Month: September 2013

9/27/13

Q&A Friday with Lilla: On style

Lilla loves questions, and she was asked a great deal of them in Make Art That Sells, so we thought we’d share a few with you. Over the next few Fridays we will be posting a few real questions from students, along with Lilla’s responses. We hope these are helpful as you develop your own work. This week we are focusing on style.

 

Q) Do you know any successful artists who have more than one distinctive style? How do they present their work on their website?

A) If the reality is that you have a few styles, then by all means show them. The world is your personal focus group. The market will come to you for the work that’s marketable. But if you believe in a style, don’t give up on it even if it takes longer to get results. Here’s the deal: Over time, your various styles will probably merge into one even stronger style. I’ve seen this happen time and time again. Keep making art.

 

Q) For bolt fabric, do ‘simple/modern’ designs work – or is it great only when marketed under a brand (like Orla Kiely) who stand for that kind of lifestyle and have the power of their brand behind them?

A) This is a very important question. Remember that most companies have in-house designers.  So they won’t come to you and pay $500 – $1,000 or more for a piece of art, or royalties, for work that they can do themselves. This is why I encourage you to do pieces that have a lot going on, and even possibly paint on the art. Simple has its place, but the more you can offer a client, the more enticing your piece will be.

 

Q) Do you have any advice on how best to know where your style fits? Would having an agent be the best way to find the right audience?

A) Getting an agent is like getting a client. A good agent is difficult to get. Make Art That Sells (in my humble opinion) is a terrific way to see what styles are commercial. Also, it gives you some of the best subject matter for each market according to what I see licensed in the marketplace, since it’s what I do for a living. That’s one way. If you are looking at lots of products that are currently being produced in the market you like, then you are getting a flavor for what I call the cultural visual conversation. Then, you put your spin on it.

 

Q) If you want a long career, how do you balance developing a distinctive style with staying fresh?

A: I am all about career longevity for artists. I have seen careers come and go over the decades. Why do some artists’ careers last? Simple answer: they stay inspired and take risks. They don’t get stuck in a rut. They push, they try, they explore. So that might mean being creative in all kinds of ways. 

Let’s dig deeper into the premise of the question: How do you make a career last for decades? First, it’s important to have one core business that you can leverage, so you don’t scatter your efforts everywhere. Just get good at one thing, for starters. Then, opportunities grow from there. So, for example, say you have an Etsy shop of your artwork and things are selling well.  So you might grow from there to getting a variety of surface design licensing deals like for wall art and gift products, picturebook commissions, fabric lines and magazine illustrations (editorial). Remember, one thing leads to the next.
That answers the first part of your question, about a career longevity. Now let’s look at the part about balancing a distinctive style with staying fresh.  I think what you’re asking is how can you get known for your look while not changing up your brand so much with all kinds of work so that you become unrecognizable. The answer is that you do want to have a body of work that hangs together, but then it’s terrific to have art around the edges that pushes the boundaries of your style. This shows art directors and agents that you have more up your sleeve. I always love to see that in an artist – what kinds of explorations are they doing? 
Q) Is it more important to have a vision of the style you want, or to let it evolve naturally? What is the key ingredient to homing in on your style?

A: Short answer: The more art you do, the more your style emerges. Fact. Your style actually grows and evolves over time as your tastes change. Looking at art and the world informs your work. Pushing yourself to try new things and to work in different media grow your style as they add more tools to your tool kit. So learning is key.

One of the most exciting parts of art-making is the spiritual process of self-discovery. By constantly asking yourself questions such as, “Do I like this? Do I like making this mark, or putting down this color, or drawing neatly, or wildly?”, you learn more about your true self. That is why when we see a very distinctive style, like Helen Dardik’s, it is as though we are looking at Helen herself. You are making what you – in your core – love to make, regardless of what others think. That is how you become an original.
Those of you that have taken our Make Art That Sells course know that I often say “people buy your joy”. It’s true.  And the corollary follows that joy comes from being passionate about your work. And when you are passionate, you know that you are doing the art you’re meant to do. Make the art you’re meant to do and then match it up with the right market for your work.
Homing in on your own style is about taking risks and requires courage!  When I was young, one of my favorite books was Rollo May’s text, The Courage to Create. Confession: I don’t think I actually ever read it, but I contemplated the title for many years! Yes, art-making takes courage.

