This month we sat down with Lili Chin, founder of Doggie Drawings. Read along to hear her story and see what advice she gives to up-and-coming creative businesses.
Q: What was your decision like when jumping from animation to doing Doggie Drawings full time?
I had been working in the 2D animation industry since the mid 1990’s and believe it or not, I had no desire to draw dogs until I adopted my dog Boogie! I remember at the time, I was freelancing as a character designer and working on an independent animated movie and when this work ended and more and more people were contacting me to draw their dogs, it made sense for me to start charging and to take dog art more seriously. I don’t only do dog portraits; I also create infographics for professional dog trainers & businesses, and sell and license my own designs.
Q: When and why did you start to seek out legal aid?
In 2013, I saw a pilot TV episode on Youtube that featured a UK “pet portrait artist”. All the canvas prints in “her studio” were of my images, downloaded from my facebook page, bedazzled with glittery bits, and signed with her name. This was my first experience of copyright infringement which forced me to seek out legal aid. I became more aware of copyright issues after that. I am still experiencing art theft all the time, and know that I am not alone. Dealing with large US retailers who steal and profit from my art (and deny it) is a big and stressful thing and not something I can handle on my own.
Q: What has having a lawyer on your side afforded you in your creative work?
I think it is essential for every creative person to have a lawyer on their side. Questions always come up because every type of job, contract and/or working relationship is different (and has its own issues) and I am really thankful that I can easily get in touch with Jonathan and ask questions. I would rather invest my time in creating art, than in knowing all the legal nitty gritties.
Q: What advice would you give to up and coming creative businesses?
I would advise all creative businesses to register your copyrights within 90 days of publishing any new art. Spend that money. It is worth it.