Q&A with Lilla – Part 4 (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. Are there seasons, months, or even times during the month that are better (or worse) to approach art reps or different markets with your work?

A. We now almost exclusively use our Global Talent Search to find great artists to represent, and that happens in late summer. Before we began the GTS, however, there was no good or bad time, except for the obvious bad times like major holidays and right before Surtex in May. I assume that’s true for other agents.

Q. When drawing a children’s book cover, what are the important things to show on the cover for the illustrations? Is it ok to show the result of the story end?

A. It’s great to show the main character(s) and the setting and the vibe of the story. Of course the title must be prominent. I would not show the ending.

Q. I would like some advice on setting up a logo to market my brand – what makes a good logo? I feel like I could use some pointers so I have one that doesn’t detract from my art. Also should you include your website info in your logo?

A. What’s great about MATS is that you can see each week some great logos on the art presentations. You want your name to be legible and easy to read quickly; you want gorgeous colors; you want the look and feel of your logo to match your work. Create two logos; one with your website and one without, so that you have a choice depending upon the project. We don’t have our website on our logo because our name is also our website, and it is easily googled.

Q. I understand about not using vintage imagery (like clip art) that is pre1940- but what about fabric? Can you use fabric from your local fabric store as is, do you have to change it to use it or is it better just to stay away? Where I work we can purchase the fabric and use it as an actual attachment (i.e. make something with the physical fabric) but we can’t if it’s a collage that will be photographed and sold – clarification would be helpful.

A. Here’s the deal with fabric. It’s perfectly fine if you buy a piece of fabric, and make a doll, and then sell it on Etsy, because the artist and manufacturer get paid since you purchased the material. The artist gets her royalty for your purchase of the actual fabric. However, you cannot reproduce the fabric and resell it, under any circumstances.

Q. Do you and your clients prefer to see a digital portfolio (on ipad) or a printed portfolio when meeting in person?

A. These days either is fine. I just went to Land of Nod when I was in Chicago and brought my iPad to show my artists’ work. It’s probably going to be the way to go in the future.

Q. It almost feels impossible to create a worthy portfolio while “my big serious corporate job” takes 45 hours of my week. I have read several illustrator /artist blogs who say you literally have to quit your day job, and just dive into the world of illustration/art full time- the work will come. Trust the universe they say! But who’s gonna pay the bills in the meantime?? Do you have any advice for those of us trying to transition out of “Big serious corporate jobs” or some other “not as fun as painting all day job”? Where do we start? How do you know when your ready to ‘jump’?

A. Wow. I love this question. When I was in my early twenties and a full-time middle-school art teacher, I was so burnt at the end of the day all I could do was nap! But I did try to make art here and there. I even wrote and illustrated a children’s book, took a personal day, took the bus to New York City and showed it to three publishers. None went for it. )-:

I saved some money, quit teaching and went to San Francisco to get an MFA in painting, and got a part time job as a secretary to the Sales Manager at the Bay Guardian newspaper. I actually didn’t get the MFA in painting; I switched schools and got an MFA in Illustration! I quit to teach calligraphy in the evenings in my apartment and that paid the bills! Those were the days when life was inexpensive (pre-computers). You can read more about my early art life in my book.

But enough about me, and not sure how helpful that was! So back to your question. I would be way too freaked out to quit a full time job without a really solid plan. A plan might be to take courses and e-courses (of course I think MATS and Bootcamp are superb!) and build up a solid portfolio. Then, I would cut back on everything you can then save:

  1. A year’s worth of income


  1. Six months’ income and plan to get a part-time job when you quit your job, or a lucrative Etsy shop


  1. Firm up another source of income

This is because you must allow at least a year or more until you have a steady income generation. Do not set yourself up for crazy stress.

To answer the next part of your question: Yes, Once you create a space for your dreams to manifest and take the first step the universe will totally support you.

I know that in my experience, the universe doesn’t take the first step. When you take the first step, the Universe kicks in. I think that’s because taking an action—and that first step is the hardest—changes our beliefs. In other words, it sends the message that we mean business. By signing up for this course, for instance, and putting your time and money where you mouth is, you are creating an energy domino effect. Have you noticed?

Finally, how do you know you’re good enough? Because you’ve had success. Your etsy shop is selling well and/or you’ve sent out work and gotten interest and even some jobs.



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.




  • Great questions, and really extremely helpful answers – thank you very much!

    February 27, 2015
  • wow! I love this Q&A posting, thank you!

    February 27, 2015
  • I just signed up for MATS A! I’m so excited, biggest thing I’ve ever done for my art, my true passion. I’m so ready to learn in this class. Thank you Lilla for giving those who are new the tools to keep our dream alive!

    February 27, 2015
  • Job sharing can be a solution to not working full-time. I’ve been doing it for 18 years.

    February 27, 2015
  • Excellent collection of practical advice – thank you.

    February 27, 2015
  • When You take the first step, the Universe kicks in (back). I like that:):):)

    February 27, 2015

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