MATS Bootcamp: Journal Cover and Homeware

Like last year I’m taking the Make Art That Sells Assignment Bootcamp course right now. It runs until May and each month we receive an assignment from Lilla Rogers. This time of year can often feel a bit slow for me in terms of making work and finding inspiration and motivation, so having some structure to work with can really help.

Our first assignment in February was to design a floral journal cover. We were each assigned different flowers to include in the design and mine was Lily of the Valley. The image below is my final design and I decided that I would place that design across the spine of the journal to make it more dynamic and interesting.

I made some other floral arrangements based on the same design and they’re now for sale as a greeting card and postcard set in my Etsy shop.

In March we were given a very unusual assignment, which was to design a set of salt and pepper shakers. The brief was very open and we were able to take it in any direction we chose. I usually do better with more structure than that but I worked through some ideas and decided to keep things fairly simple with these bunny shakers. I imagine they’re be made from ceramic but I could also picture them in wood.

I toyed with the idea of designing them as wooden salt and pepper mills rather than shakers but the idea of twisting the bunnies’ heads, potentially leaving them the wrong way around seemed almost gruesome!

I’m now waiting (im)patiently for April’s assignment and I’m also giving some thought to joining in with the 100 Day Project again this year. It starts on 2nd April (2 days’ time) and I’m still not sure what my project is going to be. Any suggestions?

MATS Bootcamp: Sewing Storage

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For April’s MATS Bootcamp assignment we were asked to design organisational trays/cups on the theme of sewing accessories, or sewing notions. I tried a few different ways of drawing and colouring my ideas and eventually decided on these designs for a tray, some trinket dishes and 3 different storage cups.

For the design of the trays and cups I was inspired by a few things I’d spotted on Pinterest and also in online shops like Anthropologie. With the drawings I decided to stick with simple line drawings in ink which I coloured digitally.

Making patterns is one of my favourite ways to play around with my drawings so I also created 2 repeat patterns using the same images – one using all the drawings I’d made and another that used just the buttons.

This was probably my favourite assignment so far in Bootcamp because the work I made felt very ‘me’. I felt like I was learning new things but at the same time using a style that is familiar and comfortable. We have one more month to go and I’m curious to see what that assignment will be, but in the meantime we have an extra week before that work starts so I’m enjoying a little break and resting as much as possible.

MATS Bootcamp: Sylvia Pankhurst

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In March our MATS Bootcamp assignment was to create a portrait of a Suffragette and my Suffragette was Sylvia Pankhurst. I’d never heard of her before but she was one of Emmeline Pankhurst’s daughters.

Sylvia was born in Manchester but spent a lot of time working in east London, championing the working class, who she saw as instrumental in bringing about real change in terms of voting rights. This was one of the things created tension between her and her mother, and her older sister Christabel. Eventually Sylvia became estranged from her family after having a child outside of marriage.

In the 1950s she moved to Ethiopia after becoming friends with Haile Selassie, and she is buried in Addis Ababa.

MATS Bootcamp: Journal Cover

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In February our MATS Bootcamp assignment was to design a cover for a journal on the theme of reading tea leaves.

I didn’t know anything about tea leaf reading so I did a bit of research and decided to illustrate some of the symbols that are often looked for when reading someone’s tea leaves. I also hand lettered a quotation about tea from Arthur Wing Pinero.

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Since I love making patterns I also used the images I drew to create a new pattern. I couldn’t decide whether I like the dark blue or the pale background so I ended up with one of each.

MATS Bootcamp: Book Cover

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Until the end of May I’m taking part in the MATS Bootcamp run by illustration agent, Lilla Rogers. I really enjoy learning new things and feel that there’s always room for my work to develop. We’re given a new assignment to work on each month, which starts with a ‘mini’ warm-up assignment before the main assignment comes out. In January we started by drawing the contents of our bags.

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The main assignment was to create a cover for a children’s book, showing what we imagined a particular well-known person/character might carry with them. There were 12 different people (fictional and real life) assigned to the group and I had the task of illustrating what I imagined Lilla Rogers (the agent running the class) might carry in her bag.

It was a challenge and it was also interesting to see so many different styles and approaches to the same assignment. The gallery of our work is now public so you can have a look at the full range of work on the MATS website.