So here it is in all its glory - the result of 5 weeks of hard labour on the Lilla Rogers Make Art That Sells Course.
What can I say? If you're thinking about doing it just get your credit card out and sign up! The last course I did was my degree and that was a long time ago. Since then I've been working as a designer and I honestly wasn't sure if I needed to do a course, thinking I'd probably covered most of the course content in my day to day working life. However, every single time I'd go online, on Pinterest or Print and Pattern or someone's Facebook page, references to this course would keep popping up and the reviews were always great - and they were often written by really talented designers. There was talk of painting and sketching and breaking out of those 'comfort zones' (I'm breaking out of my comfort zone when I use the phrase 'comfort zone' - it makes me think of Simon Cowell). There was lots of discussion about growth and joy and being who you are - and I began to think - hmmm - this is about more than just making cute pictures to sell. This looks suspiciously like a route to self discovery - to finding out about yourself as an artist; what inspires you to create with real enthusiasm, what defines your taste and makes you unique, and why that has a massive (commercial) value!
Years of sitting at a computer drawing flowers and snowmen can unlock some of these answers - there is an awful lot to be said for just showing up and putting in the hours. But when you're sitting alone everyday with a singular objective of pleasing (and hopefully selling to) an often imaginary client you begin to fear experimentation. There have been times in my career when I've felt like a design cranking machine, a chameleon changing to suit the environment with no authenticity. Authenticity - trueness to myself - this is what I wanted to buy into and that's why I signed up because it seemed to me that Lilla Rogers was holding the key!
And she was!!! She sold it to me in exchange for five weeks of the most intense, focused creativity I've ever experienced and it was brilliant! I'm still doing the post-mortem and I've yet to figure out how the pieces of the puzzle fit together - how I can incorporate all this bubbling knowledge and enthusiasm into my day to day work life. One way in which I know it's had an immense impact is that I'm painting again. After more than fifteen years. For that alone I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Lilla.
The other way in which it's impacted my life immeasurably is by exposing me to a great big group of new friends!!! Massively talented arty friends! They're dotted all over the world and through the MATS Facebook page we've been able to connect with and support each other through-out the course and beyond. It really is indescribable how valuable this community has become to so many of us. Having the opportunity to ask advice, show new work, support fellow designers and just feel great warm waves of encouragement is so motivating. This summary is my post for our Blog Tour, where we are featuring each other's work and blogs in rotation. This week I'm really happy to show you the work of Jennifer Wambach and Emily Dyer. Below are some of their designs for the weekly assignments. It's amazing how varied our interpretations of the themes were. As you can see we approached the assignments in completely different ways, showing each other very different artistic viewpoints of each subject. Emily does a lot of cut paper work and used this technique in her Language of the Birds illustration, creating a darkly nostalgic effect that went very well with the tone of the story. Jennifer's book cover inspired her to write a really funny blog post about getting drunk before you create and quite a few of us said we wouldn't mind joining her!
Jennifer Wambach - http://jennartdesigns.blogspot.com
|Bromeliad Plates by Jennifer Wambach|
|Language of the Birds by Jennifer Wambach|
Emily Dyer - http://www.emilydyer.com/blog
|Language of the Birds by Emily Dyer|
|Berries and Pyrex Fabric by Emily Dyer|