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It’s been well over a week and a half now since my final week of Make Art That Sells Part A ended.  In the final week, we looked at the gift market and how gloriously exciting it all is. There are just so many opportunities out there and Lilla Rogers outlined a few of these in our weekly posts.

For our assignment in the final week, we had to design a zipper pouch based on collections from our house. I pulled together some items including stamps, owls, shells and photographed and drew them. It was so surprising how much character I found when drawing the owls, and I knew these would form the basis of my design.

You can see below drawings I made and the final piece I created. The process was so interesting and I kept in mind all the tips Lilla had imparted over the previous 4 weeks. Things like “obsessing the minutiae” really resonated. I always made sure to look and see what else I could add to make it really pop.

To finish off the final week, my piece was also chosen in the review, and Lilla mentioned how she loved the notebook with  the co-ordinating pattern I created. She also loved the layout and presentation of my piece. This is something I have been working hard towards as well. Presentation is key when showing you work to potential new clients.

Overall, the 5 weeks were a great experience for me. It was so inspiring and has pushed me to be more creative than ever. I have never drawn so much!

MATS has truly invigorated me to achieve more and try more. I am now looking forward to taking part in the Assignment Bootcamp starting in January. This is a 6 month long course where we get one project per month which will be so great for my portfolio. I’ll be sharing more about that when it starts.

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I am writing this at the end of week 5 and the end of the course, but I just wanted to summarise the work and the assignment. We were looking at Wall Art last week which is a very broad and creative field. Really, just about anyone can get work in the wall art market, and thankfully, for us digital artists, the market is opening up to our styles too. For the purposes of exploring my style, I decided to do a bit of painting, and using those textures, I created abstract shapes and floral shapes to form my art. In  our lessons during the week we had been told that adding words can create more of an emotional bond between the person and the art. I wanted something to be empowering, with a ‘Get UP and GO’ feel. I went with, ‘Give Life Everything’ in the end, and felt that words really compliment the art. I’m hoping to have this printed soon as a canvas for my room because I want to be told this every day from now on.

You can see my final piece below from the weeks assignment.

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My MATS course is rapidly coming to close now *sob*. I am at the end of Week 4 already as I write this and I am so happy with everything I have done and learnt so far.

In week 3, we looked at children’s picture books. Our assignment was to create either a cover or double page spread of Aesop’s Fable, ‘The tortoise and The Hare’.

I chose to do the cover, and after finishing a large commission I knuckled down, sketching tortoise characters and trying to develop a sense of the story.

You can see my development drawings below, as well as my final submission.

After the weekly review for which my piece was included, I think there are certain things I would consider changing. An example of this would be to give a feel of the imminent race and to make the tortoise look more earnest perhaps, and giving this race everything he has. I’m not sure if character development is my strong point yet, but I really did enjoy designing this cover.

Next week I will do a round up of Week 4, where we are exploring the wonderful world of Wall Art. It’s a nice, free week of work and creativity. I look forward to sharing that with you.

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Some of you have asked me to explain what MATS is. I’m going to attempt to clarify this now. MATS is an e-course run by Lilla Rogers. Over 5 weeks we cover a variety of markets from fabric and home decor to gift. It’s an informative course but it’s primary objective is to allow the course taker to explore their personal style and push themself in new and exciting directions, whilst retaining their essence.

In 2 weeks I have had the pleasure of exploring Bolt Fabric and last week Home Decor. The two were incredibly decorative themes which I quite enjoy, however I found last week to be quite a bit of a challenge.

The theme was to create ceramic plates based on Suzani’s, a decorative floral style design from Uzbekistan (I have attached an example below). My initial sketching was enjoyable, and as I began to develop, I was really enjoying embracing the hand drawn quality of my style. I have been so used to drawing in very neat vectors previously so this is quite new for me. As my designs became more refined, I started to struggle with colour decisions and direction. How was I going to turn these into plates that I would buy, and that were marketable?

I analysed and edited over and over, until everything fell into place. I am so happy with my final designs now, which you can see below.

I can imagine them in Anthropologie or some other store like that. It’s a great portfolio piece to have, and I hope you all like my final design.

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P.S. After looking back at my Bolt Fabric submission from Week 1, I decided I was not too happy with it. Lilla has a mantra, called Change One Thing. Well I changed a few things, but the principle remains the same. By changing the colours and composition and creating new co-ordinates I created an entirely different feel for the work. The collection is now something I can be proud of.

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So, I have completed my first week of Make Art That Sells and what a week it’s been! This week we covered the bolt fabric market, and as much as I thought I knew about fabric and patterns, I certainly learnt a lot. Lilla Rogers is one of those completely nurturing teachers that you kind of wished you had earlier in your life. She is enthusiastic about everything and in turn, makes you enthusiastic about your own work.

In one week I feel more objective about my style. I am analysing things in more detail, and putting an extra layer of depth into my work. I think it still retains a lot of my personality, but there is so much more to look at and see. These are things I need to be consistently aware of in future work.

Our theme for this week was Root Vegetables and Casseroles. We spent Monday and Tuesday loosely exploring the theme with drawings and experimentations. I did more drawings in those two days than I have done in a very long time.

On Wednesday, we received our main assignment which was to create a pattern based on this theme and using our drawings. I spent my time working up my main pattern in Illustrator and creating two co-ordinates to go with it. I tried very hard to be aware of the tips we had been given during the week, and I mixed up shapes, scale and textures within the work.

Below you can see some pictures from my week from development to the final submitted piece, called Kitsch Kitchen.

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I have made a big decision today. One, that I hope will greatly affect my career in a positive way and help me grow as an artist and designer.

The decision I made was to join Lilla Rogers Make Art That Sells e-course. I have consistently been impressed with the quality of work from graduates of the course and thought that this may be what I need to supercharge my work.

Many people often think that I have quite a successful career as an illustrator, and whilst I have had some good projects and clients over the years it’s never been as busy as I would like. Designing for the commercial market and particularly for fabric, gifts and stationery and kids clothes is my ULTIMATE DREAM, and I hope that Lilla and this course will help re-direct me on the right path to achieving that.

The course starts on Monday, and yes, I am feeling a little nervous and overwhelmed. I feel like I am going to school for real, for the first time. I have even found a brand, spanking new and empty sketchbook that was on a shelf ready for all my feverish drawings and ideas.

I’m ready for a new challenge and I’ll keep you all updated with the course in a couple of weeks.

 

I have been working on a personal project the past 2 weeks designing a range of plates that were inspired by traditional blue and white pottery. I’m trying to design for application and think in terms of commercial use of my work. In an ideal world I would like to see these licensed as real plates, even if it’s just melamine ones, which I think would look great.

These are the first two designs so far but I would like to do at least one more then work on some coordinating patterns for the collection.

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