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Alumni success ‘spotlight’ interview with Stephanie Olivieri


We are so proud of our Make Art That Sells Alumni, and we are pleased to feature a series of spotlight interviews showcasing their successes and artwork. We’ve asked them to share how the MATS courses have helped them learn and grow. You can see more Alumni Success stories here

Today, we have an interview with Stephanie Olivieri who has taken Bootcamp twice, MATS A and MATS Illustrating Children’s Books.

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

I actually was auditioning for a singing voice in a Disney Feature film and was doodling on the call sheet and the director suggested I go into animation. I started there and then when traditional animation crashed in the early 2000s I started working as an illustrator.

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

Making fun, happy, emotional drawing, usually geared towards kids whether it be for books, patterns or my own art.

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

Anything in children’s media, because of the above. It makes me happy.

What are you working on currently?

I have a greeting card day job that I love and on the side, I’m creating my own picture book art as well as my own line of products with my characters.

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

I have learned new styles/ways of working and how to make patterns and work outside of the children’s market.

How have the classes helped your artwork evolve /grow? 

It pushed me to do my own work instead of just working for others on pre-existing characters. It was also great to connect with other kidlit artists in another class. I have lots of new pieces for my portfolio which I’m showing at the SCBWI winter conference in New York City Feb 2018.

Any aha moments during MATS you would like to share? 

I can’t think of anything specific, but I have sold pretty much every final piece of art that I have created in MATS. It gave me the confidence to do my own thing instead of just being commercial for others.

What are your key successes since taking a MATS class? 

I continue to work as an artist just like I was before, but I find that since MATS I am selling more of my own art.

 

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

I would and do describe it as great lessons and prompts to try new styles and new ways of spreading your joy.

What is your dream gig for your artwork?

I really want to be like Lisa Frank someday and have my own line of my characters on stationery, dolls, cards, school supplies, whatever, and books.

See more work here: Website | 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!

Illustrating Children’s Books Student Showcase part 6 {Oct 2017 class}


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 the previous session of the Illustrating Children’s Books class. View more student showcase posts here.

bookyourplacenow

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Camille Medina

I created this cover for the fifth and last week of the course. It shows the main character of the story as well as the shadows of three other major characters without unveiling what they look like. I just love this image! It combines a lot of the things I like (minimalism, rough-ish lines, pencil texture, hand lettering, block colours) and I feel that it is very ‘me’. I also had a lot of fun creating the artwork that week so whenever I look at this image it brings back good memories and a feeling of excitement and positive energy.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
The ICB class is so full of industry insight and useful information! Not to mention the support you get coming from all directions: Lilla, Zoe, the Facebook community, the MATS team,… You get the sort of information that you can’t really find anywhere else and I feel that understanding the industry better and what art directors are looking for helped me focus on the right things. Thanks to the kind of transparency we got during the course I feel less intimidated now. Also, my portfolio got better; my website (that I redid as a result of the class) got more like me; my artwork in general is feeling more like me; seeing so much beautiful work and so much talent (in the various class posts as well as the artwork produced by the other students) really pushed me to up my game, and seeing so much diversity of styles was very inspirational and showed me that it was okay to be me. Since the class I have also been experimenting more, sketching more, not worrying as much about the outcome and generally having more fun.

What did you discover about yourself?
As obvious as it may sound, I discovered that it was absolutely fine to be me and that there was room for my style in the industry. It was a real eye-opener because my illustration style is so different from a lot of the things I see and that are ‘trendy’ at the moment that I felt like an outsider and that maybe I wouldn’t make it in the illustration world for that reason. Accepting myself for who I am and my illustration style for what it is, and getting rid of the ‘shame’ that came with being different was tremendously liberating and it’s had an impact on various aspects of my life!

How would you describe the course to a friend?
If you’re thinking about getting into the children’s book industry this is a great place to start! You won’t find the kind of insights or advice that you get in this course anywhere else and to be honest, I wish I had found this course a lot sooner!

See more work here: Website | Instagram | Facebook

 

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Fia Kilbourn

This was my second time taking the Illustrating Children’s Books class and this time, I really enjoyed drawing poses. After a recent portfolio critique where I was encouraged to put more emphases on the narrative elements and relationships in my illustrations, it was great to have the opportunity to push myself in that way. I had pages and pages of sketches for this week. The lovely text that Zoe Tucker wrote gave me so much inspiration for poses. It was hard to narrow down which poses to include in the final submission for the assignment, but I was really pleased with what I came up with and could see growth in this area.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
Since this was my second time to take the class, I knew what the pace would be like and while it was intense, knowing that I managed it last time helped me to tackle it little by little. Learning about how to send promo material was super useful this time around, because I was currently in the process of putting together a promo package. It’s also just really great to have the encouragement from Lilla and Zoe and the other classmates. To be going through this together and discovering things together. To learn from the feedback you are given, but also the feedback other students are given helps you to look at your own work and take that feedback to heart.

What did you discover about yourself?
That I can do this! It’s something that I really want to do and even though it can be stressful and scary to put myself out there, I have skills that I learned from this class that will help me get the jobs I want.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
You will have five weeks of intense drawing and creating, but you will also find a warm and supportive environment where you can grow. You will find that the pace puts a little fire under your feet that will push you forward to the next level in your illustration. You will be proud of the work you created and the connections you made with other artists. And the cherry on the top is having a lot of background information on how the industry works, how to get noticed, and the process of a book from start to finish. This last information might not be useful at first, but it’s yours to keep and you can go back to it at different points in your career when it is more relevant to review it.

See more work here: Website | Instagram

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Andrea Stegmaier


This image shows Eleanor, a girl who really wants a pet and has a lot of fantasy. I loved thinking about the main character of the story and the accesoires which could describe her personality.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
I learned so much about the childrensbook industry, about the whole process and about the work as an illustrator, that I feel well prepared to jump right into contacting publishing houses. Now I feel more confident and professional.

What did you discover about yourself?
I discovered my love for colors. Drawing is a lot of fun, but when I start with the colors it’s joy.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
This class is a boost for you if you are willing to work hard. You will get a ton of information from lovely experienced teachers and you will meet a bunch of creative supportive people! It’s worth the effort!

See more work here: Instagram

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Annelies Diks-Krijgsman | Studio ZooLies

This is the cover illustration I made for Illustrating Childrens Books Oct 2017. I chose the story Pet Problems, written by Zoë Tucker.

It is made in watercolour and pencils and digitally put together. All the weeks were great and had its own challenges. I chose this one, because I have been working on it a long time and finally finished it in a way I am pleased with it. I had to overcome a lot of mountains to get this piece together. So I am very proud of it!

