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Alumni success ‘spotlight’ interview with Alexandra Thompson

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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

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Today, we have an interview with Alexandra Thompson, who has taken Bootcamp and Illustrating Children’s Books.

Make Art That Sells Alumni success 'spotlight' interview with Alexandra Thompson

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

Art has always been a huge part of my life. I’ve been drawing since I can remember and my family always encouraged me to pursue the arts. When I was small I used to get up early before anyone was awake and pop in Disney VHS movies. I would hit pause and draw the characters from the shaky screen. I’d always dreamed of creating picture books, but I ended up getting my BFA in fashion design. After many different non fashion and art related jobs, I ended up in children’s apparel design. This is where I discovered that there was actually a job where people drew pictures to put on kid’s clothing! Now I work as a freelance print and pattern designer while working on my picture book illustrations on the side.

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

Sitting in my studio with all of my art supplies out, good tunes playing, sketching away. My best work comes out when I give myself time to explore and experiment without constantly judging my work as I go.

Gigantic Turnip athompson Make Art That Sells Alumni success 'spotlight' interview with Alexandra Thompson

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

Children’s Market – whether that be apparel or books. I love creating cute, whimsical, and humorous characters and discovering their stories as they develop on the page.

What are you working on currently?

I am currently working on two picture book dummies and revisions to my picture book portfolio. I received the 2017 SCBWI LA Mentorship award for my portfolio in July which gave me the opportunity to have my work reviewed by 6 industry professionals. I received such invaluable feedback and I’ve been busy applying their advice to new and old pieces.

Make Art That Sells Alumni success 'spotlight' interview with Alexandra Thompson

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

MAKE MORE ART. Seriously so simple, but I always had this barrier of needing everything I made to be perfect..and then I wouldn’t make anything at all! Now I’m better about getting myself to sketch at least a little everyday. Don’t be afraid to experiment. You learn a little something from every piece of art you make, even if you feel like it’s a total flop.

How have the classes helped your artwork evolve /grow?

I took the ICB1 class and just from the consistency of working on my art everyday I really started to see more of my own style emerge and a great improvement in my drawings overall. It’s also such an inspiration to be surrounded in class by so many other amazing artists. It really pushes you to grow and challenge yourself.

papabear athompson Make Art That Sells Alumni success 'spotlight' interview with Alexandra Thompson

Any aha moments during MATS you would like to share?

See above :) Make more art!

What are your key successes since taking a MATS class?

After taking ICB1, I joined SCBWI. I then scraped together the courage (with the gentle prodding of my husband) to go to my first SCBWI conference in July. I submitted my portfolio to the portfolio showcase (which was terrifying!), and ended up receiving the mentorship award! It was such validation that I was on the right path.

dragon athompson Make Art That Sells Alumni success 'spotlight' interview with Alexandra Thompson

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

It is INTENSE! You will work your butt off, but you will be so glad that you did. If you dedicate the time each day to work on your art you will absolutely see growth in your work. You also get amazing industry information and are surrounded by a wonderful community of fellow creatives.

What is your dream gig for your artwork?

My dream is to illustrate children’s picture books. I feel like I’m finally on the right path to work towards that goal!

See more work here: Website | Instagram | Facebook

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Do you dream of illustrating a children’s book? Would you love to create a magical world with characters that you’ve designed? Do you love the magic of children’s books and feel that you have something to offer? Then this course is for you.

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