2014 Global Talent Search Finalists announced!

The waiting is over. It’s time to reveal the 2014 Global Talent Search Finalists, chosen from the 50 Semi-Finalists (who were selected from nearly 1000 artists’ work). We are thrilled to unveil the six Finalists, knowing that one of these artists’ careers is about to change forever. Five were chosen by our panel of industry experts, and one was chosen via public vote. The overall competition winner will be represented by Lilla Rogers Studio for two years, and win a host of licensing deals from prestigious companies (see here for details). The assignment was to create a personified animal character for a young child’s t-shirt.

So without further ado, here we go…


Over 10,000 votes were cast by the public, and we can now reveal that the 2014 Global Talent Search People’s Choice Finalist is:



A number of the judges also singled out Kate’s work, saying:

  • The facial expressions on each of the characters are fabulous! The small patterns peppered throughout the design…in the dresses, lanterns, etc…make the design.
  • This is by far the most exciting composition and I really enjoyed finding new details each time I looked at it.
  • I like the detail in the images, the variety of animals and the  little girl
  • I think both mothers who buy the clothes and the little girls who wear them will like these images. Sometimes only the mother or the child likes the images and that causes problems.
  • There are also several images and designs that will stand alone or have unlimited combination possibilities for additional product.


Our stellar panel of judges – with more than a century of industry experience between them in the Gift, Home Décor, Editorial and children’s book illustration, Fabric and Stationery, markets – took days deliberating over the Semi-Final gallery. It was incredibly hard to choose, but in the end the following five were selected as the other Finalists (in no particular order):



What the judges said about this piece:

  • Such a sweet rabbit character – should appeal to very young children and babies. The message of gardening and growing produce would also be a great one to teach little ones!
  • Overall, I found Flora’s submission very strong: she placed her supersweet character in a lovely environment that’s detailed but not too busy
  • Flora devoted just as much design and illustration attention to the typography. I love the way she’s built this out. The thermos is adorable and the toss patterns are fantastic: very different concepts but still of the same world.
  • Love all her stuff and definitely think this character is marketable across many lines of business.
  • Flora has a very cute design and nice color palette that suitable for the younger market, especially for babies and toddlers.
  • As an aside, I really like seeing the sketchbook section on her site.



What the judges said about this piece:

  • Dig Mister Moose’s nice, fresh ,clunky perspective, his witty humanoid pose, hot beverage, and thoughtfully gathered collection of camping equipment.
  • Not anatomically or spatially correct but that’s a good thing; it’s a sincere and dry set up that cuts through the clutter, with lots of good patterns and moments of handsome color.
  • There’s an appealing ease and freshness with Lindsay’s watercolours. Her t-shirt design is a bit strange and edgy compared to the rest of the submissions and I think that’s to her benefit here.
  • A fun, quirky, retro, and unique look that can appeal to a gender-neutral audience.
  • I also really love Lindsay’s watercolor art on her website. It’s beautiful and marketable.



What the judges said about this piece:

  • Her character had a sense of personality and was relatable to children. Strong composition with a bold central character, sense of detail, humor. The image stayed with me after I had left the page.
  • I immediately liked this guy. I sort of thought “bear”. I wasn’t sure till I read her blog, but I didn’t care. He has personality, a story to tell. He’s got a good expression, and a fun lumpy body. I think he’s really resolved.
  • It feels like a professional piece of work and is very marketable.
  • The whole shirt design is appealing, the details, the lettering, his bird friend, the car lining at the neck. The shirt feels girly because of the sleeve cut, but the imagery could be for boys too.
  • More individual stylistically
  • Good emotional connection with friendly animal and integrated words/attributes. Approachable character. Warm palette.



What the judges said about this piece:

  • This piece stood out to me right away. Excellent composition, the character feels unique and like someone a child would like to get to know.
  • The image is telling a story.
  • Love the handlettering.
  • Style, color choice, folkloric influence but presented in modern way.
  • I like Rebecca’s work from both rounds. The first round is very sweet and cute, while the second round looks more edgy. Great presentation in showing different types of style.
  • Creative character with fun details and discovery within the composition.  Good visual story-telling.



What the judges said about this piece:

  • Brilliant illustration skills – such sweet detailing. Very cute kitten with a retro feel. Co-ordinating prints are also very stylish.
  • Overall really good – could see this appealing to high end customers as well as main street.
  • Tara has a lot of nice art on her site as well. I’m drawn to her delicate on trend techniques and themes.
  • Good coordinates with her focal. Her kitty girl looks fresh.
  • Who doesn’t like entrepreneurial cats with flush cheeks and pencils in their aprons and newsprint wrapped flower stems? Wonderfully lush, dazzling flowers, every one different, and the attitude of the cat: perfectly poised. Nice hints of old-timey-ness.
  • Just beautifully thought through and organized.
  • Spot on – talented in character, pattern, lettering… very able.
  • A true talent.
  • Tara’s work demonstrates confidence in her style and abilities. It is on-trend with a hint of retro qualities without being derivative of others’ works.


The judges also answered two important questions for us:

In general what stood out to you about the five artists you chose?