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
It helped me grow in different ways. By taking this course I learned a lot from my fellow classmates regarding techniques but also learning that there is a huge amount of different approaches you can take to do an assignment. It really sparked my creativity! And of course the wonderfull Lilla and her great team who helped structure and guide us through. The course is very well set up and gave me insight and guidance in how to approach future drawings. The mini’s and bonusses really loosen you up and prepare you for the main assignment. And the constant positive affirmations Lilla and Zoë gave us, was really inspiring and a gamechanger! I use them in my personal life too now! By taking this course I also grew a very great, rich, supporting and inspiring network of beautiful artist. I am very thankful and gratef to have met them. And the most important thing I learned is: have fun! It’s not about what you make but how you make it!

What did you discover about yourself?
I learned that it is only the beginning for me :)
I still struggle with my perfectionism and the idea that I have to perform and make a great piece every time. But I am training myself to let that go and make sure I have fun doing what I do. So courages showing my mistakes now and sharing my artistic journey without worrying if it will look good. And something else I discovered is that I am not as bad as I thought I was. All these great artist I met make beautiful things, but it turnes out we all have things we are good at. So we all can learn from eachother.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
This course is the greatest gift you can give yourself if you really enjoy creating art and want to make more of it! Wether you are a beginner or a pro. It will guide you, nurse you, stretch you, challenge you, learn you to keep making art and will let you grow personally and artistically. The courses of Lilla are very well set up and full of valuable information and therefor worth every euro. The set up takes you step by step further into the professional world of making art and lets you grow and come out of your comfortzone to stretch yourself in ways you could not have done on your own. But the positive energy Lilla and her team put in make it a warm and encouraging environment like a warm bath, so you feel safe to get out of your comfortzone to reach new heights. She also gives you entrance to a lovely and very valuable community of artist. Oh and the classes are addictive ;)

See more work here: Website | Instagram

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Marieke de Beurs | MÅKE

For me week 3 (poses) was the week that my characters came to life. Because you see them moving and the have different emotions so as if you can get to know the character.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?

For me this was the first time I illustrated a human character. The way Lilla and Zoe teach gives you great confidence. Nothing is wrong and you start at the point where you are in your career. I learned to trust again on my pencil and that you need to practice and have fun while doing it. I never realised that to draw a child you have different proportions (big head, big eyes) and it was great to experiment with all the emotions a character has. It really gives an emotional depth to the character and to the story you are trying to tell.

What did you discover about yourself?

I learned that I really enjoy drawing and don’t to stop. And I want to explore how I can make a living as an illustrator. (That’s why I signed up for My Year of Art School) A great wish is to illustrate a childrens book in the future.

How would you describe the course to a friend?

It is a great course where you have great assignments, great fellow students, and the best Facebook lives to learn from each others work. It is wonderful to be in class again. A really inspiring course which gives you help how to make a great book pitch and what it takes to make a children’s book. You get drip fed with information so it is not overwhelming but step by step guidance.

See more work here: Website | Instagram

Devon Holzwarth

Mats ICB class the third time around was just as great for me as the first two rounds! The story really spoke to me and for those 5 weeks I made Leonard the sea turtle a major part of my life. I included this image of Leonard from week one because I so enjoyed the process of diving in and getting to know who this character is and what might live in his world.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
I spent a good day drawing and painting little objects and words and other details (some very farfetched but they can lead to great ideas!) and drew several variations of turtles – elderly turtles, turtles buying groceries, turtles trying to turn over, etc. I painted some loose landscapes with one of my favorite dark blue gouaches and then picked a color pencil that really popped against it to draw a turtle in the scene – and that’s how the orangey-red Leonard the turtle came to be. After that I used the character sheet as a guide for the rest of my color choices and the story vibe.

What did you discover about yourself?
I think after taking ICB twice before I understood how the course would flow and how important it was to trust my initial thoughts and embrace them. That’s definitely spilled over into my work and also somewhat personally – trusting my intuition in one realm of life makes it easier to do so in the big picture.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
ICB is not only a super fun course, it’s also a fabulously friendly group and a place where you’re guaranteed to grow creatively when you throw yourself in. Zoe & Lilla are a dream team!

See more work here: Website | Instagram

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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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In five weeks, 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. Co-taught by top art agent Lilla Rogers and highly-respected children’s book art director Zoe Tucker.

Spaces are limited! Don’t miss out. REGISTER HERE

bookyourplacenow

#MatsPrep for Illustrating Children’s Books class: My Home Planet


Let’s get you ready for my course, Illustrating Children’s Books! I’ve chosen my very favorite MATS Prep for you. What’s a MATS Prep? They are free exercises to get prepared for class, or just to have some creative fun.

What’s the number one thing that art directors look for in a portfolio when selecting an illustrator for a children’s book? They look to see that an illustrator can draw a great character!

What is a ‘great’ character?

It can be a person, an animal, or even a thing like a robot or even a pencil! The character has personality. So how do you show that? We will teach you how in class, but for now, here’s a tip: give it interesting accessories. What is it holding, carrying, wearing? Do the accessories help to tell the story?

I’m going to show you some work for for Illustrating Children’s Books. See how Kristin Smith used the fun glasses and shoes to give personality to this character?

Kristin Smith for Illustrating Children’s Books

Heather Manning for Illustrating Children’s Books

Fill in the blanks and then draw your character. You’re the boss of the art, so do what you like! You can put lettering on the art, you can draw a setting, you can make your character look like anything you want! Have fun with this. It’s just a warm up. (Right off the bat in Week One of Illustrating Children’s Books, Zoe and I will help you, step by step, to create a character. But for now, have fun with this!) Don’t forget to share your creations with us on social media using the hashtag #MATSprep!

I miss my home planet!

It looks like ___________________________________ (describe). I had a really cool job on my planet. I was a ___________________. My name was _________________. My planet’s name is _______________. Coming from another planet explains why I _________________.

Here are two great examples from last time that I ran this prep. I want you to see the imaginative text. For your piece, I want you to be sure to draw a character—a child, an animal, or a thing. You will be able to choose a text in class. We give you a choice of three original texts. One features a child, one an animal, and one a thing, so whatever your comfort level with drawing.

Jacqui Malvagh

Zoe Ingram

TIP: Want help with drawing children’s faces? Register for my course Drawing Faces (available 1 March) which has a section dedicated to helping you draw kids’ faces. I made this due to popular requests from my students for help with drawing the face.

 

Join me LIVE on Monday, February 19th at 1pm EST/ 6pm GMT on the Make Art That Sells Facebook page! I’ll be broadcasting a free lively Facebook Live to kick off the first day class for Illustrating Children’s Books! Everyone is invited to join in as I answer questions about the class and share insider tips and information to help you thrive in your art career.

