Month: February 2015


Insight spotlight round up (so far!)

There is nothing like hearing about what the markets want from the very people who do the buying, so we have carried out a series of interviews with industry experts for you. Each of them are top art directors, and also judges in our Global Talent Search (coming again later this year!) You can find all the interviews so far here (stay tuned for more to come on the blog!):

If you want to hear more from industry experts and professional artists, join us for Make Art That Sells Part A/B, starting on March 2. Sign up here, but hurry, class begins soon!

Remember, MATS is the best preparation for the Global Talent Search which will launch later this year! If you want to hear more about how our previous graduates are rocking it, check out this post and this post.

We hope you will join us for our next class, starting March 2, and make a serious investment in your professional art career. You’ll never look back.

PS. If you missed the special videos Lilla has been sharing all this week, check them out here:

More of these to come this week, so check back again!


Q&A with Lilla – Part 3 (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. Do you think children’s ebooks are a good market for artists to approach?

A: It starts with the printed book. Then, the publisher may elect to produce the title as an ebook if all goes well. We haven’t done much with e-books.

Q. I’m used to having a feedback loop in my design process where I get the brief and then I do subsequent presentations to get feedback from a client before finalising a design. It seems like it is often the case that artists create their own work and submit it for consideration by manufacturers. You talk about using our own taste and aesthetic to guide us. Is there anyway to hone that skill and assess ones own work? I’m used to thinking about others perceptions of the work, how do you shut off and clearly see the work on it’s own terms. Are there any tips to get to this sooner?

A: I wish! You’ve articulated the issue very well. Keep exposing yourself to great work, and also hide yourself away and keep making work you like. The MATS course is the perfect way to do that.

Q. I create work in different styles from abstract mixed-media paintings to detailed pencil illustrations and digital collages. How can I achieve a cohesive look for example at trade shows? Would it be wise to show a variety of styles or do you suggest to just focus on one? I want to be a consistent brand and not give an unprofessional impression to potential buyers.

A: It’s not unprofessional. It’s fine to show variety if that’s who you are right now. Own it. See what work clients love and let that be a guide. Over time, all your different media will coalesce into one style. This happens as you do many, many pieces, so you must be dedicated to that and not give up. Once you have a cohesive style you can continue to use a variety of media.

Q. Could you name other home decor companies other than the biggies (Crate N Barrel, Anthropologie, West Elm) that license art?

A: Midwest CBK, Demcaco, Magnetworks are a few. To get more, you would exhibit at Surtex or walk the Atlanta Gift Mart, or simply go to shops, turn over products, and find names of companies.

Q. I am just starting out as an illustrator. Is it better to focus all of my efforts solely on one of the markets and try and get work in that area? Or is it better to try lots of the markets all at the same time?

A: It may be too early to make that decision. Make pieces you love. See where it leads you. At the same time, think about homing in on a few markets. You’ll learn with my courses that the work you do for one market is very applicable to a handful of other markets.

Q. After doing how many thousands of hours, at what point do you say ‘this is not my thing’? I would love to create the next Hello Kitty, Mr Men or Peppa Pig type character. I have worked on assignments, enjoyed, got frustrated, but always returned and am excited by improving my previous pieces, but this week is different. Is it possible to have success in this area if your drawings are quite frankly rubbish, no matter how hard you try?

A: Wow, lots of good, important questions. I always think that if you really love making art, and are open to learning and looking, and are willing to work hard, you will succeed. It must be a top priority in your life like any other business. The focus on creating the next Hello Kitty is probably unrealistic, and keeps you from letting your work inform you on what amazing things you will come up with. Who knows where it’ll lead? That’s what’s so fun about this career. It takes wonderful twists and turns and you get work in areas and for projects you never knew existed!

And finally, it’s not possible to get work in this or any area if you drawings are “quite frankly rubbish no matter how hard you try”. That’s why I made this course; so that you can improve your work. But it’s not a get-rich-quick scheme. Think about Olympic athletes. That’s kind of what you are. You are in training.

Q. I would love to hear more about the artist/artist rep relationship. I’ve often heard it compared to a relationship that is similar to marriage. When is it time for an artist to seek representation? Artists can be temperamental and emotional people. Do you try and get a sense of the artist’s personality and business skills before you take them on? Or do you really focus mostly on their portfolio?

A: We absolutely look for someone who will be a pleasure to work with, not high maintenance, and very professional. Life is too short for aggravation. At this point, we know how to spot red flags. As for what time to seek representation, there’s no rule. When you feel you have a body of work that an agent can effectively license or commission from.

Q. I like using fabric and magazine paper in collage, however it brings up issues of copyright. How much of an image is acceptable to use, and is it just better to design your own patterns and collage with those?

