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Alumni success ‘spotlight’ interview with Inga Knopp-Kilpert


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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 Inga Knopp-Kilpert.  Inga has taken MATS A, MATS B, Illustrating Children’s Books and Bootcamp.

Tell us a little about how you got started in art and design
I studied graphic design and than worked as an art director for twelve years in several advertising agencies. In my free time i illustrated and made some exhibitions which had been very successful. I felt more and more that illustration would be the right business for me so i left my advertising career and started my freelance business as an illustrator. Luckily i had my very first project for an agency. Since 2010 i am working for gift books, children’s books, advertising agencies and companies.
Lilla always says “People buy your joy.” What brings you joy?’
I love to make paper collage, this analog technique gives me such a joy. I love to create funny creature which make me smile.
Which is your favorite market(s) to design for and why?
My favorite markets are children’s books and gift books. To create characters and give them a whole surrounding is very good, i can imagine how they would like to l I’ve and what they are wearing. Gift book market is more decorative and with single pieces. I would love to get more work for the Home Decor market.
What are you working on currently?
Currently I am working on my portfolio to try out new things and to get fresh work to show. I am keeping a sketch book which I really love. It gives me a kind of every day art frame to be filled with ideas and pictures. I can go to a coffee bar and get some inspiration. That is always a good place to make some pattern sketches.
What are some of the key things you have learnt from the MATS experience?
My key things that I have learned? That I can do work for different markets. That I can break down a huge project into small steps. The MINI assignments are very helpful.
How have the classes helped your artwork evolve /grow?
The classes helped me evolving my style! I loved to show my work inside the Facebook group and get some very nice comments, I felt that my style is unique and powerful. Especially the Children’s Book live course gave me so many good inspirations and information.
Any aha moments during MATS you would like to share?
My aha moments were during ICB class when I learned how to make a storyboard, finding different point of views of one sentence and to work hard to find a special solution of an image. The development of characters and their emotions were very helpful steps during class.
What are your key successes since taking a MATS class?
Since taking MATS class I know that my illustrations are strong and unique to get some new projects. Now I have to sent them out and aquire new work. I feel very confident with my own personal style.
How would you describe taking a MATS class to a fellow artist looking to develop their art?
Taking MATS courses helped me evolving my style, making art every day and gave me a huge background information for different markets. Especially the Live class was very productive and intense.
What is your dream gig for your artwork?
I would really love to get new children’s books project, that would be fantastic.
See more work here: Website | Instagram

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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!

Alumni success ‘spotlight’ interview with Pat Scheurich


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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 Pat Scheurich. Pat has taken MATS A, Illustrating Children’s Books, Bootcamp 2017 and entered the Global Talent Search.

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

Since I was a grade schooler, I have had a pencil and sketchbook in hand. When I was young, I used to sit at the edge of my neighborhood, in the desert outside of Phoenix Arizona and draw the cactus and birds. Both of my parents dabbled in painting as hobbies, so I had lots of encouragement. High School art classes were my favorite and I went on to University to get a Bachelor of Fine Art degree in Design. I worked for advertising agencies out of school and did some teaching. Later, I painted murals and then started doing studio artwork.

 

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

My inspiration is found in simply everything. We are surrounded by living things and other objects that I am compelled to record in my own, unique fashion. Plants, in particular, have always been a focus of my work and wherever I am, I know where the closest botanical garden is!

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

I love working on canvas and wood panels of many different sizes and wall art has been a favorite market of mine for awhile. I like combining many layers and textures in my pieces which incorporate collage, acrylic, pencil, and pen. Since I create art for art shows and various venues, wall art seems to be a great fit right now.

What are you working on currently?

I am currently working on an alphabet design that would work as a poster and possibly a children’s book. I am also working on creating pitches for book publishers using some of my characters and what I learned in the Illustrating Children’s book course with Lilla and Zoe. I am also getting ready to create another group of paintings for local shows that I am part of. Lastly, I have work that is licensed for needlepoint canvases and I’m always creating pieces for that market.