Click here to sign up! Hope to see you in class! Let me help you make your best art.

xo

Lilla Rogers

Art Agent

Illustrating Children’s Books Student Showcase part 5 {Oct 2017 class}


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 the previous session of the Illustrating Children’s Books class. View more student showcase posts here.

bookyourplacenow

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Natallia Bushuyeva


I chose the image from the week „Emotions“ because this was my first attempt to create a character in professional way. I loved to play with Eleanor’s emotions, making her crying or laughing.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
ICB class helped me a lot. During 5 weeks I learned and improved much more, then during last two years, when I was trying to learn and to illustrate children’s book in my own. The information, given from Lilla and Zoe, is precious! I was also very encouraged to draw and to break my barriers thanks to the Facebook group.

What did you discover about yourself?
I discovered, that I could produce characters in different poses and with a range of emotions. Also, I discovered new (for me) technique here: pencils sketching with colouring in Photoshop. This style gave me a lot of liberty in expressions and better productivity.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
The course is very useful, gives a lot of important information, and helps to grow and to build your portfolio in a professional way.

See more work here: Website | Instagram

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Karyne Leduc

This was week #3 of the course where we had to show our character in motion! So this is Eleanor the main character of the story Pet Problems written by Zoe Tucker in different poses and actions! I really enjoyed making this image because it was new for me to put my character’s in different poses. I usually draw persons or animals in a static pose so this was a challenge. I did alot of research and observation to really capture the movements.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?the course really helped me take a giant step in my understanding of what are the importants elements that catch the eye in picture books, how to make your character pop out, how to draw small children so they look the right age, how to use shadowing… And the most important part is that I know now what I need to send to art directors for this particular market.

What did you discover about yourself?I discovered that I was able to push myself to draw things I didn’t think I was able to at first and also that I can meet tight deadlines!

How would you describe the course to a friend? this course is wonderful and full of tips and information to know what to send out to get licensed in the children book’s industry. You learn a lot during the weekly live review’s, what to do better or another way next time. It shows you such a variety of styles ans ways to interprete a same subject. It’s really a life changing course that really makes your art grow and evolve for that market!

See more work here: Instagram

 

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Nicola Allan

 

The front cover image for my chosen text “Pet Problems” was definitely my favourite to illustrate as it was the culmination of weeks of character development and as such, super satisfying to see all my hard work come together in one final piece.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?The class helped me to grow massively in confidence and I think I really surprised myself with how much I achieved and learned over the duration of the course.The way a huge amount of industry information is delivered and how each assignment is structured is brilliant and ensures that the pace is steady and you don’t find yourself too overwhelmed at any given time, despite it being a pretty intense five weeks!

What did you discover about yourself?I mainly realised just how much can be achieved within a short period of time when I set my mind to it. I worked really hard to meet all assignment deadlines, on top of full time job, and was really proud of the work that I produced given the time constraints. I can be pretty hard on myself at times so this was a breakthrough! This result, without doubt, was down to the wonderful MATS community and the nurturing teaching and support provided by Zoe and Lilla, and the other students on the course. I just need to be brave now and send out my work to some potential clients!

How would you describe the course to a friend? The course is so much more than an online art class – it’s an in-depth insight into the children’s book industry taught by people who know exactly how to get the best from us creative types. You’ll learn not only how to create work that art directors want to see but also how to craft and present a really effective pitch. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to become part of the MATS community; a place to connect with and get support from a bunch of super lovely like-minded people. You may also find at the end of the course that you’ve enjoyed yourself so much, you end up reducing your day job hours, simply to make way for more art… like I’ve just done!

See more work here: Website | Instagram

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Jacqueline Gutierrez

 

This is my double page spread from Week 4, a scene from By the Light of the Moon by Zoe Tucker. Edgar the sea turtle is pointing at the campfire, asking if it is the moon. The dancing monkeys are pointing at the moon in the sky, but Edgar thinks that they are pointing at the fireflies.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
I found the MATS Illustrating Children’s Books class to be a great learning experience. I especially enjoyed Week 4 because that is when we learned how to put it all together. That week we worked on our double page spreads, putting our characters into the environment of the book. Thank you so much Lilla and Zoe for such a wonderful class with specific exercises to help us look for assignments as picture book illustrators.

The MATS Illustrating Children’s Books class helped me grow as an artist. During the class, I learned how to draw more quickly, and adjusted my illustration style to be a bit more cartoony as a result.

 

What did you discover about yourself?
I discovered that I enjoy using a cartoony drawing style for illustrations and rediscovered my love of drawing.

How would you describe the course to a friend?I would definitely recommend this course to a friend. The assignments are based on what would be needed in the real world, yet are fun and enjoyable. After completing this course, you will have many more illustrations to add to your portfolio.

See more work here: Website | Instagram | Facebook

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Kate Kronreif

 

“Environment”. Double page spread for Egg and Spoon. The most challenging for me, and ultimately the most rewarding!

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
ICB helped me in so many ways. It gave me confidence, it made me part of an amazing, supportive, generous community and it showed me how to push myself.

What did you discover about yourself?
That I can do this!

How would you describe the course to a friend?
Intense, amazing, worth every penny.

See more work here: Website | Instagram

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Charlotte Bruijn | Lottaland


In week three the illustration Children’s Bookparty went on with poses. It’s really great to get to know the character better and better.
I found it very usefull to feel the movement myself to get a better understanding of the emotion in the body, so i made all kinds goofy moves and sounds at my studio ( which nobody saw;-)

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
Oh my, Lilla Rogers and team, I’ve couldnt done this without you. I cant say how grateful and happy i am. Wheeehoooo!
This course was really lifechanging for me. It sounds strange but it really is. For years i’ve told myself i wasnt ready. But the course gave the right insight and so much joy. After the course amazing people crossed my path because they found my work on Instagram.
An amazing art agent contacted me to work with her, a publisher wants to make a picture book with me and i’m working on my first ever commissioned children’s picturebook right now! YAY!

What did you discover about yourself?
That my heart blooms when i illustrate.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
This is the best course on so many levels. It’s a positive mindchanger to have more fun and be less critical to yourself. People buy your joy is Lilla best quote which echoes in my mind.
– The encouraging vibe from the facebook group is really indescribable valuable. In real life i really missed such cool group of people who understand what it takes to make art.
– It’s jampacked with all kinds of inside information about the business, trends, prompts and inspiration. Everyday you get new insights. SO much to learn.

See more work here: Website | Instagram

***

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.
matsD-banner-h02650

In five weeks, 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. Co-taught by top art agent Lilla Rogers and highly-respected children’s book art director Zoe Tucker.

Spaces are limited! Don’t miss out. REGISTER HERE

bookyourplacenow

Illustrating Children’s Books Student Showcase part 4 {Oct 2017 class}


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 the previous session of the Illustrating Children’s Books class. View more student showcase posts here.

bookyourplacenow

***

Asma Enayeh | Asma Original

 

I really enjoyed working on my cover as it was the last week and I already had understood how the course works. I got used to sketching everyday for the daily prompts and I had already designed all the characters of the story. So working on the cover was a matter of putting all the story characters together in an eye catching way. I had the privilege to see my cover featured in the live review by Lilla and Zoe in the “Cool Style” section. A lovely way to wrap up the five weeks journey with this feature.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
Illustrating Children’s Book was my first ever MATS course. I had never drew I child before the course so the first week was a challenge for me. However, hearing all the insightful comments from Lilla and Zoe in the live reviews every week, I understood the basics of children illustrations and knew what I needed to do to improve in my drawings. Each week assignment was an opportunity for me to see where I am artistically and how to improve to get where I want in the future. In the last week live review I found my cover featured in the “Cool Style” section so I was happy to know that I was on the right path.

What did you discover about yourself?
Trying new mediums was a huge turning point for me as I discovered that I like working with gouache the most! And I have never tried gouache painting before taking the course.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
The course is very insightful and a great learning opportunity. It is intense and challenging but comes with a great support system from Lilla and Zoe and from the other students. I definitely recommend it for anyone who has a dream of illustrating a children’s book one day. We learned the technical skills from the moment of creating the character to the moment of pitching and working with an agent.

See more work here: Website | Instagram | Facebook

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Caroline Bonne-Muller


It’s the week of the environment. I painted the street in Eleanor’s city with the people in it and Eleanor sitting in her favorite Ice Cream shop and a little hint to the next page of the story. The Elephant is peeking out of the door, so may be the kid who is reading the book can already guess here what her favorite Pet will be.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
The course really helped me to understand which steps you have to go through to illustrate a children’s book and especially I loved learning to draw a little figure in all kind of new positions with all different expressions.

What did you discover about yourself?
I love to tell a story while drawing.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
An incredible course, with two brilliant teachers, you learn a lot, there is a ton of such a valuable information and besides that you will be so proud of yourself after the 5 weeks, with some beautiful portfolio work!

See more work here: Website | Instagram | Facebook

 

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Renee Gauvin

I chose this image because I love the feeling of childhood excitement of Eleanor. It is the morning and the possibility of a brand new day at the zoo! This was my first painting of Eleanor and I love that she is tiny, wearing her pjs and shows a lot of joy.
It shows that she lives in the city and that the zoo is close enough to see.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
As usual, in all of the MATS classes, you are working along side some terrific artists, and because of that I pushed myself and grew as an artist.

What did you discover about yourself?
I learned that loving the character, Eleanor, kept me more motivated and engaged in the project, so I learned that I need to like my characters.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
Without it feeling overwhelming, this class gave me more information about illustrating children’s books than I can list right here. Every question and detail was attended to in the course and all art styles were encouraged and nurtured. The live reviews are always really helpful and informative.

See more work here: Website

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Eunji Jung


This is a character pose sheet I created for the assignment of week 3. Week 3 was the week I fully visualized the character I created with the whole body poses. I learned so much about the character development and how poses strongly depict the character’s personality. I had to think so hard about how this character would express its emotions using its face, arms, legs, and even shape of her hair! It was a very intensive week but I enjoyed every process.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
After taking this course, I learned how to give personality to the characters by analyzing the stories and manuscripts, and I think that is one of the most important abilities a children’s book illustrator must have. Also, my drawing skills improved a lot after studying and sketching a lot of body figures of children’s and animals. This class made me feel more confident in my skills and has made me a better illustrator.

What did you discover about yourself?
I discovered and developed my style. During the intensive five weeks, I had to draw the main character a lot and have to make them look consistent. While I was doing it, I found how I wanted to draw and the style I felt confident with. And I realized how much I love illustrating children’s books. I seriously decided to become a children’s book illustrator and have been building up my portfolio focusing on it.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
This is a must-take course if you want to become a children’s book illustrator. It provides lots of useful and practical tips including information about the industry, what to prepare, how to build your portfolio, and art directors’ views that you have to know. Also, it has a very friendly facebook community that always supports each other and encourages you to grow more. You will love this course and it will serve as a great portfolio piece at the end.

See more work here: Website | Instagram

***

Tanja Stephani | L’art qui rit

I chose the cover week, because it was also shown in the weekly review on the. Lilla and Zoe have encouraged me to change the character in a little way, that was great, so I learned a lot.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
I have now a job a an children’s book Illustrator , Im not that shy anymore, and I think I know lots more about the market.

What did you discover about yourself?
It helped me again to see other things with other eyes, eyes from Agents, other students.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
It’s now the third time I have taken the workshop and Im still learning, learning… Im in a wonderful group with high talented artists. I have friendships around the world and some of the classmates will meet each other in bologna again. It’s something you can do for your soul, your heart and for other peoples there will buy your joy and joy is the word for matskidbook! And you will get work!

See more work here: Website | Instagram

***

Andrea Chang

 

In the third week of class, I created “Elanor Poses,” my personal favorite. By depicting this character in various moods, I got to know her as an optimistic little girl. She came to life in my mind, her body language becoming more dynamic, her face expressing many traits at once: kindness, wit, and vulnerability.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
ICB teaches an important life lesson: continuous work leads to continuous improvement, moving our work from good to great. This sharpened my craft, helping me to discover my artistic voice: delicate curves mixed with mid-20th century pastels.

What did you discover about yourself?
I discovered that I delight in exploring themes: family-friendly themes about animals and optimism.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
This course is amazing! I learned a ton and enjoyed every minute of it. I love the support and feedback from Lilla, Zoe, and the FB community. You can grow more than you anticipate in 5 weeks. ICB will definitely change you.

See more work here: Website| Instagram

***

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.
matsD-banner-h02650

In five weeks, 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. Co-taught by top art agent Lilla Rogers and highly-respected children’s book art director Zoe Tucker.

