Empowering Artists: Multiple Streams of income - Licensing

Surface Pattern Design is a great revenue stream for artists. M3gallery.com

If you're a professional artist selling one of a kind original works, you're trading hours for dollars. Is your 'hourly rate' sufficient to reach your financial goals?
If your answer is yes, additional streams of income may not interest you. You can stop reading now.

It's more common to have dry spells between art sales and prices that are never quite high enough to be a sustainable business.

I'm on a mission to help Artists sell more work!

Winds of change

For me it took a major direction change to see all of the possibilities around me. The season for my brick + mortar gallery was over, so I decided to go after a 'Bucket List' item...learning digital design.

I had two goals: to replace my outdated pen and paper design processes, and to create repeat patterns that were inspired by my mosaic work. 

After asking around, it was apparent that the program Adobe Illustrator (Ai) was the answer for both scalable design and pattern.

I was excited and on the path...I found an online A-Z style course on Ai taught by a techie who knows everything about the program. Let's just say that after nearly falling asleep during every lesson, I started to wonder if Adobe Illustrator was the right tool for me? 

the path to licensing

Enter....the shaft of light moment....I found Bonnie Christine...an extremely gifted, caring, creative pattern designer who teaches Adobe Illustrator especially for pattern designers. (I may be living in a bubble, but I had no idea that freelance Surface Pattern Design was even a career option for artists. Nor did I realize that simple doodles could become amazing repeat patterns.) So if you're thinking..."I can't draw"... My question is....can you doodle? Do you zentangle? Ok...then keep reading...

Within months of learning with Bonnie, I was already creating digital illustrations for clients. One of my projects was recently published in the 2018 print and digital versions of the High Country Wedding Guide as well as their Blog


Photos: Jordan Maunder, Styling: Love & Honey Weddings, Artwork: Vicki Hanson-Burkhart.

This project put my digital skills to the test, to meet deadlines and prepare my files for a number of processes: digital color printing on fine stationery, foil stamping, and screenprinting.... And yes, this custom work is still dollars for hours. I created a number of repeat patterns which I can't share with you quite yet... 

Suddenly the small box I had placed myself in as an artist was expanding in every direction. Don't get me wrong, I believe in niching, even micro-niching.  Your artistic voice is your micro-niche. Apply your unique style of art on anything...like Hunderwasser - architect and artist, Chaghall - painter, mosaicist and stained glass artist. Open the lid on your box! There is so much more!

Your Artistic Voice is your micro-niche.
— Vicki Hanson-Burkhart

License your designs

What exactly is licensing? It's like a lease. You get a royalty for the use of your digital art on goods for sale. You maintain the copyright...you decide what types of products you're interested in...from wallpaper to decorator fabric to quilting cottons to art prints to stationery, to home dec....  And one design could potentially be on all of the above, bringing in checks from every application. 

Learning Ai and the ins and outs of licensing your designs will open up a whole new world for you as an artist.

The fast-track to learning

My favorite teacher, Bonnie Christine is offering a new course called Surface Pattern Design Immersion for the serious artist who is ready to do this thing!

The course includes instruction on:

• Adobe Illustrator
• Creating Repeating Patterns
• Working in Collections
• Creating a Portfolio
• Choosing an Industry
• Making Contacts
• Finding your Signature Style
• Contracts, Licenses and Copyrights
• Industry Resources
• Building Confidence as a Designer
• Publishing your ‘Complete Package’
• Staying motivated & inspired

Enrollment is open February 19th - February 27th. It only opens once a year, so don’t miss out.


I'm brushing up my skills in pattern design, and moving toward licensing as a student of this course. I really can't say enough about Bonnie, her teaching style is perfect and her attention to detail is above and beyond your expectations. She is so very approachable and kind. I am a raving fan and am one of her 50,000 students from across the world who has seen success from her teaching. I'm also an affiliate for her course because it only makes sense as a business person to accept a commission on sales, I was going to promote her anyways. You'll thrive under her teaching. I'll see you inside!

If you like the idea of licensing and surface pattern design, but don't have the budget or time to commit to it in 2018, you can also learn on your own, and enroll in the Immersion course in 2019 when it's offered again. If slow and steady is your current interest, I'd recommend you start here

If have any questions, send me a note.