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Are you ready for a trade show? Lilla’s top tips.

Lilla Rogers Studio is preparing for Surtexthe big art licensing trade show, taking place in New York City next week.

Trade shows are wonderful for meeting art directors from the top markets: Bolt Fabric; Home Décor; Wall Décor; Gift; Paper; Baby Apparel; Scrapbooking; Party Paper. Learn everything you need to know about these art-hungry markets in our MATS A and B  classes here.

One of the coolest things about our e-courses is that students make great connections with each other and form collectives. Then, they can split the costs of a booth. We love to see this happen!

Here’s our booth and some photos from Surtex last year.

Products by our artists at the LRS Booth


Senior Agent Susan McCabe, artist Helen Dardik, Lilla Rogers, artist Carolyn Gavin, Reine Sloan, Agent Joanne Hus and artist Flora Waycott

We love it because a ton of our artists come to see us, see each other, walk the show and have a ton of fun.

Visit us at Booth 2810 this year! Art by Sarah Walsh

Super exciting news! Reine and Natasha will be interviewing artists and art directors at Surtex on Facebook Live! Like our page on Lilla Rogers Studio on Facebook to receive notifications for when we go live.

Stay tuned on Instagram for up-to-the-minute information.

Are you thinking of exhibiting at a Trade show in the future?

Another up and coming show is Blueprint, which is held in New York at the same time as Surtex, and is offered at a very affordable price. It’s becoming a really popular show, attracting some great artists and art directors.

Whichever show you do (and shows are not essential, by the way!), you’ll want to ask yourself these questions before you take the plunge:

  • Are you ready to mingle and make connections with your tribe? From important Art Directors to fellow artists?
  • Have you sold or licensed some art already or have you gotten positive feedback on your work from art directors?
  • Is your portfolio show ready? This is your time to shine.
  • Do you have a minimum of 20 – 50 images of outstanding work with varied subjects?
  • Have you done your homework on what is hot in the market right now and what Art Directors are looking for?
  • Do you have the time carved out on your calendar after the show is over to follow up with your new contacts and opportunities?
  • Do you have business cards on hand and ready to pass out?
  • Is your website ready to handle traffic? Is the navigation easy and is the vibe reflective of your style?
  • Do you have money to invest in the cost of the booth, travel, hotel, meals, booth stuff, etc?

Like with any new endeavor, you might be a bit nervous about taking this leap of faith but being prepared will ensure you’re ready for the show and will get the most out of Surtex or another industry trade show.

Surtex fun! Giveaways, henna and photo booth.

If you have not yet taken our MATS A and MATS B classes, they are absolutely the right place for helping you make spot-on pieces that sell. You can get started now with instant access. Find out more about our classes here.

Check out this free info sheet for lots more top tips.

If you have any additional questions for me, why not sign up for our Home Decor class or the Illustrating Children’s Book class where you will have the opportunity to ask me anything in the weekly Q&A! Or join MATS A and MATS B for the Live Review and you can put your questions to me in the Facebook Live video in June!

Are you exhibiting at Surtex or are a regular exhibitor at tradeshows?

If so, we would love to feature you in a future blog post or newsletter with your tips about preparing and showing your work at a trade show. Reply to this email to let us know you are interested in being featured and we will give you all the details!

Lilla and the Make Art That Sells team!

How to be your own trend detective—Free download



I’ve been an art agent for over twenty-two years, and I’ve overseen the commissioning of thousands of assignments that my artists have gotten over the years. I’ve seen trends come and go, but what I know for sure is that artists thrive by staying fresh. Those who stay stuck in their style drastically reduce their career longevity.

Staying up on trends is really just about being aware of the visual cultural conversation. As we make art and design, we see, we create, we show. It’s an evolution of style we share with one another. Like molecules, we bounce off each other, ever affected by our environment. The true creative leaders vibe off of the aesthetic conversation, but then they bring it to the next level to lead the way. There are tools you can learn to develop this awareness.

I thought you might enjoy reading the FREE 10-page piece I wrote called How to be Your Own Trend Detective. This is one of many downloadables that I give out in my e-course called Make Art That Sells: Part B because I want artists to learn how to dig deep to find gorgeous color palettes, fresh subject matter, and interesting patterns and motifs. I get great pleasure from seeing the work of my students evolve and flourish, so that’s why I write these things.



You can download it here. 

We’d love to see what you discover and uncover for trends! Use #LillasTrends #makearthatsells on your Instagram posts!