Spaces are limited! Don’t miss out. REGISTER HERE

bookyourplacenow

Illustrating Children’s Books Student Showcase part 3 {Oct 2017 class}


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 the previous session of the Illustrating Children’s Books class. View more student showcase posts here.

bookyourplacenow

***

Nicole Wilson


My favorite image from weekly assignments: Week 5 Cover. This was my favorite image from the course as it was the culmination of everything we learned from Lilla and Zoe over the course of 5 wonderfully challenging and creative weeks. It really reflected how much I had both grown and learned from the time we began the course and turned in our Week 1 assignments.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
I feel like Lilla’s brilliant children’s book illustration course really gave me wings to fly as a working artist and supported me beautifully through the process of honing new skills and brushing up on older ones. It grounded me in the “rules of the game” so to speak when it comes to illustrating children’s books and the various components of character, emotions, poses, environment and ultimately making smashing cover art!! While I have been a working artist for years I came into the course very green when it came to the certain aspects of Children’s Books and that was slightly intimidating, however I feel like I walked away from the course ready to submit my portfolio to top art directors and art agents. It grew my confidence in my abilities not only in the realm of Children’s Books, but also as an artist and in the fact that my craft and ability is capable of traversing many mediums.

What did you discover about yourself?
What I discovered about myself through Lilla’s Children’s Book Illustration course was that I can still, even after so many years working as a professional artist, grow, learn and develop new enterprising skills regardless of where I am in my career to keep my work current. It is quite refreshing to realize that if you push yourself outside of your comfort zone, even in the areas you feel most at ease (for myself this would be drawing and painting), you can become an even better artist. I quite surprised myself by the amount of growth that took place through the few short weeks. I have always worked traditionally, but over the past year of taking MATS courses is how to work skillfully in the digital medium as well.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
If I were to describe this course to a friend I would say it is an invaluable masterclass in Children’s Books, that is ideal for anyone who wants to learn and develop a winning children’s book pitch. I would also add though this course may challenge you and cause you to question your abilities at times, it truly affords you a priceless tool box with which you can confidently step into the professional world of children’s book illustration.

See more work here: Website | Instagram

***

Rachael Schafer Designs

 

I came up with a little turtle girl based on Zoes story copy, and I love how this week brings elements of her journey together: she meets a tiger, and the city is seen in the distance.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
I learned to pace illustrations along with text and to build in differing points of view and to show characters interacting with one another.

What did you discover about yourself?
That I love to draw creatures doing things!

How would you describe the course to a friend?
A fantastic overview of the details that you need to create a children’s book and a big picture idea on what it takes to get a book published!

See more work here: Website | Instagram

***

Jennifer Potter

I had a hard time choosing which week was my favorite, but in the end I went with week 5- cover because that’s where everything I’d done throughout the course came together. Lilla likes to say “yard by yard, it’s hard, inch by inch, it’s a cinch.” Well that was very evident in week 5. By then, I already knew my characters inside and out, as well as my style and color palette. I can get caught up with analysis paralysis, so having everything worked out meant I didn’t have to focus on anything but execution, which was a great way to wrap up such a challenging and immersive course!

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
After taking the course I feel way more confident about my art and what I need to do to get work. I learned a lot from Lilla and Zoe and it helped me set up a clear set of goals that will help propel my work forward, including updating my portfolio, joining SCBWI, and going to the Children’s Book Fair in Bologna. I feel like I went into the class in a fog and stepped out in daylight!

What did you discover about yourself?
When I started the course I was questioning everything I did, and my work was suffering as a result. Much of it was technically skilled, but it felt soulless. I wasn’t focused on what I wanted, but what I thought other people wanted to see. I was more concerned with what was popular, than with finding my own voice, and it wasn’t making me happy. Lilla encourages you to “be yourself with a vengeance,” and with all the sketchbook prompts and assignments, there’s plenty of space to find out just who that is. But there’s something about getting to see who your classmates are, too. It’s such a fantastic community of wonderfully skilled artists, and getting to see how they create strong work in their own myriad styles every week reinforces that there is no right or wrong way to make great art. If you pay attention, and don’t let yourself get discouraged by the healthy competition, it can be quite freeing. At some point in the course, it all clicked. I was able to step back and see the unique style I’d already been developing, which has allowed me to produce significantly stronger work since the class ended.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
Like anything, you get out of it what you put into it. If you are willing to put in the effort, there is a ton of stuff to learn and be challenged by, as well as a wonderfully supportive and inspiring community.

See more work here: Website | Instagram

***

Martina Scott


I chose this image, as it was tying together a lot of different aspects taught from the course – emotions, poses, background, type, layout. I loved working on this spread.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
Having everything broken down into manageable stages made everything seem do-able. The weekly assignments, the interviews, videos and feedback made everything clear. Before the course, I would’ve been preparing a pitch without confidence but now I have a good grasp of what they’re after and what I need to work on.

What did you discover about yourself?
I discovered I’m able to work in different ways than I thought. Before I stuck with single illustrations and never furthered any characters. After experimenting, I found a style that is both similar to my earlier work but also different enough to allow more versatility with the characters. I realised I’m able to work with multiple poses and expressions with consistency.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
This course guides you step-by-step through everything you need for a killer pitch for children’s books. You’re not doing it alone either, everyone is sharing their progress and helping each other daily on the facebook group.

See more work here: Website | Instagram | Facebook

***

Francesca Pirrone

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
The class has been fantastic, it is and full of creative energy. I grew up looking at the work of other artists and listening to the advice of Lilla and Zoe.

What did you discover about yourself?
Finally when I draw I’m no longer alone with my desk. In the week on the poses I fell in love with the little clumsy turtle, I saw her walking, falling, rolling in my house.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
I told my friends about this course with joy…….. think they are going to join the next one!.

See more work here: Instagram | Facebook

***

Karolina Golightly | King Bird Illustration


The Emotions week was my favorite, because I played around with a wide range of Emotions for the character Eleanor – it made me get to know her much better and I learned a lot about the basic human Emotions and their subcategories in that week.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
ICB was a great experience for me! It helped me to become more structured in my approach to how I work, and I got tons and tons of very helpful and interesting insider information about how the childrens book market works. Plus it was the most supportive environment! and great fun!

What did you discover about yourself?
I discovered about myself that I can grow fast in many directions under the right guidance and with the fabulous support provided by Lilla and Zoe!

How would you describe the course to a friend?
If you want to grow as an Illustrator, especially in the Childrens Books Area, ICB is worth more than Gold! It is a very supportive, lovely and colourful environment, very thoughtfully structured and will give you insight and information that can last a very long time. but be careful, its addictive! ;)

See more work here: Instagram

***

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.
matsD-banner-h02650

In five weeks, 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. Co-taught by top art agent Lilla Rogers and highly-respected children’s book art director Zoe Tucker.

Spaces are limited! Don’t miss out. REGISTER HERE

bookyourplacenow

Illustrating Children’s Books Student Showcase part 2 {Oct 2017 class}


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 the previous session of the Illustrating Children’s Books class. View more student showcase posts here.

bookyourplacenow

***

Lynn Gaines | Lynn Gaines Design

 

This image is from week 4 MATS ICB: Environment -the image shows our story’s main character, Eleanor, trying to get her pet giraffe up to her 27th floor apartment in the elevator.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
This class helped me to work on developing characters that have more life in them, conveying emotion and movement and setting them in an environment as well as working on the craft of story-telling through my art.

