MATS part B Week 5- Party Paper

I just couldn't believe I had almost finished my MATS course. I was starting to feel pretty sad but kind excited too as I have so so many plans for where i want to go from here.

Again party paper is something I have little experience with but took up the challenge with much joy. The mini was to explore Bavarian or Ukrainian folk art. So much to choose from, eggs, textiles, costumes, lace , the reference could go on and on.

During my research I realised that May Day was coming up. When I was about 8 or 9 I took part in a May Day country dancing competition with schools around the Standon area. I remember it fondly as my parents and grandparents braved the rain to sit on hay bales to watch me dance. I had found my joy - I was going to use this as my central theme.

Later on in the week Lilla posted on our Facebook group to say with party paper its important not to repeat elements. Making pattern or exploring pattern doesn't come naturally to me at the moment but for some reason this weeks theme did not leave me in a cold sweat. I came to think of it as decoration around the plate or napkin. AND a first for me I created a ditsy pattern for the paper cup. Also I managed to put together the mock ups with the help of other members from the FB group who were so generous with their time.


MATS part B Week 4 - Editorial

So we arrived at just over the half way mark. There was an inkling that it would be maps, although some of us rather dreaded it. The mini this week was to create hand lettering using the name of your home town. Thankfully I live in a small semi rural town with s short name Ware- yes it really is called that. I wanted to convey how OLD my lil town is from its Roman, Saxon, Medieval and Tudor roots.

When the brief came through the first thing I did was go out and take some snaps around town. For such a small town it has a lot of old buildings. In part from the days when Ware was a main stop off point for a change of coach and horses going north to Cambridge or further along the old Roman road Ermine Street to York.

There was so much I wanted to include as I really do love history ( I have an A-level in C15th -C16th European history). But there was still the River Lea which is also another important part of the growth of this town. These days it doesn't carry cargo or malt but is used for more leisure activities and I have spent many a day walking along it trying to get my babies to sleep!

Realistically I bit off more than I could chew - something Lilla had cautioned against. I finally uploaded my Ware map with seconds to spare for the deadline - I do not wish to relive that last minute. Overall I was really pleased with the outcome, I feel it gives a good impression of the highlights of Ware ( rather that the industrial sized pharmaceutical plant that employes half the town)

MATS part B Week 3 - Scrapbooking

I didn't realise so much time had passed since my last post and I've only come round to writing about the next week of the MATS whirlwind.

I have only a vague understanding of scrapbooking, its not really that big here in the UK. I felt I did a lot of research into this market as I was rather lost in this market. I understand that its really recording special events or occasions in a pretty way so that it can be kept for future reference. To begin with we are asked to draw vintage ink pots, and other related items. Thankfully there is actually a website choc full of these little antique items.

There were some technical issues which meant the assignment was posted very late in the day, which meant I had literally 30 hours to complete that weeks assignment before Easter break. I worked my butt off, first starting with THE colour palette -inspired by my FB friends. I chose one from Design Seeds - I love this website and started a Pinterest board just for colour chips for future projects. Its certainly the way forward to me - palette as I was discovering is key.

Luckily I was able to pull everything together as I had played some more with the mini waiting for the delayed assignment. Also a major player in scrapbooking is sentimental words - however in my case I leaned towards inspirational words. Then it was a matter of jigsaw-ing the different icons together. Phew I uploaded in super fast time and was able to enjoy my Easter weekend .

Baby Apparel WEEK 2 Make Art That Sells

From the slight wobble I had in month 1 of Bootcamp when we were asked to design bolt fabric I decided to go easy on myself and ignore the word 'pattern'. Lilla has stated over and over again that a technical repeat is not necessary these days. With that in mind I just enjoyed the mini for this week. We were asked to draw anything associated with pirates. There was a very lengthy debate about the skull and crossbones motif, whether it was appropriate.

Another aha moment between part A and B is my realisation that the linework or playing around during the mini can and should be incorporated into the finished art. OK that sounds pretty obvious but back in October it was clear as mud to me since I didn't know what the heck was going on. This would make working on the actual assignment so much easier than my experience had been last year! I also could resist paying with some butterfly fish as they are my favourites, despite not being kitted out with eyepatches.


I was very pleased with what i was able to achieve this week and had so much fun with experimenting with character. I was able to learn from Lilla's review that perhaps I had too many secondary colours and not enough neutrals - thats been my downfall in the past. And also creating a super cute character is very much a art form that requires a bit more practice on my part. I'm thinking perhaps the mouths maybe less weird with a suggestive line. Finally I'd like to rework my co-ordinates to give better 'value' so to speak where I bring in unused icons.

