2015 Global Talent Search Finalists announced!


The waiting is over. It’s time to reveal the 2015 Global Talent Search Finalists, chosen from the 49 Semi-Finalists (who were selected from nearly 1,000 artists’ work).

For the first time ever, we had a TIE this year for the People’s Choice! We are thrilled to unveil the SEVEN Finalists, knowing that one of these artists’ careers is about to change forever.

Five were chosen by our panel of industry experts, and two were 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 the awesome prize details). The second assignment Lilla created was full of possibilities!  The Semi-Finalists were asked to design a set of storage tins for Antionette, our fictitious character, to sell in her shop in Brooklyn.  Read more about the assignment here.

So without further ado, here we go…

Over 10,000 votes were cast by the public, and we can now reveal that the 2015 Global Talent Search People’s Choice Finalists are:





Judges Choice:

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).  Our People’s Choice Finalist Katie Vernon was also #1 in the judges pick. Below each submission are three points of feedback from the Judges on what stood out in the piece.



  • A lovely play of pattern and illustration that unite but still have an eclectic whimsical spirit.
  • Nice mix of watercolor and line work.  The collections of quirky objects work well for the cabinets and curiosities concept.
  • Nice mix of line and paint work. Quirky and attractive.



  • Katie has a very hip vibe with her work, it’s edgy and right on trend.
  • It’s nice to see the hand painted work.
  • The simplicity of her work is enchanting and the watercolor shading and deal is perfect for the piece. These designs would be a nice addition to any decor without becoming too much of a focal point.



  • Great mix of graphics and typography with a nice subtle retro look.
  • A good balance of decorative details and bold, eye catching graphics. The subtle texture and palette adds the right bit of softness.
  • Her attention to detail and typographic skill is great. She has the talent to master many trends in pattern design and lettering.



  • The pieces she did read clean and clear, fun, easy to fit in many homes and would sell well.
  • It pops off the background and the use of words and images is subtle but strong.
  • Nice stylized motifs and delicate typography in a good commercial style.



  • Clever application of the illustrations onto the packaging. Interesting blending of the foreground and background.
  • Her graphic approach that is fun and whimsical yet very finished and confident.
  • It is nice to see other cultures and Akiko’s style would be a great addition to North American-based projects.

The judges also answered two important questions for us:

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

  • They were easy to envision in the marketplace, had originality and style.
  • First was their talent – they have honed their craft, their skills, illustrations, compositions, and palettes were superior to the others. Secondly, each of my selections offered a unique look that is not already over represented in the market place. Art directors walk that fine line finding that balance between new work that is fresh and inspiring and the tried and true styles that we all know will sell. I believe that the artist I chose would be the best illustrators to help me bridge that transition.
  • Felt finished and confident. Appeared to won their work, not trying to emulate others. They’ve arrived!
  • These five artists confidently displayed their own illustrative styles. They have strong technique, good design skills and professional presentations. Their work is commercially appealing and of-the-moment but with their talent and skills they can look forward to long-lasting and varied careers.

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

“There were many talented designers among the final 50! The choice was hard, and there are several more artists who I wish I could vote for! When I look for artists first and foremost they need to be artistically talented, and have crafted and refined their style. I want them to have a voice, a feel, a vibe. In addition they need to have developed a marketing sense, there are thousands of talented artists out there but not all art translates well to product, or to the mass market place.”

“As an artist you might love illustrating one thing in one style, but be aware if this has a very limited market, no matter how great they are! As an AD I need artists who can offer a variety of subject matter and looks – someone who can illustrate for children as well as an adult male. I need work that can translate from throw pillow to dinner plate to greeting cards and never lose it’s impact.”

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 many are graduates of Make Art That Sells. It’s clear that the courses 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 19 2015!)

Stay tuned for the third and final assignment as we follow Antoinette along in this adventure and thanks to everyone for voting!


Lilla, Beth, and the Studio Ladies



  • Congratulations to all the finalists! Everyone was so strong I knew deep down I never really had a chance.. Thank you for the opportunity Lilla – I have cripplingly low self-confidence and this experience has been a wonderful test for me. Today is for sulking and watching Disney films with my daughter – tomorrow I’ll be painting again :) Well done again to the amazingly talented bunch who made it. Looking forward to seeing what comes of the next round xxx

    September 23, 2015
  • Congratulations, Kate Whelan Mason, Katie Bennett Vernon, Susan Evenson, Katie Wilson, Clarice Gifford, Nikki Upsher, Akiko da Silva! Now make a wonderful piece in the final round! I am already curious!

