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April 2017 Bootcamp Gallery is now Live!

The second gallery from our 2017 Make Art That Sells: Assignment Bootcamp class is now live! You can view it here

I really want you to see the magnificent work that the students (of all levels) have created. The gallery features over 450 pieces of original art inspired by the April class assignment… to design a mindmap for the editorial market.

This was a very different, much more personal kind of assignment where the students used a journaling exercise and corresponding imagery from the mini-assignment to create a mindmap of their personal courage.

There was so much fabulous work submitted in response to this brief, and we love the ongoing supportive energy in the Bootcamp community. What a generous, talented group of artists they are!



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 and register HERE

I will conduct a LIVE REVIEW in our MATS A and MATS B classes in June. The assignments will be announced on Monday 1 May in the classrooms, so if you would like to get your art in front of me and also have a chance at its being reviewed, REGISTER HERE!

Sign up now! You’ll have access to a huge vault of minis, assignments, and previous review videos PLUS you’ll be the first to find out about the LIVE REVIEW assignment and all the details about how to take part. See all the cool stuff you get here. 

See you in class!



Alumni success ‘spotlight’ interview with Rima Tessman


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


RIMA TESSMAN PROFILE PICToday, we have an interview with Rima Tessman (Birch & Loon). Rima has taken MATS A and Assignment Bootcamp

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

You know how people sometimes speak of a single moment or experience that changed the course of their life? I had one of those! I was a pretty prolific artist in my youth, but since I didn’t think I could make a living through my art, I decided to pursue a “practical” career – I became a technical writer, just like Tina from Dilbert. Between working long hours and worrying that one of my manuals was eventually going to cause a factory explosion somewhere, I was quite miserable. So when my children were born and circumstances allowed me to spend time with them at home, I jumped at the chance. One summer, I stumbled upon a basic block printing lesson and somehow, over the course of one afternoon, my love for creating art was suddenly re-ignited. I know it’s a cliche, but I really did find my life’s passion that day. I took it upon myself to get as much of a formal art education as I could by taking a classes on and offline in a variety of techniques, and I’ve been creating art every day since.

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

First and foremost, making art! But also travel, antiquing, foraging for “art things” in the woods, and riding my bicycle with the abandon of a child.

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

So far I’ve been most taken with home decor and wall art. I like the idea of making art that is not only gorgeous to look at, but that can be handled and used every day. I’m a firm believer that being surrounded by beauty makes everyone happier and kinder.


What are you working on currently?

I have just started working on the last lesson in the MATS A class. But I’m always creating original art for my Etsy shop and patterns for Spoonflower. Last summer I had the opportunity to take a class at a chateau in France with renowned textile artist Mandy Patullo, which really inspired me to explore the use of textiles in my work.

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

That I really can adapt my style and medium for commercial markets (for example, the Wall Art piece I created for MATS was a textile collage that I scanned and tweaked in Photoshop) and that making art is supposed to be fun!

How have the classes helped your artwork evolve /grow?

I have experimented with mediums and techniques I may not have used otherwise, and I’ve learned how to make luscious pieces that can work in several different markets.


Any aha moments during MATS you would like to share?

Realizing that I can make bolt fabric patterns by taking a few well rendered pieces from other works I’ve made!

What are your key successes since taking a MATS class?

I’ve developed an ongoing relationship with a local art gallery who has begun regularly stocking my work.


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

It’s a total immersion experience with a “tribe” that “gets you” and is extremely supportive. The wealth of information provided – both in terms of techniques and commercial advice – is really staggering. I go back to reference the information vault for MATS all the time and I always find something new.

What is your dream gig for your artwork?

I would love to license my artwork for commercial markets.

See more work here: Website | Shop | Instagram | Facebook




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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!

Announcing Lilla Rogers newest artist, Mara Penny!

Last week, Lilla Rogers Studio announced some very exciting news! They’ve taken on Make Art That Sells alumna artist Mara Penny to be represented by the agency. This is truly a dream come true for Mara!

