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


  • I. Am. So. EXCITED!!!! Gorgeous, gorgeous, and so well deserved. Everyone outdid themselves, and these just shine. Love seeing your thought process. Here’s to all that’s ahead! xo

    by Margo Tantau
    October 13, 2015
  • Congrats to the winners, and thanks for sharing your process! It has been fun to follow the GTS once again. Love the website update!

    October 13, 2015
  • The work I have seen from these artists is full, lush, exciting and inspirational. They are highly deserving and I congratulate them. I really appreciate their individual voices and yours, Lilla, for sharing your thinking process. I have learned so much. Go forth and paint, design and promote!

    October 14, 2015
  • Congratulations to all the winners, what a fantastic and proud moment! I am absolutely thrilled for Kate Mason. I have long admired and adored Kate’s work since her scrapbooking days. I first attended one of Kate’s classes about 10 years ago and I was lucky enough to get to know Kate through the scrapbooking industry. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching Kate’s artwork evolve and am pleased to own a couple of Kate originals myself! Kate is not only an amazing artist but also an outstanding person! Can’t wait to see Kate make all her dreams come true!

    by Chris Millar
    October 14, 2015
  • Congratulations to the winners. Wonderful work. What I cannot find is what the precise assignment was. Now that it’s all in the open, I am VERY curious about the assignment and how the three winner have picked it up. Could you explain it? How it all happened?

    October 15, 2015
  • Just came across your work. I loved everything about it. Your images are so right on. Makes me homesick for Dubuque. I’m a native born and raised there. My parents born and lived there. My maiden name is Judith Marie Rogers. My parents are Elmer Walter Roger’s and Betty Jane (Reisen) Roger’s. Wish they could see this work they would love it to. They both passed. Dad Sept 20,2010 and Mom Sept 09,2011. Almost 66years of marriage. I know this work was in 2015 but I would love to get some sort of printing if available. You just got another fan of your work.

    March 27, 2019

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