Paper Week - MATS part B

So with anticipation, excitement and a little bit of nervousness, part B of Make Art That Sells finally came round. I felt more prepared mentally and physically this time round, as I knew what to expect, so stocked my freezer accordingly.

Monday's mini was to draw gingerbread houses. Keeping in mind what makes these houses so distinctive - starting with candy or gum drops dotted around or totally covering the roof in some cases. I always enjoy this first day and got friendly with Pinterest. There was so much to explore and I became fascinated with some of the folksy type icing thats found on gingerbread houses and cookies that are sometimes used as decorations.

There were huge hints before the assignment brief that I would be based on a winter holiday theme. I already knew wanted to create a winter landscape, but hesitated to begin with because the house would not be the main attraction. Since doing several Skillshare courses I've gained much confidence with exploring character work - and I felt this would be a great opportunity to apply what I've learnt. What happened afterwards was a sheer labour of love. My PS file just grew and grew as I added clipping masks upon layers, upon layers, of textures. My greatest hurdle was making all the different elements pop by making sure there was enough contrast. 

I was so very pleased with the end results.  Also in week one of MATS A I was a dreadful mess and felt overwhelmed with the weight of expectation I placed on myself. This time I was a lot easier on myself and understood the power of a deadline and timekeeping. See I'm still learning - learning is good.

JELLYtastic - MARCH Bootcamp

This months assignment started with a mini project to draw jelly moulds, and any associated desserts, and kitcheny stuff ( if we wanted) I left it quite late to start because of greetings cards commitments but had a blast researching the weird and wonderful world of gelatine based foods on Pinterest. I used my trusted brush pen to explore all kinds of translucent beauties.

jelly low OMW

I did have to fight back a small wave of panic when it was revealed the brief was for bolt fabric. I tried to concentrate on Lilla's slogan that 'people buy your joy' and pushed ahead with trying to capture the jelly colours. My 4 year old decided I needed help and joined me in some painterly textures. I was able to use a clipping mask to achieve a really great effect. I'm pretty new to Photoshop so I did find layers & changing hues etc all very frustrating at times.

Week 3 of the course Lilla surprised us with a 'Nougat' colour palette of dusky pinks & neutrals. And a little exercise to create 50 Shades of Taupe !! I've got to be honest this just threw me off course. I just could not see a way through with my icons the way they were - I abandoned them for a few days. I decided on a different path, stick to the basics and enjoy the process rather than getting caught up in making a technical repeat. I was also determined to use some of the new palette and let go of the need for super brights.

Jellytastic OMW

This only the second time I've ever designed for bolt fabric so I'm pretty proud of myself. I'd like to make it into a repeat and mock them up on an apron -just to see if I'd actually wear it! This was a very challenging assignment but I did keep going back to 'finding my joy' core and working from there as its a good place for a flow of ideas. And just keeping the faith that a solution will present itself.

We have a weeks grace before I join MATS B. I have filled up my freezer and plan a mass laundry-thon based on what caused the most domestic headaches last time. I'm learning all the time from the many challenges that MATS and motherhood present.


This is my first proper post in the blog as part of my FIRST EVER website.

The last 3 weeks have just zoomed by. I almost forgot I had signed up to Lilla's Bootcamp many moons ago - but then the excitement started creeping up as the FB group was revealed. So many of my MATS mates were taking part it, like the start of a new term. And so many other wonderful people were taking part. I have to say I was in awe at some of the talent.

Lilla revealed on the first Monday were were to take a detailed look at cuckoo clocks. From the lil bird inside, decoration, clock face and basically anything decorative or of interest to us. Unlike MATS when there was 7 days to complete an assignment we had 21 days so I thought there would be less pressure......uummmm in a way.

I would say the same emotions I felt, sometimes lack of direction, sometimes terror as I posted on FB were still present. But it was all s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d out over the 3 weeks which was great as I now had a pile of other exciting work to content with. In week 2 Lilla revealed the brief was to design a phone case using the images from our first week's mini.

I liked the mock Tudor vibe that appeared on some of the clocks and found myself looking at informal grids and triangle arrangements - especially roofs ( getting geeky I know) Lilla surprised us in week 3 with a super 'on trend' colour palette that I found very close to one I had chosen already ( yey getting better with colour) I combined this with a new found technique ( for me anyhow) for importing line work from Illustrator to Photoshop then adding texture.

I was SO pleased with what I had achieved that I breath a sigh of relief. However as the week wore on and more and more folks were posting their designs I REALLY started to doubt that what I'd done was enough. Sure I had done what I wanted, and it wasn't a literally representation of a clock- more of a dissected version. I even sketched up a alternative and asked the FB group. It was half and half, some said do this new version others told me to listen to my gut. Well my intuative gut won the day - the design stayed as it was.