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


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

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

 

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

How much preparation did it require?

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

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

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

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

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

Now the show is over, what’s next?

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

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

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

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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 Nathalie Taylor


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

Today, we have an interview with Nathalie Taylor. Nathalie has taken MATS A/B, Assignment Bootcamp and our Creating Collection for Home Décor.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are you working on currently?

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

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

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

How have the classes helped your artwork evolve /grow?

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

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

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

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

Any aha moments during MATS you would like to share?

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

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

What are your key successes since taking a MATS class?

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

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

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

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

What is your dream gig for your artwork?

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

See more work here: Website | Instagram

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Would you like to experience the Make Art That Sells classes yourself? Browse our live and self-paced classes here

Graduates of our courses have gone on to win work from clients such as Hallmark, Robert Kaufman Fabrics, Oopsy Daisy, Uppercase Magazine, West Elm, Midwest CBK, and more. It is industry learning that works in the real world. Find out more HERE and start today!

Alumni success ‘spotlight’ interview with Lisa Baudry


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

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Lisa_Baudry_PortraitToday, we have an interview with Lisa Baudry. Lisa has taken MATS A, B and Assignment Boocamp

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

I grew up in an environment where making things was the norm and I did alot of it as a child. If Dad needed something around the farm and he could make it, he would. He had a big welding workshop to do this and Mum sewed our clothes. My first introduction to formal art and design training was going to design school in Auckland, New Zealand in the early 1990s.

Lisa_Baudry_Coffee

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

Creating is full of joyful moments for me. I love sewing and making clothes for my daughter. I love creating portraits…for some reason the variety in peoples appearance, dress sense and hairstyles fascinate me. The challenge of a design brief is still a buzz for me and I love to experiment with new techniques.

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

I’m still feeling my way, but so far I’ve had opportunities in the Wall Art market and I hope to find my way into many others! I’m very drawn to Home Decor and I’m loving creating art for that market.

What are you working on currently?
A series of botanical themed art prints.

Lisa_Baudry_Botanical_Vase

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

I have learnt sooooooo much. To stay positive. To use my own taste level to critique my work. The mantra “Would I buy that?” has helped me a lot and keeps me pushing my work in the right direction.

How have the classes helped your artwork evolve /grow?

The course gave me tools and techniques as to how to develop a piece of art, something that had been missing from my design education! I used to try and resolve a finished composition straight away. Lilla’s courses taught me to create icons and elements which I could then select and use to compose with. This has given me a much wider scope and depth to my work.

Lisa_Baudry_Crayfish copy

Any aha moments during MATS you would like to share?

When I had to prioritise my artwork over other things, I had a psychological breakthrough. I was one of those people who would, without thinking put others needs in front of my own. Now if I take care of my need to create, my well-being improves and I can be the balanced, grounded and caring person I want to be.

What are your key successes since taking a MATS class?

I have been selling some giclee prints through a local art print shop, Endemic World. The artwork that I am selling was developed during the MATS Assignment Bootcamp.

LISA_BAUDRY_PORTRAITS2
How would you describe taking a MATS class to a fellow artist looking to develop their art
Intense and challenging which equals massive growth and learning.
 
What is your dream gig for your artwork?
I have a few! Anthropologie Ceramics.Posters with Fine Little Day. A Fabric Collection with Marimekko
See more of Lisa’s work here: Website | Instagram | Facebook

 

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Would you like to experience the Make Art That Sells class 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!

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Alumni success ‘spotlight’ interview with Stephanie Hofmann


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

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profilepicToday, we have an interview with alumni Stephanie Hofmann. Stephanie has taken MATS A, B, Bootcamp and entered the Global Talent Search.

