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***Deadline extended*** Win a place on ‘Illustrating Children’s Books’

Would you like to win a free place on our hugely popular course Illustrating Children’s Books? The class will run again in January 2017, and we are offering two free spots, worth £399, for creating an awesome children’s book cover based on the assignment below.




Assignment: Create a children’s book cover for the book title “The Sugar Plum Fairy’s Adventure”. Be as creative as you like! Be you with a vengeance.


All levels are welcome! Everyone is welcome! (you do not need to have taken a MATS class to enter) Let’s have some fun! If you have not taken the Illustrating Children’s Book course, check out our FREE 5 part video series to give you some insight and some tips.

THERE WILL BE TWO WINNERS: Lilla and Zoe will choose as follows:

  1. Best in Show
  2. Random Pick

—Character design
—Lettering of title
—Concept and Style (imaginative, witty, beautiful, quirky, etc.)
—Color Palette
—Overall impact of cover

CLOSING DATE: EXTENDED T0 11.59pm EST Sunday 4th December

WINNERS ANNOUNCED: Week of 5 December, 2016

Please see below for rules of entry

Dream up some magic and then draw it!

dream up and draw it

Here are some more tips to help you get stared. As we teach in our Illustrating Children’s Book course, there are 5 main ingredients to consider:

Who is your Sugar Plum Fairy? What does he or she look like? What colors come to mind? Maybe do the opposite of those colors. Don’t necessarily do the first thing that comes to mind. Can you go against type? Is she an urban character? What is she wearing? Is he an animal with wings? Fall in love with your character.

First off, what is The Sugar Plum Fairy’s adventure? Think for a moment about what would YOU love to have as your own adventure? An adventure can be an exploration of any kind. As a child, what was your idea of an adventure? Let your mind space out a bit. Is it a silly adventure? Quirky? Dreamy? Is she/he taking a risk? Why? Where? Once you know this, then you can begin to sketch out the location. She can be on another planet, in a space ship, at the North Pole, at a museum, in Hollywood, Berlin, Buenos Aires? At cooking school making cookies? Whatever.

Push it. Here’s what I mean. Let’s say she’s at the North Pole. The first thought is that she is next to the pole itself. Hmmm. Maybe she’s in an Igloo. Or maybe she’s at an ice cream factory. Maybe she is in the sled factory. See what I mean? Go the next step. Since this is a made up title, YOU can do whatever you want with it.

What is the expression on the face of the character? Can we tell? Is it reflecting the emotion of the story, or perhaps the quest of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Maybe it’s just an image of the character that gets us to fall in love with him/her.

The position of the character helps animate the character. Remember, often the children hearing the book read to them may not understand all the words but they can understand the images.

It’s so fun to make letters. Cut them out of paper, rubber stamp them, draw them. You’re the boss! Make sure the title is easy to read. It doesn’t have to be super huge but it needs to pop and we need to be able to read each letter easily.


Here’s what you need to do to enter:

  1. Create a Children’s Book Cover in response the assignment above. If you haven’t yet taken one of our classes you can still enter. Please refrain from using the Lilla Rogers Studio or Make Art That Sells logos in your work.
  2. The cover can be any size (square, vertical/portrait, horizontal/landscape)
  3. Remember to include the title of the book and your name (i.e. Illustrated by Jane Doe) on the design.
  4. You can work in any medium – digitally or traditional
  5. Save your art as a 72dpi JPEG (save for web) at 650 pxls wide and use the following image title naming convention: FIRST NAME_SECONDNAME_ICBCOMP (e.g. LILLA_ROGERS_ICBCOMP.jpg)
  6. Email it as an attachment JPG to [email protected] by Monday 28 November, 2016 ***EXTENDED DEADLINE*** Sunday 4 December (11.59pm EST) with ‘Sugar Plum Fairy Book Cover Competition’ in the subject title of your email.
  7. Include the following details in your email:
  • Your full name (and studio name if you have one)
  • Your website link
  • A list of what MATS courses you have taken (or if you haven’t taken any courses, indicate which free resources have helped or inspired you)
  • OPTIONAL: 1-2 sentences describing the MATS experience as if you were telling a friend (if possible include what is different for you/your work as a result of taking the course) and if you have taken the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class, please write 1-2 sentences.

We would also LOVE to see your images on Instagram, so please do share them using the hashtag #MATSkidbook (this is not a requirement to enter the competition and is optional)

THE SMALL PRINT: By submitting work for this competition you give us permission to share it on the website, blog and/or any social media accounts related to Make Art That Sells, Lilla Rogers Studio or Do What You Love at any time. You will not receive a fee for this, but will be entered into the competition to win one free place on ‘Illustrating Children’s Books’ (starting January 2017). The winners will be chosen by the MATS team and no correspondence will be entered into. There is no cash alternative and the prize is not transferable. You will retain all rights to your own work.

