Business Practices for Artists for Reproduction  & Copyrights   

Pelican Fine Art Print - ©2014 Mlighthipe

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you to……..all of you who visited my blog for the last post about my Pelican Painting. I am so happy that you enthusiastically responded to the process on how I did this painting. I posted  on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. One of the questions I got was this:

I understand why you might use Photoshop to “stitch together the painting and “clean it up”, but was this just for your own files and to make prints? Did the client receive the original or a digital version?

As I started to answer, I realized this would probably make a useful blog post….. so here goes:

The client almost always gets the original painting! In this case, yes…. he got the original. Each painting is negotiated so that both parties are clear about the expectations and who gets what. I have had experiences in the past when I did not follow this protocol and it is something I have learned the hard way! Always be clear, who gets what and put it in a contract and have both parties sign it! I try to almost always maintain the copyright to my work. My reasoning for this is, maintaining the copyright I have the right to reproduce it or sell the rights to reproduce it, and the owner of the painting does not.  If I sell all rights to the purchaser the price of the art goes up substantially because I will no longer be able to create income from the piece and the new owner will! By making a digital record of it I am able to sell the reproduction rights for a limited usage to multiple clients. By maintaining the copyright I have the possibilities of creating income in the following ways:

  1. There are 3 ways that I can use the image to sell reproductions.
    1.  Creating prints myself on my Epson Printer for sale. (Visit my Etsy Shop!)
    2. Licensing the rights to a Reproduction company to produce gift items as well as fine art prints….This option is endless!
    3. Uploading the image and selling it through an Online Printing Company like Fine Art America or Zazzle.
  2. There are several ways that this image can also be used to create income.
    1. One time usage in magazines, newspaper articles, ads etc…..
    2. Inclusion in a Field Guide or identification signage.
    3. Used in part or in full in the creation of a logo for a client…. I have done this with several clients with a few of my paintings and they were thrilled!
    4. Use the image to enter shows, exhibitions, portfolios for employment.
    5. Use it in advertising my art for classes, workshops and more commission work…. and blog posts!

I just wanted to give you some of the opportunities you have as an artist to further create income from your art after the painting is gone from your studio. I hope that this inspires you to capture your work through digital scans, (If you don’t know how, My ebook- Scan YOUR Art might be useful.) even if it is just for keeping a record of your work.

Do you have other ideas and ways that an artist can create income from their art? Please leave a comment and don’t forget to share this with a friend!

This painting is currently available as an archival print in 3 sizes in my Etsy Shop.