A: Yes, design your own. Do not use anything current. Best is to use Dover publications. Read the rights usage information listed in the books or CDs. If in doubt seek professional advice from an intellectual property lawyer or an organization like ACID (Anti-Copying in Design).


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.



Hsinping’s Happy Chinese New Year-

Hsinping Pan’s Year of the Goat-
Happy Chinese New Year 2015!





Sarah Walsh Spreads the Love

Hi Lilla and the Gang!
I wanted to share these new Valentines I created. The coffee image is inspired by my own personal experience. Sometimes I go to sleep excited that I get to have coffee in the morning….
sarah_pp_val_vase copy
sarah_pp_val_SweetTreats copy
sarah_pp_val_PaperHeart copy
sarah_pp_val_Lettering copy

sarah_pp_val_coffee copy

xo, Sarah 


Good artist vs great artist. What’s the difference?

We often get asked, “What’s the difference between a good artist, and a great artist?” In this very short video, Lilla reveals the true answer. Take this piece of tiny but genius advice to raise your own game, today.

Another crucially important part of an art career with longevity is having support. Being part of a creative community can be the difference between keeping going and giving up before you have had the chance to succeed. This is one part of our online courses that we are hugely proud of, as we have seen just how strong the bonds formed between artists become.

In this second short video Lilla reveals why the Make Art That Sells community is so very special, and how she sets the stage for the formation of deep friendships, creative support and even professional collaborations. Click below to watch:

If you want to be part of an amazing global community of artists, and take a structured approach to becoming a ‘great artist’, join us for Make Art That Sells Part A/B, starting on March 2. Sign up here, but hurry, class begins soon!

The Lilla Rogers Studio School team




Insight Spotlight: Expert advice from Karen Capp of Oopsy Daisy

Welcome to this weeks’ ‘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 Karen Capp of Oopsy Daisy


Primary Market: Home Decor is our primary market and I love the connection it has to fashion.. Often what is in fashion pages and on runway, will end up in home decor the following season if not simultaneously so gives you a great preview and trend board!

How can this market be lucrative for an artist?

There are so many product categories in home decor! Wall art, wallpaper, tabletop, textiles etc.

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

Folkloric, botanical, woodland, nautical, and text continues to be important in combination with great artwork.

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

We are introducing pillows and continuing to grow our wall art (framed paper and canvas) and wall decal categories.

What do you look for when buying new art?

We just have to LOVE it!

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


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 wish they wouldn’t pitch a lot of patterns to a wall art company. We aren’t going to pick up surface design- wall art needs to have a focal point and an emotional connection with the consumer to make sense.

About Karen

Karen Capp

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, but do take constructive criticism. Don’t resubmit the same pieces or submit too often. Work on fresh collections and submit those.

Karen is the co-founder of Oopsy Daisy, Fine Art For Kids, Wheatpaste, Art For Teens and GreenBox Art + Culture. She and her husband began their art company following the birth of their son. At that time, the children’s home décor marketplace had a shortage of art options that the Capps felt would inspire and truly engage children. Working out of their garage, they began the art lines that now encompass 300+ artists and 4,000+ pieces. The company today employs more than 30 staff members and is housed in its own facility, but Tom and Karen remain passionately involved in the art and product development process.

Karen attributes her interest in color and craft to her experience growing up overseas, where she was exposed to artwork in both museums and in small artisan-rich villages. She is the proud mother of a son (now a teen) and daughter and loves the San Diego, CA lifestyle of sand and sun!
Find out more at

Karen 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!




Jenn Ski’s New Tiki Tok Fabric

I have a new fabric collection arriving this summer! It’s a mix of abstract shapes with stylized birds and fish. It will be for sale in July through Moda !




Please check out more of my work here on my blog and follow me on my instagram




How our Make Art That Sells alumni are rocking it: Part 2

Continuing our series of alumni successes, here is part 2.

We asked class participants for examples of their successes since taking the course, and were staggered by the response, bearing in mind that some people only took the course a few months ago. Here is part 2 in our series.

Students have since secured licensing deals in the gift, editorial, baby apparel, bolt fabric, wall art, greetings, home décor, paper and fashion markets, many have won competitions and a number have been signed for representation.

It’s also really important to say that people join Make Art That Sells (MATS) at different stages of their creative journey. Some are nearly ready to seek out work, others less so. For many people the greatest breakthrough is a new level of confidence in their work, a fresh love of creating, or a deep feeling of connection with others in the community. Success looks different for everyone. The licensing deals, competition wins and studio signings are the easy things to measure. The impact it makes on people’s lives – on the way they see themselves as artists, and the way the see their work – is perhaps the thing that we are most proud of.