If you have already registered for the Illustrating Children’s Book class when we announce the winners, you will be refunded the necessary amount. (please note this will be calculated accordingly if you purchased a package during the Cyber Monday Sale Nov 24-28)

Can’t wait to see what you do!

The MATS team










Want to be a top children’s book illustrator? See the cool life of Mike Lowery

Lilla Rogers Studio artist Mike Lowery lives the fabulous life of a busy illustrator well known for his hilarious children’s books. Follow his dream life on Instagram.


Mike Lowery’s Carl the Duck’s Travel Adventures on Instagram


Mike Lowery at a book signing at Barnes and Noble


“The Search for the Slimy Space Slugs” Doodle Adventures by Mike Lowery and “Random Body Parts” Illustrated by Mike Lowery

How to Draw Carl the Duck with Mike Lowery
Want to live the dream?  Learn how to create a killer children’s book illustration pitch with a top agent and highly-respected art director! Hurry! Space are limited.  Online live course beings October 3rd.
Want to get prepared for class? Be sure to join in our FREE hugely popular mini prep series which began yesterday. #myMATSprep is a series of five mini assignments Lilla has created to get you ready to rock our brand new Illustrating Children’s Books class.
Yours in success,
P.S. Follow the fun on Instagram #globaltalentsearch and #MatsKidBook



Industry Expert: Kristine Nobles – Illustrating Children’s Books class


Those of you who have taken our Make Art That Sells classes will know how valuable it is to hear from a professional and expert who works in the industry day in, day out, and can communicate what they look for from artists.

Over the next couple of weeks, we are excited to reveal some of the amazing Industry Expert interviews and articles we have lined up for our ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class, so you can get even more valuable insight and know-how on becoming a Children’s Book Illustrator.

Class begins on Monday October, 3rd and is almost full! You can still register HERE


Today, we reveal that Kristine Nobles, Art Director at Candlewick Press, will be one of our expert interviews in class.


Kristin is the Art Director at Candlewick Press and the Group Art Director for the Entertainment Imprint globally for Walker Books in the UK and Australia, and Candlewick Press in the US.

As an Art Director at Candlewick, Kristine establishes stylistic direction, collaborates with, and manages the department workload of 12 designers and approximately 80+ original projects per season; as well as scheduling all those projects — a wide variety of genre from young board books to novelty, chapter books through illustrated middle grade and young adult novels.

Kristine evaluates picture book manuscripts pre acquisition and works to match text with illustration post acquisition, including negotiation of illustrator contracts. She personally art directs and designs several picture books and illustrated fiction titles per list.

We are excited to share Kristine’s expert tips with you in class!


Are you ready to dive in and make a commitment to your success as a Children’s Book Illustrator?

Sign up HERE. Hurry! The last remaining spots are going fast!



What Art Directors look for in Children’s Book Illustration

Working on our new course, Illustrating Children’s Books,  has made me even more in love with kid books. But writing and filming the course with highly regarded art director Zoe Tucker, I have come to more fully understand what make the great books great.

I’ve chosen a book that beautifully illustrates 4 key points that art directors look for in artwork:

  • Is there a strong character?
  • Can you easily identify the emotions of the characters?
  • Is the story being told clearly?
  • Is the style fabulous and fresh?

Let’s take a look at a book that I adore.

iggy peck

Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty, by David Roberts

This book cover hits all the notes:

Is there a strong main character?
Yes. The boy is really appealing. His hair and sweater are nice touches. Remember, your main character is the star of the book. You are going to be drawing him/her throughout, and we want to connect with the character.

Can you easily identify the emotions?
Totally. The boy is sweet and slightly mischievous. Look at the woman on the upper right. She is slightly aghast. How does the illustrator, David Roberts, do that? He draws the woman’s face with a single raised eyebrow, and eyes open wide.

Is the “story” being told clearly?
Yes. As an illustrator, your job is to tell a story through pictures, and the cover needs to communicate the spirit of the book.

The boy is mischievous. How do we know that? He’s standing precariously on tippy toes on the letter “I”, and we can see the woman’s reaction.

It’s obviously a story about architecture. How do we know that? Of course we know that from the title and by loads of buildings gracing the cover. But bits like the measuring tapes and the rulers are cool ways to emphasize that theme, and are unexpected.