Tell us a little about how you got started in art and design
I  studied graphic design and worked as a designer for 15 years whilst
gradually getting into surface pattern design as a side line.
Lilla always says “People buy your joy.” What brings you joy?’
I love illustrations that are quirky and tell a story. If I have a great idea I get super excited and can’t wait to get it realised into a finished piece.
Druck
Which is your favorite market(s) to design for and why? 
My favourite market is the editorial market. I love coming up with concepts and visual stories around editorial briefs.
What are you working on currently?
I have just finished some editorial assignments for 2 German magazines, which will be in the shops in May, which I am very happy about and I am working on surface patterns for Surtex.
Druck
What are some of the key things you have learnt from the MATS experience?
Through taking MATS I have learnt about the different markets and what they involve. Being able to try all of them out made me see that I could do other stuff than just surface design. I would never have thought of doing editorial work, if it hadn’t been for MATS and the assignments were great preparation for doing real client work. When I started getting jobs I felt confident that I would be able to keep deadlines and MATS gave me tools for each stage of an assignment.
How have the classes helped your artwork evolve /grow?
The MATS community is very generous and helpful with feedback and I feel humbled by the amazing artists I have met. When I started MATS I felt a bit stuck in my work and the courses have helped me to feel more confident and really excited about my work.
Druck
Any aha moments during MATS you would like to share?
Through MATS I have become freer in my work and have discovered that there are so many different kinds of markets to explore and that I was capable of applying myself to all of them. Completing MATS A and B and doing the Global Talent Search last year gave me the confidence to quit my part time graphic design job and try my luck at illustrating full time.
What are your key successes since taking a MATS class?
I have done work for several online and print magazines and  I am en route to being able to support myself full time with a combination of editorial jobs and selling surface pattern designs.
GTS final ohne rand
How would you describe taking a MATS class to a fellow artist looking to develop their art
Taking a MATS class will help you grow artistically whilst teaching you everything you need to know to feel confident when taking on professional assignments. You will grow at high speed in a safe and positive environment.
What is your dream gig for your artwork?
Any gig that I am getting feels like a dream gig at the moment, as I am just so happy that I can do what I love and support myself!
party paperpink

See more of Stephanie’s work here: Website | Instagram

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Would you like to experience the Make Art That Sells class 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!

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Alumni success ‘spotlight’ interview with Maria Parrish


alumni-success-04

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

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Maria_Parrish_logo_1Today, we have an interview with Maria Parrish. Maria has taken MATS A and Bootcamp.

Tell us a little about how you got started in art and design
Hello, My name is Maria Parrish and I’m from Guatemala living the San Francisco Bay Area. I always knew I wanted to be a creative person of some sort. When it came to college my parents told me I had to learn “computers” and I wasn’t fond of that so to please them I ended up taking a Photoshop class, that counts as “computers” right? I loved it so much that I became a graphic designer and did it for many years.

I worked at an arts and crafts studio designing how-to books but then felt like something was missing. I no longer wanted to design books I wanted to be the artist in those books.

I became a mom and stayed home and started doodling again and taught myself illustrator. I did art for my kid such as invitations, coloring pages, that sort of thing. I started to build my portfolio but wanted to take it to the next level, after all I never studied to be an illustrator.

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Lilla always says “People buy your joy.” What brings you joy?’
My kids bring me joy! I like to draw for them! But definitely color, lots and lots of colors!

Which is your favorite market(s) to design for and why?
Children’s books and fabrics are my favorites because I get to design for my kids. Designing for children is always new and exciting!

Print

What are you working on currently?
Quinceañera gift bags, and preparing my portfolio for Surtex

What are some of the key things you have learnt from the MATS experience?
To love my quirks because that makes me unique. Not to be afraid of experimenting and try new things. Sometimes I get stuck on a color scheme or theme. Mats definitely helped me venture out of my comfort zone.

How have the classes helped your artwork evolve /grow?
Let me start with a quote: “If you want something you never had before you gotta do something you never done before” Started designing with real projects in mind. I was no longer designing for the imaginary client but for the potential one. Lilla always provided new projects I’ve never done before and my art became better for it!

Any aha moments during MATS you would like to share?
When I became a GTS semifinalist, and realized, hey I’m good enough to do this!

WhoooLovesBabySpread

What are your key successes since taking a MATS class?
I was a finalist for Mats global art gathering poster design. It was such a fun experience and helped me grow as a designer. I also found an agency and had an opportunity to show my work at different exhibits like Surtex.

How would you describe taking a MATS class to a fellow artist?
It’s like following a workout regimen for your creativity! No matter what level you’re at you can find inspiration, support, and encouragement in the Mats community. You will grow and succeed I guarantee it!

What is your dream gig for your artwork?
I would like to continue doing children’s art and would like to see it licensed on my products world-wide. I want to walk into as store and say “I made that”!

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See more of Maria’s work here: Website | Facebook

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Would you like to experience the Make Art That Sells class 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!

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Alumni success ‘spotlight’ interview with Natalie Zart


alumni-success-04

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

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Natalie Zart profile picToday, we have an interview with Natalie Zart. Natalie has taken MATS B and Assignment Bootcamp.