Mara took a TON of our courses multiple times and her work just kept getting better. She was a standout in the Make Art That Sells courses, often getting selected to be included in the assignment reviews.

We caught up with Mara and asked her a few questions:

Q. How many Make Art That Sells courses have you taken?
A. I’ve taken a lot of MATS courses! In fact, I joke I have an “MFA” in MATS.

Created in Home Decor Class

Q. Tell us a little about how you got started in art and design.
A. I’ve been creative my entire life, so I guess I got started the day I was born ;)

Q. Lilla always says “People buy your joy.” What brings you joy?’
A. The creative process itself brings me joy. When it’s going really well I get into a zone where time stops. It’s hard to explain but it’s exhilarating and addicting.

Q. What are some of the key things you have learned from the MATS experience?
A. Where to begin? Drawing lots of icons and shopping your own work was a revolution in my brain! Breaking briefs into bite sized chunks also really helps to keep you from getting overwhelmed. Not dumbing down your work was another big one and of course, people really do buy your joy!

Q. If you could name a nail polish, what would you name it?
A. Blue Satin Sashes

Q. How do you stay inspired?
A. I love color. I am always looking for weird flora and unusual color combinations.

Q. What color combination are you most excited about right now?
A. Nude pinks with bright lemon yellow. I adore cool mint green next to acid chartreuse.

To get to know Mara better and take a look at her gorgeous portfolio, read more about here. Huge congratulations Mara!

Lilla and the MATS Team




LAST DAY! Get your work in front of top agent, Lilla Rogers! Hurry, sale ends today!


We’re incredibly excited to announce that students who have purchased Make Art That Sells (MATS) Part A and/or Part B will now have the opportunity to be included in a SPECIAL ANNUAL REVIEW by top agent, Lilla Rogers!


Here’s how to participate:

  1. Sign up for MATS Part A and/or Part B if you haven’t already. (Today is the very last day of our 30% off sale!)
  2. Lilla will reveal which assignment you’ll be asked to complete in the private classroom sometime this month. There will be one assignment chosen for students in Part A and one for students in Part B.
  3. You’ll have about a month to complete the assignment, which should give you more than enough time.
  4. You’ll upload your finished piece to a gallery.
  5. Lilla will study each and every image in the gallery.
  6. Lilla will then select a handful of images which she’ll review in a private Facebook Live session in May—for registered students only.
  7. Lilla will comment on the selected images, plus there will be time for Q&A for everyone watching the live Facebook video. Lilla will likely have some wonderful wise words to inspire and motivate, and it will surely be an incredible opportunity to learn from a master teacher.


What Is Make Art That Sells (MATS) Part A and B?
MATS Part A and Part B are two jam-packed, instant-access, self-paced online courses written by top agent Lilla Rogers for artists of all levels. You’ll enjoy working on the courses at your own schedule. Each course is designed to be done over 5 weeks at an intensive pace, or up to 5 months at a slower pace. Both courses are equally excellent and can be done in any order.

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What markets will I learn about in MATS Part A?

  • Bolt fabric
  • Home décor
  • Children’s books
  • Wall art
  • Gift

What markets will I learn about in Part B?

  • Paper (Stationery)
  • Baby/children’s apparel & décor
  • Scrapbooking
  • Editorial (magazine illustration)
  • Party paper

What’s Lilla’s teaching philosophy?
You’ll love how Lilla has designed all MATS courses to get you to make art for specific markets, evolve your style, learn tons of techniques, get market- and trend-savvy, and basically delight in making art. If you’ve lost your mojo, these are the courses for you, even if you are an experienced artist. If you are a newbie wanting to learn everything you can from a top art agent (who is a teacher and artist herself) with decades of experience in the business, then this is the course for you.