  • Bold impact at a glance – not too wishy-washy or fiddly. Appealing face of the character and easily readable text.
  • They all focused on developing specific characters with personalities. I was looking for characters that were expressive and had a story to tell. Fresh looks with distinctive line, pleasing use of color. Bold compositions that draw the eye. Images that resonated after I left the site. Direct child appeal.
  • The characters had immediate appeal, the work felt original and all the supporting details strengthened the overall piece.
  • Our customer gravitates to happy and well executed techniques that have a reason for them to purchase.
  • I had an emotional response for one reason or another. I want to know more about the characters or I felt there was opportunity to add to the ideas.
  • Variety of styles that they offered: painting, vector art, collage, textures, etc.
  • Presentation, freshness and uniqueness of the art.
  • Marketability: if the work can transfer to products and if it can sell.
  • I tried to choose characters who were interesting but not too wacky or less-defined. Children like the comfort of familiarity and want an emotional connection with the character so a spirit of friendliness and a feeling of warmth seems important to me. That coupled with good composition that has a kinetic spirit of movement is great also.
  • They’re telling conceptual visual stories, not just decorating a rectangle.
  • I think the five I selected were more sensitive to who their audience is, whether that be the mother who buys the clothes or the “independent” kids of today who choose their own clothes.
  • For me these 5 are a little more sophisticated for a higher end market.
  • I will say, it was difficult to narrow down to 5 but I really connected with the artwork. All of the artists are commercially viable for one market or another but the artists I chose have something I feel I haven’t seen a lot of stylistically.
  • I chose the ones that felt the most distinctive and original to me. Colors also had more contrast and veered away from the mid tones that many of the artists chose. I feel like the market is getting away from the lime, mid pink etc. and these 5 artists had more interesting color choices.
  • The ones I chose all feel very relevant and I think their work has staying power, another key to being marketable.
  • They each possess an interesting point-of-view: a freshness that’s wonderful for an art director to discover.
  • I wanted them to be able to book a variety of jobs in the real world.
  • They all show a high level of accomplished skill. I felt they all had diversity within their portfolios, and each brought something different to the game
  • The ones that stood out for me could be part of Lilla’s family, but have enough distinct qualities that potential clients would be seeking out these illustrator’s unique traits, not their abilities to successfully copy existing styles.

What advice would you give to those who you did NOT choose, in order to make their work more commercially appealing?

  • Some of the designs looked a little too much like cartoon characters that you would see in animation, and on some the faces did not have appealing smiles.
  • All the finalists were talented and it was difficult to choose! In the end, I tended to eliminate designs that lacked a central focus and seemed too busy. For picture books and for a t-shirt, I think a strong, memorable central image is important — it must pop out from the background and many of the artists elected to add a lot of background details which made the piece feel more like a pattern than a story. These kinds of designs might work well for stationery items but not books and t-shirts.
  • Many of the designs were just too cute for me
  • Be sure your character is really the focal point of your piece, but that there are a lot of wonderful things to look at, but that you always come back to the main event.
  • Coordinates are important.
  • Many used colors that we would not consider… it is easy to change, but it slows down our production process
  • I want to see depth, contrast, simplicity, maybe clever messaging.
  • Consider the emotional connection…
  • Movement within composition and friendly color and typography are integral to the whole piece.
  • Give the viewer something to fixate on beside pattern and eye candy. Develop a visual fulcrum, or some thing or axis that the story can rotate around.  No matter how small, if well considered, it’s what delights the viewer and makes them feel smart for appreciating it.
  • I looked for a mix of detail, strong pattern, strong character development, strong lettering skills.
  • Show me diversity and how your work could fit for a whole range of needs.
  • I think there would be a benefit in paring down a bit. Make the design (and its presentation) a touch more clear: remove some of the pattern and visual clutter so that the main image or illustration pops a bit more. White space or negative space can be very effective and should be used as a tool to accentuate your work; there’s no need to fill every nook and cranny.
  • I would be careful of the message that I included. Sometimes the art is great but the message would not make sense to a child or their mother.
  • I would recommend that the artists show additional possible products if possible… For me, the more ideas and the more information that the artist gives me, the more likely I am to select their work.
  • I responded to the designs that I felt I had not see a version of before…
  • Look for ways to move beyond the commercial norm, and try for more distinctly different work that what is currently available in so much of the marketplace.
  • I think it’s important to have a vision and an individual perspective that’s immediately obvious. The market is saturated with imitators and art directors are constantly seeking something unique for their projects.
  • Commitment to your own brand. Keep on updating your work/website. Show more variety of works and art techniques (for example: illustration/surface/pattern/products, watercolor, vector, etc).
  • I think all of the artists are strong in their own ways but when I am reviewing their work I want to see something fresh…a new approach perhaps. I feel many designers are influenced by what they see as on trend when I am looking for the counter trend.


Congratulations to everyone! We are thrilled that together 10,000 public votes, plus our judging panel comprising some of the top art directors and creative professionals in the industry, independently selected a set of Finalists where EVERY SINGLE PERSON is a graduate of Make Art That Sells. It was clear that the course helped them develop commercially-viable art, choose amazing colors and present it professionally. We cannot wait to see the work that comes out of the next class (beginning October 20 2014!)

