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MATS Week 3: Children’s Books

Let’s get real…this was the one thing I really wanted to learn more about when I sought out this class. I have always imagined Lola (my chihuahua) in her own storybooks for kids. I wanted to learn more about how this industry worked and get ideas. And, I’d say that out of the five weeks of this first part of Make Art That Sells this is my favorite. I love how pictures tell stories. I love the idea of illustrating because it’s all about being imaginative and whimsical.

I’ve been back to work now for about a month and a half. After being self-employed for years it’s been hard on me to make this transition. I get really excited at the beginning of the week to find out about the topic. But, as the week pushes on my energy level depletes. Then, come time for my day off on Friday and the weekend I feel so emotional. Like I am pulling at all ends to figure out the direction I want to go with my project, but mostly how I’ll meet the deadline.

I really wish I could get that out of my head. I do better with deadlines. People say to just focus on the art and have fun. Its been suggested to just go back later and finish things. Of course, I know myself. I would never do that. I would tell myself I’d go back to work on something but I won’t. If I don’t do the assignment within the allotted time it just won’t get done. I am almost 41 years old and I still haven’t managed to master time management very well. Shocker!

Our mini assignment was to draw foxes one day and then hand lettering of a book title the next. I started drawing foxes. They had a “sweet” appearance to them.


I never did sketch the title. Work was a little crazy busy since my boss was going on vacation and we had booked up the schedule before he was to leave. To say I was exhausted each night was an understatement.

But then we got the assignment. We were to draw a book cover based on the Aesop’s Fable: The Fox and the Crow. Upon reading the fable I realized I might have a hard time making my sweet foxes look “sly” as projected in the fable.


I started playing with the word art. I took a Skillshare Class from Mary Kate McDevitt that helped me understand hand lettering and how to scan it in. I wasn’t sure how I wanted to really place my words so I just worked on the two main words and then went from there.

This was my first take:

The Fox and the Crow Art Book Cover by Holly McCaig

Yes, it’s cute (no this isn’t a completed version), but it feels too childish for the fable to me. If you read it it sorta feels like a bigger age group might respond better. So, I changed it the next day to something different. I got home from the gym on Saturday and roughly sketched out my idea:


So I cranked away and did a little more hand lettering for the title and by lines.

Make Art That Sells Children

I’m fairly happy with it. I thought about adding texture to all of the layers, but I don’t believe I would have had enough time. Plus, I’m still not super confident on that. I drew this entirely in Adobe Illustrator – vectorizing some hand drawings on paper. Even though I have been stressing during this course to complete my projects this is the one week that I’ve been the most happy with my final project. I think I’ll work on illustrating a few of the inside pages to include in my portfolio.



Thank you for reading my blog. Please note that my work posted is copyright protected by me. If you would like to feature my work on your website, please contact me.

MATS Week 2: Home Decor

This week was tough for me. I started out not feeling very well. All I wanted to do was sleep. My allergies were flaring up and I wanted to claw my eyeballs. Ahh, spring. However, not feeling well wasn’t all that bad because when I saw that our mini assignment for Make Art That Sells Week 2 was to draw succulents I was excited. That was until I started drawing them.

I felt like everything I was drawing was too literal and boring. I kept at it though and I found I was drawn (ha no pun there) to seeing the succulents in containers. After all, isn’t that how most people plant them, in jars and cups and things? Here are my sketches.


As with last week, I discovered I really truly enjoy drawing icons. It’s the placement on patterns and objects that I struggle with. But, this class gives us the opportunity to practice. I need lots more practice. I look at how others envision their space and placement of icons, and I’m blown away. Self-doubt will kill me, but press forward!

I brought my ideas into Illustrator, as I typically do. I love the flat icon/graphic design style. It really is me. I think that next week I’ll work on adding some texture to them though. I also have not truly mastered how to scan in and create vector options of my drawings so I just rough them out and then use the pen tool and other shapes in Illustrator to draw over my sketches.