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

Key things I’ve learned. I have learned how very important creating icons are and how adaptable they can be in so many different ways. My sketchbook has become my best friend!

How have the classes helped your artwork evolve /grow?

Classes have helped me in so many ways. Drawing so many different subjects has helped my drawing ability grow, reading and hearing about all the ways that art can be used has fired up my imagination, and just being part of a group of like minded artist is tremendously supportive.

Any aha moments during MATS you would like to share?

My aha moment came during my first MATS A class when I realized that I LOVE making art that sells! This class has been the first one that has practically addressed that for me.

What are your key successes since taking a MATS class?

I have signed a contract with GreenBox Art + Culture to have them reproduce some of my art. I’m very excited about it and that might not have happened without information given in MATS A.

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

MATS classes are a very organized way of helping you work on developing your art and it focuses you on some very key elements that are the building blocks of creating work that can be successful in commercial markets. I think it can also be useful in generally improving your work regardless of the reason you produce it.

What is your dream gig for your artwork?

Dream gig. Illustrating children’s books and fabric design are my dreams. I realize I’m beginning to have the building blocks to make both happen.

See more work here: Website | Instagram | Facebook

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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!

Top tips for exhibiting at a trade show for the first time with MATS Alumna Bryony Clarkson


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 a special guest post from MATS alumna Bryony Clarkson who recently exhibited at Surtex with the Art Collective she is part of called Finch & Foxglove. Bryony is sharing her review and some top tips! Bryony has taken MATS A and B, Home Décor, Illustrating Children’s Books, Bootcamp and attended the MATS Global Gathering.

 

About Bryony: I live and work in Oxford, England, but also spend a lot of time in Seattle, USA. My studio companion is a 3-year old Wheaten terrier called Crumble. I have three children, so life is busy! When I’m not drawing, I love to read, walk or run with my dog and travel whenever and wherever I can. I trained at the Royal College for Art in London, graduating in 1996 with a masters degree in Embroidered Textile Design. I went on to design textiles for many companies, both interior and fashion, as well as producing my own range of one-off textile pieces. I took a career break when my children were born and started designing again in 2011, with a focus on paper and digital pieces for Surface Design.

How much preparation did it require?

I have been making art for years, but in terms of specific show preparation, I started designing with the Surtex Show specifically in mind in September 2016 – nine months before the show. I am a member of the Finch & Foxglove Art Collective, and we map out a schedule for the months leading up to the show, so that we don’t get too overwhelmed, or have tasks left to the last minute. I can’t stress enough how super-helpful that planning was.
How did the show go? Did you get out of it what you hoped you would? Any successes you can share?
The show was a great success! It was my first time exhibiting (I have been with Finch & Foxglove for two years but I couldn’t show in 2016, due to my daughters ill health) and it was a roller-coaster ride of an experience. Our booth was really busy at times and I connected with some of my dream companies, as well as making lots of new contacts. I received alot of interest in my work and there are some exciting projects in the pipeline. Straight after the show, I licensed some designs, as a direct result of a show contact, to a large stationery and greetings company.
Finch & Foxglove at Surtex

Who did you meet – other exhibitors / visitors / brands?

I met two of my fellow artists from Finch & Foxglove for the first time: Sharon Montgomery and Laurence Lavalee. We ‘talk’ most days on Facebook, so it was amazing to meet them both in person, as well as getting to hang out with members of the group that I have met before. I met lots of other artists – many of whom I already know through Instagram, and it was great to connect with a wider circle of creatives.
 
Visitors to the booth could be broadly divided out into art directors and buyers, and other artists or those coming to walk the show. There were some really big-ticket companies that came to talk to us, mostly from the USA and Canada.
What will you do differently next time, will there be a next time?
I’ve already committed to showing with the Finch girls next year! We are also talking about whether there are other trade shows that we might want to do.
One of the huge take-aways from the show for me was that it was a great opportunity to listen to what buyers needs are. This is invaluable information and will help me to plan my future work. It was interesting to hear comments like “I love this, but we couldn’t use it” or “I’d need to see that in a different colour palette for my clients”. These aren’t negatives, they are free tutorials! I noted down much of this information so that I had it for reference after the show. Next time, I will specifically plan my Surtex portfolio with this in mind.
 
