinking about ordering Shutterfly books for SURTEX so I'm ordering this 8" x 8" test book to see how they look. I've never ordered from this company before so I'm curious to see the quality. In reading past blogs by SURTEX attendees, I ran across a couple of artists who used printed books to showcase their designs. I just don't remember who they used to print the books and, of course, I didn't bookmark so can't find those blogs now. I'll let you know what I think when the actual book comes in.

Now, back to the studio. I have lots more to create.

1-22-13 - Update: 

I received my Shutterfly book today and it is fantastic! I do wish I had tried to drag the artwork to the edge of the page and will do this on the next book to see if it prints correctly. It will look better if it's full bleed. The colors printed perfectly and the look and feel of the book is better than I expected. I will be ordering larger books for my upcoming show.

Look for Parcai Designs and my artwork in booth #765
at SURTEX, May 19-21 in New York City.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Adobe CS6, Art Licensing, SURTEX, Oh My!

Since attending the SURTEX conference last May and walking the show, I've been so busy working on my portfolio, redesigning my website (will be up soon), and managing daily business and personal life, that I've completely neglected my blog.

My focus for this blog is supposed to be about my journey into art licensing, sharing what I do to make a living with art and design, and helpful resources for artists. I'm committed to posting something about these topics at least once a month. So, to kick things off, here's some information I wanted to share with those of you who use Adobe Creative Suite and/or are interested in licensing your artwork.

One of my favorite blogs is by Joan Beiriger. Not only do I love her artwork, she has some of the best information about art licensing and she shares it with such professionalism. After reading her blog post on Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator CS6, I really wanted to share some of my thoughts and her post.

I recently upgraded from Adobe CS5 to CS6 and am loving it. I use an iMac and a Macbook Pro for my design work and have Snow Leopard as my operating system, so CS6 runs great for me. Joan brought up some very good points in her blog post about issues that may crop up when trying to change over to CS6. One of these issues is the possibility of needing to upgrade your computer system to be able to run the software effectively. I've posted a link to Joan's blog at the bottom of this post and highly recommend you hop over there for the full scoop.

The biggest issue in upgrading to CS6 is the cost of the software plus the cost of the upgrading your computer system if needed. Since I just upgraded all my equipment a couple of years ago I'm good there. But I still don't like shelling out the upfront money for upgrades, which seem to come so often and I always want the new features. This time I opted to go with Adobe Creative Cloud. And I LOVE IT! It works great with the system I have and since I already own CS5, my first year is just under $30 a month. If you don't own a recent version of the software it's $50 a month - to me it's still worth it at that price.

There are pros and cons to going with Adobe Creative Cloud but for me the pros outweighed the cons. The biggest con to me, I don't own the new software so if I stop paying, I'm back to my old version with the need to upgrade. The biggest pro for me, I get to try software I would not get in the package I would purchase, and I get other perks for using Creative Cloud that make it so worth it. Just go to the site for all the details (no, I'm not being paid by Adobe to plug their software).

If you want to upgrade to CS6 and also need to upgrade your computer system to be able to use the software, Adobe Creative Cloud might be a way to save some of the upfront costs of paying for everything all at once. If this is something you think might work for you, go check it out. Please take some time to read the FAQ and the reviews. There are a few bad reviews and I suggest if you can't get through all the pages of great reviews at least go through and read the negative ones to find out the problems some users have experienced. Oh, and there's a 30 day free trial so you can try before you buy...or rent in this case.

Also, if you're thinking about licensing your artwork and interested in representation, call Teresa Cain with Parcai Designs at 214-455-5414 or send an email to You can also submit a brief bio, contact information, and low resolution images of your artwork or a link to your online portfolio to the same email address and she'll get back with you as soon as she has had a chance to review your work. Parcai Designs will have a booth at Surtex 2013 so it's a good way to get your art in front of a huge audience.

As always, feel free to comment or email me.

Happy creating!

Joan Beiriger's Blog - "Should you OR can you upgrade to Photoshop & Illustrator CS6?"

Adobe Creative Cloud

Parcai Designs - Art Licensing Representation Parcai's website is still under construction and I know there is more coming soon - artists profiles and lots more art.

Like Parcai Designs on Facebook

Follow Parcai Designs on Twitter


Sunday, February 12, 2012

IF - Popularity

Although J.R.'s audition was the best, everyone said it was 
his popularity that landed him the lead in the school play. 
On opening night, J.R.'s amazing performance proved
he was the best choice for the part.

* * * * *

The Process of Creating J.R.

I'm going to be creating a bunch of robots in the near future for a project
and this little guy was my first attempt to see if it fits my style. They will likely
 change but J.R. wanted to help me out with Illustration Friday.

Recently I was asked about my process so I decided to snap some 
pictures as I worked. 

Also, to answer the question of how I come up with what I create... 
I am a visual thinker. Ideas are vivid pictures in 
my mind - they pop in my head fully formed. Many times
they show up with a name and a story.
The final piece may change, especially if I am 
creating for a client, but the first draft is always what I see in my head. 

Here is the beginning sketch.
I do almost all my sketches with a Steadtler Mechanical Pencil.
I use ranges .3 - .7 and use .5 the most.

Below is J.R. after inking and making adjustments.
My favorite pens to ink with are my ink well
& dip pen and Y&C Permawriter II. This
was done with the Permawriter and it works
well on paper with a rough texture. Very smooth
and doesn't catch and skip. 

I did this one in watercolor so the next step
was to mix the paints. The colors I used were
a slate blue mix, a terracotta color 
mixed with a dark violet and
a bit of the slate blue mix for the rust.

Adding the first layer of color.
Watercolor was a hard medium for me to learn
because of its hard line effect. Took a while to learn
to soften those lines and make the colors blend. But now
I love it - probably my favorite medium for illustration.
Most of my work is done in an Alla Prima style and
 not in layers of washes. Looking to do some video of my 
watercolors in the future.

More color. Almost there but not quite. 
Needs a few more adjustments before
I can call him finished. And I need an actual
scan of the final image instead of a 
quick snap with my phone.
(Final image is at the top.)

Thanks for stopping by and I always enjoy your emails and comments.

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