You know what? I thoroughly enjoy writing instructional pieces for students, so I’ve packed a ton of downloadables just like this one in my courses. Some of our students actually print out all the materials from the Make Art That Sells courses and pop them into a binder!  I hope you’ll join me in class, and together we can grow your work.

You can sign up for Make Art That Sells Part A and/or Part B right now and get instant access to all the goodness.



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A day in the life of an art director

Margo Tantau, co-teacher of our upcoming class ‘MATS: Creating Collections for Home Décor’ spends a huge amount of her time on the road, mostly in Asia, where she visits the very factories where they make the 5000+ products she oversees each year. Here is a glimpse into her work travels, so you can see just what is involved in bringing your art to life on products.

*This is an excerpt from our online class ‘MATS: Creating Collections for Home Décor’ which begins on May 16. Book your spot here.

A day in China… Visiting the ceramic factory

#inasiaagain. This is how I’ve started tagging all my trip pictures. I am both fascinated and humbled by the experiences I have as I work. I take it all in with respect and appreciation for the fact that I am part of the cycle of life here.. but also merely an observer. I learn something every time.


Today we start out early, as we’ll be driving inland to the county of Dehua, in Fujian province. It has been known for centuries as a main ceramic producing area in China. Since 1368, in fact. Dehua was and is still well known for a specific type, Blanc de Chine, which is a beautiful white porcelain. They do many other types of ceramics here now, as well.


 Blanc de Chine from the Kangxi Period(1662-1722) The 2012 auction estimate for this piece was 3,000-4,000 Euro (alain.r.truong)


I never tire of watching the world go by outside the van window, as we wind up into the more mountainous area of Fujian province, from the port of Xiamen.


There are temples here and there. Sometimes we stop if we can spare the time. These are some of my favorite moments.. a glimpse into sacred history and culture. I feel like I’m peeking behind a curtain.


There are ancient tiles and ceramics peppered throughout the temples, on rooftops, walls, and decorative features.


If a Buddha figure has to be discarded due to any reason, it must be returned to a sacred place. I have found little caves full, and I mean breathtakingly full, of beautiful old Buddha statues.


I take away with me both new and ageless thoughts. I am grateful for the experience.


As we get closer to Dehua, the green mountains get more populated, and rural mixes with town.


There always seems to be room to grow something, though. The Chinese people use space wisely, it seems. They make it work.


This woman sets out her vegetables for sale on a mat at the side of the road.


A city bustles, commerce thrives.


This is a typical urban scene. There are apartments up above, and these separate garage-like shops underneath, selling everything from tires to toothpaste.


We reach the factory. Typically, a factory will have a showroom full of samples of dishware, serving, gift and decorative pieces that they have produced. We take a look. This is a particularly sophisticated factory, with good design.



They are working on a line of bakeware and accessory pieces in the factory now, so we ask if we can have a look. It helps us to know what their capabilities are. I’m always completely fascinated.


Pressing clay into bowl molds.


Drying the bowls on racks and racks.


And firing those bowls.


And there are many other shapes… see how everything is hand-touched? In some way, everything is handmade. This is a startling revelation to many, but people are the key part of the process, still. I so appreciate this, and I never cease to be amazed at the technique, the dedication, and the talent.




Teapots on their way into the kiln for the first firing. This is the bisque firing round, then glaze will be applied and they’ll be fired again. If there is a decal or hand painting to be added, that is yet another step and another trip through the kiln.


Unloading the kiln. It takes people to do all this.


Tables and shelves of glazed pieces, ready for the next step in the process.


These are bright yellow glazed baking dishes, with brown hand painted trim. They’ll most likely have lids added before they are carefully checked over by quality control. They’ll then be labeled and packed, loaded on a truck and taken to the nearest port, filled into a container, put onto a very large ship, and take the many-weeks long journey across the sea.


 Some that didn’t make it …


And then after (or during) all that… tea. We are always offered tea. Another ages-old tradition that is culturally rich and much appreciated.

We will visit other factories today, which offer slightly different product, designs, and skill level. These hours will be full of experiences, efficiencies, and hopefully, effectiveness. This factory is the best quality and the most advanced of the day. It’s worth remembering. We’ll see if we can work together on design and pricing to keep our costs in line. It’s an ever-evolving process, and we try to build strong relationships, so that each party benefits and we can grow together.


And then we begin the long drive back to the hotel in Xiamen. One spends a lot of time in a van in China. There will be more windows to look out of, more things to wonder about and record in my mind and maybe, if I’m fast enough, on film.



He is the egg man….



