We receive so many wonderful comments about ‘Make Art That Sells‘, that we challenged our amazing alumni to submit their own MATS Manifesto. We had 161 entries and were absolutely delighted (but not surprised!) by the staggering level of submissions for the Manifesto competition.

Lilla was very impressed with all the entries and announced an overall winner, PLUS 4 honorable mentions. The winner gets a free place on our wonderful new MATS course launching later this year. Our runners up all win a free entry into the 2015 Global Talent Search.


Shannon Newlin

We are delighted to announce that the winner was Shannon Newlin whose distinctive style is emblematic of courageously and artistically being oneself with a vengeance.


Congratulations on your stunning piece Shannon – you win a free place on you win a free place on the brand NEW MATS course (coming later in 2015), and we will also be giving you a free place on the 2015 Global Talent Search!

We would also like to give honourable mentions to four we particularly loved:


Kelly Angelovic


Kim Johnson


Tjarda Borsboom


Jane Newland

Thank you so much to everyone who entered.

We will be featuring many more manifesto’s on the blog and Facebook page over the coming weeks and months!


Would you like to experience MATS and learn how to ‘Make Art That Sells’?

Join us for the next round of Make Art That Sells. Class begins on Monday 2 March, 2015 and registration is open here.



10 commentsblog / Lilla Rogers Studio School / Make Art That Sells

Friday, February 6th, 2015
Q&A with Lilla – Part 1 (from MATS A)

question of the dayWALL

Our ‘Q&A with Lilla’ series is back! This is where we share questions from the previous class of Make Art That Sells.

In Lilla’s Make Art That Sells classes she often gets asked about how to sell work in particular markets, so we thought we’d share some of those questions and answers with you.

The next Make Art That Sells classes will start 2 March, 2015 and registration is open here.

You can see what a wide variety of topics are covered – and you might even find the answer to that burning question you have been wanting to ask! These questions were asked during the MATS Part A class last year.


Q. For bolt fabric, why is it that if you work digitally you pick a limited palette of colors, while if you are painting you can have any number? What I am wondering is that don’t bolt fabric manufacturers need a limited number of colors for their printing costs to be reasonable? So is there a disadvantage to submit work with a large/painted palette?

A: This is a great question. I don’t know the technicalities of it, but I do know that some bolt fabric companies have told me that they love traditional media and that they are able to either print digitally (full color) or they somehow do the separations. I asked about cost and that was not a concern. Therefore, I would say it’s not a disadvantage, although I haven’t talked to every bolt fabric company out there. The deal is, make art you love and know that painting I traditional media is not a deterrence.

Q. I am very happy with the drawings I’ve made in preparation for an assignment, they are interesting and quirky in some way, BUT when talking about styles, I have been working allot with a specific ‘cartoony’ style the past year, and I don’t feel these fit in that style. I was not consciously going for it, I was just trying out new things.  My question: Do I just keep going, take it as an adventure and see where I end up? Showing I can do various styles.  Or do I embrace the ‘style’ I’ve been using and try concentrate on that?

A: I’m sure that many folks are thinking the same sorts of things. What you’re asking is that what you seem to be doing to prepare is different from what your body of work currently consists of. While there is no hard and fast answer to your question, you can approach it this way: take the MATS course as an opportunity to be open, be free, try new things and see where it goes. The reason for this is that it will inform your existing style and will revitalize you and the work.

Q. My question is about finding a style. I’ve been looking at my work and I’m not sure that there’s a strong coherence between the pieces, I’m a beginner so I understand that with more and more practice a style will develop naturally, but because I like to vary the media, style and technique, I sense that could lessen the consistency in a portfolio. What is more convenient? (For the clients and as an artist) To have an eclectic style and change according to your mood, to decide and focus on one technique and style, to choose a style depending on the project briefing, or to pick, say, two graphic languages and work under 2 different names/brands?

A: Ah, the question of evolving one’s style! I want you to do the following. Over the course of the 5 weeks, write your feelings in a journal regarding your style of the work you do in class. See what emerges.

Put the whole issue of style out of your mind—as best you can—for the MATS 5 weeks, and allow yourself to play. Naturally, your style will evolve. Let the art lead the way, not your mind. That is, let your art and your artmaking—coming from the joy of the art experience—lead the way. At the end of the five weeks, I’d love to hear what you’ve learned!

A style: you can’t force it and you can’t fight it. It will emerge and usually encompasses all the bits and parts of your art personality. Trust that, with many hours of art-making, that it will come to together. I promise you.

Over the years artists have asked me about two different styles with two pseudonyms and my answer is this. It’s hard enough to build up one brand, let alone building promoting two. I advise only one name.

Q. When submitting collections for bolt fabric, is it recommended or useful to include mock-ups at all?  Is there a standard number of colourways to present when submitting, or would you just submit one?

A: Generally, art directors at bolt fabric companies like to see a small collection, like 3 – 5 pieces that they can work with. You can vary them any way you like, such as a few repeats, some coordinates, etc. There is no hard and fast rule.

Q. I’m assuming that fabric printing relies on Pantone colors, vs. the CMYK formula of printing-on-paper. Is that a correct assumption?

A: For limited color palettes where you do flat color like in Illustrator, the colors are like silk screen where they are each printed separately. When the manufacturer does digital printing, it’s more like CMYK. I don’t know the specifics of the printing techniques because my artists just send Photoshop or Illustrator files in CMYK and the client does the rest.

Q. How do we move forward and go about finding a manufacturer to license our art for the specific chosen market, say a bolt fabric company line Robert Kauffman. Do you approach them via email and introduce yourself and perhaps include a print pattern design like we have for week 1? Do we introduce ourself and just attach a website link for them to check our style and design out themselves? What should we say in our first communication to them and who do we send to. I know some of the companies have a artists submission section, but do we get lost in the million who submit there? What is the best way to move forward and present yourself?

A: I go over presentation of your work in greater detail in MATS B, Week 2. I can tell you that all of the above are great. Start where you are and build. Clients need your great art so they tend to look at everything, even if briefly. Your email should be short and sweet, and avoid any typos so that you look professional. You would include 2 – 5 lo res jpgs and a link to your website, unless their submission policy says differently. Even if you don’t hear back, it does not mean that they are not interested; they may be watching you and want to see more work as you create it and grow.


Got your own questions for Lilla? Join us for the next round of Make Art That Sells. Class begins on Monday 2 March, 2015 and registration is open here.


2 commentsblog / Lilla Rogers Studio School / Make Art That Sells


Welcome to our ‘Insight Spotlight’ column, where we share insights from industry experts in some of the hottest markets out there. This week we are pleased to offer expert advice from Megan Tingley of Hachette Book Group


Primary Market: Children’s book illustration. This market is all about creating a memorable character, such as Eloise, Frog & Toad, Madeline, Cat in the Hat, Pigeon, etc.. Also an intuitive sense of what kind of details kids will invite readers to look at the images more carefully and draw them into the world and a sense of humor.

How can this market be lucrative for an artist?

Creating a character that can sustain a franchise/series that sells and backlists forever cna provide a lifelong source of income via royalties. Conversely, if an artist works quickly, she/he can also have a very lucrative career doing multiple work-for-hire projects, including “ghost art” for an established series with ancillary projects (for example, doodle books, journals, etc. for a popular picture book or licensed brand.

What kinds of products/offerings are a growth sector for your company?

Strong concepts with immediate parent appeal that can stand out and sell in a mass market environment (Costco, Target, Walmart). Appealing to a busy parent who wants a quick and low-priced book purchase for their child the telegraphs immediately but the title, concept, and cover what it is. (Example: this book will teach my child verbal/math/ skills in an accessible, fun way.) But this is very difficult!

What do you look for when buying new art?

Fresh look, character resonance, playful appraoch to integrating text and art. Visual storytelling ability. Distinctive personality – bring your own quirky interests to your portfolio (are you obsessed with insects, cheese, geography, math, animals? Explore that in your portfolio – it might lead to an actual book idea. I have developed several picture books based on greeting card lines that had a unique humorous or emotional theme.

