Q&A Friday with Lilla: On presentation + promotion

Lilla loves questions, and she was asked a great deal of them in Make Art That Sells, so we thought we’d share a few with you. Over the next few Fridays we will be posting a few real questions from students, along with Lilla’s responses. We hope these are helpful as you develop your own work. This week we are focusing on Presentation + Promotion.


Q) When a client asks for layered files in Photoshop, what do they expect the different layers to be, and how many layers would they expect?

A) It really varies. I would work in such a way so that you’re not going crazy making layers to the point where it interferes with your creative process. I would say typically 5 – 20 layers, and even more. You’ll find that layers are liberating as you have great freedom to move things around, resize things, etc.


Q) If you don’t work in a vector style, what do you do to add layers to your work?

A: Clients more and more do like art in layers, but I have some artists that are painters and the work is done on canvas, and there are no layers. In some cases that held them back and in some cases the work is so great that it made no difference and they get lots of jobs such as home décor products, greeting cards, and more.

Over time, you’ll get a sense of WHAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU, YOUR STYLE, AND YOUR CLIENTS. Great art comes first. Wall Décor in Make Art That Sells Part A is great for very painterly work (and is low tech!)


Q: What exactly is a “collection”?

A: A collection is a very general term that means a grouping of images that relate to each other by theme, style and medium. When you work with a company, they may make the collection from your one jpg. That’s why you load it full of goodness. Sometimes they will ask for more related pieces. It really varies. To begin with you only need to show jpgs of your work so that you get in the door. You don’t know what will hit so rather than devote too much time to a batch of related pieces, work on a broad number of pieces, unless you’re excited about doing a whole similar grouping. There are no hard and fast rules! If you are loving watercolor florals, you might do a whole bunch of pieces that are all variations of dahlias, for example, or a whole bunch of pieces of camping items. Then, these can be considered “collections”.

Q) If you make art that is too large to scan (24″ x 24″ and bigger) that needs a professional photo in order to show digitally for licensing or can be sold as original wall art, does putting my name, date and the copyright symbol on the back allow me to sell the original to an individual and still sell digital images for licensing on products.

A) When you sell original art, typically you are not also selling the reproduction rights to the artwork. When I sold paintings, I did provide that information to the buyer of the art. When our big ad agency and corporate clients buy the original art from a commission job (when the artist works traditionally which is increasingly rare), we note in our Job Confirmation something like this: “No rights are transferred. The original art is for display only. Additional rights are available at an additional fee.”


Q) When it comes to self-promotion, if you sending out a monthly or bimonthly newsletter to an email list would you recommend simply showing/sharing all the new work that was created in that month, even if it includes a mix that crosses several markets?

A) Great question. I assume that you have a variety of clients on your list, so a variety of work is fine. It’s also fun to show your studio, or some cool craft project you’re doing. Anything that is visually exciting and gives a feel for what you’re up to. Since we have a huge variety of people on our large mailing list, we show a mix of artists and styles. Sometimes I like to do a theme, sometimes I focus on one of my artists, sometimes it’s about talking up our next show, or MATS, etc. So it’s a mix.

Short answer: Show your best work and only your best work. Several markets are fine because there is a great deal of overlap. Children’s book art might make great wall art, or children’s melamine plates. One thing leads to the next, as my mother always says.


Q: What are the most important tools to use on the internet to let others see your art? I hear a lot about FB, blogs, websites, Pinterest, Flickr, Twitter, Linked In, etc but there is only so much time in the day.

A) Right! There is only so much time in the day, and I always say the best promotion is great art. All the promoting in the world will not sell poor work, so most people pick a few of these and stick with that and focus on creating great art. Typically, people have a website as their home base, and then draw traffic to it using Facebook or Twitter. Blogs are fun to do, and are a way to keep interest and freshness going. Pinterest is a great vehicle. Lots of interest there. I’ve learned about several artists through Pinterest. LinkedIn is less used in our field. I rarely go there, although there are some good groups where people exchange information. Don’t overextend. Look at what some of your favorite artists do and see how they do it, and remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.


If you want the chance to ask Lilla your own burning questions, sign up for Make Art That Sells (starting online on October 7). This is an industry first – a real opportunity to learn how to make great art that sells in the top ten hottest markets. Don’t miss it!

We’ll be back next week with ‘Q&A Friday with Lilla: On style’



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This is a rare, incredible opportunity to tap into three decades’ of experience from someone at the forefront of the art licensing industry. Lilla Rogers Studio has sold art for products worth over $100 million. Lilla knows what is hot, what is on the horizon and where your work fits in. Find out more here!


  • Thanks Lilla – good questions and helpful answers.

    by Pat
    September 20, 2013
  • Thanks!

    September 20, 2013

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