***FLASH SALE*** If you sign up for Make Art That Sells A + B by Friday September 27 2014 you will get the Bootcamp 2015 class for free! See HERE for more details and register now.



Huge thanks to everyone who entered the competition, and especially to the 50 semi-finalists who put so much time, energy and love into their submissions. We are sorry that you cannot all be in the Final, but hope you have enjoyed taking part, and that the exposure has been valuable to you. We would also like to thank everyone who voted, and all our judges who took so much care selecting their choices and sharing their thoughts.

What happens now?

The Finalists will be sent their third and final assignment later today by email. They will be asked to submit their entry by Tuesday 30 September, and in the meantime will have a 1-1 Skype call with Lilla so they can find out more about each other. After that Lilla and her team of agents will select the winner, who will be announced here on the blog on Thursday 9 October 2014. And then a whole new phase of their art career will begin…


  • I’m so excited! Congratulations everyone!

    September 17, 2014
  • Wow, great, great, great collection! Love all. BRAVISSIMO!

    September 17, 2014
  • A fantastic selection of work! Can’t wait to see the next round and find out who has won. Good luck all!

    September 17, 2014
  • WELL DONE, JUDGES! I’m so excited for all 5 AND frankly, for Lilla! She gets to represent one of them! Huge congratulations to all. Great work. Can’t wait to see the final. Best of luck!

    September 17, 2014
  • some of my friends made it through and i’m so thrilled for them! of course i’d have loved to be in the finals as well…but after reading why the choices were made the way they were, i can take these bits of feedback and work on some focused areas, so that is a win of sorts too. excited to see what fabulousness the finalists come up with!

    September 17, 2014
  • Congratulations to all the finalist! And a big thank you to Lilla and her dedicated team for making this possible, to all the judges for taking the time to give helpful and considerate tips, and to all you wonderful artists who entered and made it into second round. For those of you who are disappointed now, please know that you are awesome, brave and immensely inspiring. You all rock!

    September 17, 2014
  • Congratulations to the finalists! The feedback on each design and the overall feedback was so interesting. And the advice for those who didn’t make it this far was very valuable. Thank you for all the information you’re sharing. Good luck to these finalists on the next brief!

    September 17, 2014
  • I could not be more excited for these winners. What a way to start the day! Loved all of the top 50 and feel that so many are deserving of recognition. Congratulations on these rocking entries!

    by Laurie
    September 17, 2014
  • Great inspiration ! Congrats to the finalists – I look forward to seeing more of your work.
    Thank you to the judges and Lilla Rogers for sharing your selection process and thoughts. This is very helpfull and sets the tone for how to design and approach an assignment.
    Good luck, and wishing all of you prosperous futures.

    by Estelle
    September 17, 2014
  • Congratulations Pertra, Kate, Flora, Lindsay and Rebecca! What a stellar bunch of illustrators you are! Not an easy job for Lilla picking only 5 from such a fab batch of entries. Looking forward to the final choice!

    September 17, 2014
  • It’s been fabulous to see the progress of all of the participants in the GTS and ALL of the inspired work created for the search. Congratulations to the finalists! Congratulations to everyone who’s created on this journey, and thank you Lilla and the judges for such informative and inspiring posts and comments..I’m personally learning a lot from this experience. Thank you!

    September 17, 2014
  • I’ll be posting a video on Friday chatting about all this GTS exciting stuff. Anything in particular you’d like me to talk about regarding the GTS?

    September 17, 2014
  • Congrats everyone! All of the pieces are inspiring!! Yay MATSies!

    Lilla Rogers – speak about behind the scenes with the Judges. The above feedback is spectacular!

    September 17, 2014
  • Congrats to all!!! These works are soooo cute and beautiful! ^__^
    Good luck for the final!

    September 18, 2014
  • What beautiful work! Lilla, maybe an extra dose of encouragement on Fri for those who did not move on? Perhaps some pointers on making a “plan b”?

    by Rachel
    September 18, 2014
  • The artist I voted for is in the finalists and I’m crossing my fingers and toes for her. They are all great but she is GREAT!!! GOOD LUCK!!

    September 18, 2014
  • Congrats to all the finalists and to the judges on their great choices. I LOVED reading the judges comments, because foe me, as an ex-advertising art director, many of the comments relate to what makes a great ad. And it comes down to what sells. Looking forward to seeing who will win. I have my favorite! :-)

    September 19, 2014
  • These are amazing and inspiring entries! And thank you for sharing this incredibly helpful information from the judges. There is such a lot to consider and this really gives some great insight.

    September 20, 2014
  • Congrats to all the entered and those that were chosen to move forward! You all are amazing!

    Also, thanks for the loads of amazing feedback from the judges….so nice to hear what they’re process is on the receiving end!

    As always, Beth and Lilla, you guys ROCK!

    September 21, 2014
  • I’m so pleased some of my favorites made it to finalist! Way to go all of you- your work and journeys are inspiring! Well done!

    September 23, 2014
  • You have an amazing ability to write in a way that’s both informative and easy to understand. Great post!

    April 28, 2024

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