 

If you want the chance to ask Lilla your own burning questions, sign up for Make Art That Sells (starting online on October 7). This is an industry first – a real opportunity to learn how to make great art that sells in the top ten hottest markets. Don’t miss it!

We’ll be back next week with ‘Q&A Friday with Lilla: On life as an artist’

 

PLUS: WIN A 1-1 PORTFOLIO REVIEW & CAREER CONSULTATION WITH LILLA!

Have you ever dreamt of having a portfolio and career consultation with a top art agent? Well this is your chance! For the first time ever Lilla Rogers is offering a private one hour portfolio review and career consultation (via Skype) to TWO lucky artists.

This is a rare, incredible opportunity to tap into three decades’ of experience from someone at the forefront of the art licensing industry. Lilla Rogers Studio has sold art for products worth over $100 million. Lilla knows what is hot, what is on the horizon and where your work fits in. Find out more here!

9/26/13

It’s OK to wear your pajamas to work! (Louise Wright talks about MATS)

Sometimes, when you get in the creative zone, it completely takes over and you forget to eat, get dressed etc. Looks like that is what happened to Louise Wright as she completely threw herself into Make Art That Sells! Here she shares what she learnt (this cute video is just a minute long).

Click on the image below to view it:

If you have any problems viewing this video, click this link to watch it on Vimeo.com.

If you feel like you want something juicy and creative to dive into, and want to learn how to make art that sells in the top ten hottest markets from one of the world’s top agents (who has sold art for products worth over $100 million) sign up for Make Art That Sells now (begins October 7 online).

 

PLUS: WIN A 1-1 PORTFOLIO REVIEW & CAREER CONSULTATION WITH LILLA!

Have you ever dreamt of having a portfolio and career consultation with a top art agent? Well this is your chance! For the first time ever Lilla Rogers is offering a private one hour portfolio review and career consultation (via Skype) to TWO lucky artists.

This is a rare, incredible opportunity to tap into three decades’ of experience from someone at the forefront of the art licensing industry. Lilla Rogers Studio has sold art for products worth over $100 million. Lilla knows what is hot, what is on the horizon and where your work fits in. Find out more here!

9/24/13

Coloring outside the lines – Valerie Hart on Make Art That Sells

It has been a humbling experience hearing what Make Art That Sells students have taken from the course. Words are powerful, but visuals are sometimes even more so, which is why we love this testimonial video from Valerie Hart so much. It is so simple but so true of so many people’s stories – we hope that if you join us for the next course (starts Oct 7), you will find the same kind of confidence and friendships that Valerie found.

Click on the image to watch the video (it is just one minute long):

If you have any problems viewing this video, click this link to watch it on Vimeo.com.

If you want to learn how to make art that sells in the top ten hottest markets, from one of the world’s top agents (who has sold art for products worth over $100 million) AND become part of an amazingly supportive artists’ community, sign up for Make Art That Sells now (begins October 7 online).

See more amazing testimonials from the course here.

 

PLUS: WIN A 1-1 PORTFOLIO REVIEW & CAREER CONSULTATION WITH LILLA!

Have you ever dreamt of having a portfolio and career consultation with a top art agent? Well this is your chance! For the first time ever Lilla Rogers is offering a private one hour portfolio review and career consultation (via Skype) to TWO lucky artists.

This is a rare, incredible opportunity to tap into three decades’ of experience from someone at the forefront of the art licensing industry. Lilla Rogers Studio has sold art for products worth over $100 million. Lilla knows what is hot, what is on the horizon and where your work fits in. Find out more here!