What did you discover about yourself?
I actually enjoy drawing characters that have personality and a story to tell.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
This a MFA style crash course on the in and outs of Children’s books and how to develop a killer pitch for your ideas and characters. The course is crammed with great material and TONS of eye candy- MUST TAKE course for anyone looking to grow their chops making Children’s books!

See more work here: Website | Instagram | Facebook

 

***

Rachel Schmiedel


Week 3-Drawing Characters was my favorite week because for the first time in my life I learned how to make a character come alive! In the past I have drawn figures in one pose and felt it was “too hard” to try to redraw it in a different pose. Now my characters can run, skip, jump, and fall down!

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
This class gave me the courage and drive to do hard things and overcome my hangups. I am so glad I did because I discovered that poses aren’t too difficult to draw, if I change my mindset to being willing to draw, draw, and redraw until it looks nice. I took this class because I have a childhood dream of being an Illustrator (I think you can claim the title after taking this class), although I am not a paid professional at this time and am just getting back to art after my youngest child (out of 6) is old enough to be at school all day. The class is jam-packed with information about the entire process of how a book is made from initial ideas to publication, and I don’t say that lightly! Zoe Tucker, the teacher, is in the publication field and is quite knowledgeable about the process, and I felt honored to take a class under her and Lilla (the expert agent).

What did you discover about yourself?
At the start of the class I felt the self-imposed, heavy weight of trying to be perfect (whatever that is supposed to look like!) and wanting badly to succeed like in the days of college art classes. By the end of the 5th week I had relaxed and gained confidence that each artist has a voice/style and something beautiful to share with the world. It was a freeing experience and worth it all. I have always known that I really love creating art, but have never enjoyed it as much as I do now, because this class was all about having FUN while learning something in-depth. I have always wondered how I can make art that people actually would like to buy, so thus, I began this journey of taking ICB and now other MATS classes as well.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
Have you ever dreamed of illustrating children’s books or have even a slight curiosity about wanting to know how to create memorable characters with a range of emotions and ability to move? Do you want to know every detail about how a book is made from the first idea through publishing, what catches an art director’s eye, and love challenging yourself? Then sign up for Illustrating Children’s Books! All levels are welcome and encouraged. If you want to be inspired by a community of artists, sign up, and take a step toward making your dreams a reality!

See more work here: Instagram

***

Laura Zarrin

This is a cover for Pet Problems. This was my favorite week because it felt like a breakthrough for me, artistically. I feel like it’s the new direction I want to take my work in. It still makes me so happy to see it!

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
This class really pushed my buttons! That’s how I know it was good for me.

What did you discover about yourself?
If I’m resisting, then change is coming. It was an overwhelming (in a good way) amount of information. I loved it!!! Even though I’ve been in this business for a long time, I still learned so much and really valued the detail of the blog posts and so many wonderful examples.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
This feels like both a beginner’s class and a graduate level class. I just can’t recommend it enough!

See more work here: Website | Instagram | Facebook

***

Sofia Moore

My favorite assignment was to create a book cover. It was a final assignment where all elements I worked on during the previous weeks fell in place and started looking whole. I chose to illustrate a story with a lot of nature in it such as sea, plants, animals. So right away after reading “By the light of the Moon” text I envisioned big whimsical plants, colorful landscapes and seascapes. I wanted to challenge myself creating something rich in color and to tackle a big environment scene. I tried to combine all elements of the story in the final image which was the cover and bring mood and emotions to it.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
I have taken the “Illustrating Children’s Book” class three times and by the end of the third class I could feel more confident about certain steps of developing a visual story, like working on initial sketches and organizing them in a dummy book, developing characters, working on colors and side elements. The class helped me to visualize the final look of the book more clear and to have better coordination between the image I had in my mind and what I created on paper. It takes patience and dedication to develop a character that looks alive, can move, express different emotions and look appealing to readers.

What did you discover about yourself?
I learned again that illustrating a story is something I love to do and and never get bored of. I love to live in a story and add to it something more with my art.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
The class is very motivating, full of talented artists and advice from Lilla. Great source of information for somebody who wants to learn practical ways of being a children’s book illustrator.

See more work here: Website | Instagram

***

Clare Faulkner | Small Dots

 

This was cover week, and as a graphic designer, I really felt should be my best week! The cover brought together all I had learned on the course with my strengths. I was pleased with the design, and it took confidence to keep it simple. I found each week I made a huge leap.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
I am a graphic designer and a real beginner at illustration. The course gave me the confidence to really push myself and took me out of my comfort zone. I was amazed by how much I achieved in such a short time. It has given me new confidence and real improvement in all areas of my work.

What did you discover about yourself?
I discovered that hard work and perseverance are the key and that there is nothing to be afraid of.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
Illustrating Children’s Books is an intense experience and you will feel like you are on a rollercoaster. You will learn huge amounts about illustration, the industry and yourself. The structure of the course along with peer and tutor support really pushes you beyond what you thought you were capable of.

See more work here: Website | Instagram

***

Anna Petry| Hebbedinge

This image was for the third week, in which we were asked to show the main character in different poses and also we were allowed to add an image of the secondary characters. I loved the thought of all the animals together and came up with the idea of using black for the sea lion, white for the elephant and black and white for the giraffe. It was so much fun to make this composition, because I had an idea right from the start. And when an idea in my head works on paper, too- thats such a great moment!!

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
The course let my confidence grow and make me feel like there could be a place in this market for me. Also being part of a supportive group of people who all share the love for creating images was such a great experience! To find that there are people with similar passions who are willing to be cooperative and share their knowledge is just great!

What did you discover about yourself?
I learned from this course to let go of insecurities quicker, that there is no right or wrong, that it is good to show your work (even though you’re not 100% sure of it), and the greatest lesson I learned was to not compare myself with others. I admire so many artists for their work, it can quickly change into negative thoughts. But with the affirmations of Lilla I learned to not let the negative thoughts get too big. „People buy your joy“ has become a very helpful sentence for me.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
The course is a very professional learning experience on so many levels. You get to know the market, you get to know your possibilities and your own boundaries and you get to know so many inspiring personalities. You get the chance to take part of a creative adventure extraordinaire!

See more work here: Instagram

***

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.
matsD-banner-h02650

In five weeks, 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. Co-taught by top art agent Lilla Rogers and highly-respected children’s book art director Zoe Tucker.