How do you follow up with potential opportunities after the show?
Quickly! I responded to the companies who showed most interest two days after Surtex had finished. The others I followed up on during the following week. We had made thorough notes on what each potential client wanted to see, so it was then easy to follow up via email, sending low res images of the work that they liked.
Any tips for surviving and thriving on the day itself?
Don’t let the nerves take over! Selling your artwork can feel very personal, but you are your own best advocate. Just chat with everyone who stops by the booth. As conversation unfolds, you can get a good feel of what each person is looking for. The more you chat, the more you learn!
And get in a business frame of mind. Remember that you have a fantastic window of opportunity to show and sell work to top retailers and manufacturers – it’s very different from being in the studio, so be ready to step up to that role.

What are your 3-5 top tips for exhibiting at a show for the first time?

  • Get organised. Make a timetable to cover the preceding few months, working out when you plan to have each item ready, and stick to it as closely as you can, to avoid last minute panics!
  • Show work you are proud to stand in front of. You will be talking about that work A LOT, so really show the things that you love. Be brutal when you make a final edit of your designs before the show, and take out anything that isn’t your best. Quality is more important than quantity.
  • Connect with other artists who are showing if possible (through the MATS Facebook pages, Instagram etc) – I found this to be a welcoming and generous world, where more experienced artists were very happy to share information and answer questions.

Now the show is over, what’s next?

Oh wow, lots….! The post show time is as busy as the pre-show, with follow up. Workwise, I am going back to the sketch book a lot, and using this a time for experimentation and generating new ideas. I use the Summer as time for a more relaxed pace of working and letting new ideas germinate. I also need to spend some time with my rather neglected family!

What other trade shows would you like to exhibit at and why?

As a group, we are considering Blueprint, Printsource, Heimtextil and Premier Vision – no decisions yet though, except a repeat showing at Surtex next year.
How did MATS courses help you?
MATS got me into the habit of making new art every day (even if only a 10-minute sketch) and got me back into being absorbed in the world of art. I also learned how to keep true to my own style, but to ensure that I was making art that is desirable and useable by art directors. I learned fun new ways to create colour palettes, how to use icons to my advantage in my work, how to design and template for product, how to develop characters and SO much more! And importantly, I met my fellow Finch & Foxglove artists at the Global Art Gathering.
Did you show any of your MATS assignments? 
I did my MATS classes quite a long time ago (I was in the very first MATS A and B), so I didn’t actually show much from that time, as I had a ton of new work to show. My vicuna is a particular favourite that came from MATS Bootcamp and the Lumberjack icons piece (also shown above). And everything I do now is influenced by the ton of information that I got from the courses.
See more work here: Website | Instagram | Finch & Foxglove website
Reine from Lilla Rogers Studio interviewed Finch & Foxglove and others from Surtex. Click here if you missed that great feature!
Lilla also shares her top tips for Preparing for a Trade Show here

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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!

MATS Home Decor Student Showcase part 4 {2016 class}


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We are so proud of our wonderful Make Art That Sells alumni and are pleased to showcase a series of gorgeous student work that was produced in our May session of Creating Collections for Home Décor

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SARA FRANKLIN | SARA FRANKLIN DESIGN LLC

Sara_Franklin_Sweet_Honey

Sara_Franklin_BioPic_webI designed this bedroom set to be relaxing and calming, mixing colors and textures to create a happy, warm feeling. I would love to have a bedroom with this duvet cover and colors!

How did the Home Décor class help you grow?

I learned how to let go and follow my instinct. I felt the most happy when I was enjoying the process, instead of worrying about the outcome each week. I really loved creating a cohesive collection. Going more in depth into a theme helped me to discover something new each week. Lilla and Margo gave me permission to be free!