9/22/13

Trina’s new Wall Art and reflects on Mats course Part A

Back in June I took Part A of Lilla’s ecourse “Make Art that Sells“. It was aimed at helping artists, illustrators and designers “up” their work to the next level and create work focused on five key commercial areas – Wall Art, Bolt Fabric, Children’s Book Illustration, and artwork for Gifts and Homeware. There were around 500 participants from all over the world – many, many of them were already highly successful and talented artists and it was an initially nerve wracking, then challenging, followed by inspiring and completely invigorating experience to be thrown into such a school of high achievers! Lilla motivated and nurtured us all with such enthusiasm yet tenderness that I’m certain everyone will have come out of the experience feeling both creatively and emotionally stronger.

Though I’ve been represented by Lilla Rogers Studio since 2007 and have had some success with licensing of artwork and crossing over into surface design – for cards, wrap, bags, rugs, swimwear – I still saw myself as an editorial illustrator and it’s in that area that the great majority of my work both in the UK and USA comes from. The course was a wonderful way to make me see the possibilities and applications for my work in a fresh way.

This project for the Wall Art week was definitely the one I most loved working on and helped break down old attitudes and assumptions. Initially I was concerned I somehow wouldn’t fit this area as I don’t come from a gallery/artist background – I saw my work as being between paper, something that lasts the length of a magazine or the turning of a page not hanging on a wall. I was also so used to responding to a brief that the opportunity to spend a day doing what ever I wanted with no final image in mind was amazingly liberating. I think I so love my job and the way I spend my days I hadn’t considered until that day spent painting these backgrounds in the kitchen that it could be even more fun!

It was an amazing five weeks and Part B of the course starts next month…I’m already excited and have already reserved my autumn weekends for working on it! – Trina

9/21/13

Keeping the momentum going (Victoria Weiss reflects on MATS)

We love checking in to see how our MATS alumni have been doing since the course, and have been thrilled to hear that so many of them have been working on their portfolios and on work for new clients. In this very short (1 minute) video you can see one of our alumni, Victoria Weiss, working on developing one of the assignments from class, to add home decor work to her portfolio.

Click on the image below to view Victoria’s video:

If you have any problems viewing this video, click this link to watch it on Vimeo.com.

Every week of MATS includes a professional level assignment designed specifically for a certain market – this really opens participants’ eyes to new possibilities for their work, and stretches them further than they might go alone. AND all work gets seen by Lilla, with some of it being featured in a weekly video review – pure gold!

If you feel like you want something juicy and creative to dive into, and want to learn how to make art that sells in the top ten hottest markets from one of the world’s top agents (who has sold art for products worth over $100 million) sign up for Make Art That Sells now (begins October 7 online).

 

PLUS: WIN A 1-1 PORTFOLIO REVIEW & CAREER CONSULTATION WITH LILLA!

Have you ever dreamt of having a portfolio and career consultation with a top art agent? Well this is your chance! For the first time ever Lilla Rogers is offering a private one hour portfolio review and career consultation (via Skype) to TWO lucky artists.

This is a rare, incredible opportunity to tap into three decades’ of experience from someone at the forefront of the art licensing industry. Lilla Rogers Studio has sold art for products worth over $100 million. Lilla knows what is hot, what is on the horizon and where your work fits in. Find out more here!

9/20/13

Q&A Friday with Lilla: On presentation + promotion

Lilla loves questions, and she was asked a great deal of them in Make Art That Sells, so we thought we’d share a few with you. Over the next few Fridays we will be posting a few real questions from students, along with Lilla’s responses. We hope these are helpful as you develop your own work. This week we are focusing on Presentation + Promotion.

 

Q) When a client asks for layered files in Photoshop, what do they expect the different layers to be, and how many layers would they expect?

A) It really varies. I would work in such a way so that you’re not going crazy making layers to the point where it interferes with your creative process. I would say typically 5 – 20 layers, and even more. You’ll find that layers are liberating as you have great freedom to move things around, resize things, etc.

 

Q) If you don’t work in a vector style, what do you do to add layers to your work?

