Cash for characters

Character licensing is a huge worldwide business. In 1999 retail sales from entertainment and licensing were worth an astonishing £40 billion. The bulk of that was produced by mainstream film and TV tie-ins, with familiar characters such as Winnie the Pooh and Paddington - known as 'classics' - filling out some of the remainder. But that doesn't mean there are no gaps in the market, or that you have to aim for the big time to have a hope of a decent income.

Customised characters
The first question is: what is a character? There are two approaches you can take. The first is to sell characters as custom illustrations, on a bespoke basis. Andy Griffiths of Zen Grenade explains how this works: "People get in touch and send me a brief. Then I give them a quote. I start with a pencil rough and then when that's agreed I do the full version."

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