Monday, January 14, 2013

Atlanta Gift Show

This Friday I took a trip to The Atlanta Gift Show, it was incredible. This is where the buyers go from little shops to huge stores go to purchase items for their stores. 3 huge buildings with 18 floors on each. The photo above is from one of the hallways.
I went because I really want to illustrate greeting cards, puzzles calendars etc. but having done childrens books all these years I wasn't sure how to break into this business.
My friend Rose Mary Berlin has been selling her art in this field for years, she asked me if I wanted to join her at the Atlanta Show this year, I am glad I did.
I spent the first 4 hours wandering around by myself, totally confused, and then I met up with Rose. After spending time seeing her in action, I realized companys really want to meet artists, as long as they are not busy with customers.
We found out from one puzzle company they are looking to start a childrens line, we would not have known that had we just looked at their booth and not spoken with the owner.
As the day went on I got over my insecurity and started to value what I have to offer as an illustrator. The whole building was filled with everything from cards to statues, all created based on illustrations. I ended up feeling excited to be a part of it.
Friday night we met up with some illustrators that Rose knew, I recognized alot of names and was really thrilled to be able to talk with illustrators that know this field, they were so willing to share all kinds of ideas. One of the things that really stuck with me was to design in groups of 4's.  Sounds simple but seeing the show the next day, I can see why that works and now my mind is having so much fun thinking like that.
I also got to meet Jim Shore, he was signing his flags , he was so charming and represents his work so well. The company that makes his flags as well as many other artists is Carson Home Accents
On Saturday we started the day out at Legacy Cards, They had breakfast for their artists and customers. I am a big fan of their products and have purchased their cards and calendars for years. Rose introduced me to one of the owner and really learned alot about what they are looking for, such a rare opportunity. Below is a picture of one of the owners Cathleen Llanso with some of their artists. 

We also got freebies, a Lang calendar signed by Jane Shasky. A little but nicely done mini santa by Pipka, Cards by Show Offs Art, and some coasters by Magnet Works.
So to wrap up my weekend at the show it was well worth it for an artist. I met alot of very nice people, I learned alot from some really wonderful artists. And spent the way home sketching.


  1. How exciting! I've tried nibbling around the edges of licensing, but never seem to believe it's for me. But then everyone always says 'Oh, you'd be great for licensing'.

    I still never have been able to work up the confidence and commitment to really devote the time and considerable money into it.

    1. I got so much more focused when I was able to be there and watch Rose, and hear what she and her friend, also an illustrator were thinking. Her friend Laura Freeman just got an agent and she was told to go to places and look at certain art, listening to them was worth going alone.
      If you ever find yourself with a chance in your area to go to a trade show with an illustrator that knows licensing, it would be worth your while.
      I am very glad I did.

  2. I'm so glad you came- and started to learn the possibilities, Sue!
    It was a lot of fun- and exhausting- but a great way to see what manufacturers are looking for.

  3. Sounds like you had a great experience, Sue! Definitely worth the trip.