Jenna Rainey


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I’m Jenna Rainey. 

I'm an artist, self-taught designer, and multi-faceted creative entrepreneur who is hell-bent on teaching everyone how to find their inner creative voice.



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A highly creative nerd with a unique breed of humor and the proud earner of a self-bestowed award for being the world’s most curious and driven human.

Hey I'm Jenna!

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It’s like Netflix-binging Bob Ross videos, but with a dose of dry + quirky humor and fewer happy little tree references. 

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art licensing of watercolor flowers

What You Need to Do BEFORE Art Licensing



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Ready to stop trading your time for money? Then there is a good chance you’ve thought about art licensing before. If you’re new around here, let me just say I’m a huge fan of licensing or really anything that helps artists like us make more passive income, so you’re in good company. With that said, as someone who has been working with brands for several years now, there is a LOT more that goes into it than I originally realized back when I was first getting started, so if this is something you want to pursue, here are 5 things you need to do before art licensing in 2024. 

While we are going to cover the first steps today, if art licensing is something you’re considering, I will walk you through the exact systems for licensing your work to other companies in my signature course: Brand Plus Brand. If you want to build brand recognition and make more passive income, I highly recommend jumping in and saving yourself the headaches of trying to learn through the school of Google (there is so much nobody is talking about!).

1. Learn how to copyright your art 

Learning to copyright your art and protect your work is going to be one of the first things you need to do before art licensing. It’s actually not as hard as it sounds, and I walk you through deciding exactly what’s “worth” copyrighting in this post here (just keep in mind I’m only sharing my own experience, not legal advice).

2. Trademark your brand

I’m not the kind of creative entrepreneur that will tell you that the legal stuff doesn’t really matter (at least at this point of my career… after many lessons learned). I know this stuff isn’t the most exciting, but if you’re looking to grow your income through art licensing, having a legally-protected brand is going to become even more important. In this post about starting a creative business, I talk about the importance of trademarking your brand as one of the FIRST steps to really starting a business, so if you haven’t already done it, it’s definitely something you need to do before art licensing.

3. Build your audience

In Brand Plus Brand, I go into detail on what it takes to create marketable art and a social media presence that helps you stand out so that you can start attracting DREAM brand collaborations, because whether we like it or not, brands ARE looking for artists with a following in 2024. Having your own built-in audience is going to be one of the key things you need to have before art licensing, especially if you want to command those larger rates (which you DO!).

4. Have a system for organizing your portfolio

Can you tell I’m not afraid to tell you what it really takes to grow a business nowadays? You won’t find a lot of glamorous “lean in and trust your intuition while sipping margaritas at the pool” kind of advice in these parts (although if I thought only doing that worked, I’d be all in). The next thing that you NEED to have before art licensing is a solid system for organizing your portfolio. I recommend using something cloud based like Dropbox or Google drive, and back up your work often. PLEASE don’t save systems and organization for “one day when you’re busier” because trust me, it goes FAST (and it’s hard to backtrack and expensive to lose things).

5. Develop your own unique style

Finally! The stuff you came for right? It’s time to talk about your ART. The truth is, when it comes to standing out in a crowded market you need to make sure that your work resonates on a deeper level with your audience and potential licensing partners. Your artistic style is your signature, your brand's soul—it's what makes your creations unmistakably you. Consider this your permission slip to take the time to explore, experiment, and refine your art. Establishing a distinct style not only gives you a solid foundation for art licensing but also builds a more authentic connection with your audience. And in a world where authenticity is king, that's everything.

Let me also just say this, your style is never “done.” Hopefully you’re always growing and evolving and your work reflects that! So if you read this and felt a lot of pressure, take a breath. It’s not as hard as it sounds.

Need a little guidance extra here? This step is a big one. Watch this video on why you haven't found your artistic style yet (and what to do about it!). OR – take this quiz to discover your BIGGEST creative block right now!

6. Learn about the industry before committing to anything

If you’re like me (and if you’re reading this far, I think that you are), you like to jump right into things. I’m speaking from experience here! That said, when I look back at my art licensing journey, one of the things I wish I had done before was just understand the industry more. I know that’s broad but I don’t think I knew as much as I thought I did about things like royalty rates, how to organize libraries, and even having a grasp on what is actually attractive to manufacturers.

In that way, learning to license my art was such a humbling experience and I wish there was more education out there in the online space. That’s part of WHY I created Brand Plus Brand with a licensing agent. This industry is MASSIVE and there is still so much potential out there (despite having a ton of competition).

7. Set goals for yourself before art licensing

Lastly, I’m a big fan of setting art goals (and business goals) for yourself. If you’ve made the decision to work towards getting art licensing deals, that’s a huge deal! I’m so excited for you and would love to support you however I can. My biggest piece of advice would just be to learn a little bit more (like you’re doing now) and set some goals for yourself. I always find that having clear goals helps me see the next step I need to take to get myself there.

Learn Exactly How to License Your Artwork in Brand Plus Brand

I hope it goes without saying that I would love to see you inside Brand Plus Brand if you’re looking to learn my exact step-by-step framework to earning passive income as an artist through art licensing. It’s one of my favorite programs I’ve ever created and I only WISH something like it had been around before I started art licensing. Learn more here!

by Jenna Rainey 

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