Category: Global Talent Search


How we picked the three Global Talent Search winners: Nine points

1. Here’s the equation. It’s where a recognizable, masterful style with a strong point of view meets a highly marketable look for a range of markets. The larger the overlap, the better. Here are my notes written during our team meeting.

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Here’s Kate Mason’s work for the final assignment. It’s got it all.

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Can we envision getting loads of work for the artist in a number of categories such as home décor, bolt fabric, children’s books, magazines, wall décor, gift, paper, apparel, advertising? Yes.

2. We look at the body of work on the artists’ websites. Is it consistently strong? Are there plenty of images? Does it excite us?


Here’s Katie Vernon’s map from her site done for the Make Art That Sells ecourse. This stunning piece can get map work in editorial, and there are loads of icons here that can be repurposed for other markets, from bolt fabric to home décor.

3. Is the winner a good fit for the prizes, such as a home décor line with Margo Tantau, VP of Creative at Midwest CBK, a Dot&Bo product, etc?

4. How are the drawing and painting chops? Masterful use of color?

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As our artist Flora Waycott says “That Kate knows how to work her paintbrush”.

5. Is there work which embodies non-commercial exploration? This bodes well for career longevity. What’s too edgy now will be marketable in the future. Another way to say it is ahead of trend.

6. Is the design of the piece impeccable? We are talking design elements like balance, unity, movement, contrast, conflict as evidenced in Clairice Gifford’s work. Not to mention color.

7. We love lettering. Lettering gets work from greeting cards to ad campaigns. We loved the very polished and exciting typography we saw from Clairice Gifford in her final assignment.

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8. Is it a look that we don’t currently have, and that we’ve been looking for? We don’t want to cannibalize a style we already represent. It’s great to broaden our reach with new looks.

9. We pride ourselves on representing artists that maintain the utmost in professionalism. That means they meet deadlines, are pleasant to deal with, and so forth. This was evidenced in our communications with them in email and skypes, and how they delivered work of a consistently high standard in my courses and for the Global Talent Search.

So that’s the thinking behind making our selections. It’s an art, however, not a science, and it has to do with which artist is a good fit for our brand.

We truly loved all seven Finalists. We wish we could have taken them all on, and hope they’ll try again next year. (Both of our artists Flora and Kate entered the Global Talent Search two years in a row!)

Thanks to all of our judges!

Lilla and the Studio Ladies


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



Cast your vote! 2015 Global Talent Search Public Voting is now open! Vote now and help launch an artist’s career.


We’re incredibly excited to unveil the online gallery of the submissions for the second assignment of the 2015 Global Talent Search! We’d love you to vote for your top five favorites.

The 50 Semi-Finalists were announced two weeks ago and then were given Assignment #2 to challenge them further. They’ve just finished the assignment, and now you get to vote on your choices. At the same time, our esteemed panel of VIP judges will also go in and privately select their top favorites. VOTE NOW

What is Assignment #2? In the second assignment, we continue the adventure of our fictional character Antoinette who owns a charming shop in Brooklyn. She is wanting some kind of new product to carry in her store, but doesn’t know what it might be. On a wacky whim she flies to London in search of something special.

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Poking around a vintage shop, she discovers tins. Perfect! Tins, but not vintage tins. Updated and hip organizational units. She feels her customer will love a beautiful yet practical product.

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Why did I create this particular assignment for the second round? Because it’s open enough to allow each artist to show off their work. There’s a lot of latitude here. The shape of the tin itself, the decoration of the tin, and the concept–what the tin will contain–all of this is open for exploration
by the 50 semi-finalists. I want their styles to shine. Read the tips that I gave the Semi-Finalists here.

The artists are encouraged to be themselves with a vengeance and create art with personality.

you with vengeance affirmation

Check out the fabulousness they created in our online gallery which is open here! Now is the chance for you to cast your vote.

I just previewed the gallery and I will tell you that all 50 entrants are top notch and worthy of a robust career. I promise you, it will not be easy to choose only 5.


Five finalists will be chosen by our esteemed panel of judges, and one finalist will be chosen by the public! YOUR VOTE COUNTS. The person with the most votes when the gallery closes at 9am PST / 12 noon EST / 5pm GMT on Monday, September 21st will go through to the Final as The People’s Choice.

