Good golly Miss Molly, I haven’t posted in…ummm..well, a really long time. Why? Because I took yet another fabulous e-course called “Make Art That Sells”, from Lilla Rogers. Lilla is a well-known artist’s agent and put together a very inspiring, educational, exhausting, exhilarating, and fabulous 5 week intensive course that made me push myself to another level. Yay!

Now that I’ve recharged my batteries with a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with my family, I wanted to finally post about my experience. First of all, we had a terrific group of students for this session!!! There were about 200 or so in this group, from all over the world, at all different levels, each one bringing their own unique style. It was just as fun to see everyone’s project at the end of the week as it was to work on my own.

The first week was “Bolt Fabric”. This one was right up my alley!! The “kitchen and berry” theme pushed me out of my usual flower/leaf/abstract comfort zone!!

sketches by Mary Tanana © 2013I usually will sit for a day and brainstorm ideas for new collections. I LOVE to get time to draw like this!!! Good music is essential for this task.

"The Groovy Kitchen" by Mary Tanana © 2013The day before this project was due, I got the flu or some kind of weirdo virus. But I managed to finish this in the nick of time! I’m definitely going to revisit this and add a few more patterns for a new Modern Yardage fabric collection, where I license my fabric designs.

Week 2! Home decor. I was a bit nervous, but I totally blew myself away by my finished art! Huge breakthrough for me. Lilla even liked it! YAY!  I really learned a lot about my process during that week, and how long it actually takes me to create something like this. Umm, it takes a long time, and many baby steps….

"Eclectic Gypsyland" plate designs by Mary Tanana © 2013"Eclectic Gypsyland" plate design by Mary Tanana © 2013

I have to say…I was really nervous about Week 3, “Children’s Books”. I can draw all kinds of stuff, but I really have never tackled anything like this before! Again….this required tons of work to put together, but when done in small doses, it is not overwhelming. The story was a Russian Folk Tale, so I injected a whole lot of Eastern European and Russian style artwork and motifs into this one. I LOVE how it came out. I’ll definitely use some of these motifs for future projects!

Book cover by Mary Tanana © 2013

Week 4, Wall art. FUN!!! We were given two base colors to start out with, mine were blue and green (which I love!). I chose to do mine using the phrase “Age of Aquarius” and I gave the whole piece a 60’s vibe. I did this all digitally. The next time I do something like this, I think it would be fun to make some handmade textures and overlay some of those with digital art. I’m going to rework this one also!

"Age of Aquarius"  by Mary Tanana © 2013

Still in a 60’s kind of mood, I gave my final project, “Gift Item”, a dose of peace and love. Again, I’m going to rework this one as well and make the motifs more scattered about. But I love the overall look and feel of it.

These are my sketches for it…

sketches by Mary Tanana © 2013

 by Mary Tanana © 2013I learned just as much from Lilla’s Make Art That Sells course, as I did from the other extremely talented people that took it along with me. I consider myself a beginner in this whole art licensing business having switched careers a year ago from jewelry designer. The hardest thing for me? ‘Don’t compare your Beginnings to someone else’s Middle.’ So much patience of oneself is required! You have to put in the time to keep improving and discover more about your strengths and weaknesses and which market is for you. I’m still trying to figure this all out. I was beyond excited to be a part of Lilla’s weekly review twice!! In markets that I convinced myself that I would fail in!! Yup. These were huge breakthrough moments for me. I never felt badly about any of the work that I completed, or if I wasn’t included in the weekly review. Maybe it’s because I’m older, and I’ve toughened up to some of “life’s lessons”, so to speak. Not sure. I focused more on my own process and what I personally need to do to produce great art. What I do know is that I’ve made some terrific new friends from all over the globe that have opened my eyes up to all new techniques and ideas. Invaluable.

Let me know what you think about my art! I would love to hear from you.   …I can’t wait until Part 2 of this course starts next year!

Check out some of these other fabulous artists and designer’s blogs! and


Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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