How to make use of your intellectual property might not be something that you have thought about. I had the great pleasure of taking to Johanna Basford who invented the adult colouring book about this. She shared her story about licensing her illustration work to make calendars and other products.
If you missed out on the first podcast that I recorded with Johanna, please do check it out. She shared so much good stuff in it. You can catch up on it here: CLICK
But let’s get back to the IP (Intellectual property). You don’t have to be an illustrator to be thinking about your IP, there are many other ways you can make use of it as well. You can read more about how you go about protecting it here: READ In the podcast Johanna chats about the pros and cons that she faced when she was considering licensing her own work, and what she did about it.
Why you would licence your intellectual property
You might be someone who works in traditional arts like illustration or fine art and have been been told many times that your work would love great on other objects. I buy countless mugs that are covered in piece of art work. I know that they have been licensed, rather than made by the artist.
Licensing your work stops you from having to do everything yourself. Instead of turning yourself into a production line, you can let someone else do the work for you. Johanna did highlight that you had to be careful that the quality was there as well.
Making use of your intellectual property by licensing your work is a great way to build in a second income as well. You can sell products to customers who love your work, but can’t afford the original.
I want to pin a word of warning here: Sometimes you can over license your work. Think of people like Orla Kiely whose brands ended up everywhere, which in turn made the original high value clothes less desirable. Be clear about why you want to license your work. Think about your customers (the ones that buy the originals or commission you) and how they would feel about seeing your work everywhere.
Building a brand
Licensing can be a great way to build your brand and something that Johanna has done extremely well. She has stuck to what she knows her audience will love and created mugs, cards and calendars to compliment her books.
In her latest book How to draw Inky Wonderlands Johanna has done something unique for an illustrator. She is sharing all her secrets! I love the generous spirit of doing this. Her mission in business has been to encourage others to pick up a pen and draw. What better way to do it than to show how she does it! Genius!
It is worth looking at how you can build generosity into your own work. We are always so fearful of people copying, or taking from us, when in fact many ideas are not unique. If we shared more of Johanna’s spirit we might get more in return.
You can find out more about Johanna and sign up for her Inky emails which are full of inspiration on her website. https://www.johannabasford.com
These other articles might help you find your own audience too.
Building a career as an illustrator