Invest in your creative career today with our professional development courses

Join the conversation!

Alumni success ‘spotlight’ interview with Art Collective: Pencil Parade


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

Today, we have an interview with an art collective called ‘Pencil Parade Art Collective‘ a group of Make Art That Sells students! {Betsy Siber, Katherine Lenius, Brooke Glaser, and Megan Dunagan} They have taken MATS A & B (where we all met!), Creating Collections for Home Decor and also participated in Bootcamp and Global Talent Search (GTS).



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

All four of us in Pencil Parade have different backgrounds such as photography, web design, and even music! But each of us followed a new path after discovering online courses in art licensing and illustration, such as MATS, and other online tutorials. MATS helped us realize the full potential that a career in illustration could be.

Pencil Parade started as we were finishing up MATS and we all realized we needed the continued support of a group of friends who would understand the art we were trying to do and the goals we are reaching for.

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

Katie says that she “creates joyful art for the everyday,” and we all agree! It’s right our own backyards: our gardens, on a walk down local streets. Just being in nature, watching your kids, and seeing the textures – and COLORS! We absolutely love finding new color combinations!

Design by Megan Dunagan

Which are your favorite market(s) to design for and why?

Brooke and Betsy adore the making art for children; whether it be for apparel, decor, or gifts: characters and bold color are where they shine. Katie and Megan find the most joy in creating for bolt fabric, home decor, and stationery. Creating texture and beauty for the place you live (and people you love!) is at the top of their list.

What are you working on currently?

Blue Print preparations! We are very much absorbed in getting ready for the show on May 21st-23rd (show 2). All of us are creating artwork in between printing tear sheets, banner making, and postcard-sending.

Design by Betsy Siber

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

MATS really helped us learn to keep the market and client we’re designing for in mind. Creating beautiful art is one thing, but thinking beyond that to how it can be used adds another layer. In addition, it helped us explore the way we use color, composition, and lettering.

How have the classes helped your artwork evolve /grow?

MATS helped us look more critically at our work and see where it might fit in different markets. It also pushed our styles to dig deeper into what makes our individual art unique. We’ve remained a part of the MATS artist community which is incredibly rewarding, too – there are so many students who are incredibly knowledgeable in so many areas that can help your art business. Remember, some artists come from accounting, marketing, or even law backgrounds – it can be so important to stay involved and get all the help you can.

Design by Brooke Glaser

Any aha moments during MATS you would like to share?

We enjoyed how Lilla always says to draw lots of motifs/icons to start with – it makes the entire design process much more fun and helped develop our styles. Also, there were so many little details of things to pay attention to when designing for a specific market. These were the most valuable educational moments.

What are your key successes since taking a MATS class?

Megan says: “The MATS segment on Editorial work was a section I was unsure of at first, but it ended up being my favorite ‘subject’! I realized that I adore working on editorial and have even illustrated artwork for an entire article in a Southern California magazine.” Since MATS, we’ve each earned licensing/purchase contracts, worked on commissions, and we’re exhibiting at our first trade show to bring our work to more clients.

Design by Katherine Lenius

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

We would say it’s a big commitment: follow the setup guidelines, carve out the time to work on the assignments every single week and give it the attention you would if you were in a college classroom. There is so much to learn, so many connections to make, be sure to take FULL advantage of all the information you get and the classmates you meet. Don’t get discouraged by anyone else’s expertise – there’s room for everyone in art and you don’t know how long they’ve been doing it. Take a bunch of notes and make friends with your favorite artists. It’s SO worth it in the end!

What are your dream gigs for your artwork?

For Katie, Betsy, and Megan: it’s our own exclusive fabric deal with a textile company (and Betsy can cross that off her list, now!). For Brooke, she’d love to work on a special paper kit for Compendium or Chronicle Books. They both produce such inspiring and fun work. Once we all achieve those goals, home decor, editorial freelancing, and children’s books are next!

See more work here: Website | Instagram


MATS banner-title

Would you like to experience the Make Art That Sells classes yourself? Browse our live and self-paced classes here

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!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *