What nonsense have the ladies at Lilla Rogers Studio gotten themselves into this time? Announcing Lilla’s Art Menagerie


Art by Katie Vernon


We’re excited to let our favorite art directors know about a special upcoming event: Lilla’s Art Menagerie. It will be a cornucopia of fresh, new artwork that will be revealed January 5th in a private, password-protected gallery.

We were thinking: how can we make it really easy for you to see loads of new work without traveling? No flight, no hotel, no cabs! And why not get our brilliant artists to generate new work for an online event?

So we asked our artists to create exciting new work around the themes you request the most often. They were game. Then I thought, why don’t I make a bunch of trend boards just for our artists to motivate and inspire them?


Some of the trend boards that I made for my artists for the Menagerie. Topics range from winter holiday, Valentine’s, summer florals, editorial maps, mod kitchen, and tons more.

So when do you get to see all this new fabulous work?
You’ll be the very first to see the work from the comfort of your desk on Thursday, January 5th!

How will you access the work?
You’ll get an email with a link and a special password where you can view the work.


Art by Clairice Gifford


Art by Marenthe


Art by Flora Waycott


Art by Zoe Ingram


Art by Suzy Ultman


Art by Terri Fry Kasuba



Stay tuned on Instagram for our artists’ banners. Art by Carolyn Gavin.

We hope you’ll be inspired to commission, license or buy work for you projects. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to contact us. We love to hear from you!



Rachael Taylor Snowflake Trail Art Commission

Hi Lilla,

I’m so excited to be able to share with you that I’m one of the 12 lucky artists that have been commissioned to design a snowflake as part of Liverpool, UK city centre’s popular Snowflake Trail.


I found out at the end of October that I had been chosen & it has been a whirlwind of planning, painting, sanding & organising a very large amount of Adobe Illustrator vinyl files ever since. The sculptures were provided as white blank canvases for all of the artists to decorate & apply their artwork to whilst making them weatherproof ahead of their outdoor installation.

This completely FREE event is organised by Open Culture who are a Community Interest Company with the mission to increase the profile of & engagement with arts & culture in Merseyside.

rt_snowflaketrail_12_650px_lrMy son Blayke and I on opening night

I feel so honoured to be part of such a diverse & talented group of artists & it has been a very enjoyable process whilst being challenging at the same time. It was such a fantastic experience to be able to turn my creative vision into a festive reality. I have been documenting the process through a series of blog posts & you can follow the #snowflaketrail tag on social media for news along with my own personal posts via Instagram / Twitter / Facebook for a behind the scenes perspective.

With special thanks to Rachael Treacher & everyone at Open Culture for organising everything so well & being so friendly & welcoming. Also a huge thank you to Joe Wigzell & Sarah Lyons at Roland DG UK for their help, expertise & advice with my vinyl designs. Here is my design concept & description, I hope you like it! It is located by Elliot Street / Clayton Square by the new steps in Liverpool, UK’s city centre.

Snowy celebration

“My vision was to create a pattern that makes you feel uplifted, happy and festive, whilst reflecting the multi-cultural nature and vibrant city of Liverpool. This dynamic design incorporates a revelation of colour, a diverse range of varying scales to produce a visual snowy delight and multi-faceted piece.”


My snowflake as a blank canvas to apply my design to


Me sanding my snowflake to get a good quality finish in the artists workshop


Image credit: Snowflake Trail Press Day


Being interviewed by BBC Radio Merseyside for their breakfast show


My working concept design – ‘Snowy Celebration’


Starting to add vinyls to create my design – with thanks to Roland DG UK for generously printing the vinyls


Continuing to work on the front and back of my snowflake with my vinyls with a view to the public


You can just spot my snowflake behind the Snowflake Trail branding!


My snowflake finally in location after weeks of hard work!


The stand for my snowflake with my name and description of the design


My little boy Blayke being interviewed for TV

You can follow all of the fun on social media by using the tag #snowflaketrail Check out my Facebook album here. See more about this exciting project here.




Make Art That Sells GIANT sale ends tomorrow!!! Make 2017 your year with a flourishing art career-

Giant annual Cyber Monday sale on ALL of my e-courses with Make Art That Sells. Now is the time to make 2017 be the year where you blossom as a successful artist.

Check out a few of the many jobs my artists have gotten from art they did in my e-courses. Enjoy!



Course: Make Art That Sells Part B
Client: Giant Advent calendar for Woodmansterne



Course: Make Art That Sells Part B, Scrapbooking Week
Client: Madison Park, Greeting Card



Course: Global Talent Search
Clients: Cards for Design House Greetings; a notebook for L’Ateleir du Papier; inspiration for a magnet collection with Badgebomb; home decor collection with Midwest-CBK



Course: Creating Collections for Home Decor
Client: TAG, Ltd.

Want to get cool jobs like these?
Our biggest sale of the year ENDS TOMORROW!


This massive sale offers giant discounts from 30%-50% off all courses. Now’s the time to scoop up those courses you’ve been waiting to take, or dive deeper into a course you’ve already taken–with fresh new content. Get great at your art! There is a ton of need for art out there and I show you how to get it. Art directors need your art!

Why artists love our courses:
* Our courses are for all levels
* We create a supportive environment so everyone feels inspired to do their best
* Your art will flourish in ways you never knew possible
* I break things down into bite-sized chunks
* Assignments are loaded with inspiration and play to get you going
* I understand procrastination and insecurity and know how to trick you out of those things

Join me. You’ll see. Register TODAY!




4 Tips for Interesting Times

Here are four tips to help you nourish yourself and others during these interesting times. Hope you find benefit.

1. Reach out to your community and
surround yourself with those that make you happy.



2. Lean on each other. Support each other.



3. Treat yourself well. Make a cup of tea. Breathe.



4. Make your own magic. Do more of what makes you happy. Make more art!


“When a shift in a system has occurred, especially one that causes fear and discomfort, it allows for something strikingly different to appear, furthering our evolution as people. We can only know where we are going when we get there … now is the time we have been practicing for. No more just practicing the dance. We must now dance. And this is not a dress rehearsal.” — Zenju Earthlyn Manuel

Lilla and Reine


Make Cool Tote Bags with our Artists’ Art

We are delighted to be partnering with Spoonflower’s newest service, Sprout!


Sew tote bags and zipper pouches that have been beautifully designed by our artists! The fabric comes to you already printed with cut lines, so that means no paper patterns to lay out.



Zipper pouch and tote with Katie Vernon’s art



Tote bag with Tara Lilly’s art




Tote, zipper pouch and fabric design with Zoe Ingram’s art



Tote and zipper pouch with Rebecca Jones’ art

All Photos by Sprout and Caroline Okun

Order yours today here!  These will make a special gift for you or someone for the upcoming holidays.


Lilla’s Picks: Watercolor five ways


Check out watercolor by five of our artists.  We love how the same medium can deliver such different sensibilities.


Helen Dardik


Rebecca Bradley


Katie Vernon


Tara Lilly


Sarah Walsh


Suzy Ultman – Draw, Color, and Sticker

Hi Lilla!
I’m now officially part of the guided-sketchbook-girl-gang. My title, “Draw, Color, and Sticker — Enchanted Sketchbook”, has released and it’s chock full of STICKERS! 500!!!!! It’s fun for all ages:

suzyu_enchantedsketchbook_blogimage2 suzyu_enchantedsketchbook_blogimage1

You can purchase it here! Here is more of my work here.




ANNOUNCING THE GTS WINNERS! Our biggest announcement of the year.

What an incredible journey! We loved getting to know the six finalists on Skype and thoroughly reviewing their bodies of work. After much discussion and reflection we are delighted to announce…


…the winner of our 2016 Global Talent Search is…




Above: Marenthe’s final assignment for the Global Talent Search. On our Skype call, I suggested that Marenthe not hold back and go full-on Marenthe.

Giant congratulations to the lovely Marenthe! She is a true original, an iconoclast. We loved how fearless she is in creating her magical world. Because of this, and her broad range of imagery and themes, you’ll see a career that will have longevity and breadth. In addition, we liked that she had been a successful designer for many years so she understands how to work professionally and collaboratively. Personally, I’m excited to develop original projects with her as well. I have a few up my sleeve.


Marenthe on Skype screenshare and her work in progress for the final assignment

Plus, she’s a lovely person. You’ll fall in love with her!

screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-6-44-44-pmFrom editorial to children’s books, from candy packaging to home decor, Marenthe has it all.


We are delighted to now represent Marenthe Otten. We can’t wait to fill her docket with commissions, licenses, and consultations with VIPs. Art directors, contact us here to get dibs on Marenthe for your projects!



Read more about the prizes Marenthe has won here.

But the goodness doesn’t end there! We were blown away by the calibre of the final submissions, and have scooped up two additional artists!

Congratulations to our two Special Studio Award Winners!



We are madly in love with Terri’s witty and colorful art. Everyone smiles when they see her work. She’s frequently been in the highly-regarded juried annual, American Illustration, and has designed toys in-house for many years. Her work runs from highly sophisticated wit to funky/adorable. We are thrilled to add her to our agency.



Terri’s pieces for the final assignment for the Global Talent Search.

Can you find the unicorn and the mullet guy in the piece above?





Meet Anne, the delightful sophisticate. As a matter of fact, the Boston Globe commissioned Anne right from the newsletter I sent out announcing the 5 Finalists! And here is her piece that she completed-right smack in the middle of the GTS final competition. Anne’s background in fine art is evident in her work. Her unique color palettes, along with her masterful renderings of individuals in stylish settings won us over. Plus, she is a really nice person! As with Marenthe and Terri, I delighted in watching Anne’s work blossom in my MATS e-courses.

anne-bentleyAnne’s stunning piece for the Boston Globe
anne_bentley_gts16a3_nippon_twist_page1One of Anne’s pieces for the final assignment for the Global Talent Search. annebentleyflowersscreen-shot-2016-09-20-at-6-31-03-pm

Congratulations, GTS 2016 winners!

And a big congratulations to all the other Finalists: Colee Wilkinson, Mara Penny, and Sharon Montgomery. This is a very intense and demanding competition, and to arrive at the Finals is a massive honor. It’s something to be proud of. Please know that our decision was a very difficult one, involving many considerations. Your work is excellent and we are confident that your careers will thrive.

A note to Art directors: Contact us to get dibs on these artists for your projects before their schedules fill up! They are delightful and I know you’ll love working with them. And I’d love to know your thoughts on this year’s winners. Simply contact us here.


A note to artists: All of our finalists have taken my MATS online classes, just saying. You should, too. Why? Because you can energize your career the way these artists have. Because of MATS, we can get these winners tons of work. Even the artists that I already rep take my classes, and we get them fantastic gigs from the work they do in classes!


Our next course, Illustrating Children’s Books, is sold out, but you can still join the hugely popular on-going Make Art That Sells courses here.

Lilla and the Studio Ladies

P.S. Follow the fun on Instagram #globaltalentsearch, #MatsKidBook and #makeartthatsells
Follow us on Instagram @lillarogers and @makeartthatsells


2016 Global Talent Search Finalists announced!

Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 9.40.30 AM

The wait is over. It’s time to reveal the 2016 Global Talent Search Finalists, chosen from the 50 Semi-Finalists (who were selected from nearly 1,000 artists’ work).

We are thrilled to unveil the SIX Finalists, knowing that one of these artists’ careers is about to change forever.

Five were chosen by our panel of industry experts, and one chosen via public vote (our peoples choice winner). The overall competition winner will be represented by Lilla Rogers Studio for two years, and win a host of licensing deals from prestigious companies (see here for the awesome prize details). The second assignment Lilla created was full of possibilities! The Semi-Finalists were asked to design a cover of a dessert recipe book from Sunny’s Cafe.

So without further ado, here we go…


Over 10,000 votes were cast by the public, and we can now reveal that the 2016 Global Talent Search People’s Choice Finalist is:

Mara Penny


Not only was Mara’s piece chosen through the public vote, she is also the top choice from our judges!

Comments from the judges:

“Mara Penny has full comprehension of the assignment. The feeling is delicate and feminine…like dessert! Nice contrast of color…inviting! Beautiful technique…love the lace doilies.”

“Mara Penny: Her composition, use of both arms and objects, and her palette all appealed to me. She created a bold book cover with quite a bit of detail as well. I’d pick this book up and hold it in my hands in a bookstore. Pretty work!”

“Mara Penny’s piece is eye grabbing! It is a complex illustration with lots of elements and the detail is wonderful — look at the tray of orange slices! Yet she lays the piece out in such a way that the piece feels clean and not too crowded.”



Our stellar panel of judges – with more than a century of industry experience between them in the Gift, Home Décor, Editorial and children’s book illustration, Fabric and Stationery, markets – took days deliberating over the Semi-Final gallery. It was incredibly hard to choose, but in the end the following five were selected as the other Finalists (in no particular order).  Below each submission is a comment from the Judges on what stood out in the piece.



Comment from the judges:

  • Combines desserts with elements of nature and gardening.
  • This is a magical place where the cake grows in plants and I love that sense of whimsy.
  • Love the painterly style. Her work seems to have great editorial potential.




Comments from the judges:

  • Her hand-painted, textural work stands out from the crowd and screams, I AM PREMIUM.
  • This is a beautiful cover and a gorgeous work of art as a standalone.
  • Her daring black background. Her animals and flowers are nicely worked into the cake’s base and border.




Comments from the judges:

  • This entire design is “pretty” and very sweet!
  • Nice composition and central focal point
  • Varied cake designs




Comments from the judges:

  • Highly detailed with so much happening in the piece yet it feels clean not too busy
  • Has a bit of “Marie Antoinette” flavor….the marketplace can’t get enough of Paris!
  • Nice technique and color – playful and sophisticated.




Comments from the judges:

  • Really stood out as being different from the rest.
  • Her color choice was bold and her style of illustration is very interesting.
  • Her style is editorial but could be adapted for products as well.


Lilla’s comments about the Finalists

You will notice 5 things in common in all of the Finalists’ work: 
First, they utilized extra bold contrast in their pieces and the work is easy to ‘read’. That is, you can distinguish what the imagery is at a glance. (Work that is too soft, or lacks contrast tends to not grab the eye of the art director, even if it is a beautiful piece.)
Second, you will see that the color palettes are totally gorgeous. On some level, this is probably one of the strongest reasons a piece gets selected. I know for me this is huge.
Third, the space is fully filled, but not in a cluttered way. There aren’t lonely spaces. This doesn’t mean that the piece needs to be filled to the brim, but there needs to be plenty of imagery in the piece. There are little things to discover upon further study. To create a pleasing piece without looking disorganized requires thoughtful design of the page.
Fourth, interestingly, all the typography is hand-lettered. The artists didn’t use type fonts. The judges respond to hand lettering on a gut level.
Fifth, and this one surprised me: five of the six pieces have a very large central focus! Perhaps that is pleasing to the judges, especially for a book cover. It gives the cover a sense of authority.


The judges also answered two important questions for us:

In general what stood out to you about the artists you chose?

  • All focused on the desserts, instead of the author of the cookbook. I found this appealing because it actually made me hungry and want something sweet! 
  • These artists also had designs that would stand out on a shelf.
  • Many of them used dark backgrounds which really made their design elements stand out.
  • I love bright colors and they definitely had the brightest, strongest colors of the bunch!
  • All felt original and fresh–they stood out amongst the others as being inventive, thoughtful and well-rounded as illustrators.
  • Each of them possess a high level of design skills that shone through in their pieces.
  • Bold use of color and color contrast.
  • Really liked the use of an unexpected dark background color. Sense of depth in the scene or interesting point of view.”
  • Several of them have an artists approach rather than a graphic designers approach which I think is appealing in today’s market.
  • They all look handmade or handpainted which is desirable. They also had a sense of humor in their work. People want to smile so this is important.
  • Each of them has commercial potential in either the editorial or gift/stationery market, or both.
  • Sophistication in their technique. A consistent style throughout the portfolio.
  • Commercial appeal to the imagery.

What advice would you give to those who you did NOT choose, in order to make their work more commercially appealing?

“Develop a voice and look that’s your own. Stay on top of how your work stands up against others in the market. Do your research by absorbing a bit of reference each day and stretch your muscles by working on self-assigned projects that keep your work pertinent (take inspiration from all the MATS assignments!!). Most important: have fun with the art that you make so your personality shines through!! Approach every project, big or small, with a sense of adventure and conquer your creative challenges with spirit, flavor and style! “

“Book jackets need to be a clear read. There needs to be a strong focus, and clear legible lettering. Simplify it down and avoid being formulaic.”

“Human characters are really tough! Art directors and buyers tend to have a really particular point of view and it can make or break a commission or purchase. In my experience, the US commercial market is less open to funky/exaggerated illustrative perspectives on humans (compared to the European market or other international markets). Color contrast, dynamic composition, and a clear focal point are very important to make a product, book cover, etc. stand out from the crowd.”

“Make sure your style has a unique voice. It should be somewhat timeless. If you include people in your illustration make sure your audience can relate to them. Don’t make your drawing too childlike unless that is your audience. Know what demographic you are targeting. Have a sense of humor in your work. Everyone likes to smile. “

A closing note from Lilla:

“About the Finalists: I am thrilled and delighted with the Finalists and their work! I have watched these artists grow considerably as MATS students and I am very proud of them.
About all of the semi-finalists: They are all amazing and I could easily see rep’ing a whole bunch of them! I hope they keep growing and try again next year.”

Congratulations to everyone! We are thrilled that together 10,000 public votes, plus our judging panel comprising some of the top art directors and creative professionals in the industry, independently selected a set of Finalists where many are graduates of Make Art That Sells. It’s clear that the courses helped them develop commercially-viable art, choose amazing colors and present it professionally. We cannot wait to see the work that comes out of our brand new class “Illustrating Children’s Books” which begins on Monday October, 3, 2016.

Stay tuned for the third and final assignment and thanks to everyone for voting!


Lilla, Beth, and the Studio Ladies



Would you like to take Make Art That Sells?

We have the following courses currently open for registration HERE!


Do you dream of illustrating a children’s book? Would you love to create a magical world with characters that you’ve designed? Do you love the magic of children’s books and feel that you have something to offer?  Then this course is for you.

In five weeks, you’ll create a brilliant children’s book pitch to help you land your dream children’s book gig. You’ll get over 20 videos, weekly assignments, live weekly video reviews, interviews with publishers and illustrators and more. Co-taught by top art agent Lilla Rogers and highly-respected children’s book art director Zoe Tucker.

Spaces are limited for our first session of class this October. Don’t miss out. REGISTER HERE



If you want to learn exactly what to put in your artwork to make killer portfolio pieces while staying true to your style and taste, MATS A and B is for you. Graduates of these courses have gone on to win work from clients such as Hallmark, Robert Kaufman Fabrics, Oopsy Daisy, Uppercase Magazine, West Elm, Midwest CBK, and more. It is industry learning that works in the real world. These comprehensive courses includes access to videos of Lilla Rogers reviewing over 500 pieces of art.