Make Art That Sells Bootcamp: January Project – What’s In Her Bag?


Hello! I enrolled in the Make Art That Sells (or MATS) Bootcamp program run by Illustration agent Lilla Rogers and it is just as brilliant as everybody says. The standard is insanely high which absolutely works for me, I need to trigger my competitive edge to get good work done, if it’s too ‘beginner’ I get bored and that leads to abandonment. As well as amateurs – me! – there are established illustrators taking part in Bootcamp which is fantastic, I love seeing their work and hearing them talk about their process. Nothing fascinates me more than hearing about process and how artists make their creative decisions. So I thought I’d document the development of my illustration and what I would do differently next time.

The projects run for a month until May and start with a Mini assignment, which acts as a taster for the main assignment to come. January’s mini was drawing the contents of your bag, as my bag is an unholy mess of receipts, pens and one thousand lipsticks I took a few select items and painted them:

What would I change? I’d loosen up! I’ve been doing a lot of research on what I actually want my style to be, based on the stuff that I love. I have a huge collection of pins on Pinterest so have been sifting through and trying to figure this out. I love the loose quality of the glasses in the top pic and am less enamoured with the thin lines of the lower drawings of the phone, lip balm and lipstick. Too harsh.

The following week the second assignment is set, we were allocated a famous woman using our birth month, mine was Amy Poehler. I knew next to nothing about Amy Poehler as I’ve never actually got round to watching Parks and Rec. I was so tempted to just pick someone I knew and gravitated towards but no, the point is to use these assignments the same way as commissions and I’m sure people get asked to do loads of stuff that doesn’t float their boat. I stopped internally whining and got on with it.

I did some research, discovered that Amy Poehler KICKS ASS, decided on what objects I wanted to include and then did some sketches. Main aim? Keep it LOOSE! The way to do this I found was to use a brush pen, I can’t obsessively control the nib so that’s one step towards style goals.




Pencil sketch of Amy Poehler


Inked portrait of Amy Poehler
Brush Pen sketch of iPhone
Brush Pen sketch of Notebook and Smart Girls Badge



Brush Pen sketches of Golden Globe Award and Emmy Award


I scanned and brought all these sketches into Photoshop and started to get the composition sorted



Once this was sorted – and I then realised there were specific dimensions for the piece – I coloured it, added texture and this was the final piece!





I learnt loads doing this; how to add texture masks and drop shadows being one, and I also found lots of lovely new Cursive fonts via Creative Market. Nice!

Finally, I put it into a Mock-Up template to bring it to life….OMGGGG it’s so cool to see your work on a potential product. Look!!



Wow. I would never ever have come up with something like this for my portfolio had I not been assigned it via this course. Loving it!










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