Here is a selection of class participants who have a lot to celebrate since taking Make Art That Sells. If you want this for YOUR art career, join us for the next class which begins on Monday 2 March!


Anette Heiberg

“MATS taught me how important it is to find inspiration in any assignment so people can see from my finished art that I had fun working on it. Since MATS I have sat aside more time in between my client work to work on my own projects. I have also taken more workshops to push myself into new directions and grow.”
Opportunities/work won:
  • I sold several of the maps created for the editorial assignment within days of finishing the piece, including prints bought by the municipality to decorate the local kindergarten.
  • My children’s apparel assignment won me a runner up prize in the Print & Pattern Scholarship for The Art & Business of Surface Pattern Design

See more of Anette’s work here:


Tjarda Borsboom


“I took MATS A when I just started working on my own as a freelance illustrator. I just resigned (I was a product designer, mostly for mass production for kids) and felt confidence, but also a bit lost. The most important things that helped me right away: I learned how to send my work out. I learned a lot about building a good portfolio and I made the right art for my portfolio.

Besides that there was this big bunch of creative people who are always supportive. A close friend had his doubts about my new freelance career and told me that. This kind of negativity just does not exist in MATS-country. There is always somebody from somewhere around the globe to give you a supportive word and believes in you. My first year as a freelancer was successful and I feel so much stronger now. I hope I am able to take MATS this year again. Bootcamp is already a fact and I love it! The artwork I made since MATS is better, stronger and I am still growing. “
Work and a achievements since MATS A and B (both in 2014):
  • Commissioned for an editorial illustration for Dutch magazine “Zomer” about travelling. This commission was based on the Editorial project I made for MATS B (the map assignment)
  • Runner up in the Print & Pattern Design Scholarship for The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design. (JPG: “ABSPD_PATTERN_TJARDA_BORSBOOM”)
  • Got signed for representation by ‘Tekenteam’, a Dutch illustration agency
  • Work licensed for a few Card companies
  • Semi finalist in the Global Talent Search 2014
See more of Tjarda’s work here:

Kim Gann

Kim Gann

“Mats gave me the knowledge to take the steps into Licensing and to Create my Joy.”

Since taking MATS:

  • Fabric Licensing Deal with P&B Textiles
  • Flying Sweetly
  • Featured in Quiltmaker Magazine March/April 2014 issue
  • Second fabric collections shipping Spring 2015 Fancy Feathers


Jennifer L. Wambach


“Picasso is quoted as saying “every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” After growing up wanting to be nothing other than an artist, and after spending nearly 20 years getting further and further away from that goal, MATS has brought things full circle. I’m making more art now than ever before and having a blast doing so — every day I feel like I did when I was a little kid playing in the basement with my mom’s oil paints and pastels (sorry mom!) I’ve truly rediscovered the joy of creating, and companies are really starting to respond to it. Lilla is absolutely right: people buy your joy. How lucky am I that I get to do this every day?!”

 Summary of work won since MATS:

  • I have an art licensing agent: I’m so pleased to announce that as of January 2015 my work is represented by Painted Planet Licensing Group!
  • I’m currently wrapping up a big project for a major scrapbooking company. I can’t yet give any details but it’s been something I’ve wanted to do for years, and I am so excited to have the opportunity to work on it!
  • 6-time top 10 placement in Spoonflower’s Fabric of the Week contests

View more of Jennifer’s work here:


If you want this for YOUR art career, join us here for the next round of Make Art That Sells.

Class begins on Monday 2 March, 2015 and registration is open here.




Manifesto Monday part 1

Welcome to Manifesto Monday, where we share some of the Manifesto artwork submitted by our Make Art That Sells Alumni. The winners were announced here

Experience the Make Art That Sells class yourself!

Class begins on Monday 2 March, 2015 and registration is open here.


Liz Alpass


Jason Ansell

mani_Roberta_BarrosRoberta Barros


Sara Brezzi


Michelle Brown (MitsiB)

Melanie Chadwick

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



What if you send art to clients and get back… zip, nada, nothing?

We all get knockbacks in our careers. We don’t get that client we really wanted, or a job gets killed. That’s life. But what if you send work around, and keep sending it around, but get no response? What should you do?

How do you know when to keep going and when to give up? In this 3 minute video Lilla gives it to you straight, and also offers her top tips for hanging in there when times are tough.

If you are fed up of not getting responses from potential clients, join us for Make Art That Sells Part A/B and learn exactly what art directors are looking for, in the top ten lucrative markets for art. Sign up here, but hurry, class begins on March 2!