GUEST BLOGGER: Daniel Roode (GTS winner)

Many life changing events have transpired in the past month, and I just want to share and honor my good fortune. Most of you know me as the Special Studio Award winner in the Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search and I need not alert you to the fact that Lilla and her team of agents are at the top of everything that is cool, modern, and groovy. I am now fortunate enough to be in the stable of amazing talent that they represent. It’s been a month now since I won a coveted spot and I still can only say “Holy smokes!”

When I heard about the GTS, I simply thought it would be a really great way to get the creative juices flowing. And for sheer lack of confidence, I almost didn’t even enter the contest. What a colossal mistake that would have been! I had also made a promise to myself that I would make a real concerted effort to get agented this year and gain some momentum on my career. But before I knew it the year was half over and I hadn’t made any attempts at representation at all, so I decided to bite the bullet and go for it through this contest. Great Daniel, try and get representation in the hardest way possible. :)

I loved the idea of the competition, you get a briefing from Lilla, have a two week period to create your submission and a small break in between to await the results to see if you qualified to the next round. I was enticed by the array of assignments that I would be presented that I would not have normally thought of doing myself. Creating a journal cover, designing art for a tote bag sold at a farmers market, and creating an entire line of home decor with almost no limitations. Such cool fun projects! After I’d entered a bit before the deadline, I eagerly awaited the first assignment.

Round 1 had us create journal cover with a vintage playground motif as if Paperchase was our client. I felt okay with my submission. I’d like to say that I slept soundly the day the semi-finalists were announced and woke up to the news bright eyed and bushy tailed but it was quite the opposite. I stayed up late, I couldn’t sleep. I hit the refresh button on Lilla’s blog like a caffeinated lab mouse. The anticipation was overwhelming. Finally the wait was over and I slowly scrolled through the list, my heart was racing, “This is the moment of truth” I thought, oh my god I think there’s been a mistake. I don’t see my name?! Oh it’s alphabetical, there’s still a chance! There I am!!! Holy Shit. I made it! Indeed it went down just like that. Warm joyful tears ran down my cheeks. Happy.


Round 2. Getting through that first round really helped me push through to the next and take on a challenge that, at the time and it seemed utterly impossible for me to create a fall tote bag to be sold at a farmers market. But this is partly why I signed up for this. To apply myself in a way that I normally wouldn’t think of. I’m mostly used to making work that appeals to the children’s market and this assignment had us creating something that would appeal to adults as well. Tricky. I had a vague idea of what I wanted to do and in the end it turned out to be close to what I thought I would make. And, as an aside, that’s what I love about creating art. You have an idea, you try actualizing it, and for better or worse you bend to where the pictures are telling you to go. With faith in this process in mind, I submitted my work, waited for the results, repeated the process above: barely sleep, refresh blog, scroll, thumping heart, … warm tears of joy rolling.

tote mockup

Round 3. Well if I felt daunted by the first two assignments this one really had me twisted. Design an entire line of home decor with almost no limitations on color or subject matter. We had to design exclusively for an adult audience and had to choose from one of a few categories. I chose the category called “weekend retreat”, which allowed for silvery, golden fallish and wintery hues and tones. At first I did a riff on Red riding hood that I was truly in love with but after my Skype session with Lilla and her A-Team of crack agents it was apparent that I had skewed to young. And as an attempt to age it up I had also inadvertently made my wolf scary. Oops! Not what I was going for. :) So I had to put my thinking cap on and turn around my work into something that was cohesive and line ready. A real ‘make it work’ moment as they say.



I hit submit on my final piece, said a prayer. Not a lot happened in between that I can remember. A couple of restless bland weeks had finally passed and before I knew it the moment of truth had arrived. I repeated ALL of the aforementioned rituals above but this time the stakes were higher and i was pulsing. I wanted to jump out of my eyeballs. Just to have gotten this far was a wild dream. All of the artists had submitted outstanding and mesmerizing work. Being here, with them, I felt validated. Realizing I had won a studio prize was like opening up that gift that you had asked for but never knew would be yours to open. And HERE I AM! I could have never expected this wild journey to have taken me here, but feel extremely grateful that I’m exactly where I need to be.

Thank you Lilla, Susan, Jennifer, Julia, Patty, and Margo and everyone who was rooting for me! – Daniel

Samples of Daniel’s GREAT work from the Make Art That Sells e-course:




  • Hi Daniel, Welcome to LRS! So nice to read your story, your work is Fabulous… I’m so excited for you! Silvia

    by Silvia Dekker
    November 15, 2013
  • Welcome to LRS! Your work is amazing!

    November 15, 2013
  • Great blog Daniel, and such fabulous work. Wishing you an exciting and happy journey from here on in. You’re going to do so well :)

    by Anne Reynolds
    November 15, 2013
  • Daniel, kudos to you for s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g yourself artistically! I’m blown away by your work. And thanks for sharing your story; it’s really encouraging to know that even someone as talented as you are, can feel a bit unconfident—and move beyond it! Well done, indeed!

    November 15, 2013
  • I love the story of how you found yourself here in this special moment. Congratulations! So looking forward to the great work you’ll be creating going forward. Best of luck on all of it.

    November 15, 2013
  • Not only are you a brilliant artist but what a gifted and hilarious writer you are!

    by Lilla
    November 16, 2013
  • Thank you! You are all so sweet!

    by Daniel
    November 16, 2013
  • Remarkable work Daniel! So delightful, inspired and
    engaging. Congratulations and welcome to LRS!!

    November 17, 2013
  • Good for you! I find your work adorbale! Thanks for sharing your story.
    Lots of success and fun in your new path!

    November 18, 2013
  • Congratulations! what a journey…

    November 18, 2013
  • Daniel, I read your story with a happy smile on my face. Your art is beautiful and you very well deserved the winning.
    I´m looking forward to seeing more of your work.

    November 18, 2013
  • I absolutely love your work, and I thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings on your process! Generosity is my favorite quality in a talented artist, and I am so glad you have shared so much with others to inspire and nurture their dreams and aspirations. I feel motivated to pull out some paints right now. :)

    July 1, 2014

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