Everyday Illumination

Award-winning graphic designer Robin Pickens has teamed up with Jewel Branding & Licensing and will be showcasing new designs at the Licensing International Expo.

Pickens' colorful designs combine everyday subject matter with modern and sophisticated designs that have wide consumer appeal. "My strength is working in variety of styles, from modern to illustrative to traditional with a twist," she says. "My collections feature icons, repeats and borders, so my work can easily be applied to many product categories."

The graphic artist said her work falls into four general categories. Graphic Modern are clean, modern designs; Linear Expressions are modern with plenty of color; Whimsical has a looser, sketchy style; and Tradition with a Twist are graphic-oriented designs with traditional themes.

Her portfolio includes florals, food and wine, gardening, landscapes, birds, abstracts, angels, yoga, nature, friendship, as well as occasion-specific lines for birthdays, weddings, Christmas, Halloween and Easter.

Before striking out on her own, Pickens worked on many high-profile and award-winning TV marketing campaigns and created graphics packages for a wide range of television productions, including the Ellen, Sharon Osborne and Rosie O'Donnell shows. She has worked for CBS, ABC and FOX and was an executive in charge of design and graphics for Time Warner's Telepictures Productions division and continues to design show looks for E! Entertainment and Style Networks. Most recently, she did the redesign for E!'s "Fashion Police" and is working on promotional blocks for Style.

She credits her many years in television with sharpening her skills as a graphic artist. "My years in broadcast design has strengthened my ability to communicate with high-impact graphics and stand out in the marketplace through my strong color usage and unique images," she says.

"My drawing is loosening up," says Pickens. "Sometimes my work will be tight and modern, and sometimes I work in a looser style. When I do traditional items, such as a rooster, I'll do it with paisley on the tail feathers."

Most recently, Pickens created a collection of eight inspirational words highly embellished with drawing. "I haven't shown those yet, so I'm excited to bring them to the Licensing Expo," she says.

Another new collection, which she debuted at the Craft and Hobby Show, is a group of birds, including chickadees, cardinals and bluejays.

Pickens has already licensed her designs to product lines from Papyrus, Design Design, Paper Products Design, Creative Converting and Lindy Bowman Co. New for 2009 is a "charming petite" giftbook from Peter Pauper Press of friendship quotes featuring flower imagery. The project was "very uplifting and fun to work on," says Pickens.

The designer also has launched a fabric line with Robert Kaufman Fabrics, which will ship in July. The line, Deco Park, combines modern nature themes with vibrant colors and will be available through specialty quilt fabric shops. "Kaufman is a fantastic company to work with. I'd like to spend more time with quilting because it's like drawing with fabric," says Pickens.

Pickens is excited about the opportunities working with Jewel Branding & Licensing will bring her to further promote and establish her brand. "I am thrilled to be working with Julie Newman," she says. "I've had some nice product launches, and I am ready for a dynamic and knowledgeable person to build on the momentum and help me grow my brand further."

"Julie is great to work with because she adds perspective, and I really appreciate her overall vision," says Pickens. "I may be designing something for one category and she can see it has another application I may never have thought of."

Jewel Branding & Licensing president Julie Newman is equally excited by the potential she sees for this successful artist's work. "She has the ability to take traditional subject matter—from birds to trees to birthday cakes—and make them more modern," says Newman. "She's perfect for clients who want to be a bit more modern but still want traditional elements."

Jewel has just signed a licensing agreement with American Art Stamp for a line of 24 stamps and is expected to sign agreements with tabletop, greeting card and stationery manufacturers in the next few weeks.

Newman and Pickens would like to move into ceramics, tabletop, kitchen textiles, scrapbooking, social stationery and more greeting cards. "I love dishes and setting beautiful tables and entertaining," says Pickens. "I would love to do more tabletop."

Pickens is looking forward to attending the Licensing Expo for the first time. "It's an energetic show and I'm looking forward to attending. It's a really exciting time for the brand, and I think it's going to be a really good year."

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