The winner of this competition will sign with Lilla Rogers Studio for two years representation and win a host of licensing deals and professional development opportunities, so this is your chance to contribute to a LIFE-CHANGING OPPORTUNITY for one artist. Their career will be set. See the prizes here.

You can vote for up to 5 people. VOTE NOW!

Want to see how the competition works? See all the stages here.

Giant congratulations to all of you who made it through to the second round! Only a very small percentage of entrants have made it this far and this is due to the excellent piece you created for Assignment #1.

Thank you for being a part of this truly unprecedented competition.

We also wanted to say a huge congratulations to Semi-finalist Meghann Rader who gave birth to a beautiful baby girl on 4th September. Meghann was unable to submit her round #2 assignment so we wish her all the best in her new adventure and look forward to seeing Meghann’s beautiful work in the 2016 Global Talent Search.

Warm regards,
Lilla, Beth, and the Studio Ladies


Lilla’s Tips to Artists

Lilla gives us a peak inside some of the advice and tips she shares with the Semi-Finalists for the Global Talent Search.

  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Show off what you do best. That’s what we want to see.
  • Ask yourself if this is a tin that you would love to give to a friend. Have fun with this! We’d love to see what you do in your style. Trust your taste level. Don’t “dumb down”.
  • Have fun! People buy your joy.
  • Rather than trying to guess what I’m looking for, do what makes you shine. You definitely do NOT need to do a style that you see on our site. We are looking for fresh talent.
  • Of course you’re nervous! That’s because you care. But remember that you got this far, and so you’ve got what it takes to do this assignment. It’s an easy one, with room for you to do what you love. Look over your existing work and see what you do best.

For more advice, head over to and check out the Free Resources section!  Also, sign up for the next class to further your career.

people buy your joyCLEAN copy

Thanks Lilla for sharing!



Announcing our top 50 Global Talent Search 2015 Semi-Finalists!

We knew we would be amazed, but wow were we totally blown away by the outstanding quality of art submissions we received.

See the 50 semi-finalists here.


What is the Global Talent Search? It’s our annual competition to find the next top artist to represent. They win a boatload of assignments, licenses, and consultations with some of our favorite companies. (I will tell you that our GTS winners of previous years are totally booked solid!)

The fifty semi-finalists are from all over the world.
21 Europe
21 North America
6 Australasia
1 Africa
1 South America
80% have taken one or more of my e-courses, Make Art That Sells

The competition consists of three assignments. In the first assignment we asked the artists to envision what our fabulous and fictitious Brooklyn shop owner, Antoinette, would wear to bike to work.


Meet “Antoinette” who is the character in the three assignments.

She needs sneakers that she can bike in, instead of her platform boots.


Antoinette’s shoes. She’s in need of sneakers for bike-riding!

Q: Lilla, how did your team select the 50 semi-finalists out of the boatload of incredible submissions?
A: First and foremost, would we love to represent this look? On a gut level, is this a style we are infatuated with?

We considered the following in selecting the semi-finalists:
-Will this style get lots of work with our outstanding clients?
-Does the art stand out from the crowd? Do you get a sense of a well-formed and unique style?
-Did the artist give 110%? You’ll see, for example, that some artists illustrated the print on the inside of the shoe or embellished the bottom of the shoe itself.
-Is the technique strong and executed well?
-The color palette and the overall composition of the piece is masterful.

Why is the GTS important to our clients? It allows the agency to continue to deliver the freshest and best work in the industry along with our list of stellar artists. We are the place to find the newest and best talent from all over the world.

What’s next for the semi-finalists?
-The 50 semi-finalists have been notified today that they made it to the next round. You know they are going to be over the moon!
-They will receive their second assignment today as well. By the way, I loved writing the assignments and continuing the narrative of Antoinette. She’s up to some pretty amazing antics! The purpose of a narrative is to help the artist engage with the subject matter and demographic.
-The second assignments are due September 14th.
-Our panel of 20 top industry judges will privately select their favorites based on their highly-regarded expertise.
-The Public Gallery opens on September 16th for live voting for the People’s Choice. Here’s your chance to vote!
-We announce the six Finalists on September 23rd. Watch for that.

Check out my three videos I just recorded on:
-How I selected the 50 semi-finalists

-How to deal with not getting selected in a competition and how to turn that into an opportunity

-How to deal with getting selected and channeling your inner art god/dess.

Remember, you can cast your vote for your favorite on September 16th through September 21st. Stay tuned on the blog for more details. See all of the key dates here!

