review :: lilla rogers' make art that sells

tammie bennett mushroom collection i never did a recap of lilla rogers' make art that sells class and i've realized i really should.  I've received many emails asking for feedback and i've developed some strong opinions about some of the feedback i've seen online.  so here you go.

it was the best online class i've ever taken.  the class hits on all the markets and topics in  lilla's book, but goes deeper into each market.  and you work on a mini assignment and a brief for each of those markets so you get a true taste of what your work should be like if you want it to sell.  (at least to the manufacturers and buyers that lilla deals with, which are the exact companies i want to work with.).

lilla and her class pushed me beyond what i ever thought i would be capable of.  i learned that just when i thought i had finished a piece, there was still another detail i could add or pump up.  just when i thought i wanted to submit my piece of the week and be done with it, i'd work just one more hour and make it even better. i saw so many other talented artists and their interpretations of the exact same brief and my whole world expanded a little bit.  i can't tell you how many times i wrote in my gratitude journal that i was thankful for this class.

i realized that although i've always wanted to illustrate  a children's book, i am so. far. away. from being ready.....and that's totally okay.  i'll get there.  because now i know what i need to focus on.  i realized that i might really like doing work in the wall art market. i also realized photoshop is my friend.  a really, really good friend.

i learned that even when i got an assignment that felt really uncomfortable, i could  push through and make something that i loved.  i taught myself photoshop (!!)  just to get the look i had in my head.  i drew more sketches in these 5 weeks than in the past year put together.  i learned that i really like having feedback and interaction with other artists, but at the same time, i need space to create my work without looking at others' work. i painted again for the first time in months....and was reminded how much i miss it.

i felt a really high energy throughout the class from lilla herself, from my classmates on facebook, and from the artist friends i got to know along the way.  i am so grateful for that feeling of community i felt during the class.

the piece above is what i did for the first week's assignment for bolt fabric.  i never wrote about that week somehow, but i learned so much.  i've been working on my patterns for months and i thought i would totally have bolt fabric in the bag.  lilla didn't pick my piece.  and i have to say i am so thankful for that.  i feel like i grew so much from that week's review because it made me see that i need to push through my walls of comfort and s-t-r-e-t-c-h for something better.  my recap of week 2 is here.  here is my week 3 recap.  recap of week 4 here.  and finally, my  week 5 recap.

now, i have to address the negative comments i've read online from people that took the course.  the first thing i have to say is i'm shocked.  i had nothing but positive experiences and emotions from the course and it's hard to see how people could be down about those 5 weeks.  many people are upset that they didn't get personal feedback on the work they submitted.  i never expected to get personal feedback because in the course description i read before signing up, it said only a handful of work would get critiqued each week.  we had about 500 people in the class, and i would say 15-30 pieces were critiqued by lilla each week.  (and sometimes people's work got chosen more than once.)  i thought lilla's feedback and the time she took to put it on video along with a matching PDF for note-taking was beyond helpful.  i was very pleasantly surprised that she reviewed so many pieces of art.  i was fortunate enough to have my work picked twice, and found her feedback helpful.

the other three  weeks where my work wasn't picked had reviews that were every bit as helpful.  i watched lilla's video review and followed along with my PDF in front of me and took copious notes on what she said in her critiques.  then i used those notes to look over my own work.  each time i saw what i was lacking, what worked, and what i needed to improve upon. i admit each week when the reviews came out, i held out a little hope that she had picked mine.  but then i got over myself and focused on what i was there to do. i paid all that money and made a commitment to myself to learn.  and what better way to learn than to listen to an international art agent whom i've admired for years give her opinion about lots of great art.

the other negative comments i've heard from other participants is that the wealth of talent of classmates made them discouraged.  the talent in the class was astounding, that's for sure.  but for me, it just pushed me to go deeper into my work and make things i really loved making.  so for me, the hugely talented class made me better as an artist.  i'm not going to waste my time tearing myself apart about not being as good as this artist or that one.  i'd rather spend that energy on pushing myself to do one more edit, to add one more icon, to add a little more detail to my piece.

lilla was very active on the Facebook group which is a lot more than i can say for many of the ecourses i've taken.  she was watching and looking over what people posted on our flickr group and facebook group page.  she really paid attention.  she gave us tough-love pep talks when we needed them.  she really wanted to make sure her class was working for us.

SO, should you take part B with me in october?

first, think about WHY you are doing the class.  are you signing up because you are expecting her to want to represent you?  are you expecting her to review your work?  if those are your two motivators, then maybe you shouldn't sign up. BUT  IF you are ready to  really, really focus and commit to giving 100% effort on the assignments each week, then my answer is a resounding YES!!  if you do that, you will grow SO much as an artist.  if you go in saying you are going to work your buns off and make the best art that you can in your own personal style, you are golden!  if you like the companies that lilla works with (think anthropologie, land of nod, chronicle books, paperchase, etc), then the information she gives about those markets will really be helpful to you. hope that helps and i hope i see you in class in october!

++ another great recap of lilla's class can be found on jenean's blog.

++  as i was about to post this, i noticed that lilla herself addressed many of the negative comments on the classroom's facebook page and i am so happy she did.  i agree with everything she said and i appreciate her addressing the issues brought up.  thank you lilla, for so many, many things.