Is there any rhyme or reason to why some products sell well and why others don’t?

There’s no accounting for taste! And trends are hard to predict/follow. But it’s important to be aware of trends. For example, I don’t know why, but pandas have been become extremely hot. The zoos have panda cams, all the street vendors in NYC were selling panda hats, airports are selling panda flight pillows, kids are obsessed with pandas (including my own daughter). A smart artist would be observing that phenomenon and capitlizing on it by pitching stories and designs featuring pandas.

What is the one thing you wish artists would do differently when pitching art to you? Or what do you love that they do when they pitch to you?

Show me pieces that reveal their own personality and interests — not what they think I want to see. I am deeply interested in an artist’s personal passions as I think that’s where all great ideas and art come from. If you have a lifelong love of dinosaurs, babies, or history, I want to know about it and see it! I love if they develop a really unique character and show them in a variety of scenes/settings. This helps me see the potential of developing them as a picture book artists.

What one piece of advice do you have for artists trying to sell their first piece of art in that market?

Don’t over curate your portfolio — each person who sees it is going to respond to differrent styles and ideas so diversity is good. I can’t tell you how many times I have become enamored of an odd piece in an artist’s portfolio and they have said “how funny that you like that piece, I almost didn’t include it in my portfolio.”

About Megan


Megan is one of the top women in children’s book publishing in America, overseeing the Little Brown Books for Young Readers (LBYR) publishing program at the Hachette Book Group, which includes novelty and picture books and fiction and nonfiction for middle readers and young adults.

Megan also acquires and edits select titles for her eponymous imprint, including the bestselling series The Twilight Saga and The Mysterious Benedict Society, as well as many picture books by US Children’s Poet Laureate Mary Ann Hoberman, and artists Todd Parr and Naoko Stoop. During her tenure as Publisher, LBYR’s titles have been honored with the Caldecott Medal, two Caldecott Honors, several New York Times Best Illustrated citations, and selected for the annual Society of Illustrators exhibition and the New York Book Show.

Find out more at hachettebookgroup.com

Megan is one of the esteemed judges on the Global Talent Search judging panel.


Want to learn more about making more commercially viable art whilst staying true to yourself? Join our acclaimed online course ‘Make Art That Sells‘, led by top agent Lilla Rogers. Next class starts March 2 – find out more and register here!


6 commentsblog / Lilla Rogers Studio School / Make Art That Sells

YouTube Preview Image

Watch and stay tuned as Sarah Walsh makes a promise to Lilla-

To be continued…. xo, the Studio

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Friday, January 30th, 2015
Back From Printsource NY!

Wow. We are just catching our breath now that we’re back from Printsource, and it was amazing!  We had a hugely successful show…. And we are so proud of our artists’ work.

We sold prints for all kinds of products to the most incredible clients including:
· Window valance curtains
· Infant bedding
· Scrubs
· Nursery décor
· A new product line
· Greeting cards
· Top of bed
· Pet products


Suzy Ultman’s dolls for Land Of Nod cozied up in the booth



The Lilla Rogers Studio booth all set up and ready for the show


And we even had a chance to obsess over beautiful yarns at Purl Soho-


Lilla, Joanne and Susan


1 commentblog


The newest book I’ve illustrated is available in stores now!  Everybody Says Shalom is a spirited picture book tour of Israel with a cast of colorful characters and exotic locations.  And if you look very closely, you’ll see a tiny pink lizard named Gili hiding out on every page.  I know kids are going to have fun finding him.  I had a wonderful time researching and illustrating this book.  Now I can’t wait to visit Israel myself and try some of that famous falafel!  Everybody Says Shalom was written by Leslie Kimmelman and published by Random House Childrens’ Books.


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Welcome to our new column ‘Insight Spotlight’, where we share insights from industry experts in some of the hottest markets out there. This week we are pleased to offer expert advice from Mary Ann Hall from Quarry Books


Primary Market: The illustrated book market.