Because we want you to achieve your goals, and there is so much information packed into the courses,  we’ve provided a super-helpful pdf with guidance, structure and checklists. You can access the prep pdfs here: MATS A and MATS B


You’ll find all this goodness in a private online ‘classroom’ loaded with videos, downloadable pdf’s, written posts, tons of inspiring imagery, interviews, structured assignments, and your own cadre of fellow students who will share the experience with you on a private Facebook group. See the industry expert contributors here. Let’s just say you totally get your money’s worth! Read more about all the goodness you’ll get, here.


Why take MATS Part A or B?
If you want to learn exactly what to put in your artwork to make killer portfolio pieces while staying true to your style and taste, these online courses are for you.

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Above, Nicci Nathanson completed this assignment for MATS A, Home Décor Week.

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What will I create?
You’ll be given several exciting assignments (creative briefs) for each of the five lucrative art markets to help you build a professional portfolio. Pick and choose your favorite assignments—or do them all—to make art that is thematically geared toward the markets.


Above, Nathalie Taylor created a piece for MATS A/Wall Art. In this assignment, the students were asked to create a piece using only two colors they were given based on their astrological sign, and items from a scavenger hunt they had completed earlier.

Join us!

All images copyright and may not be used without permission of artist.

Imagine designing your own home décor collection! Meet Margo. Success stories.

Today I’ve got three awesome things that I want to tell you about:

  • Now is a fantastic time to snap up the Make Art That Sells (MATS) courses you love and grow your art business because our giant 30% sale is on (but it ends tomorrow night)!
  • Join me today as I chat with Beth Kempton, my powerhouse e-course producer, wise woman, author and friend at 3PM EST on Periscope. We’re hanging out in my Studio where we will be chatting about Beth’s fabulous new book, Freedom Seeker. We’ll touch on hot topics from Beth’s book like making changes, getting unstuck, being free, magic powers, and more in a lively conversation. Go to Periscope and follow Lilla Rogers here.  Beth and I will pop up at 3PM EST!
  • Today I’m going to focus on our Creating Collections for Home Décor course because I’m pretty much in love with this course and my co-teacher, the very cool, kind, and savvy Margo Tantau, highly respected creative director who has licensed a ton of art for all kinds of home décor products.


Here’s Margo Tantau, my co-teacher. Wouldn’t you love to learn how to make your own home décor collection from her?

Let me introduce you to one of the artists I represent, Carolyn Gavin, and tell you about one of her (many) success stories. Here she is…


…and this is one of the assignments she did in the MATS Creating Collections for Home Décor course


…and this is the incredible and beautiful home décor collection she got from her classwork:

Seriously, the course totally works. Remember, tomorrow is the very last day to sign up and get 30% off the class!

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Want to see another class success story? My lovely artist Katie Vernon…


…did this magical and charming piece for MATS Creating Collections for HomeDécor…


…and she got an entire children’s bedding collection for Anthropologie! Yes, you read that right! Anthro.


I’m totally serious when I tell you that there is work out there for artists, and Margo and I teach you how to get it. But more importantly we guide you over five (intense) weeks and encourage you to bust your ass to make an amazing collection to pitch to home décor clients. You learn absolutely everything you need to show in a collection. Read more about what you get here.



If you’re secretly (or not-so-secretly) wanting to get your own home décor collection, I truly hope you’ll join us in this wonderful course. You’ll be surrounded by like-minded artists of all levels that are there to support one another, and Margo and I will be there to guide you every step of the way.


See you in class!



All images copyright and may not be used without permission of artist.


What will YOUR children’s book look like? Giant 30% off sale! Meet Zoë!


Hurry! Snap up all the Make Art That Sells courses you’ve been wanting to take!

Today, we’ll focus on our highly-regarded children’s book illustration e-course which is one of the courses on sale.



Here’s top art agent Lilla and brilliant children’s book art director Zoe, guiding you every step of the way. They love to teach, have tons of knowledge, and break down the assignments step-by-step to assist you in making your very best work. You’ll make art in a supportive environment that will encourage you to thrive.