I began working on an all over pattern first. Once I did that I created two simple plates to coordinate. I wasn’t connecting with this assignment. I think that the circle of the plate was throwing me off. So, as my mom said, “just finish it and be done. Don’t think about it anymore.”


After I decided to play with the colors a bit and I asked for some feedback from friends. The majority felt the middle color story was best.



And, here is the final that I presented for potential review. Lilla Rogers picks some of the submissions and reviews them for us the following week. It’s a crap shoot if yours is chosen, but I’d really love to hear her take on my style. I look at these and I like them, I just know that I could do so much more to make them better.


Thank you for reading my blog. Please note that my work posted is copyright protected by me. If you would like to feature my work on your website, please contact me.
Ronda HarterApril 22, 2014 - 4:44 pm


MATS Week 1: Bolt Fabric Design

Here is my week 1 review of the Make Art that Sells course by Lilla Rogers Studio.

One of the things that I discovered this week is that I truly am drawn to clean open spaces when it comes to design. I thoroughly enjoy drawing icons, but the placement of them in a pattern is definitely difficult for me. I see the creativity in many pattern designers and am in awe at their ability to do this. I know that it’s okay because my style is evolving, and maybe my style truly is that clean and open feel.

The fact that I work four days a week and am unable to really start on anything until the weekend is a tough hurdle. This week, I followed through with making sure I completed the mini assignments which were to draw fruit and pyrex dishes. So, Monday I drew the fruit and Tuesday I drew the pyrex dishes. I didn’t take it any further than just simply sketching them out with pencil in my sketch book. Very raw, trying to see what came out of me naturally.


Our main assignment was to create a bolt fabric collection based on what we had done in our mini assignment with the theme of vintage kitchen. Friday I’m off work, but still have my own business to run. The day was spent at the gym, paying bills, following through with some client projects and then managing Two Pear Designs. I didn’t even bother with starting the final project until Saturday. That left me with less than two days to complete it if I wanted to submit before the deadline and have Lilla review it. I never got dressed yesterday. I sat at my computer and plugged away until nearly 6 p.m. before I ate dinner and called it a night.

I told myself I would sleep on what I had. Ideally it would have been nice to complete my icons in Illustrator one day, play with patterns the next, and finally use Saturday to fine tune until I was happy. But, being that I’m a procrastinator by nature I’m wondering to myself if I would have done that. I was in bed by 9:30 p.m. Saturday and woke up second-guessing what I had finished. Luckily I had a few hours on Sunday to see what else I could do.

What I learned from this assignment is that I still need a lot of hours of study when it comes to patterns. My dreams would be complete if I could just draw icons and hand them off to someone who has the talent to do the rest. I am very tough on myself. I want to do my best for me. I need to be okay with staying true to myself and what my style is. Our world is filled with millions of creative people. Not every company is going to be pulled to each style. I need to enjoy the journey I’m on and continue to see where it takes me!

My final submission:

Make Art That Sells Bolt Fabric by Holly McCaig

And, for fun, I turned a few of my icons I designed into a clipart sell that you can buy at Etsy or Creative Market.


Thank you for reading my blog. Please note that my work posted is copyright protected by me. If you would like to feature my work on your website, please contact me.

Make Art That Sells

classes-makeartthatsells-logoEarlier in the year I signed up to take Lilla Rogers’ e-course, Make Art That Sells. I had been following her work for a few months as well as a few other artists that have been taking it. It intrigued me. I purchased Lilla’s book last fall and thought it was important to invest in my career a little more.

I had heard from many artists that this course taught them about other specialties of the industry that they didn’t know they would fall in love with. Of course, I knew that I’d be signing up in January and would have to wait until April to start. Well, March 31st to be exact. Little did I know then that I’d be working full time again and trying to juggle that while continuing to run Two Pear Designs.