Is the style fabulous and fresh?
Definitely. I always say, “People buy your joy”. And here, I get the feeling that the illustrator had fun with this. Yes, he has the chops to be able to draw well, but drawing on graph paper, for example, add freshness and charm, in addition to adding to the architectural theme.
And let’s face it, that woman—who is actually the boy’s teacher—is the most fabulous.

Why don’t you try it? Here’s another cover I adore. See if it hits all the points.


Cloth Lullaby—The Woven Life of Louise Bourgeois by Amy Novesky and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault

I’d love to have you in my newest course. It’s crammed full of tons of information and inspiration for you. We are going to make some amazing art together.

Take a photo of one of your favorite children’s book illustration and upload it to Instagram, with #matskidbook and #makeartthatsells so we can see what you post!


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.

Hurry, this course will sell out. I hope you’ll join me, and allow me to help you do your very best.






Ten Tips for Being on Instagram and Join us today on Periscope

Instagram is a way that Art Directors are increasingly finding fresh work and discovering new artists.


The @makeartthatsells Instagram page

It’s an easy interface to work with and anyone can do it. Here are some tips and pointers from the team:

1. Use your name or studio’s name as the IG account. Keep it simple for people to find you!

2. Give a clear explanation of who and what you’re doing in your profile with an email or link to your website if applicable.

3. Be creative with your photos of the work. Give them context and a setting by showing your art supplies beside the works.


Photo and work by artist Katie Vernon, Global Talent Search Winner 2015

4. Film a short video of you working in action. A little video of you actually painting is really neat to see! Use the time lapse feature on your iPhone or download an app for it to be condensed. Boomerang can be a fun little tool also.

5. Share pictures of your studio, work space or bits of inspiration throughout your day.

6. Post seasonal content. Have fun doing a countdown to holidays using relevant images.

7. Jump onto the #100DayProject and search for any other projects that a larger body of artists are doing. It’s a great way to find other like minded people and to be in front of a bigger audience.

8. All about those #Hashtags: They should be relevant and clear. Do your homework and see what other artists are using. Use a little humor. Don’t be too general.

9. Post with consistency and regularity. Schedule the time into your weekly calendar and stick to it. While you may find certain times of the day or week are ideal to post, remember Instagram is worldwide and it’s always a peak time somewhere.

10. Engage your audience when you post. If you’ve done two different colorways of a design, post both and ask them which they like best and to reply in the comments portion.

And lastly, have fun with it! This is a fun way to share your work, connect with other artists and to put your work in front of Art Directors.

Do you have any Instagram tips to share?

Pop on over to our Instagram post today here and add your comments.

Be sure to follow @makeartthatsells on IG!

Join Lilla and Zoe on Periscope today


We are currently in Brighton, England filming video for our new ecourse “Illustrating Children’s Books”. (join the waitlist).

We did an impromptu broadcast yesterday (you can watch the replay here) and will back today approx noon EST to answer any questions you might have about the new ecourse. So bring your questions and we will see you there! Follow Lilla on Periscope HERE

June Bootcamp gallery now live!

The June gallery from our 2016 Make Art That Sells: Assignment Bootcamp class is now live! This one is an absolute cracker. You can view it HERE


The MATS Team

Reasons to take ‘Creating Collections for Home Décor: (No. 11): Grow your portfolio


Career longevity comes from making a lot of commercially-viable art, having a recognizable style and being committed. Whether you are in the early stages of your career, or a veteran, this course will freshen up your portfolio with new pieces inspired by the weekly professional-level assignments.

But more importantly, it will teach you how to present your work as collections, showcasing your ideas for product concepts, making your work instantly more appealing to art directors. Not only are they more likely to notice you, but they are more likely to buy more from you, and work with you for longer because suddenly you know how to speak their language.

Take a look at what is on offer with this short video:

This course will help you transform your portfolio from a series of flat art pieces to a commercially-appealing showcase of your talent which demonstrates exactly what you are capable of. And it will give you the best chance of seeing your ideas turned into real product lines, with real companies, in real shops. How exciting is that?

Feel like this is exactly what you need? Register now!

Want to learn more about the Home Décor market? Sign up for our free video series here.

Reasons to take ‘Creating Collections for Home Décor: (No. 10): Get your burning questions answered


Throughout the five weeks of class you can ask any questions you like to Lilla and Margo. This is an amazing opportunity to find out the things they never tell you in art school, to discover more about what it’s like in the real professional world, and learn how to give yourself the best chance of success.