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

Both of my parents are artists and so I grew up surrounded by tubes of paint, regularly went to my dad’s exhibitions and all art hanging on our home walls (and standing around) was by my parents. On top of that, my grandmother was a graphic designer, so no matter who I spent my childhood moments with, I either had scissors, pencils or a brush in my hand and was creating something.

I’ve always perceived art just as a fun activity until sometime after my high school graduation I realised I actually want to make a living from it. I’m still not quite ‘there’ yet, but this year I’m closer to that dream than ever before.

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

That moment when I am just about to finish a piece I’ve been working on is a pure moment of happiness for me. It’s pretty normal for me to do a happy dance around my table when I’m about to do the last strokes with a brush/ on my tablet. I can’t resist but to immediately send photos of my new piece to my family and to my boyfriend, sharing my excitement with them.

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

I’ve always loved paper and have been working with paper most of my life. Later on, I realised I really like the idea of seeing my designs on home items, particularly the idea of having a sofa with my design on it still attracts me like a magnet. In the last years, I’ve been opening my horizons to the textile market, whilst paper continues to be my ‘safest ground’.

Natalie Zart work image 3

What are you working on currently?

Self-paced MATS B course, Assignment Bootcamp course, school projects (I attend a graphic design school in the evenings), various decorations for the wedding of my boyfriends’ sister and on top of that, I’m also pitching my work to various companies/ bloggers which I’d love to work with. A pretty busy schedule, but I’m loving every bit of it.

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

Pitch, pitch, pitch. It’s never been more clear to me that I must knock on the doors of companies I want to work with. I no longer wait for people to find me, which was the case for a long time in the past. I’m now much more proactive and chase that dream of mine.

Natalie Zart work image 1

How have the classes helped your artwork evolve /grow?

I have learned how to work more effectively, in a way that feels fun and truly me. I now feel much more ready to work on paid projects, whilst having my own voice and style.

Any aha moments during MATS you would like to share?

You always have to have fun working on your art, there is absolutely no need to stress about it, because if you do, there is a big chance the piece will show that.

Natalie Zart work image 2

What are your key successes since taking a MATS class?

I’m just about to sign an agreement with one of my dream customers. I’m so excited about it that I can hardly talk about it without my heart starting to race. I absolutely cannot wait to have the deal closed and to start working on it.

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

I’ve been thinking of taking MATS classes for over a year. For me, it was a relatively big investment and so I first watched many videos by Lilla, read lots of her blog posts, watched one round of Global Talent Search take place, I carefully observed which artists are taking part and how their art looks like and after a year, I finally signed up for Assignment Bootcamp. Only one month after starting Assignment Bootcamp, I added MATS B class on top.

Now I know there was no need for me to wait all that time. I simply should have taken the leap before. I don’t regret waiting, but I would advise fellow artists to take the course right away if they are considering it.

I feel like both of the classes were exactly the next step I needed in my career. I have drawn for years on my own, but MATS classes give me that professional advice I simply could not figure out on my own.
Natalie Zart work image 4

What is your dream gig for your artwork?

I have a few, but somewhere very high on my dream list is having my own fabric collections printed and having a custom made dress sewn. I recently found out that a friend of mine sews dresses as a hobby, which I thought was a clear sign! I am definitely on the right path and just need to put the little pieces of my dream together.

See more of Natalie’s work here: Website | Facebook | Instagram

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Would you like to experience the Make Art That Sells class 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!

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Alumni success ‘spotlight’ interview with Irene Lee


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

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Today, we have an interview with alumni Irene Lee.  Irene has taken MATS Bootcamp and participated in the Global Talent Search.

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

It may sound cliche to say that I’ve always been into art, design and crafts. I grew up drawing all the time and crafting a ton. On my birthday, my mom would take me to the craft supply store and let me buy a bunch of pom poms and ribbon and whatever else I was into. I just kept drawing, painting and taking photos and in high school I learned the Adobe Creative Suite. I decided to major in graphic design at the University of Southern California. Each year I fall more and more in love with art and design and the ways they both can translate to any medium.

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

Lots of things! I love simple things like flowers, sunshine and classic fairytales. I also am so inspired by Disneyland and Disney and Pixar animated movies. I have a lot of creative friends and people I look up to, and seeing the work they put out brings me joy.

IreneLee-mermie

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

I love creating children’s content but also making things that I, a girly-girl in her 20’s, would like.