What do I get in the course?
This is a live course that runs every day for five weeks beginning October 2nd. By the end of class, you’ll create a brilliant children’s book pitch to help you land your dream children’s book gig. You’ll get over 20 videos, weekly assignments, live weekly video reviews, interviews with publishers and illustrators, and more. It’s co-taught by top art agent Lilla Rogers and highly-respected children’s book art director Zoe Tucker.

What kind of work comes out of this class?
In week one, the students are guided to develop their main character from one of the texts provided in class. Here are a few fabulous examples of work from class. Note the telling details that help to give a bit more information about the character. You definitely get a sense of the character, the mood of the text, and the style of the artist from each piece, below:


Watch our free 5-part video series on simple steps to create your own children’s book pitch with top agent Lilla Rogers and highly-regarded children’s book art director Zoë Tucker.

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Snap up your savings now! Join us!



Zoe and Lilla say, “See you in class!”



P.S. Join Lilla and Beth Kempton at 3PM EST on Periscope tomorrow as they chat about Beth’s fabulous new book, Freedom Seeker, plus they’ll talk about prosperity, creativity, magic powers, and more in a lively conversation. Go to Periscope and follow Lilla Rogers here. Lilla and Beth will pop up at 3PM EST!


All images copyright and may not be used without permission.

GIANT SALE STARTS TODAY! Let’s fabulous-ify your career — here’s how.


Make 2017 your year to flourish! Working full-time as an artist is absolutely possible.

Let’s fabulous-ify your career! How fantastic would it be to have jobs rolling in? Imagine getting more jobs, cooler jobs, and better paying jobs making art you love. It is absolutely possible. It all begins with your great art —companies need your great art to sell their products. And you’ll learn how to create your very best art in our classes. Perfect timing: beginning today, all our classes are 30% off!

Here’s a great plan for you:

Your Fab Plan

Download your own copy here!

Snap up all the Make Art That Sells (MATS) courses you’ve been wanting to take at these great prices. There’s a reason why thousands of our students have taken 3, 4, 5 or even more of our courses. It’s because they create some of their best work in class. Lilla breaks everything down into manageable pieces and knows how to inspire and motivate artists. It’s a recipe for success.

Katie Wilson of New Zealand writes, “I love these courses and I wouldn’t be working full-time as an illustrator without them!”



Work from MATS courses by Katie Wilson

You’re going to learn how to make a full-time living from your art, how to pitch your work to art directors, how to get an agent, how to license your art, how to find companies that buy art, and tons more. But most importantly, our courses are known for teaching people how to make great art. That’s because Lilla, as an agent, teacher, and artist herself, has a gift for helping people make their best work. She will push and entice and inspire you to work the hardest you ever have, to create work you are proud of, in your own unique style.


Work from MATS courses by Sarah Allen

Jump in and grab yourself a bargain HERE!

Register for a class



Zoe Ingram got spotted in class, participated in the Global Talent Search, and is now represented by Lilla Rogers Studio!


Work from MATS courses by Zoë Ingram.

Casey Krimmel writes: “I’m a designer and illustrator from Portland, Oregon, and a bit of a MATS addict. I just got my first greeting card licensing deal last summer and most of the images they chose were made for MATS classes so it really does work!”


Work by Casey Krimmel, some of which was done for MATS.

So how can you fabulous-ify your career?

Here’s how to give yourself the best opportunity to flourish as an artist: sign up now at 30% off for Creating Collections for Home Décor, beginning August 7th, and then follow that with Illustrating Children’s Books, starting on October 2nd. In the meantime, get all the fabulousness in the instantly accessible MATS A & MATS B courses which you can do at your own pace. See the schedule here.  Just imagine how much great art you’ll make!

Read what our students say about the Illustrating Children’s Book course here.

Read what our students say about Creating Collections for Home Décor here.



For four days only, EVERY COURSE is now 30% off! There’s something for everyone, whatever your budget, goals, or dreams are for creative success. Hurry! Sale ends Friday!