What did you discover about yourself?

I discovered a way that I love working, and to follow my joy! I learned that sometimes getting started is the best thing to do to get unstuck because the process will lead you to where you want to go.

How would you describe the course to a friend?

This course is fun, exciting and extremely informative! The Facebook group is also very valuable with so many talented artists that support each other. Lilla and Margo will guide you through all the nuts and bolts that you need to create your own unique collection. They will give you excellent guidance to move forward in this industry with confidence!

See more work here: Website | Facebook | Instagram

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LALA BOWER DESIGN AND ILLUSTRATION

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Short Description of Image: Dollhouse Flowers Collection – Love blooms here! Designs hand painted in watercolor made for ceramic kitchenware and dinnerware.

How did the Home Décor class help you grow?

The MATS Home Décor class helped me grow as a designer by introducing us to different finishing techniques used on different materials used in home decor that I wasn’t familiar with. I don’t think there is any other course like it that shows you different finishing techniques. It opened my eyes to a new market for my designs and illustrations.

What did you discover about yourself?

Oftentimes as a designer and illustrator we strive to create graphics that follow trends and tailor our graphics to what is already out there. Or to make our illustrations look “perfect”. I learned in this course that what is most important is to tap into your own uniqueness or quirkiness rather than just being a follower of trends. This is brought out through the process of doing her “minis” before the actual assignment. The minis allow you to draw and play without the pressure of having it look a certain way or to fit an end product. So by the time you get the actual assignment, you have explored much of your uniqueness and that it becomes a big part of your overall design. This is especially important when you are in the process of looking for your own signature illustration style.

How would you describe the course to a friend?

I would describe the Home Décor class to a friend as a fun way to rediscover your unique style as an illustrator and Lilla Rogers shows how you can capitalize on that and help you turn it into a business.

See more work here: Website | Instagram

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LEAH MALMOS

malmos_homedec_showcase

This is my favorite image because I can imagine this room in real life. I really wish I could buy my pom-pom floral rug!

How did the Home Décor class help you grow?

The Home Décor class helped me grow by having access to industry trend boards and amazing product mockups. Having an inside edge to the current trends in the home decor market is essential in a “trend-driven” market.

What did you discover about yourself?

I discovered about myself that if I am given a direction and color palette it is much easier for me to get into the act of art-making instead of market research. The trend boards give me the confidence to go “all in” in my style.

How would you describe the course to a friend?

If I were to describe this course to a friend I would say it is a high intensity 5 week course where you will explore and design for 5 substrates inside of the Home Decor market with industry pick of the hottest trends. Also with a amazing, supportive online community and live reviews!

See more work here: Website | Instagram

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Want a piece of the $60 Billion Home Decor industry?

mats-collections-home-decor-banner

What is home décor? It’s all the gorgeous and/or functional items in your house. It’s a booming market that needs tons of art, with over $60 billion in annual sales. Its massive growth is due in part to the popularity of home design TV shows, Pinterest, and Instagram, and stylish online retailers like One Kings Lane and Dot&Bo.

Art directors NEED your great art!

Our next live e-course, Make Art That Sells: Creating Collections for Home Décor starts will take place in August 2017 and teaches you everything you need to know to create killer presentations with your art.

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MATS Home Decor Student Showcase part 1 {2016 class}


showcase-collections

We are so proud of our wonderful Make Art That Sells alumni and are pleased to showcase a series of gorgeous student work that was produced in our previous session of Creating Collections for Home Décor

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JAMIE KALVESTRAN

Print

Jamie_Kalvestran_Lowertown_Studio_400pxThis image includes one of my favorite items from each of the five substrates developed in the MATS Home Decor course. Textile Quilt or tablecloth, Ceramic Tea Set, Metal Perforated Candle Holder, Glass Embossed Bottle, Wooden Serving Tray.

How did the Home Décor class help you grow?

