Why I am loving the #makeartthatsells course and Week 3 with @LillaRogers

This weeks topic on the Make Art That Sells course by Lilla Rogers was children's books. I felt calm about this as I've done some in the past - some that I like a lot more than others it has to be said.

There were a small amount of must-dos but after reading the text we were encouraged to create in any medium with any mood we felt was appropriate for us. I love to paint so that's the way I chose to do my work this week, in acrylic on water-colour paper. The subject was a strange thought-provoking fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen.

[caption id="attachment_1766" align="aligncenter" width="560"]© Gabriella Buckingham June 2013 © Gabriella Buckingham June 2013[/caption]

I hand drew the text with a dip pen.  I struggled with how to place it but I was pleased with my handwriting at the bottom. I went to a convent school for 11 years and we had to write in Italic so I know a bit about letter formation - but not a lot. Outlining elements with a fine brush was a new departure for me so I definitely feel that I have pushed my style on from where it used to be - hooray! I thoroughly enjoyed this.

[caption id="attachment_1768" align="aligncenter" width="560"]© Gabriella Buckingham © Gabriella Buckingham[/caption]

I can't lay my hands on my initial snail character sketches, I seem to have deleted them from the computer, but here are the scribbles of the final character above.

For the main composition I did some ink thumbnails in my sketch book; when I have a clear enough idea I just want to get on with painting so I do really quite scribbly drawings - the exploration when actually painting is what interests me most. If I've drawn it all out accurately first I tend to feel like I've already done it.

I did have cream as a background in mind but the colouring of the rest of the piece evolves as I paint. People who know me know I am not a great forward planner - more a gut feeling, wing it person - hard-working though. And in this case obsessive. My family haven't seen me a lot lately - I'm always around like a mad professor in the shed or passing through with a pot of water and brushes or dashing for the garden to tweak something before photographing it again.  I tweaked a fair bit. This painting is A2 ( just under) and the original has this girl character in it:

[caption id="attachment_1767" align="aligncenter" width="237"]© Gabriella Buckingham June 2013 © Gabriella Buckingham June 2013[/caption]

I painted her quite small and monotone initially - the idea being that she's a memory that the rose-tree has, then added to her as I enjoyed how she looked so much.

When I posted my first version to the MATS Facebook group some of the other artists kindly pointed out that she was distracting - detracting from the two main characters. They were quite right. I couldn't quite bear to paint her out so I used the wonders of the clone tool on Photoshop, trial and error to achieve the result above and it does work better.

I love the Facebook community for this course; understandably Lilla can't comment on people's work directly as the class is so huge - apart from a selected few once a week after the deadline. It would be thrilling to be selected by Lilla for comment but I haven't been as yet. Of course you feel a bit disappointed but that in itself teaches you self reliance, it's a lesson to me not to look for others approval constantly. You have to love your own work - or at least the work that makes it into print.

The feedback we get from other course members is wonderful, I feel as though I've made new friends with a lot in common.

Essentially this course is making me think. It makes me appreciate the gifts I have and that it's up to me to progress, be selective and believe in myself.

Lilla is an inspiring teacher and I really like the way she suggests we approach each task. If I do what she says - pretty much - I get there in the end.

Hope you enjoyed looking this week.


  1. I love this! You are a gifted artist and I am very jealous of you. But in a good way I have to add. It is great that you do a course like this to grow your talent, but also learn as a person.
    BTW I noticed that Dutch artist Eline Pellinkhof is doing this course. She is very gifted as well.

  2. Hi Marianne - thank you so much. Yes I have noticed Eline - infact commented on her work yesterday! I'd heard of her. Am in high company I tell you!! There are some true talents in the group - a lot of them :)
    Is your bathroom all done now? I am sure it must be. What are you working on? x Gabs

  3. Yes, our bathroom is all done. I can't tell you how happy I am with it. In two weeks we will have some work done on the electricity in our house. The house is from 1957 and some things are really old.

  4. […] what some of my classmates have to say about this week’s assignment, you can read their blogs here, here, and […]

  5. Wow Gabs, your drawing is amazing. You are so talented. Sounds like a great course, looking forward to seeing what you do next. x

  6. Fascinating and very lovely. I'm glad you're growing in confidence - your work is super. x

  7. […] Why I am loving the #makeartthatsells course and Week 3 with @LillaRogers by Gabriella Buckingham […]


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