How our Make Art That Sells alumni are rocking it: Part 3

Continuing our series of alumni successes, here is part 3.

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 3 in our series. Read part 1 here and part 2 here

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 began on Monday 2 March! There is still time to squeeze in. Come and join us!


Emma McGowan


The original MATS piece containing the all-important spoon!

A teaspoon drawn during MATS Bootcamp won me a weekly illustrated column on The Guardian website that ran for seven months and got me shortlisted in a Hallmark competition!

Since doing MATS last year I’ve been shortlisted in competitions run by Hallmark and Tigerprint for greetings card and gift wrap designs, and been selected to appear in Pattern People’s eBook showcasing up and coming pattern designers. Last month, one of my patterns appeared on the Print & Pattern website, which was a big thrill. None of that would have happened without Bootcamp.

Once again it’s been like lighting a fire under me. Thank you, MATS. Long may it continue!

How a spoon got me a Guardian commission:

I occasionally write for the Guardian and one of my editors had seen some of the work I’d produced for MATS. When she was commissioning a series of illustrated ‘How to Mend’ columns she remembered a line drawing of a teaspoon in one of my designs and asked if I could produce some sample illustrations in the same style. Illustrating a weekly column for a global online audience is no small task, especially when you get the copy just days before the piece goes live. But it was an absolute joy to see my drawings on the homepage of The Guardian website and to see how much traffic and comment the columns generated. You can see the columns here

See more of Emma’s work here: emmamcgowan.co.uk


Irene Chan


Since taking MATS I have:

  • Licensed art with Oopsy Daisy
  • Commissioned artwork for a birthday card for a manufacturer, coming out in summer 2015
  • In the talks on commissions and licensing with children’s board books and fabric licensing

I have not painted with a brush since I graduated from school, and have always done designs and illustrations digitally. One of the biggest things that MATS pushed me to do was to try with paint and watercolor, and I went from literally hating it in the beginning to completely embracing it now. That is the style that most art directors responded to as well.

My style also changed so drastically after the class. Lilla made us think about drawing a lot of icons. My illustrations used to only have one thing to look at, but now I tend to add a lot more things for the viewers to look at and it adds in a layer of depth and sophistication to my work.

I also loved the minis Lilla gave out, and the confirmation that it is OK to draw things in bits and pieces, and compose it later together. I loved the Q&A session with Lilla, It is the once in a lifetime opportunity to actually ask questions and gets answers directly from someone so successful in the business.

See more of Irene’s work here: http://www.eneri.net


Antoana Oreski


“I’ve improved a lot in lettering and patterns and I know that I wouldn’t have won all the competitions and got such awesome licenced jobs if it wasn’t for Lilla’s teaching and her course! So THANK YOU Lilla from the bottom of my heart! You’ve helped me to be me! “

Since taking the class last year, I have:

  • Won the Hallmark’s ‘Cool 4Kidz’ Competition (with a pattern designed in class)
  • Won the Tigerprint’s ‘Kids Character’ Competition
  • Got licenced with Oopsy Daisy (submitting my portfolio of work from MATS and GTS)
  • Was a runner up in Tigerprint’s ‘Christmas Pattern’ Competition and got amazing comments on my work from the judges which mean the world to me since I’m kind of a newbie to pattern world.
  • I also won 11th place in Ricola Package Design out of 450 submissions and some cash prize and Ricola promoted my piece on their official FB page and Pinterest site.
And just a month ago one of my existing clients EPICASE decided to work with me on continual basis creating cell phone case designs for them cos they really like my new work I’ve been showcasing on my site. And this is all mostly due to all the work I created in class.
See more of Antoana’s work here: http://antoanaoreski.wix.com/antoana


Nadia Hassan


I am now represented by Pink Light Studio as a direct result of the work I created during MATS A and Assignment Bootcamp.

“I’ve lost count of all the positive changes in my creative career since completing MATS A and enrolling in Assignment Bootcamp. I’ve seen my work improve in ways that I didn’t even know were possible, and at a rate that I definitely didn’t know was possible! With Lilla’s invaluable guidance, I am learning how to develop my signature style, while also exploring and experimenting with new techniques, media and subject matter.

I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be immersed in a supportive community of hundreds of talented artists, and to learn from them every single day. My favorite “side-effect” of MATS, and the one that I least expected, was how much I look forward to Mondays when class is in session. Every week feels like Christmas as I wait to find out what the next assignment is, and what exciting new discoveries I will make as a result!”

See more of Nadia’s work here: www.nadiahassan.com


Kim Malek


The most important thing I learned in my MATS courses was how vital it is to play and have fun. Yes, people really do buy your joy. Now I spend more time doodling and exploring with no objective in mind. And this is helping me refine my style and focus in on what makes me unique.
Lilla is such a gifted teacher. She really know how to structure assignments and give advice that helps you find and strengthen your own voice. And, the community aspect of the courses is amazing. There is such a warm, supportive network of artists giving feedback, sharing tips, celebrating successes. I have really upped my game. I’ve learned more in depth about some markets, developed technical skills and have given myself permission to explore and grow. And I’m not done yet!
Key jobs won as a result of taking MATS:
  • I’ve signed contracts with 3 new licensees in home decor, who have each selected more than a dozen images to produce.
  • I will have my own line with at least one of them.
  • Some of the images are directly from MATS projects, and some are images from my portfolio I revised after taking MATS.
  • I received an editorial commission for a map, specifically for the style of my map assignment from MATS.

See more of Kim’s work here: www.malekstudio.com


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

Class started on Monday 2 March, 2015 and there is still time to squeeze in here.


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