Spaces are limited! Don’t miss out. REGISTER HERE

bookyourplacenow

Illustrating Children’s Books Student Showcase part 1 {Oct 2017 class}


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 the previous session of the Illustrating Children’s Books class. View more student showcase posts here.

bookyourplacenow

***

Michelle Vinson | Brush & Inc.

My favorite submission and week for Illustrating Children’s Books was the emotions week. Making my character come to life was always a struggle (or fear) and I felt like I broke through a barrier during this week and now feel more comfortable telling my stories through my illustrations.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
Illustrating Children’s Book class helped me grow professionally because it confirmed that, YES, I do want to illustrate children’s books. I feel like the class gave me the steps to work hard and make that happen.

What did you discover about yourself?
I discovered that I have so much to learn still, but that I can do this!

How would you describe the course to a friend?
If I were to describe this course to a friend I would say, “it’s super high-paced and packed with information. I had to carve out some time and do this for myself. I worked hard, learned from the other classmates and still had fun. Lilla and Zoe shared so much information and passion for what they do. . . I will forever be grateful.”

See more work here: Website | Instagram | Facebook

***

Anya Kopotilova | Green Rain Art

My favorite week was week 4- Background, I am mostly drawn to beautiful backgrounds when I read a picture book and scenery in general is very appealing to me. I was excited to see my characters interact in a specific setting. This is a meeting between little turtle and tiger.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
Illustrating Children’s Books was my first introduction to children’s books illustration and it gave me a very clear picture of the path I want to take as an illustrator. The amount of information presented in the course covered every aspect of the industry and mapped out the course of action for me. I gained new appreciation of the artwork aimed at the younger audience.

What did you discover about yourself?
I discovered I can work at the pace I previously thought impossible, I realized I am better at drawing that I thought I was.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
I would say “This is a fast paced, comprehensive course that will challenge you in many ways and reward you with a portfolio of work ready to present to a publisher. The community of fellow illustrators and amazing instructors provide support necessary for beginner or experienced illustrator”

See more work here: Website | Instagram | Facebook

 

***

Jane Sanders

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
I learned from the Illustrating Children’s Book class that making a successful piece of art for children is far more complicated than it seems at first glance. When I see people who do their craft well, I think oh how easy is that. I realized after taking this class that the best artists make their work seem effortless. It takes hard work, determination, and grit. Therein lies their gifts; to make ones work relatable, readable and beautiful all in the same breath.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
I would recommend any of Lilla’s courses. She is genuine, honest, exuberant, thoughtful and gives every aspect of her classes her everything. She makes it look easy!

 

See more work here: Website | Instagram

***

Stephanie Olivieri

 

This is one of two pages of character development for Eleanor and her wanted pets. I love doing character designs and exploring them is always my favorite thing to do when I start a new book or project.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
It pushed me to do my own work instead of just working for others on pre-existing characters. It was also great to connect with other kidlit artists in another class. I have lots of new pieces for my portfolio which I’m showing at the SCBWI winter conference in New York City Feb 2018.

What did you discover about yourself?
I don’t know really if I discovered anything, but I had a lot of fun as always in MATS.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
I would say that it’s a fun, fast-paced class that is great to develop and or improve your skills with lectures and videos every week.

See more work here: Website | Instagram | Facebook

 

***

Shelly Laslo

Animal-loving Eleanor peers out in wonder over the magnificent city view. She dreams of having her own special pet one day. This was my absolute favorite week, firstly because it challenged me to draw a cityscape, which I had never attempted before- I had been in a true rut of drawing isolate characters on white backgrounds! Secondly, I loved this week in the Children’s Book Course because it was what made Eleanor really come to life for me- seeing her in her own special world.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
Professionally, the class pushed me to look at characters in a much more three-dimensional way- ensuring that my Eleanor had a range of emotions and expressions, that I was drawing her in a way that enabled her to move and do the things she needed to do to covey the story. This course was also a lesson in perseverance- I found myself procrastinatlng the assignments that were out of my comfort zone (like drawing the character in odd poses and angles), but when I pushed through in order to meet the submission deadlines, I was always consistently pleased with my results!

What did you discover about yourself?
That I love illustrating for children, far more than I even thought I did when I signed up for the course! I’ve learned that any style works in children’s books, and that freed up my imagination! Having two little ones of my own, I see the wonder and excitement my own kids have when poring over a book, and I’d love to have my own name on a cover someday, so they can say “Mummy drew that!”. It’s a new path I’m super excited to explore in my illustration career.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
Exciting, addicitive, and intense in the best way possible! I’d say clearing your schedule for the five weeks is a huge advantage, and would allow you to dive in to make the more of each submission. Be prepared to grow and challenge yourself as an illustrator- I saw tremendous growth not only in myself, but in my virtual classmates as I saw them sharing their work from week to week in the Facebook group.

See more work here: Website | Instagram | Facebook

 

***

Diane Hutton Powell

This is my Week 2 submission showcasing Eleanors many emotions. She really really REALLY wants a pet! This week was pivotal for me as I was lucky enough to be chosen for direct feedback from Lilla and Zoe- so exciting! The critique was constructive and positive and really helped me focus on where I needed to improve to go from good to great as Lilla would say!

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
This class gave me such a massive boost to my confidence, motivated me to work really hard on making more art, and made me realise where both my strengths and weaknesses lie. Even though it highlighted that I do have some weaknesses, the course gave me the tools and the confidence to try and overcome them.

What did you discover about yourself?
I discovered that with the right focus I can see that a career in illustration is achievable for me and that I should definitely have more confidence in my own abilities. I also know now that I flourish when working within a safe environment and with a supportive network of fellow artists- something that MATS provides in bucket loads!

The course is a fast track way of honing your skills, developing your style and focussing your business brain. It provides essential information as well as creative inspiration and guidance, at whatever point you are in your career. A must for any wannabe illustrators!

See more work here: Instagram

***

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.
matsD-banner-h02650

In five weeks, 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. Co-taught by top art agent Lilla Rogers and highly-respected children’s book art director Zoe Tucker.

Spaces are limited! Don’t miss out. REGISTER HERE

bookyourplacenow

Alumni success ‘spotlight’ interview with Kate Mazeika


We are so proud of our Make Art That Sells Alumni, and we are pleased to feature a series of spotlight interviews showcasing their successes and artwork. We’ve asked them to share how the MATS courses have helped them learn and grow. You can see more Alumni Success stories here

Today, we have an interview with Kate Mazeika  who has taken Illustrating Children’s Books class twice!

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

I knew I wanted to be an illustrator since high school when a local illustrator spoke to my art class about his job. I went to Columbus College of Art and Design and earned a BFA- my major was illustration.

