Lilla Rogers’ Illustration Bootcamp


I have always been a huge fan of Lilla Rogers, her work, and the artists she represented. She is one of the top illustration agents, and her clients are any artists’ dream: Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Land of Nod, to name a few. I have reached out to her back in 2009, but my illustration work was not good enough to be considered by her for representation. I have just recently noticed she is holding e-courses called MATS (Make Art That Sells), and I have signed up for the boot camp class.

The boot camp class will go for a total of 6 months. Each month we will receive an assignment. The assignment is broken down into weeks. The first week we will receive the subject matter, the second week on the medium, the final week will be some extra tips, and finals will be due by the end of third week to be posted to a public gallery. We will create a total of 5 portfolio pieces at the end of the class. For the first assignment (February), we were asked to draw cuckoo clocks.

Originally I wanted to draw a cuckoo clock where my family of three will play in, sort of like the scenes in Mac Boutavant’s “Train Puzzle”. Then, I also wanted to explore the idea of a cuckoo clock in the form of a stylized Japanese temple.

The class encourages us to try new medium that we have never tried before, which is what I love about it. I have always drawn on the computer since I got out of school. There was just no time to explore or doodle! I was tired of the vivid colors and sharp edges of the vector style and I have longed for the organic nature of “handmade media”: water color, acrylic, color pencils, even just markers. I wanted to give watercolor a try.

After a few unsuccessful attempts of coloring something I have sketched out (they were so bad I can not show it here!), I decided to use one color only, and doodled directly with watercolor without sketching. I drew the roof, the window, the bird, the wall, the clock…etc. all as separate elements, and recomposed them together in Photoshop. It didn’t look too bad at all!


On the second week, we found out that our assignment is to apply the cuckoo clock theme to a cellphone cover. Lilla has provided us with inspiration, reference imagery, mood board, tips, and color palette that I can not share here. I ended up not using my original pencil sketches, but my watercolor doodles that I grew to love. I just had so much fun doodling more related elements and putting them together! This is what I submitted:


Below is another design variation I have created. I didn’t think too much of it at the moment, but now looking back, I wish I submitted this one instead! I like how the darker background and the heart shape united the design. (Update: I did email the class and they let me resubmit this one instead.)


Actually I think this piece works better as a stand alone art print. I thought my blue cuckoo bird ended up looking like a girl in a tower, waiting to be rescued. An earlier version had a quote from Romeo and Juliet: “Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow.”


What do you think? Will you buy this as your cellphone cover, or an art print? What would you advise me to change? I will post again when the gallery goes live next week!

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