Artist Virginia Kraljevic lives in New York City with her family. She’s a pen and ink artist and designer who creates intricate artwork that has appeared on an array of surfaces from clothing, wall decor, giftware, and books to fabric. Virginia has also created artwork for Ikea and many other clients. She tells us how she began licensing her artwork and providing custom art for businesses. At the end of our conversation, after Virginia and I say our goodbyes, Virginia turns the table and asks a me a question. So make sure you stick around after our first goodbye to hear a little extra chitchat from the two of us and about how amazing we think artists are. Usually I cut our extra talk out, but I thought you’d enjoy it today.
Listen here or download from iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, CastBox, or Stitcher.
Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:
- When you’re making your art, you may occasionally think that you’ve made a mistake. Virginia likes to think of those as opportunities to work with it and make something better.
- Virginia talked about upgrading your tools. Better tools will help make your artwork more professional and will give you more confidence.
- When you’re first starting out with your business, start small, but start doing something. Put your art in small art events, and that will lead to larger events. Join local artist groups or etsy selling groups and you’ll start learning more about the art business.
- If you’re looking to license your art and have it seen by many companies, one way to get into that is to get a booth at a trade show. Virginia did the Surtex show in New York.
- When you do trade shows, don’t expect to get deals during the show. A lot of them will come weeks or even a year after when the client has a project where your art would fit. The trade show should be all about cultivating relationships for long-term deals.
- Virginia had some words of encouragement for Mom artists out there: She said that there’s always time to do your art, even if you have to use the time before the kids wake up in the morning.
- Some of her art is used for licensing, and in that case, she retains the rights to the artwork. Other jobs might be custom work that is unique to a client. She also says the licensing contracts are fairly straight forward, so she doesn’t feel it’s necessary to deal with a licensing agent.
- Virginia makes her own prints because she’s found that it’s cheaper to invest in your own printer than it is to use an outside printer. She uses an Epson Stylus Photo R3000.
- If you are offering prints, it’s a good idea to offer them in a size that will fit a standard frame so that your customer won’t have to cut the print.