Lilla Rogers' MATS Part A Week 1: Tropical Vintage Kitchen Bolt Fabric

It’s Monday morning and last night was the end of my first Week in one of the worlds best illustration agents, Lilla Roger’s class: Make Art that Sells, or MATS for short. It’s been a full on, informative, creative, motivating, non stop journey but boy am I glad I signed up! The first week of the course focussed on the Bolt Fabric market. Through out the week I gained a insight into the market and what potential buyers are looking for. I was set the task of illustrating tropical fruit and vintage casserole dishes and any other vintage kitchen items I saw fit!

Since I’m about to embark on this week’s work: Focusing on Home Decor, I thought I should note down exactly how I got through the week, if only to remember what I did and in what order. I must admit some time was wasted by me wondering “what should i do now?” and “where do I start” but now that I’ve done the first week and have ended up with a piece of work that I’m happy to put my name on (even though I still want to tweak it here and there), I feel confident and energised to crack on and step it up a gear this week.

  1. I started by sketching and observing and more sketching, more looking, more sketching and more sketching - lots of fun! 
  2. Looked at layouts and styles to analyse them and see what I liked what worked, what spoke to me and what I related to
  3. Looked at some of my work to see if any key traits to me
  4. Scanned in and vectorised all sketches (including the dodgy ones!)
  5. Sketched out ideas for the layout
  6. Found colour inspiration
  7. Created colour palettes
  8. Got rid of losers - icons and motifs that just weren't working
  9. Arranged icons in groups and in layers e.g. casserole dishes, flowers, decoratives, fruits...
  10. Started to layout icons on an art board (duplicating so keeping the original)
  11. Played with scale and orientation
  12. Started to add colour to icons and created diff colour ways of icons and different outline/fill versions
  13. Tweaked colour palette slightly, adding an additional colour
  14. Kept taking screen shots and saving copies at various stages
  15. Started a new art board below using my absolute faves

Note to self: if something isn’t working, take it out or replace it. Love every single icon in your piece!

I picked out some distinctive motifs that I thought would work well for a coordinate and using the pattern tool, created a repeat block pattern. I selected another colour from my palette for the background.

I had lots of icons left over which is no bad thing. I've started a resources folder which includes textures and background images I've taken myself or created as part of other projects but haven't used. Everything is organised in categories so I can easily find select from them in the future - waste not, want not!

When I started pulling the main pattern together,  I was trying to create a "full print" but as I began working on arranging my icons, I ended up creating almost rows of motifs. To link every thing together and make the piece flow nicely I added the indication of vines running up and between motifs.

I would like to go back to one of the previous points in my design (screen shot) and finish another version in a full print as I think it will lend itself better to more final products.

I also thought about adding a white boarded or shifted “shadow” behind each of the main motifs to bring them to the foreground. If I get time I will go back and see how this works out. I learned a way to set each of my objects in Illustrator to a new photoshop layer. This will be the best way to do this so I can open the print on PS and easily add the additional white shapes. Although Illustrator is create for creating my patterns, I’ll be able to manage the shapes and layers more efficiently in Photoshop at this point.