Oh my gosh, I hate to admit it but I was one of those people who slapped the same artwork on everything. I learned bucket loads about presentation, how to make your artwork stand out, what an art director looks for in a collection and how you can make their job easier. (which means they will want to work with you again)

Q2. What did you discover about yourself?

My back ground is in 3-D product design and textile design. But, strangely enough I had very little experience designing artwork for a three dimensional product. I previously had designed either 3-D products or 2-D prints for textiles. In this course I learned to meld the two. I can now offer the whole package to my existing customers. Plus, I can move forward with confidence working with future customers who produce products in any substrate.

Q3. How would you describe the course to a friend?

This course is very intensive. When they say, “clear your schedule”, they mean it and so do I. You get out of it what you put into it, so don’t skimp on time and effort. It’s a wonderful wonderful opportunity. Immerse yourself. Margo and Lilla have so much to share. If you do the work, you will walk away with beautiful portfolio pieces to present to your customers.

FYI-I loved the course so much I took it twice!

See more work here: Website | Facebook | Instagram

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MARGARET MARTINEZ |DESIGN BY MARGARET

favorite Paris Love Nest

12063868_10207875462829556_6257951586055357146_nKey/Coat/Scarf Rack, Lamp, Breakfast Tray, and Wallpaper. This was my favorite one because as I got closer to the end of class, I started getting a better understanding of what to do artistically. I like the colors of this piece and I like my drawings, especially my birds. They are my little birds, I created them completely from my imagination and I love seeing how what you draw/paint can be used in so many ways.

How did the Home Décor class help you grow?

The Home Décor class with Lilla Rogers and Margo Tantau have helped me tremendously as an artist. I have gained so much knowledge on art in the home décor market and creating art for fun. I have grown in how I now approach art now, I’ve learned new ways to create and think when doing art.

What did you discover about yourself?

I discovered that I am an artist and that I am unique and special. This class made me feel good about myself as an illustrator and I just loved Lilla and Margo’s positive vibe throughout the entire course. They made you want to keep creating art. I’ve learned how to work hard and how fun that can be and when you push yourself, how you can get new and amazing ideas.

How would you describe the course to a friend?

If you want to expand your knowledge on the home décor market and get insider tips and secrets on how to make your art sell successfully in this market, then you have to take this course. This course will push you in new creative directions and you will create A LOT of beautiful art and you will walk away with unbelievable knowledge that you can use with your art and it is SO FUN.

See more work here: Website | Facebook | Instagram

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 ANETTE HEIBERG

AnetteHeiberg_FabricCollection
AnetteHeiberg_profileimageThis is from the second week of class, where we worked with fabric. I chose this because I remember how proud I felt presenting it. I felt that I already had learned and grown so much from the first week. I was really excited to keep working on my collection, and I think it shows in my work how much fun I had creating these products.

How did the Home Décor class help you grow?

I learned a lot about how my art can be used on different products, how to put together a good collection and how to present my work.

What did you discover about yourself?

That I really enjoy putting together a collection of different kinds of materials and shapes – and that my work is a great fit for products!

How would you describe the course to a friend?

If you’re interested in learning how your art can be used on different kind of products, and learning about different materials, this course is a must!

See more work here: Website | Instagram

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LAURA FISK

laura fisk-ceramic weekMATShomedec2016
laura fisk-webThe image above was for ceramic week. I feel the products and designs are most “me” in terms of the fun and style I want to embody going forward in art licensing and surface pattern design. my work tends to be pretty goofy and silly and I feel I was really able to express that in these products.

How did the Home Décor class help you grow?

It helped me grow in many ways. I love deadlines – they’re so important to get anything done! It was great to have the assignments week by week and that they were focused by substrate. Focusing on a different element every week really helped me focus on what could I do with products I never had really thought about before and how they can be used in so many ways. I could feel myself being pushed every week, and definitely out of my comfort zone as well, which is always a good thing.

What did you discover about yourself?