See you in class!
The MATS team

P.S. Don’t know where to start? Check out this video and handy PDF!




Big News about the Global Talent Search!

We’re delighted to announce that the Global Talent Search (GTS) is coming back for 2018! This is your chance to get representation with one of the top art agencies in the world—Lilla Rogers Studio.


After four years of running the GTS where we took on ELEVEN new artists with fabulous success, we’re taking extra time this time around to make GTS 2018 even bigger and better! You’re going to love it.


The good news is that you’ll have plenty of time to prepare, get your skills up and your style strong.

We are dying to know who’s going to win next year! It might be you!

Learn more about the GTS here.

What is the GTS?
The whole process is amazing. There are three rounds, each with its own assignment. Round two is judged by some of the top ADs in the industry. Even if you don’t win, you get seen by top judges. Some artists even get work from the GTS competition!

Behind the scenes moment: Do you know that every year at staff meeting we say, “Ok, we’re just taking on ONE artist this year. Definitely.” And then we see the finalists and we happily cave. The work is so amazing and spectacular we just have to have to take on more than one new artist.

Take a look at a sample of the kinds of jobs that Lilla’s artists have gotten recently.


The 50 semi-finalists from 2016 were from all over the world.
21 from Europe
22 from North America
6 from Australasia
1 from Africa

82% of the participants have taken one or more of the Make Art the Sells courses.

Read what Lilla is looking for in her next artist here.

For now, we’re always looking at artists in MATS classes. Who knows?

Want to make your work the very best it can be? Take Lilla’s professional-level courses here.





Alumni success ‘spotlight’ interview with Grace Noël


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

GRACE_NOËL_HEADSHOTToday, we have an interview with Grace Noël. Grace has taken MATS A&B and Bootcamp

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

I had a chuckle when I realized that all of my most vivid memories relate to surface patterns–my favourite yellow and blue calico shirt from my toddler years, the clouds my mom painted on the ceiling of our play room, the confetti-print sheets in my grandparents’ spare bedroom, and so on. I am an artist by nature, a fashion designer by hobby, and an interior decorator by trade, so it makes complete sense that surface pattern design is the perfect combination of my creative interests.


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

I adore that Lilla says “People buy your joy” because it’s so true! Nature and vintage items bring me joy and are my main inspirations. You can often find me ensconced in flowers, barefoot, drawing on my clipboard, and don’t be surprised if I turn up at your local flea market. Making everything beautiful and making people’s days also brings me joy!

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

Bolt fabric is my ultimate favourite because of its versatility. It can be purchased in a fabric store by a creative consumer and turned into a myriad of delightful crafts. Or, on a larger scale, it could be purchased by a company and manufactured into sofas and pillows and dresses and shoes. Or, in addition to fabric, the collection of designs could even be used for scrapbooking paper and other such coordinate-based markets. Actually, fabric is the reason why I am in this industry in the first place. When I began sewing as a kid I was always dreaming up fabrics in my mind that I was, of course, not able to find in the stores. Then I discovered Spoonflower in 2012 and became a designer on there. I hit the ground running and entered pretty much every weekly design challenge for over 2 years, and have had some successes from that! By that point I was a surface pattern design sponge, soaking in every little bit of information about how to turn that into my career! My love for fabric has grown into something multifaceted and incredibly exciting.


What are you working on currently?

I recently designed a quilting fabric collection, With Glowing Hearts, for Moda Fabrics and Trend-Tex Fabrics in celebration of Canada’s 150th Anniversary this year. So, currently I’m preparing for some speaking engagements about the collection and my journey in design. I’m also working on pitching to a bunch of companies to license with.

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

It has been a relief to learn to stay true to my style. I have developed my skills in the variety of mediums I use and figured out more efficient ways to work with that variety. I have also learned to make icons so that each one is unique and beautifully designed, and learned to always blow the client away by giving them loads of detail and imagery to discover within each piece. My style is usually quite lush, so that last point is especially encouraging.