Lilla and Margo

Behind-the-scenes of the filming of the course with Lilla and Margo

For an idea of the kind of questions students have asked on previous MATS courses, take a look at the various downloadable Q&A we share in our ‘Free stuff’ section here.

Feel like this is exactly what you need? Register now!

Want to learn more about the Home Décor market? Sign up for our free video series here.

Reasons to take ‘Creating Collections for Home Décor (No. 9): Make better art


Since launching in 2013, Make Art That Sells has rapidly gained a reputation as the go-to place for anyone serious about making commercially viable art whilst staying true to themselves. We have been completely blown away by the response of our participants (many of whom have come back to repeat the course), and have been thrilled to see huge leaps forward in their artwork.

Make Art That Sells really works, as can be seen in this blog post sharing some of the many jobs participants have landed since graduating.

The Home Decor course will build on all that has been shared before, with specific guidance on how to make better art, as well as sell more of it to clients.

MATS Manifesto by Laurence Lavallee

MATS Manifesto by Laurence Lavallee

Here are a few words from graduates of other Make Art That Sells courses, to show that the teaching can make a huge difference to artists:

This is the course you need to do if you want to sell your art to the masses. As far as I know its the only course like this in existence. The information is like gold dust. It’s that valuable! ” CHANTEL DE SOUSA

“Best investment in your art career, ever.” LISA RIVAS

“I feel that I have learned fantastic amounts about the industry – information that money can’t buy. I feel that I have a thousand positive ideas in my head and am enjoying pushing them through.” EMMA BURNETT

“I showed at Surtex for the first time last year and now wish I had taken this course before I showed. I have an entirely new outlook on the industries I am trying to enter but also I have fresh eyes on my own work and places where it needs some work.” JAMI DARWIN

“I got some commissions and new works because of some Lilla’s challenges (in this course). Now I know I can even do more and can adapt more to client demands.” JENIFER ESPINOSA

“Lilla’s course will surprise you. You will learn more about the different areas of illustration your work will suit but you will also learn a lot about yourself, good and bad, that will make you a stronger creative person.” GABRIELLA BUCKINGHAM

“Intense, inspiring, a rollercoaster and immensely fun.” SUSAN DRISCOLL

“Life-changing, creative, inspiring, professional, challenging.” CHRISTINA MCINERNEY

“You have to experience it for yourself. The investment might seem like a stretch, but it is INCREDIBLE value.” BETSY

“The coolest of cool, most enlightening, awesome class I’ve ever been a part of… and I’m probably a tough audience to begin with!” NICOLE LA RUE

Feel like this is exactly what you need? Register now!

Want to learn more about the Home Décor market? Sign up for our free video series here.

Reasons to take ‘Creating Collections for Home Décor’ (No. 8): Hear industry secrets


As an Art Director responsible for thousands of products a year, Margo Tantau knows exactly what she looks for when seeking out a new artist. She also knows what the market wants, and how to work with manufacturers to deliver that.

For the first time ever she shares that insider knowledge with you in this course, including:

  • Weekly Art Directors’ Cheat Sheets to tell you exactly how to woo an art director, and how not to turn them off
  • A host of details about the manufacturing process which will make you look at the art you sell in a completely different light
  • Real examples of annotated product and collection sheets showing exactly what goes to the manufacturer – knowing this can help you make your art more attractive to an art buyer, because you can demonstrate your understanding of the process
  • A ton of specific finishing notes for metal, glass, fabric, ceramics and wood/MDF, to help you generate hundreds of product ideas and ideas for full collections
  • Weekly reviews (with Lilla) of the class response to the weekly assignments, showing exactly how an art director sees your work and how you can make it even more commercially-appealing*

*Please be aware that only a handful of pieces will be selected for the review each week and there is no guarantee that yours will be included, but the review can be just as valuable when you observe the comments on others’ work.

Feel like this is exactly what you need? Register now!

Want to learn more about the Home Décor market? Sign up for our free video series here.

Reasons to take ‘Creating Collections for Home Décor’ (No. 7): Watch pep talks


For graduates of our other Make Art That Sells courses, Lilla’s pep talks are legendary. This new course brings you a whole new set of weekly pep talks about the creative life, packed with tips, tricks and advice from your Fairy Artmother. Lilla also shares a series of thoughts about growing your creative business, which are sure to inspire some a-ha moments.

Lilla studio

Behind-the-scenes of the filming of the course

Did we mention they are filmed in her newly decorated studio, with a ton of gorgeous products and quirky vintage finds to drool over?…

Feel like this is exactly what you need? Register now!

Want to learn more about the Home Décor market? Sign up for our free video series here.