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

I get a lot of joy from creating textures and playing with color. I also like to learn new skills/digital techniques and find ways to incorporate them in my work.

3. Which is your favourite market(s) to design for and why?.

Children’s publishing is my favorite market, I love the story telling.

4. What are you working on currently?

I am in the middle of a project for an educational publisher. I am also working on sketches for the second book in a middle reader series. The first book will be out later this year. (BTW when I first contacted the publisher she saw my MATS pieces and commented on how much she loves work from MATS students).

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

I took the MATS ICB class (2 times) because I saw a hole in my portfolio-compelling characters. I understood basic character design as an artist but MATS ICB helped me understand how to design characters that enhance the picture book text. Now I know it when I see a great character in a picture book and I am pushing to create those characters in my own work.

6. How have the classes helped your artwork evolve/grow?

I feel like Lilla and Zoe laid out the tools and gave great examples. And the reviews are full of great information-everything from the main discussions to the random bits and tangents really resonated with me and helped me see what I really needed to focus on.

7. Any aha moments during MATS you would like to share?

An aha moment would be when I saw people approach the same text in polar opposite ways- someone may be very classic and detailed and someone else very humorous and graphic. It made me see there is no single way to interpret a text, there are infinite right ways.

8. What are your key successes and how did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?

I signed with an agent about two months after my second MATS ICB class. I added interesting characters to my portfolio from each class and I think all of my characters are more interesting now.

I stopped obsessing over every tiny detail (no time!) and I think my work has been better for it. That was an important lesson for me.

9. What did you discover about yourself?

I would tell the other artist to expect to grow quite a bit- and to be surprised and how much work they will get done in just five weeks. And that there is an amazing community of MATS artists on social media that you will stay in touch with long after the class is done.

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

A whirlwind- lots of adrenaline, great encouragement from Lila, Zoe and the MATS community, and a great challenge to stretch yourself as an artist.

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!

 

Alumni success ‘spotlight’ interview with Katy Halford


We are so proud of our Make Art That Sells Alumni, and we are pleased to feature a series of spotlight interviews showcasing their successes and artwork. We’ve asked them to share how the MATS courses have helped them learn and grow. You can see more Alumni Success stories here

Today, we have an interview with Katy Halford who has taken MATS A, MATS B, Bootcamp, Home Decor and Illustrating Children’s Books

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

Ever since I have known I have always loved to draw. I was supported from a young age by my parents and grandparents and they encouraged to draw whenever I could. I remember I used to draw eyelashes on every character, and this became a distinct quirk in my drawings and has stuck with me ever since. I also used to make little cut out houses and shops and cut out my characters to play in them. As a child I would play for hours in these imagery worlds, creating little stories and acting them out. My teachers also encouraged this from a young age and supported me through school and university and my love of drawing has just continued to grow.

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

Anything creative brings me joy. I particularly love to draw characters, they are almost always given a name and creating a little story about them too is great fun! I am fascinated with people and animals and drawing new hairstyles, clothing, adding hats, glasses, freckles etc to my characters. I also love pattern so this is where I have fun designing the clothing and accessories, I like to jazz them up. Something else that brings me joy is collecting quirky bits and bobs to put on show in my studio!

3. Which is your favourite market(s) to design for and why?

My most favourite market to work with is the Children’s Book world, it’s so exciting! I love seeing my characters develop, from character studies, to drawing rough pencil sketched spreads and then bringing it all to life by adding the colour. To finally see your hard work pay off in a printed published book is an amazing feeling, and to see people enjoying your illustrations is so satisfying. Every project is different too!

Another market I enjoy is the licensing market, I like working to a simple colour palette and you can really have fun with the design and typography. It’s interesting to see how parts of your illustration can be applied differently to create a variety of cards or papers to create a whole collection.

4. What are you working on currently?

I am currently working on various exciting book projects for publishers. I can’t wait to share more books with you soon!

Whilst working on those I am keeping an A6 sketchbook to do quick character sketches in. It’s a good way to record everyday characters I may pass in the street, taking note of hairs styles, dress etc… and you never know they might end up in one of the books I illustrate or prompt the making of a story!

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

I’m not sure where to start… I learnt so much whilst doing the courses!

Firstly, to keep positive and enjoy what you do. Like Lilla says “People buy your joy”, so continue to do what you love to draw, don’t compare, be yourself! I think they are some of the most valuable things I have learnt and taken from the courses. You have to remind yourself sometimes!

6. How have the classes helped your artwork evolve/grow?

The courses have taught me to look at things differently, for example my colour palettes… I used to create really bright colourful illustrations, but since taking the courses I have learnt to add less bright colours and use more neutral colours so it strikes a balance. Then when you add a brighter colour to the neutral palette the colour is more effective, and much more pleasing to the eye.

7. Any aha moments during MATS you would like to share?

Every time I take a MATS class there is an ‘aha’ moment, it might be that I was struggling with something and then all of a sudden it clicks. This is mainly triggered through the live reviews, the amazing content or from some helpful advice from a fellow student in class.

8. What are your key successes and how did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?

Whilst taking the Children’s Book course I was signed by agent, Plum Pudding Illustration Agency having spotted a piece of work from the course (poses week). This has led me to work on several book projects and I illustrated my very first picture book Moz the Monster with Nosy Crow to accompany the John Lewis Christmas advert last year. It was a dream come true!

I’d always drawn people in my licensing designs before I took ICB but I’d never actually drew them with a personally and emotion. Obviously I’d drawn characters in pictures and stories when I was younger and to have the opportunity to bring them to life on ICB was something I could not miss. So I signed up for the course. After all I’d always had an interest in children’s books, and this course proved to be my most favourite mats course of all.

The course helped me develop from static emotionless characters, to characters with expression, movement, personally and not only that, learning how to put them into an environment, it really was great fun!

9. What did you discover about yourself?

I have grown as a person, its given me confidence in myself and my work and has put even more joy into drawing. I find all these characters popping up in my head, that I try to jot down as much as I can, it’s been like an opening into another world. Having drawn everyday on the course it reminded me that it’s so important to continue to keep drawing as much as you can and invest in yourself, it really does help you develop as an artist.

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

A great place to meet other artists, intense, inspiring, challenging, and it really develops the growth in your artwork. Such a great learning experience, I would highly recommend.

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

ICB taught me everything I needed to know about developing a character for a children’s book. It’s was a fantastic experience, great value, provides extensive information and such a great creative community full of lots of budding artists. Oh and of course amazing teachers Lilla and Zoe! It has also lay down the foundations to the start of my career in children’s book illustration which I hope to continue for many years to come!

12. What is your dream gig for your artwork?

My biggest dream is to write and illustrate my own children’s book, this has been a dream since I was small.

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!