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Alumni success ‘spotlight’ interview with Emma Allsup


We are so proud of our Make Art That Sells Alumni, that we are pleased to continue a series of spotlight interviews showcasing their successes and artwork. We also ask them to share how the MATS courses have helped them learn and grow. You can see more Alumni Success stories here


profile-pic-emma-allsupToday, we have an interview with Emma Allsup from emmajayne-designs. Emma has taken MATS A and Bootcamp.

Tell us a little about how you got started in art and design.

Since I was a young girl, I’ve always loved painting and drawing. I remember whenever there was any opportunity to add drawings to my school work, I’d be in my element. I used to produce full-page illustrated diagrams in my science books! My love for art and design simply grew from there on.

Lilla Always says “People buy your joy”. What brings you joy?

Hmmm… this is tricky one, because I enjoy seeing amazing art which inspires me to create my own designs. I get huge satisfaction from the entire design process, from initial research and drawings, through to developing my ideas to a final design. Of all of these, the aspect of my work which brings me the most joy is when I play around with colour combinations, techniques, design layouts and generally having fun with it all.


Which is your favourite market(s) to design for and why!

My favourite markets to design for would have to be fashion and gift-wrap. I love producing patterns, which I enjoy visualizing on fashion garments and wrapped presents. With fashion, anything goes, and I love that, because it means that I get to exercise my versatility and imagination.

I also enjoy creating standalone illustrations for gifts, because of the variety of the facets which make up a gift, from the gift itself, to the packaging. Packaging layouts can be wildly different from product to product, and that variation keeps everything interesting, and provides a wonderful challenge.

What are you working on currently?

At present, I am working on Christmas gift wrap for children and babies. They’re so much fun to produce and I’m really enjoying coming up with cute characters. I don’t have many designs for that age-group in my portfolio and I will be adding more in the coming months.

I’ve also recently produced a range of bird illustrations and logo for one of the UK’s best known zoos. My next project will be to create different bird poses for an animation, and I am really excited about that!


What are some of the key things you have learnt from the MATS experience?

One of the key things I’ve learned from the course is to just relax and have fun! It’s surprising how easy your mind works when you’re enjoying yourself and are totally engrossed in what you’re doing. I’ve learned to open my mind more, and to let my creativity take the lead. I have learned that I love seeing variety in my work, and also that I prefer working in mixed media.

I’ve learnt that when a design is finished, that presentation is also a key point. People will love your designs but it adds an extra perspective to see your design in context. I only realized the importance of this when I was completing briefs in Bootcamp.

How have the classes helped your artwork evolve/ grow?

I have been trying out a number of techniques which were very new to me. I have also pushed myself and really focused on the end result. At the forefront of my mind I have made sure that when designing, my work is clear, has a commercial edge and looks fun.


Any aha moments during MATS you would like to share?

As mentioned previously, I realized that I love to see variety in my work. 
I was actually rather surprised how many people liked my work, as I was afraid that it might be a bit too ‘niche’.

What are your key successes since taking a MATS class?

I now have a design role in a busy, commercial studio and have had a few interesting jobs through freelancing. I won an international scarf design competition too, for which I submitted a design for a ‘Summer’ themed silk scarf. I’ve also been successful in selling my designs on different products on Society6. Overall, these are four big successes and I can say that it’s all happened as a result of taking the MATS courses.

How would you describe taking a MATS class to a fellow artist looking to develop their art?

When starting any brief, it’s sometimes difficult knowing where and how to start. In a Lilla Rogers MATS class, you begin with a ‘mini’ exercise. This is a deliberately short exercise, as a warm up and so as to not overwhelm you. I find this a very useful exercise, because the warm-up gets your creative juices going! In fact, I have found it so useful, that I have actually started using that method for my own projects. Next, you are then given an assignment which you can take in any direction you so wish. You have the freedom to develop your mini and any other ideas you have. There’s a Facebook group, where you can get support and share your ideas. People in your class are very friendly and there’s always someone to help you, if you need it. Besides the other students, Lilla gives you handouts about the market you’re designing for. There’s such a positive and creative vibe within the class. Lilla encourages you do be original and do what makes you shine.


What is your dream gig for your artwork?

I’d absolutely love to see my work on different products, being sold in high end department stores, plus, I know a lot designers go to Surtex and this is definitely something I’d like to take part in, in the near future. With a lot of hard work and dedication, I’d also love to produce my own patterns for garments, possibly designing some of the clothing too. I also have another dream gig, which sees me creating my own stationery company. Stationery design is another of my all-time favourite things to do.

See more work here: Website | Facebook | Instagram


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Graduates of our courses have gone on to win work from clients such as Hallmark, Robert Kaufman Fabrics, Oopsy Daisy, Uppercase Magazine, West Elm, Midwest CBK, and more. It is industry learning that works in the real world. Find out more HERE and start today!


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