What are you working on currently?

My friends and I have a greeting card boutique called Love Notes which I create lettering pieces for stationery. I also am in a mermaid phase and I’m drawing a lot of mermaids just for fun. One of my dream is to have an illustration business and sell my work as prints, cards, etc so I’m always making lots and lots of work!

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

I’m learning lots of things! I like the MATS assignments because they’re always about designing for markets and understanding what is popular and trending. It’s always good for me to remember that I’m creating work that not only pleases me but pleases larger audiences.

IreneLee-unicorn

How have the classes helped your artwork evolve /grow?

I love the MATS community and everyone’s support. I think it’s important to keep creating art and making things, but it’s great that in the MATS class, you’re with a bunch of like-minded people. I love seeing what other classmates are producing and how everyone is so talented and unique. It inspires me to keep working and pushing myself.

Any aha moments during MATS you would like to share?

This may seem obvious, but learning to illustrate with an audience in mind is SO important! I have a design background, and I am always considering my audience when making designs. For some reason, when I illustrate, I don’t think about my audience as much. Maybe because illustration feels more like personal expression sometimes. This class taught me to remember that to be a successful illustrator, you need to be mindful of the trends and of the markets.

IreneLee-pipes

What are your key successes since taking a MATS class?

By doing these two assignments, I got over my fear of drawing people faces! I love drawing the figure, but I was always scared to draw faces, since they’re really difficult! But the first two assignments we got in this class required us to draw faces. It’s nice to have a mini assignment tp practice before doing the main assignment.

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

I would tell him/her that it’s a great class with a lot of resources and an awesome community. I would also say that it’s a great opportunity and that it’s what you make of it. If you invest a lot and work hard on the assignments, you’ll see a much bigger outcome than if you just whip things up last minute. Of course, this is something I need to remind myself since I can put things off if I’m not careful.

IreneLee-bike

What is your dream gig for your artwork?

There’s a ton of brands I would love to work with. Pixar, Disney, Chronicle Books, Penguin and Target are amongst my favorites. I would also love to have my own business and make stationery like Rifle Paper Co. Another dream of mine is to illustrate a children’s book! I dream big!

See more of Irene’s work here: Instagram | Twitter

***

Would you like to Make Art That Sells?
We have the following courses currently open for registration HERE!
matsD-banner-h02650
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.
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 for our first session of class this October. Don’t miss out. REGISTER HERE

***

mats-ab-banner
 If you want to learn exactly what to put in your artwork to make killer portfolio pieces while staying true to your style and taste, MATS A and B is for you. Graduates of these 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. These comprehensive courses includes access to videos of Lilla Rogers reviewing over 500 pieces of art.
Both MATS A and MATS B are open for registration, you can join anytime as they are self-paced.

Save

Save

Save

Alumni success ‘spotlight’ interview with Katie Cannon


alumni-success-04

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

***

Katie_Cannon_LogoToday, we have an interview with alumni Katie Cannon.  Katie has taken MATS Bootcamp and participated in the Global Talent Search

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

I have been an artist for all my life. I have always loved to draw and make things. I have used this passion over the years in one form or another and I really love how I can share what I see with others through my art.

 

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

I love working with color and line. What it bringing me joy right now it illustrating quotes and phrases. I love being able to share my love of words and color with others.

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

I love to work designing coloring books and creating word art for prints and home decor.

Katie_Cannon_Floral_Abundance_Cover

What are you working on currently?

I am currently working on branching into the wholesale market with my art prints and coloring books for adults.

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

I feel like MATS helped me to work out a design in small chunks and really work with a design until it is really refined.

Katie_Cannon_Jewels-and-Mandals-Coloring

How have the classes helped your artwork evolve /grow?

I feel like the MATS class really helped me to learn to explore an idea more thoroughly. I really feel like I have refined my style and learned new skills that have helped to create a better quality of art.

Any aha moments during MATS you would like to share?

I think that it was when I learned in class how to better present my art with mockups.

Katie_Cannon_FTLOFlowres

What are your key successes since taking a MATS class?

I really thing that my key to success has been learning to keep working and  pushing my art into the market and not being afraid to show my work.

What is your dream gig for your artwork?

I would love to have a line of Home Decor & Gift  products with my art featured on it.