    September 23, 2015
  • Congratulations everyone! So many inspiring entries.

    September 23, 2015
  • Congratulations to the 7 finalists! All the 50 artists’ work were amazing and I loved all of them. I bet the 7 finalists are all so excited to have been selected. I’m looking forward to seeing what is produced next. Good luck for the next round! xxx

    Emma Jayne

    September 23, 2015
  • beautiful choices, well done everyone! I will try again next time, really enjoyed the brief.

    BTW @KatieKingham just read your comment, and clicked on your name and just wanted to say, i love your art, it’s beautiful! xx

    September 23, 2015
  • Great job everyone and congats to the finalists! Have a great time with the final assignments. Can’t wait to see them.

    September 23, 2015
  • Congratulations to all the semi finalists! All amazing work and very different. Having to judge this competition must be very hard! There are so many talented artists out there and only one final winner. But as I see it, entering this competition has forced me to really concentrate on my style and study more to improve my skills. And that is priceless. I also thank all the contestants who entered as they have opened up a world of like minded creative people. I love seeing all their websites and new work. It’s a pleasure discovering you all.

    September 23, 2015
  • Congratulation Girls! This competition is so exciting! This morning I was nervous for you when I first open the e-mail revealing the finalists. It is such an inspiration to see you getting closer to your dream. Good luck and go make beautiful things for the final assignment we are all there behind you cheering you up!

    by Laurence Lavallee
    September 23, 2015
  • Congratulations to all of the semi-finalists! You are all so extremely talented, well done! l look forward to seeing your next assignments. Have fun and enjoy every minute! Good Luck! :-) The GTS has been such a fun experience, l can’t wait to try again next year!

    September 23, 2015
  • Well done all the finalists. You should be massively proud of yourselves … not only for reaching the final but for managing to produce such great art under tight deadlines and the pressures of multi-tasking busy lives as mums, wives, career gals and whatever else. You girls rock!

    by sue attwood
    September 23, 2015
  • Congratulations! Wonderful work, and as others have said, you should all feel really proud. Good luck with the next round.

    September 23, 2015
  • Well deserved congratulations to all the winners! You inspire me!

    September 23, 2015
  • Hip Hip Hooray!!! To all the finalists. You are all worthy winners and your designs are both professional and beautiful.

    by Paula Morgab
    September 23, 2015
  • Beautiful work & very inspiring! ConGraTs and let loose & have fun in the final round! xx

    September 23, 2015
  • Wow! Congratulations! Your work is beautiful! I’m excited for each of you! Thanks Lilla and Beth and the Studio Ladies for sharing your thoughts! You ALL are inspiring!

    September 23, 2015
  • Beautiful work, everybody. And congratulations! Four of the names I voted for are here. There were many more lovely entries, but it’s true that the selected artists have a professionalism that stood out. It’s easy to see these imagined collections moving through to production without many changes. Best of luck to all of you. Create your best work for the next round and kudos to all your efforts, time and courage!! What an amazing program/contest/empire you have created, Lilla!

    September 23, 2015
  • Also, does having the name ‘Katie/Kate’ give you an edge? :)

    September 23, 2015
  • a big congrats to 7 of the most talented ladies on the planet!!!- i am excited for each of to see what you’re doing next and to follow your careers further- i am a BIG Fan! :) <3
    Lilla, Beth, Louise and the team thanks for all you do and have done- taking notes on all you've said- see you in class soon! <3

    September 23, 2015
  • Wow congratulations finalists! All of your illustrations are beautiful with your own unique style. I bet you are feeling fantastic! I look forward to seeing the final assignment! Well done!

    by Katy Halford
    September 23, 2015
  • Congratulations to the finalists in the GTS. There are so many wonderful artists, lots of positive inspiration and lovely work. Best of luck for the final stretch!

    by Michele Hill
    September 23, 2015
  • Congratulations! Beautiful work by this group and the other talented artists!

    September 23, 2015
  • They’re all terrific. Congratulations to all. Love this contest Lila.

    September 23, 2015
  • Big congratulations to everyone who made it through to the final, I can’t wait to see what’ll happen next! And I want to say a big thank you to Lilla, the assignments got me really excited about my work, that’s what I am taking away from this competition, and thanks everyone who voted for me and generally supported me. Good luck to all the finalists! x

    September 24, 2015
  • These all look lovely! Such wonderful talent. Congrats!

    September 24, 2015
  • Just a fantastic array of talent. Best of luck to all….

    by Elaine Kehew
    September 26, 2015
  • Beautiful! Very inspiring – congratulations!!

    by Greg Vineyard
    October 5, 2015

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *