Last week was the final week of Part A of Lilla Roger's Make Art That Sells e-course and I can't believe how fast it went! I remember when I took the leap and signed up for the course way back in March and how excited I was for such and amazing learning opportunity. Now that the 5 weeks have come and gone, I can honestly say that it was worth WAY more than my investment.
The course was 5 weeks long, with each week focusing on a different market. The five markets covered in Part A were Bolt Fabric, Home Decor, Children's Books, Wall Art, and Gifts.
Each Monday our teacher, coach, and "Fairy Artmother", Lilla, gave us a mini-assignment to get our brains working and to use toward that week's Main Assignment. The Main Assignments were given on Wednesdays in the form of a creative brief, similar to one you might receive from a manufacturer in the given market.
Final pieces were then submitted by Sunday evening in a shared Flickr group, and a handful were chosen and critiqued for the entire class by Lilla in a video review. This was extremely helpful as Lilla pointed out things we did well, things we may want to change, and gave insight into what buyers and manufacturers look for when finding artists to work with.
Week One: Bolt Fabric
The course started off with a super fun and totally unexpected mini-assignment: Draw a bunch of different mushrooms and vintage pyrex dishes. "Say what?!" Yes, I can definitely say that I was already being stretched and asked to draw something I never would have thought to draw on my own.
For the main assignment we were asked to take our drawings and create patterns to be used for bolt fabric as well as a few coordinate patterns that go well with our main pattern. This was SO much fun and during the process I discovered that I really love creating patterns. Expect to see more patterns from me in the future!
Week Two: Home Decor
The next mini-assignment in the line-up had us tromping through our gardens and doodling up an alternative to the always-popular floral motifs: seeds and pods! This was a challenge because I am so used to drawing your typical daisy and tulip types of flowers. It's amazing how beautiful these little pods can be when you look at them up close!
We then had to take these pods and create a dinner plate design with them. Working in a circular template was a bit trickier than I anticipated and I struggled a bit with this assignment. I had a hard time pushing myself out of my comfort zone and trying new things while still staying true to the Buck & Libby style.
While I liked the humor I added to the plate, and I liked that I tried the flip-flopped color palette (dark background with lighter lines) I wasn't completely in love with my finished product. I think the circular layout threw me off a bit.
Week Three: Children's Books
Boy, oh boy was this a challenging week! Our tricky teacher, Lilla, threw us a curveball with the Main Assignment that kept us on our toes! Our mini-assignment was lots of fun: Draw a children's book character that is a snail. A SNAIL! How fun is that!? So, I set off to doodle the cutest, sweetest, happiest looking snails I could imagine!
Then, we received our Main Assignment creative brief, which included the story of The Snail and The Rose Tree, starring the adorable snail we just created for the mini. Sadly, though, the title character in the classic Hans Christian Andersen tale was not so adorable. In fact, he was cynical, negative, and downright grumpy. So, I scrapped the cute snails and started from scratch.
The hardest part of this assignment was the fact that the main character was so negative, and yet it was supposed to be a children's book. I struggled with how to make the snail look grumpy without being scary. Dark, but not too dark. I couldn't quite get it right.
Finally, I tried to imagine how young kids can relate to lessons that may be a little bit too complex and serious for their age. I thought about how I always found things easier to understand when they were acted out for me. BINGO! A school play!
Once I got over the hump of the switcharoo assignment, I was quite pleased with how my piece turned out. I thought it showed a grumpy snail, while still remaining light and fun and I really enjoyed playing around with textures in this one.
Week Four: Wall Art
Ah, Paint! How I missed you so! For those of you who don't know, I started out as a painter with my other Etsy Shop, MoKoPo. I've been painting since I was about 12 years old, but since switching gears to focus on the illustration side of things, I haven't picked up a brush in about 9 months or so. I was so excited to get back to it!
Our mini-assignment was to collect things around our house in a certain color scheme given to us by LIlla based on our Zodiac sign (I was assigned orange and green). These items were to be used later in the week as part of a mixed media, collage type of painting.
This was challenging because many of the fun scrapbook papers and patterns I found couldn't be used because I didn't own the rights to those patterns to use in a painting I intended to sell. So, I settled for some random tissue paper, scrap papers I painted myself, and I decided to create texture with paint and stencils.
I absolutely LOVED how my painting started out. All that texture! Pops of orange! The lacy white floral overlay! It reminded my of looking down into a koi pond while it was raining. It was exactly what I wanted.
But then, I came to the point that I always come to when I paint. The part of the process where I need to add something, but I'm afraid I'll ruin it. In this case, I had to add words as part of the assignment. I decided to go with a short, motivational phrase: Make It Happen. I painted around the words and had the textured background show through.
I didn't hate the finished product, but it did kind of make me sad to cover up all that beautiful detail. I learned so much during this week, though. I learned that I need to work on stepping away from a painting before I go overboard to make it look "finished". I learned that I actually really love to do abstract pieces. And finally, I learned that I am more relaxed when I'm doing illustration work because there is always an "Edit > Undo" option! :)
Week Five: Gift
The final week of the course was also my absolute favorites to work on! Every step of the way felt very "me", from drawing cute little doodle icons, to creating fun patterns, to putting artwork on tangible products that people can actually use and enjoy in their daily lives!
Monday's Mini-Assignment was centered around collections. Lilla wanted us to gather up the things we collect, sketch or take photos of the objects, and share them with the group. Seeing the huge variety of collections posted by my classmates on the Facebook Page was so much fun, but it also made me realize that I'm not much of a collector. When I was little I was; I collected pandas, sunflowers, and yes, even Beanie Babies (Oh, the 90's...)
As an adult, however, I've been trying my hardest to get rid of all of the excess "stuff" so my collections have dwindled to zero. Instead, I strayed away from the traditional collections and went with something I simply own a lot of-- makeup!
My decision to go with makeup was a good one considering the Main Assignment was to create a zippered pouch for the gift market. What a perfect theme for a fun makeup bag!
I had a blast playing around with the little icons I created above, arranging some into patterns, making florals out of lipgloss and nail polish. I added all sorts of things I wouldn't have thought to add before-- burlap, buttons, stitching, typography!
I truly believe I did my best work this week because instead of getting caught up on all of the requirements of the assignment, I simply made something that I would like to own and just had a lot of fun with it. Now, I think I want to order one of these to own in real life!
All in all, I can't rave enough about this course! I feel like I've learned a lot about what I like and don't like to do, which will be very helpful in guiding my future project choices.I feel like I've been challenged and stretched while still having the supportive, encouraging community of my classmates cheering me on as I go. I can't wait to see what's in store for Part B, which starts in October!