See more of Katie’s work here: Website | Instagram

***

Would you like to Make Art That Sells?
We have the following courses currently open for registration HERE!
matsD-banner-h02650
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.
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 for our first session of class this October. Don’t miss out. REGISTER HERE

***

mats-ab-banner
 If you want to learn exactly what to put in your artwork to make killer portfolio pieces while staying true to your style and taste, MATS A and B is for you. Graduates of these 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. These comprehensive courses includes access to videos of Lilla Rogers reviewing over 500 pieces of art.
Both MATS A and MATS B are open for registration, you can join anytime as they are self-paced.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Alumni success ‘spotlight’ interview with Gabriela Larios


alumni-success-04

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

***

Profile-Gabriela-LariosToday, we have an interview with alumni Gabriela Larios. Gabriela has taken Bootcamp, MATS A and MATS Home Decor.

Tell us a little about how you got started in art and design
My name is Gabriela Larios, Salvadorean textile designer and illustrator based in London. My love of drawing, textiles and illustration began when I was little. It was my artistic mother who taught me the first lessons about colour palettes and its various combinations. She also introduced me to the world of watercolours, which is to this day one of my favourite techniques. Animals and fishes were one of my favourite subject matter and they are still very present among the things that spark my creativity.
After working a few years in graphic design and obtaining my arts degree in London, I realised that I had a passion for illustration, textiles, patterns and children’s books and continued honing my skills in these areas and working hard independently which is what I always wanted in order to have more flexibility between family and work.
GABRIELA_LARIOS_COASTAL_BIRDS
Lilla always says “People buy your joy.” What brings you joy?’
I love to be able to tell a story through my work, inspired by my lifelong fascination for picture books and the natural world. I enjoy being able to discover new ways of expressing my creativity and imagination through experimentation and the interesting things you find throughout the process when working on a new piece.
Which is your favorite market(s) to design for and why?
I like all the markets but my favourites are picture books, home decoration, gift-ware, wall art and
fabric. I like picture books because of the strong connection between the work I produce and memories of my childhood. I like home decoration and gift-ware because of the glorious three-dimensionality, shape and form the artworks achieve when applied on ceramics, fabric, metal or any other substrate. I love fabric because it helps to make our lives more colourful and fun. Fabric is a very functional and tactile piece of art that enhances our homes and lives.
Hare-among-Fern-Gabriela-Larios-hr
What are you working on currently?
I just finished MATS Home decor course and I am just about to start working on new S/S 2017 prints collections for potential use on children’s wear.
What are some of the key things you have learnt from the MATS experience?
The different ways in which industries work among the various markets like wall art, fabric, picture books, etc and the qualities and type of artworks each and every market is looking for.  Your values are expressed on the pieces you produce and the type of clients it will attract.
How have the classes helped your artwork evolve /grow?
It has helped me to dedicate precious time on producing new body of work applied on to products I wouldn’t otherwise think of, due to lack of time, etc. Sometimes you know you have the capabilities of producing a specific type of work but you need to show this in your portfolio so that potential clients know what to expect from you when thinking of working with new artists.
I have a natural inclination for constant growth and experimentation. I believe profoundly in the fact that art is a never ending path of discovery, constant learning, experimentation and evolution – no matter what stage of your art career you are at.
Gabriela-Larios_Three_Billy_Goats
Any aha moments during MATS you would like to share?
Especially during MATS A I was able to explore new techniques which I have been able to incorporate in my creative process and style.
What are your key successes since taking a MATS class?
One of the pieces created for MATS A was awarded an Honourable Mention by 3×3 Illustration Awards. (I have had the honour of having work selected in two consecutive years). One of the pieces created for MATS A was among the selection of artworks to be published in the upcoming Print & Pattern Nature book.  MATS has enriched my portfolio and it has helped me to get out of my comfort zone in regards to subject matter I normally draw.
Colourful-Deep-Sea-Creatures-Zipped-Bag-lifestyle2-copy
How would you describe taking a MATS class to a fellow artist looking to develop their art?
I strongly recommend the courses if you want to produce work within some of the markets covered in MATS. You receive insightful, valuable knowledge to present your pieces in the most professional, creative and marketable way. For some reason I used to sustain a bit of scepticism towards the concept of ‘commercial or sellable art’ but this doesn’t mean low quality or selling out.
What is your dream gig for your artwork?
I would love to make a picture book in collaboration with a children’s book publisher, one that could lead to other potential projects in this market and I would also love to produce a collection of bedding and home decor products in collaboration with a home-wares company.
See more of Gabriela’s work here: Website | Blog | Facebook | Instagram

***

Would you like to Make Art That Sells?
We have the following courses currently open for registration HERE!
mats-ab-banner
If you want to learn exactly what to put in your artwork to make killer portfolio pieces while staying true to your style and taste, MATS A and B is for you. Graduates of these 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. These comprehensive courses includes access to videos of Lilla Rogers reviewing over 500 pieces of art.
Both MATS A and MATS B are open for registration, you can join anytime as they are self-paced.