How can this market be lucrative for an artist?

Doing regular freelance work as a designer or illustrator, or if you are a really accomplished artist, perhaps you can author a book.

What is going to be hot in your market in 2015 such as subject matter, colors, products?

Beautiful art and creativity books that offer something really unique.

What kinds of products/offerings are a growth sector for your company?

Illustration practice and technique books have been our strongest category.

What do you look for when buying new art?

A unique vision, total beauty, accessibility for a wide market.

Is there any rhyme or reason to why some products sell well and why others don’t?

Not always. I am sometimes surprised!

What is the one thing you wish artists would do differently when pitching art to you? Or what do you love that they do when they pitch to you?

I like a concise message–and a clear pitch–an overview that really gives the pitch at a glance, with enough supporting material that I see that the artist has done their homework. And tell me WHY it will sell, and how your network will support that.

What one piece of advice do you have for artists trying to sell their first piece of art in that market?

Don’t give up!

About Mary Ann

Mary Ann Hall


Mary Ann is an experienced publishing professional specializing in innovative, illustrated art and technique books. For 12 years, she led the art and crafts publishing program for Quarry Books and is currently editorial director for Quarry Books and Rockport Publishers developing books on art, crafts, design, artisan food and lifestyle topics.

Currently based in Shaker Heights, Ohio, she is a Midwesterner who has lived the largest part of her life elsewhere and an urbanite who loves to hang out in woods. As a serial enthusiast, she enjoys many creative pursuits, including Burmese cooking, zydeco dancing, hiking, hot yoga, painting, reading, and having adventures with her children.

Mary Ann is one of the esteemed judges on the Global Talent Search judging panel.

Find out more at Qbookshop


Want to learn more about making more commercially viable art whilst staying true to yourself? Join our acclaimed online course ‘Make Art That Sells‘, led by top agent Lilla Rogers. Next class starts March 2 – find out more and register here!


2 commentsblog / Lilla Rogers Studio School / Make Art That Sells

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015
Meet our contributing Bootcamp Artists


You may have seen the fabulous work in the January Bootcamp gallery published yesterday here. For the 2015 edition of Bootcamp we have invited some of the talented Lilla Rogers Studio artists to contribute with some surprise bonus lessons. You can meet the featured artists below.

Silvia Dekker


Silvia Dekker grew up in a small village in the middle of the Dutch flower district. She went to The Royal Academy of Art in the Netherlands to study Conceptual art and design. After graduating Silvia went on to study Fashion and Textile design for 3 more years and started working freelance as a surface pattern designer and illustrator in 2001.

Silvia started working for European department stores Hema designing patterns for their baby- and children’s wear collections, soon followed by their homeware collections, postcards, bedding, stationery, toys, and Christmas collections. Hema has been her client for 12 years now.

After collaborating with international clients O’Neill sportswear and Oilily ladies and girls’ wear Silvia became one of Lilla Rogers Studio artists in 2009. New clients Hallmark, teNeues, Fisher Price, American Girl and Target followed. In 2012 her first fabric collection ‘Winter Warmth’ in collaboration with Wilmington prints was released, followed by ‘Atomic Bots’ in 2013, a robot and spaceship fabric collection for boys.

Her work has been featured on several blogs and magazines including the Print & Pattern blog and book, Flow magazine, UPPERCASE magazine, Lilla Roger’s book ‘I just like to make things’ 101 Living ideas and Bloesemkids blog.

Silvia lives in the old city centre of Leiden near Amsterdam with her partner and 2 boys. She is inspired by fairytales, folk art and vintage fabrics. Her colorful flower and vegetable garden in the Dutch countryside is also a great inspiration for her floral patterns.

For her Bootcamp Bonus Silvia will be teaching Basic Adobe Illustrator drawing skills!

Connect with Silvia here: Website | Artist page

John Coulter


John Coulter has been working as a freelance illustrator  for over 15 years and with Lilla Rogers Studio since 2001. He has been commissioned by a wide variety of clients including Target, Anthology Magazine, Virgin Airlines, Papyrus, Barnes & Noble, Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly, Washington Post, Utne Reader and Wine Spectator.