A: Clients more and more do like art in layers, but I have some artists that are painters and the work is done on canvas, and there are no layers. In some cases that held them back and in some cases the work is so great that it made no difference and they get lots of jobs such as home décor products, greeting cards, and more.

Over time, you’ll get a sense of WHAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU, YOUR STYLE, AND YOUR CLIENTS. Great art comes first. Wall Décor in Make Art That Sells Part A is great for very painterly work (and is low tech!)

 

Q: What exactly is a “collection”?

A: A collection is a very general term that means a grouping of images that relate to each other by theme, style and medium. When you work with a company, they may make the collection from your one jpg. That’s why you load it full of goodness. Sometimes they will ask for more related pieces. It really varies. To begin with you only need to show jpgs of your work so that you get in the door. You don’t know what will hit so rather than devote too much time to a batch of related pieces, work on a broad number of pieces, unless you’re excited about doing a whole similar grouping. There are no hard and fast rules! If you are loving watercolor florals, you might do a whole bunch of pieces that are all variations of dahlias, for example, or a whole bunch of pieces of camping items. Then, these can be considered “collections”.

Q) If you make art that is too large to scan (24″ x 24″ and bigger) that needs a professional photo in order to show digitally for licensing or can be sold as original wall art, does putting my name, date and the copyright symbol on the back allow me to sell the original to an individual and still sell digital images for licensing on products.

A) When you sell original art, typically you are not also selling the reproduction rights to the artwork. When I sold paintings, I did provide that information to the buyer of the art. When our big ad agency and corporate clients buy the original art from a commission job (when the artist works traditionally which is increasingly rare), we note in our Job Confirmation something like this: “No rights are transferred. The original art is for display only. Additional rights are available at an additional fee.”

 

Q) When it comes to self-promotion, if you sending out a monthly or bimonthly newsletter to an email list would you recommend simply showing/sharing all the new work that was created in that month, even if it includes a mix that crosses several markets?

A) Great question. I assume that you have a variety of clients on your list, so a variety of work is fine. It’s also fun to show your studio, or some cool craft project you’re doing. Anything that is visually exciting and gives a feel for what you’re up to. Since we have a huge variety of people on our large mailing list, we show a mix of artists and styles. Sometimes I like to do a theme, sometimes I focus on one of my artists, sometimes it’s about talking up our next show, or MATS, etc. So it’s a mix.

Short answer: Show your best work and only your best work. Several markets are fine because there is a great deal of overlap. Children’s book art might make great wall art, or children’s melamine plates. One thing leads to the next, as my mother always says.

 

Q: What are the most important tools to use on the internet to let others see your art? I hear a lot about FB, blogs, websites, Pinterest, Flickr, Twitter, Linked In, etc but there is only so much time in the day.

A) Right! There is only so much time in the day, and I always say the best promotion is great art. All the promoting in the world will not sell poor work, so most people pick a few of these and stick with that and focus on creating great art. Typically, people have a website as their home base, and then draw traffic to it using Facebook or Twitter. Blogs are fun to do, and are a way to keep interest and freshness going. Pinterest is a great vehicle. Lots of interest there. I’ve learned about several artists through Pinterest. LinkedIn is less used in our field. I rarely go there, although there are some good groups where people exchange information. Don’t overextend. Look at what some of your favorite artists do and see how they do it, and remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

 

If you want the chance to ask Lilla your own burning questions, sign up for Make Art That Sells (starting online on October 7). This is an industry first – a real opportunity to learn how to make great art that sells in the top ten hottest markets. Don’t miss it!

We’ll be back next week with ‘Q&A Friday with Lilla: On style’

 

PLUS: WIN A 1-1 PORTFOLIO REVIEW & CAREER CONSULTATION WITH LILLA!

Have you ever dreamt of having a portfolio and career consultation with a top art agent? Well this is your chance! For the first time ever Lilla Rogers is offering a private one hour portfolio review and career consultation (via Skype) to TWO lucky artists.