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

mats-collections-home-decor-banner

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

Art directors NEED your great art!

Our next live e-course, Make Art That Sells: Creating Collections for Home Décor starts May 16 and teaches you everything you need to know to create killer presentations with your art. Registration is open and we look forward to seeing your gorgeous designs.

Save

Alumni success ‘spotlight’ interview with Mara Penny


alumni-success-04

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

***

Mara Penny_BWPortrait_2015Today, we have an interview with alumni Mara Penny. Mara has taken our Bootcamp twice, MATS B twice, Home Decor, entered the Global Talent Search (made the top 50 in 2015) and attended our Global Art Gathering in the UK

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

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

The creative process itself brings me joy.  When it’s going really well I get into a zone where time stops.  It’s hard to explain but it’s exhilarating and addicting.

Mara Penny_GTS 2015_MATS

What are you working on currently?

I just finished up the MATS Home Decor Class! I created a children’s line specifically for brothers and sisters who share a room.  It’s inspired by J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan Books and is called Neverland.  I’ll also be showing at Surtex for the first time with my art collective, Finch & Foxglove, so I’m busy making pieces for that!

What are some of the key things you have learnt from the MATS experience?  
Where to begin? Drawing lots of icons and shopping your own work was a revolution in my brain!  Breaking briefs into bite sized chunks also really helps to keep you from getting overwhelmed.  Not dumbing down your work was another big one and of course, people really do buy your joy!  
Mara Penny_Home Dec_Neverland Collection
How have the classes helped your artwork evolve /grow?
My first MATS class was bootcamp.  I thought it would be fun to have an assignment each month and push myself to create images I wouldn’t normally make.  Little did I know it would change my life!  I have grown so much, it’s truly astounding to me!! It’s funny because when you first start taking these courses it can be really intimidating looking at the caliber of work that comes out of these classes.  I slowing but surely started growing and getting better bit by bit, my confidence grew with each class.  Then a year into it, during my first round of the Home Decor class, something clicked, I suddenly got it.  
Any aha moments during MATS you would like to share?  
I’m one of those who get scared to show their work to art directors and Lilla pointed out that art directors need us.  They need us artists to create artwork so that they can continue having a job. That had never occurred to me and completely changed my perspective on sending work out!  
Mara Penny_MATS_Neverland Map
What are your key successes since taking a MATS class?  
I have licensed some work directly from assignments given in the MATS courses!  I was invited to join an art collective which is mostly comprised of MATS alumni (finding your tribe is no joke!) and I’m showing at Surtex!
How would you describe taking a MATS class to a fellow artist looking to develop their art? 
It can be really intense. I like to get my house in tip top shape before I dive into a MATS class because I know I will completely ignore it for the next five weeks.  With that said, it is the very best thing I have ever done for myself.  And that’s the truth.  MATS has honestly changed my life for the better.
Mara Penny_MATS_Sweet Dreams Finch
 
What is your dream gig for your artwork?  Right now? 
I want to see my Neverland collection in stores!  That would be amazing!  Also, I would love love love to illustrate children’s books while my kids are still the target audience.
 
See more of Mara’s work here: Website | Instagram | Facebook
Would you like to Make Art That Sells?
We have the following courses currently open for registration HERE!
mats-ab-banner
 If you want to learn exactly what to put in your artwork to make killer portfolio pieces while staying true to your style and taste, MATS A and B is for you. Graduates of these 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. These comprehensive courses includes access to videos of Lilla Rogers reviewing over 500 pieces of art.
Both MATS A and MATS B are open for registration, you can join anytime as they are self-paced.

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

mats-collections-home-decor-banner

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

Art directors NEED your great art!

Our next live e-course, Make Art That Sells: Creating Collections for Home Décor starts May 16 and teaches you everything you need to know to create killer presentations with your art. Registration is open and we look forward to seeing your gorgeous designs.