Most importantly, it confirmed that this is the work that I want to be doing. It also really helped to focus and understand what I enjoy working on (character based illustration) and just importantly what I don’t (pretty dainty florals). It made me think about the types of companies I should pursue and the type of work that I know that really doesn’t fit for me.

How would you describe the course to a friend?

An intensive focused class on surface pattern design for the home decor market. If you’re interested in getting into licensing and surface pattern design this is an excellent class to help you understand the market and how to stand out to art directors, and really get an idea of what they’re looking for and why. I would most definitely recommend this class. It’s worth the cost, especially if you invest your time into it.

See more work here: Website

***

Want a piece of the $60 Billion Home Decor industry?

mats-collections-home-decor-banner

What is home décor? It’s all the gorgeous and/or functional items in your house. It’s a booming market that needs tons of art, with over $60 billion in annual sales. Its massive growth is due in part to the popularity of home design TV shows, Pinterest, and Instagram, and stylish online retailers like One Kings Lane and Dot&Bo.

Art directors NEED your great art!

Our next live e-course, Make Art That Sells: Creating Collections for Home Décor will take place in August 2017  and teaches you everything you need to know to create killer presentations with your art.

***

 

Save

Alumni success ‘spotlight’ interview with Nathalie Taylor


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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 Nathalie Taylor. Nathalie has taken MATS A/B, Assignment Bootcamp and our Creating Collection for Home Décor.

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

I always liked to draw. As a child, with my three brothers, I was constantly tinkering something, our house was always upside down filled with one or another’s artistic project! My mother was an artist and my father a press photographer.

I studied industrial design and earned a degree in graphic design. I worked in this area for almost 25 years, but something was missing, I didn’t have fun, worse than that, I was completely bored and frustrated. I ended up losing confidence and my creative process completely dried out. I had become incapable of drawing or creating. I dropped out everything to become a Feldenkrais practitioner (which I recommend to all, but that’s another topic!). About six months in this training I slowly began to draw again just for fun and by pure luck I met the work of Helen Dardik … I was blown away because I did not know you could do that to earn a living. In trying to find out more about Helen, I found a MATS class that happened to be starting, so I dived in and I never looked back. I had my first contracts pretty quickly.

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

Very simple things: being with my family and friends, take a long walk in the woods, cats, birds, rainbows, the change of seasons… chocolate. I like a good laugh and do unexpected things.

From ‘Glass’ week in the MATS: Creating Collections for Home Decor class.

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

I like several markets. In facts it’s almost a problem, because, I cannot make up my mind! Above all, I love anything that allows fantasy and use of bright and joyful colors.

What are you working on currently?

I am currently working on a children’s songbook project.

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

I am learning to work hard and trust myself, to cut work in small bite and not be afraid. I know now that I’m at my very best when I’m playful, lighthearted and feel totally free to do whatever pleases me without thinking to much about end results. I learned to stop trying to control everything, I now have faith that the creative process will come up with a solution, this way I’m more confident about the choices I make and the work unfold before my eye as if by magic!

How have the classes helped your artwork evolve /grow?

It’s quite magical, I didn’t know I could do what I did in class. Really, I had absolutely no idea. There is a clear bold line in my portfolio : before and after MATS. It’s a complete new world for me. I surprised myself!

Lilla is very inspiring. I admire her great ability to make the best out of myself and my classmates, I find this absolutely magical from a person I’ve actually never met !

I hoped to take the plunge in illustration for a very long time. Many years back, I followed 450 hours training in advertising illustration. The training was well designed to show us different mediums: pen, watercolor, oil, dry brush, pastel, computer drawing, etc. We also worked with a dozen of qualified professional illustrators who taught us their respective techniquel. I was very good and everything worked well for me, but at this time, I did not manage to make the transition to become an illustrator. I knew how to draw, but I had no idea what to do to have jobs. I didn’t know how to structure my work, I was not told about making art that sells, how to make contact with art directors or agencies… Many things were missing.