Again, we are honored that such top talent has participated in our annual Search!

Warm regards,
Lilla, Beth, and the Studio Ladies


Behind the scenes with… Noël Claro of Nickelodeon

Meet Noël Claro of Nickelodeon and also professor at Parsons, The New School for Design!  Her experience ranges from managing high-profile corporate projects at Nickelodeon to inspiring and mentoring small design teams and students at Parsons.

Noël’s professional background is rooted in editorial design, advertising, promotion and creative branding.  Read the full scoop and take a tour behind the scenes of this Global Talent Search Judge on the Make Art That Sells blog here:


Noël Claro, Creative Director at Nickelodeon and Professor at Parsons The New School for Design.


This photo contains my all-time favorite object in my office: the letters that don’t quite spell out my name (there’s no “L” here since my name is Noël).


Left to right: aluminum letters that spell out “five,” our family’s lucky number; ceramic llamas beautifully crafted by Rachel Levit, one of my former students; Anthropologie deer vase from one of my daughters; another beautifully crafted ceramic yoga girl done by Leah Goren, another former student of mine; a teeny tiny teardrop terrarium from a family friend.




Behind the Scenes with Art Director Zoe Tucker

Zoe Tucker is an independent Art Director based in Brighton, UK (where the Global Art Gathering happened!). Specialized in children’s books, Zoe has over 17 years in the publishing industry working in-house for Random House, Penguin and Scholastic.

Now freelance, Zoe remains Art Director of Alison Green Books (an imprint of Scholastic UK), where she commissions some of the world’s greatest picture book artists. She also consults with animation and production companies Magic Light Pictures and Dog Ears, Ireland.

Zoe is also the most recent addition to the Global Talent Search Judging Panel and there is a great behind the scenes article on Make Art That Sells introducing Zoe and to catch a glimpse into a day at her office.


Zoe Tucker


Zoe’s desk in a shared studio in Brighton, UK


Zoe’s Favourite Item in her Office

Read the full article on Zoe here.


LRS Team


Mini Assignment 3: The Word #mygtsprep

We loved watching our feeds turn into seas of blue from Mini Assignment #2 “Fifty Shades of Blue”.  Mini Assignment # 3 is up over the Make Art That Sells Blog.   It’s all about The Word.

“As your third mini in preparation for the 2015 Global Talent Search, your mission today is to photograph the word “the” wherever you see it.”  Read the rest of the full details over here!

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We can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with and don’t forget to use #mygtsprep and #theword in your posts.


LRS Team


Free daily assignments to prepare for the Global Talent Search!

With the Global Talent Search just around the corner, Lilla has created a whole series of original mini assignments to help you get yourself prepared.

The assignments will be posted each day for 5 days, so check the Make Art That Sells blog and look out for #mygtsprep on our social media platforms!

This year’s assignments will be delivered in a slightly different format. All three assignments will evolve around the story of a fictional character: Antoinette from Brooklyn. By following a day in the life of the fabulous Antoinette, you’ll glean key information on an important demographic, and respond to the assignment with your end consumer in mind.


For all the information about dates, times and links to the assignments themselves, go to:

And please share what you come up with on social media using #mygtsprep or in the comments, we always LOVE to see what you’re up to!

And if you haven’t signed up for the Global Talent Search yet, you have until August 12, 3:59pm PDT / 6:59pm EDT / 11:59pm BST (UK) to do so!

Put yourself in the starting blocks for the Global Talent Search 2015!

The LRS team


Flora Waycott’s Twitter Chat

Flora Waycott’s live Twitter Chat #MatsChats was full of useful advice and information for artists wanting to know more about how to prepare for a creative brief or contest.

She left us with a few points that summarize her advice on how to answer a creative brief:

1. Try to limit your research time and look in other places than online.

2. Ask the client lots of questions – don’t be afraid! They are usually so nice and helpful! 

3. Don’t send your work until you are 100% happy with it – do your best work each time! 

4. Social media – instagram, pinterest, blog…..clients will find you!

Flora shared with us a little bit about her creative process as well…

FW Mom quote sketch

She always starts a piece in pencil on paper.

FW GTS sketches

Sketches on paper.


The finished piece is gorgeous for Madison Park Greetings.

Read the full Twitter chat here: and be sure to join us for our next Twitter chat #MatsChats!