This is a rare, incredible opportunity to tap into three decades’ of experience from someone at the forefront of the art licensing industry. Lilla Rogers Studio has sold art for products worth over $100 million. Lilla knows what is hot, what is on the horizon and where your work fits in. Find out more here!

9/19/13

jolly, cheeky and fabulous work from Susy Pilgrim Waters

From our guest blogger: Susy Pilgrim Waters: “Hi ALL I wanted to share our latest jolly printed flour sack cloth. It is 30×30 hand printed and made in the good ol` USA!!! For me veggies and kitchen subject matter is timeless, season-less and so comforting (AND useful) form and function. I am ridiculously attached to this weird yellow… We have a wee special going…please check us out here. What other color would you want it in?? I have more up my sleeve!” – Susy

9/18/13

Win a 1-1 portfolio + career consultation with Lilla Rogers!

Examples of jobs we have gotten our artists

Have you ever dreamt of having a portfolio and career consultation with a top art agent? Well this is your chance! For the first time ever Lilla Rogers is offering a private one hour consultation (via Skype) to TWO lucky artists. For each of you (individually) this will involve:

  • A review of your online portfolio (or a selection of images you send in) and your general online presence
  • Constructive feedback on how to make your work and style more commercially viable, while staying true to yourself
  • Advice on which markets your work is best suited for, and tips on how to crack it
  • Career advice tailored to your particular experience and ambitions
  • The opportunity to ask Lilla anything you like!

This is a rare, incredible opportunity to tap into three decades’ of experience from someone at the forefront of the art licensing industry. Lilla Rogers Studio has sold art for products worth over $100 million. Lilla knows what is hot, what is on the horizon and where your work fits in.

TO ENTER: This prize will be offered to TWO lucky people who register Make Art That Sells (course begins October 7, 2013). In order to enter, you just have to sign up to either:

Part A (begins October 7, 2013) covering the bolt fabric, home décor, children’s picture books, wall art and gift markets

OR

Part B (begins October 7, 2013) covering the paper, baby apparel, scrapbooking, editorial and party paper markets

You must have signed up by midnight GMT on Sunday, October 6, 2013 in order to enter. The winners will be announced on Lilla’s blog shortly after that, and the consultations will take place via Skype at a mutually convenient time after the classes have finished. Want to be in with a chance of winning this amazing prize? SIGN UP TO THE COURSE HERE!

Please note if you are already registered for one of the above classes you will automatically be entered into the competition.

THE SMALL PRINT: There will be two winners who will be chosen at random from among all registrants who have signed up by the deadline for Make Art That Sells Part A or B (October 2013 classes). One winner will be chosen from each class. The competition is open to anyone over 18 anywhere in the world. There is no cash alternative and the prize is not transferable. If you have already registered and paid for Make Art That Sells Part A or B (October 2013 class) you will automatically be entered into the draw. Our decision on the winner is final and no correspondence will be entered into. By entering you agree for your email address to be added to the mailing lists of Do What You Love and Lilla Rogers Studio but you can unsubscribe at any time.

–Beth

9/17/13

Sarah Alcock on Make Art That Sells (love this video!)

At first glance an e-course can sound like it might be impersonal – just you and your computer and your sketchbook, beavering away in your corner of the world. But the reality is the absolute opposite. A course like Make Art That Sells brings people together from all over the globe with a shared love of creating, a shared desire to monetise their talent, and a shared ambition to make great art that flies out of the door. The community that has built up around MATS is astounding – hundreds of lovely, generous artists supporting each other’s steps to success, in a way which is perhaps unusual in this highly competitive industry. And sometimes the participants even get their families involved. We love how Sarah Alcock’s daughter helped her create this adorable video about her experience in class. (It’s less than a minute long and we guarantee it will make you smile!) – click on the image to watch it.

If you have any problems viewing this video, click this link to watch it on Vimeo.com.

If you want to learn how to make art that sells in the top ten hottest markets, from one of the world’s top agents (who has sold art for products worth over $100 million) AND become part of an amazingly supportive artists’ community, sign up for Make Art That Sells now (begins October 7 online).