[All images courtesy of Margo Tantau unless otherwise credited]

Hearing about Margo’s adventures on the road makes you realise how complex and exciting the home décor industry really is. If you would like to have people like Margo bringing your art to life, on anything from cushions to cupboards, sofas to vases, don’t miss our upcoming class ‘MATS: Creating Collections for Home Décor’. It starts on May 16 and this will be the last time we run the class this year. Margo will guide you through designing for the top five most popular materials for home décor – ceramics, wood, glass, fabric and wood/MDF. It is a fascinating class and pushes artists to produce some of the most commercially viable pieces we have seen emerge from any class anywhere. Book your spot here.

What is it really like to live a full time art career? The good, the bad and the ugly… and how to make it work

As someone who spent the first part of her career as an illustrator, paying the rent with the pictures she made, and the second part of her career representing professional artists, no-one knows better than Lilla how awesome, but also at times how difficult, a professional art career can be.

In today’s short video Lilla shares why she loves this career choice, what is tough about it, and how to keep the motivation up for the longterm.

Lilla would love to hear what you thought – why not join her on Periscope on Tuesdays to chat?

We hope this inspires you to stick with it!

Wondering which class is right for you?

We often get asked which of our courses are right for a particular artist, and it can be hard to choose from all the awesome courses on offer! So we have created a quick roadmap of where to begin! So watch Lilla give an overview of all of the awesome classes we offer. (And don’t miss the chance to access our classes at bargain prices in our Spring Sale, on until Friday April 8!)

We have also prepared a handy PDF to help you work out which class is for you. Download it here.

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Our BIG Spring Sale is here!  Special pricing on all of these fabulous classes.


See you in class!

How to thrive with a creative mind

Today Lilla is sharing a few thoughts on how highly creative people’s brains work differently, and how to thrive with your creative mind:

Want to learn from Lilla? Our next class gives you that opportunity, AND you get to learn from top art director Margo Tantau. Join us for MATS Creating Collections for Home Decor, starting May 16, and give your career a huge boost.

Your visual resume

Have you ever considered your portfolio to be like a visual resume? Here’s a couple of thoughts from Lilla on what to put in, and what to leave out, to make sure your portfolio tells the story of you and what you are capable of:

Feel like your portfolio is missing something? Join our Assignment Bootcamp class (starting on Monday) for a series of professional-level but fun assignments to strengthen your portfolio!

Find out more and book your spot here.

The essential elements to include in your portfolio

One of the questions Lilla is asked most often goes like this:

“How important is your portfolio? What needs to go in it to make it strong?”

The short answer is (1) Very and (2) A lot!

The detailed answer is in this video, where Lilla explains exactly what kind of art you should have in your portfolio and why.

If your portfolio is lacking in any area, get cracking with making great art to fill it!

If you want our help to do that, join our upcoming MATS Assignment Bootcamp class (starts March 7), where you will get five professional-level assignments over the next five months, to help you create some brilliant portfolio pieces to show to clients.

Find out more and book your spot here.


Monday Moments with Lilla


Lilla has created a series of positive affirmations to inspire and encourage you on your journey in art making.  The series will be posted every Monday for the next six weeks to help jump start your week.

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By Lilla Rogers

Have a great week and remember to stay tuned for next Monday’s Moment with Lilla!



Happy New Year from Lilla!

Happy New Year! A new year brings an opportunity for a new start, goal setting and fresh determination. This message from Lilla will encourage you to take action to ensure that you grow your art career in 2016:

This is the Venn diagram Lilla refers to in the video:


If you want to kick off the year with a course to take your art to the next level, join us for MATS: Creating Collections for Home Decor, starting on January 25, where you will learn how to conceptualize and pitch products like these:


Selection of products from Lilla Rogers Studio artists created for Margo Tantau

Here are some of the kind words that have been shared by graduates of this course:

“This is a “Where Have You Been All My Life?” one of a kind, high quality, chock-full of greatness, must-do course.” – Judy Sorrels

“I am incredibly grateful that there are women like Lilla and Margo in the world who are genuinely interested in promoting other women and seeing them succeed by sharing their valuable knowledge. It is so gratifying and incredibly inspiring. There are few people willing to share their “gold”- their intellectual property – and it’s wonderful to have benefitted from this insight.” – Elaine Marie Kehew

A whirlwind of inspiration, creation, information and technical detail on the world of home decor.” – Suzy Naidoo

“If you a surface pattern designer wanting to design home decor ranges, this is THE course that you must do.” – Kate Mason

So what are you waiting for? Book your place now and get ready for class to begin on January 25!