I’ve been intimidated by how I am going to handle doing everything I am currently doing along with completing my weekly assignments. This part lasts five weeks. Another part will be in the fall for another five weeks). Then, I started seeing all of the beautiful websites from other participants in our closed Facebook Group and I started to feel even more intimidated. The beautiful imaginations these people have…I am in some amazing company here!

So, tomorrow starts week 1: Bolt Fabric Design. Throughout the course we’ll learn about the different industries that also include: Home Decor, Children’s Picture Books, Wall Art and the Gift Market. I wanted to learn more about the Children’s Picture Books for sure, but I’m even more intrigued now about the Bolt Fabric Design. My impression is that participants come out of the course with a nice portfolio and a love for the process.

Lilla Rogers is an illustration agent that runs her agency representing artists all over the world. I’ve seen her artists create and license to Land of Nod, IKEA, Pier One, Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, Target, Papyrus, Macy’s, American Girl, Nickelodeon, Disney, and many others. What a great reputation, right?

I hope to share each week what I complete for the assignments – if I can keep up – as they are do each Sunday. Maybe at the end I’ll be able to finally update my website to have a real portfolio for everyone to see.

Thank you for reading my blog. Please note that my work posted is copyright protected by me. If you would like to feature my work on your website, please contact me.

It’s Only Been a Month

Wow, where have I been? Talk about a lot of changes in a few weeks time. I never intended to not keep the blog going. It just happens some times.

I do really appreciate all of the sweet comments that were left for me on my last blog post about my sister. It’s always a hard time for our family. No matter how many years pass you never are the same. As I said before it will always be my goal to share the story in hopes that someone else can avoid a similar situation.

Here are a few updates from me!

I am no longer selling my templates for photographers at Millers Professional Imaging. The company had a big update on contracts that I didn’t feel aligned with. I have started adding most of those templates to my Creative Market and Etsy stores. While I tend to sell my clip art better at those two sites, I wanted to see how templates did at them before determining to add them back to my Two Pear Designs store. It’s slow going in those aspects, so I may bring them over to Two Pear Designs in April. However, I just wanted to keep you updated if you didn’t see my templates where you used to! One of my favorites is my referral cards for photographers.

Photographer Referral Card Templates with Gift Card

I started a job! I have noticed a lot of changes in the photographer template realm with regards to social media views declining and an increase in designer stores popping up that have been introducing designs at much lower prices. I’m conflicted with this because I do believe it undervalues designers. We see photographers consistently talking about how important it is to value their work and not be cheap, but photographers tend to gravitate to free or cheap designs. Since I have been designing templates for photographers beginning in 2007, I’ve learned to adapt and adjust. But, I am not doing this as a second income or have support of anyone else. I’m single, and raising three dogs, ya’ll! It was great timing because I was starting to look for a part time job when my sports chiropractor, Dr. Fitzmaurice at ProSports Integrative Therapy was losing his assistant. We talked, it worked out, and now I’m working for him Monday through Thursday full time. I love it so much! It’s nice having some consistent scheduling as well as a paycheck to count on. Meanwhile, I’m adapting to the change and trying to create a new schedule as I continue to design for photographers, create clip art and illustrations, and do side projects that include some photography and graphic design. If you are in the St. Louis area looking for a doctor (who works with elite athletes) and want a mix of doctors that do chiropractic work, myofascial release and so much more, get in touch with me!

So I may be a bit slow with communication and creating new designs, but I’m still here, and I’m still working hard! Carrie Bombria and I are now on our own at Two Pear Designs. We’ve been streamlining things and are coming up with new ideas to make Two Pear Designs better and more what you need. Keep following us on Facebook and Google+ as well as Instagram as we are enlisting some social media assistance from some talented photographers!

And, finally, you can continue to follow me on Facebook, but I’ve created a Google+ account for my personal business where you can be sure to always see what I post! No more letting things slip by on Facebook! This will take some getting to used to but I promise to share there what I post to my Facebook page.

Can’t wait to create for you!

Thank you for reading my blog. Please note that my work posted is copyright protected by me. If you would like to feature my work on your website, please contact me.