John was raised on a farm near Joy, Illinois. He grew up drawing constantly, exploring the woods, hunting mushrooms and working on the farm. At the county fair, he would strategically create an entry for every drawing category and win a blue ribbon in each.

He didn’t enjoy working with pigs, so he dreamed of a more creative career. He earned a BFA degree in Visual Communications at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. After college, he spent over 2 years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic.

And yes, he lost on Jeopardy.

For his Bootcamp Bonus John will be teaching how to create textures on vector art in Adobe Photoshop

Connect with John here: Website | Artist page


Talitha Shipman


Talitha is an illustrator and graphic designer based in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  She went to school for studio art at Taylor University, Upland, and then headed south for an MFA in Illustration from Savannah College of Art and Design.  Some of her clients include: Little Brown, Random House, Birds and Blooms, Galison Mudpuppy, American Greetings, Hallmark, Cricket Magazine, and many more!

Talitha is also a designer and animator for Blue Pony Motion Design.  Yes, she’s a busy lady!  She loves drawing dogs, flowers, birds, people or anything else that strikes her fancy.  Her specialties include book and greeting card illustration.

For her Bootcamp Bonus Talitha will be teaching Painting in Adobe Photoshop!

Connect with Talitha: Website | Artist page

Suzy Ultman


Suzy was raised in central Pennsylvania, playing in the woods and collecting stickers. She finds inspiration in scouring antique shops and flea markets, spending time in nature, walking down quirky city streets, and doodling on sticky notes.

As part of the Lilla Rogers Studio gang, Suzy has worked with Chronicle Books, Land of Nod, Crate & Barrel, Papyrus, Abrams Books, Robert Kaufman Fabrics, K&Company, Madison Park Greetings, Oopsy Daisy, and many more.

Her charming creations grace the shelves of Target, Archiver’s, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Crate & Barrel, and Modcloth. Suzy’s vast variety of products includes holiday ornaments, home decor pieces, journals, craft kits, stationery sets, dolls, and fabric collections. The work is simple and sweet, from an artist who lives in a land of mustached snails and apple houses.

For her Bootcamp Bonus Suzy will be teaching how to design your own logo!

 Connect with Suzy here: Website | Artist page







3 commentsblog / Lilla Rogers Studio School / Make Art That Sells

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015
January 2015 Bootcamp gallery now live!

The first gallery from our 2015 Make Art That Sells: Assignment Bootcamp class is now live! You can view it here:


The gallery features nearly 500 pieces of original art inspired by the January class assignment… a journal featuring Edwardian brooch-inspired imagery!


There was so much fabulous work submitted in response to this brief, and we love the ongoing supportive energy in the Bootcamp community. What a generous, talented group of artists they are!

BC Jan 2

STOP PRESS – REGISTRATION REOPENED FOR 48 HOURS ONLY! Although Bootcamp started in January, by popular demand we are re-opening the registration doors for 48 hours only. If you want to be part of this awesome class with artists from across the world, CLICK HERE to register. You will join the class from February, but will have access to the assignment from January to do in your own time, plus you’ll get access to all the fabulous bonuses we are offering with this class including:

*A video interview with Lilla on everything you need to know when seeking representation and working with an agent, specifically

  • How to know if you are ready and suited for representation
  • How to decide which agent would be a good fit for you and your work
  • How to approach an agent for representation
  • What to do if you get knocked back
  • Top tips for working with an agent

*Basic Adobe Illustrator drawing skills (featuring LRS artist Silvia Dekker)
*Creating textures on vector art in Adobe Photoshop (featuring LRS artist John Coulter)
*Painting in Adobe Photoshop (featuring LRS artist Talitha Shipman)
*Designing your own logo (featuring LRS artist Suzy Ultman)

Sound good? Hurry, we are only re-opening registration for 48 hours. JOIN HERE.

Join us! It’s great fun.

Lilla and Beth



PS Read what our students say about the MATS courses here.

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