How have the classes helped your artwork evolve /grow?

I absolutely love illustrating quotes and such, because I am a fan of literature and write poems. With all the practice from MATS lettering feels so natural to me now. Because I was trying to do something different and challenging with each new assignment, I had moments where I drew or painted something and just couldn’t take my eyes off it. I kept staring at it, thinking, “Apparently that just came out of my fingertips?!” That is incredibly artistically satisfying.

Any aha moments during MATS you would like to share?

Yes! I realized that, I guess since I have been designing on Spoonflower for 5 years now, my brain has been rewired to automatically think in technical repeat, which meant I had to focus more when creating a placement graphic. I’m drawn to creating mixed media art, which is evident in the fact that my style usually has many layers and textures. I realized, though, that I tend to use whatever medium works, and as many as needed. So if watercolour conveys the splashy mood I’m going for, then hey, that’s what I’ll use. Or if plain old pencil brings out all the details, then pencil it shall be. Or if marker gives me the control I need to blend colours, I haul out my colourful stash. Often the answer is all of the above.

What are your key successes since taking a MATS class?

The MATS courses have given me a solid look at my style of art and a better idea of how to go about pitching to companies, as well as the range of markets and companies there are to choose from. I’m a recent MATS graduate, so right now I’m organizing my work to send out–here’s hoping for some licensing successes!


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

MATS is a creatively valuable experience that stretches your art into multiple markets through practice briefs and gives you insight on how to have a career in the art and design industry.

What is your dream gig for your artwork?

Well, I have a running joke with my family that my designs will be plastered all over Kleenex boxes someday, so that would be pretty nifty. That said, my dream gigs are to have fabric, scrapbooking, home décor, and women’s fashion collections, and do lots of lettering as well. I’d love to work with companies such as Cloud9 Fabrics, Riley Blake Designs, K&Company, DEMDACO, and Modcloth. Oh, and I would be delighted to work with companies here in Canada, too!

See more work here: Website | Blog | Facebook | Shop



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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!

6 Fabulous tips for illustrating a children’s book

What’s amazing about our children’s book illustration course is how the work blossoms over the five jam-packed weeks. I love to teach our intensives for exactly that reason. The passion and achievement of our students is awe inspiring. What kind of children’s book would you like to make?

Today I’m going to show you student work from Week 4 of Illustrating Children’s Books which I co-teach with the very fun and highly respected children’s book art director, Zoë Tucker.

The theme of Week 4 is Environment. Students are tasked with creating a scene from their text. At this point they have already developed their character and now they get to place their character in a setting.

TIP 1: Make a magical little world with lots of details that the child can explore over and over again, as Maria has done here. Doing research is a great way of making the illustration that much richer.

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Maria Lillebo

TIP 2: Think about how your characters interact with one another in the scene. Employ movement and expressions to bring the page to life. See how the characters connect with eye contact? Kids may not always understand the words being read to them, but they tend to understand facial expressions.

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Edit Hajdu

TIP 3: If appropriate, capture an emotional interaction. Here, Deborah used lighting very effectively to create a poignant moment.

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Deborah Melmon

TIP 4: Vary the layout of your pages to add interest. Here, it’s fun to view the step-by-step series that Emily created to highlight the concept of saving money for a trip.

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Emily Mackenzie-Shapland

TIP 5: Think beyond the obvious. For the character’s home, Fay created a very cool pink food truck as the character’s residence!

Fay Ford copy

Fay Ford

TIP 6: Add playful details, such as the kitchen items as Katy has drawn here.

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Katy Halford


Want to see more? Check out the Student Showcase on our blog for the next week. I think you’ll enjoy reading about our students’ experiences in classes and their successes. You’ll see why our students are getting signed for book deals.

Want to make your own winning children’s book illustration pitch? Sign up today and let Zoë and me help you. See you in class!


P. S. Have you already taken Illustrating Children’s Books? Many of our students repeat our courses to hone their pitches even further.