Lilla’s classes are not only well structured to cover all markets, Lilla herself is an outstanding motivator! I think most of us already have quite a bit of talent to draw, it’s not a technical matter. We especially need encouragement, we need to understand the market, we need to learn to have fun at what we do and above all we need the energy of the group! No one before Lilla had been able to do that for me.

Any aha moments during MATS you would like to share?

Yes, I don’t know how to explain this but, I had a 25 years background in corporate graphic design which was very rigid, Cartesian and colorless. I learned to be more relaxed in my drawing, embraced imperfection and introduce textures, naivety and color into my work.

Illustrations I made for a new children book to be released next October by Auzou publisher

What are your key successes since taking a MATS class?

I made 6 facial tissue box designs for Canadian food retailer Metro. Two of those designs were chosen by the art director directly from the gallery of my very first MATS class. I had several contracts with Bayard Press kids monthly magazines: Chirp and ChickaDee. I also had 3 children’s book project from one particular illustration I made in editorial week in MATS B (Montréal) : a scrapbook for Auzou French publisher; an album published last January by Québec Amérique; and a booklet for a public library of the City of Montreal. I also worked on labels for a honey producer and had a mini textile collection for a headband manufacturer.

Illustrations I made for a new children book to be released next October by Auzou publisher

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

It’s a celebration of creativity, like vitamins for your creative process! It’s a secure place if you are shy about showing your creativity like I was. The community is very supportive and encouraging. I can describe my personal experience with MATS classes as profound life-changing.

What is your dream gig for your artwork?

I would very much love having my own home decor collection.

See more work here: Website | Instagram

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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!

Meet the fantastic art collectives at Surtex. We interviewed a few.


Hi! It’s me, Reine and I’m just back from my trip to the tradeshows in New York with Lilla Rogers Studio. It was fantastic to see so many art collectives that have formed directly because of Make Art That Sells!

I enjoyed actually getting to meet the people behind the art I love from class! One of the great things about Make Art That Sells (MATS) is that it gets you set for two big tradeshows, Surtex 2017 and Blueprint.

Q: What is an ‘art collective’?

A: Art collectives are groups of like-minded artists who get together and split the cost of a booth, form a group website, share marketing, and be there for support and advice.

Here I am (on the left) with the gang from Finch & Foxglove Collective. They met each other in Make Art That Sells courses.

You’ll love this interview I did with them at Surtex here. See what they say when I ask them how they share the responsibilities.

MATS courses teach you exactly what kinds of marketing to do. Here’s fantastic marketing collateral from the Finch & Foxglove booth for clients to take home.

Meet Amarylis Henderson. She’s a MATS student and first-time exhibiter at Surtex. Yes, you can exhibit on your own.

In my short video with Amarylis, you’ll hear what clients asked her for the most this year. Watch this Q + A with Amarylis and me!

I stopped into Blueprint which is a new tradeshow that is very affordable and well-received. It was great to see a ton of MATS students there as well.

Here’s artist Nikki Upsher, MATS Alumna and Global Talent Search Finalist, at her charming booth at the Blueprint Show. I recognized some of her assignments from class.

Here’s the Pencil Parade—yet another MATS alumni collective that showed at the Blueprint Show! Read this fascinating interview with them here.

 

Four Corners Collective. An International collective featuring 7 different artists from four different corners of the world!

Thinking about exhibiting at a tradeshow? Read Lilla’s nine questions you must ask yourself before exhibiting.

Congratulations to all the fantastic artists from the shows! Your hard work showed and we wish you many successes in your endeavors.

Wishing you a fabulous art career!

xo

Reine

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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!

 

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


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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

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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!

Alumni success ‘spotlight’ interview with Rima Tessman


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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!

Alumni success ‘spotlight’ interview with Grace Noël


alumni-success-04

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.

GRACE_NOËL_PRETTYTHINGS

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.

GRACE_NOËL_SEASONALSURFACEPATTERNS

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.

GRACE_NOËL_STARBOARDCOLLECTION

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!

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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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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!