We are so proud of our Make Art That Sells Alumni, and we are pleased to feature a series of spotlight interviews showcasing their successes and artwork. We’ve asked 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 Vicky Woodgate who has taken Bootcamp, MATS A, MATS B and MATS Creating Collections for home Decor.
Tell us a little about how you got started in art and design
I have always wanted to be an artist from as far back as l can remember, so as soon as l could l sped off to art school studying at Chelsea School of Art in London. I finished my degree in Illustration and Graphic Design and like most students went and found myself on round the world back-packing trips. While away l got opportunities to paint murals – many in Australia, l got work as an illustrator for various pop magazines, and T-shirt companies – Australia was good to me.
Once returning to London l “fell” into working in the tv, theme-park and theatre world, painting huge backdrops, sets and rides, for wonderful clients like Universal, Warner Brothers, Tussards, The Globe and the BBC. After 10 years, much travelling and painting up ladders l missed illustration, l packed up and taught myself Illustrator and photoshop and reinvented myself as a digital freelance illustrator. It was hard, l managed to get an agent and l embarked over the next 10 years on editorial, educational and advertising work, it paid the bills but after a while l felt something was missing… hello MATS
Lilla always says “People buy your joy.” What brings you joy?’
Wildlife! The great outdoors –animals, birds, worms.. you name it.
Which is your favorite market(s) to design for and why?
I am new to children’s publishing and find it fascinating! Lets see how this goes for a while.
What are you working on currently?
An author-illustrated book about birds from around the world – called A World of Birds, with a journalistic- vintage diary feel with maps, facts and drawings- based on my merchandising line.
What are some of the key things you have learnt from the MATS experience?
Don’t be afraid to try something new, get back to drawing, really do follow your heart when it comes to content and the direction you want to go in.
How have the classes helped your artwork evolve /grow?
It gave me the confidence to try something new, get out of my comfort zone, get back to drawing.
Any aha moments during MATS you would like to share?
I love the philosophy of MATS and what Lilla and the team bring – people really do respond to your passion/joy. This gave me the incentive to just go for it and create a merchandising line after taking HOME DÉCOR. Off the back of that experience l put in a proposal to write and illustrate a book about my passion – wildlife to a publisher I admired.
What are your key successes since taking a MATS class?
Creating a merchandising line based on British wildlife (my joy) and getting a 3 book publishing deal! Yay! Based on wildlife, tick two for joy.
How would you describe taking a MATS class to a fellow artist looking to develop their art?
Whether you are a beginner or have been in the creative industry for years, that is of no matter, the most important thing is to enjoy what you create, it does not have to be polished, it could just be a spark for something you will revisit later, that is what l took from it, don’t put pressure on yourself and feel you need to create a certain look. Be yourself, also take advice and learn from the teachings and those around you, its such a welcoming supportive community, understand and get used to the deadlines if you are new to this industry, but don’t punish yourself if you fail to finish on time, do it again, and you will get it. It takes practise and before you know it, it will be second nature. Take out of the courses what YOU need, then go out and go for it! But mostly – ENJOY IT!
What is your dream gig for your artwork?
I’ve got it! My first author illustrated book called Urban Jungle just came out, a huge city map book, showing all the wildlife found in our global cities, facts and stories and how we can better understand those creatures living right beside us! I am currently working on a 2nd book followed by the Urban Jungle sequel.
ABOUT THE BOOK : URBAN JUNGLE
I always thought wouldn’t it be nice to write and illustrate my own book. So I decided to take time out and come up with a few concepts and create a proposal to send to publishers. I had no expectations, l was hopeful but knowing the huge amount of competition out there I was under no illusion that l would ‘land’ a deal. I had 3 ideas and went with my most “passion” subject “Wildlife” with the invaluable help of my great friend Zoe Tucker (who also teaches MATS Illustrating Children’s Books) – she steered me in a few important directions with my proposal. l spent two months coming up with research, look, layout and cover letter. Luckily my chosen publisher also loved the idea and we agreed a deal within a week of submission. Call it luck –timing- or just a good idea? Perhaps a combination of all three and a sprinkle of creative happy dust.