MATS Bootcamp 2020 with Lilla Rogers

I've been wanting to take this amazing little course through Make Art That Sells for a few years now and decided that 2020 was the year and signed up for class as an early Christmas present to myself. I was promised 4 months of on trend creative briefs that would push my creativity and expand my portfolio. And as I expected, Lilla did not dissappoint.

MARCH ASSIGNMENT Beginning in early March 2020, Bootcamp kicked off with a playful assignment exploring abstract and non-representational art. Something I hadn't really delaved into since high school art class. We started off with a mini assignment with a fun exercise creating colour palettes based on Lillas hot picks for 2020 and built up a library of motifs and marks that we could use for our final assignment.

My final colour palette called Salted Caramel Carnival

For the final assignment we were asked to make an abstract piece of wall art. With my love for block colours and graphic style I decided to take a trip down memory lane and revisit one of my favourite art movements that I studied at high school - cubism. It was the perfect inspiration for my final piece and I think it would make for a toally gorgeous piece of wall art or even fabric for that matter!

I was so happy with this piece that I submitted it to Uppercase magazine and whoop whoop it was the feature banner for their All About You newsletter at the end of March.


Lillas April brief kept us scratching our heads right up until the final assignment was announced. Our mini started off with drawing a selection of letters in as many different ways as we could imagine, followed by illustrating people, street scenes and architecture from 1960's New York. As a kiwi I was totally new to drawing anthing New York related, but I soon found my groove and really enjoyed sketching and drawing the people, cars and buildings I discovered during my research.

For the final assignmnet we were asked to make a poster for the new 2020 release of West Side Story on Broadway. To be honest I'd never seen West Side Story up until that point and while I have to say it wasn't really my jam, I did really enjoy working on the poster. We were given a lot space to interpret the 2020 production in whatever way we saw fit; modern and minimal or a reflection of the1957 original etc. I was really drawn to the racial diversity of the 2020 version and wanted to push my skills in drawing a wider variety of ethnicity, so I decided to make that my focus for my poster.


After the intense April assignment Lilla decided to give us a super playful month based around Paisley motifs. Now paisleys are probably my least favourite motif, but I was surprised at how much fun I had researching them and then inventing my own versions.

For the final assignment we were asked to design artwork for a puzzle inspired by the paisley motifs we'd created. Again Lilla was pretty open with how we interpreted this and I decided to go for a weird and wonderful pattern piece that showed off my love for line work. However I decided to change from my usual rainbow and keep to a more minimal colour palette, to really let the line work stand out.


This was definitely the most challenging assignment for me over the course of bootcamp. Our mini was broken into two parts; first we were asked to draw our own versions of 3 different people, which was super fun for me. I'd recently rediscovered a love for drawing faces in a previous MATS class by Lilla rogers, so this was right up my alley.

The second part of the mini Lilla gave us a page of random collected items to illustrate in any way we saw fit. This items included things like vintage jewellery, postcards, lollies, match boxes and a tobasco sauce bottle etc. A lot of my work is done digitally using the iPad, but I've been wanting to improve my analogue skills, so I decided to create a few pieces with gouache paint. The match box was definitely my favourite.

For the final assignment we were asked to create a graphic novel page based on the items and people that we had been drawing for the mini. Come what now? You want me to make up a story and then illustrate it? Um I specialise in surface patterns and flowers Lilla, this is going to be crazy hard for me! And it was.

Luckily my weird little love story came together pretty quickly and I was able to rough out my story boards in about a day, giving me plenty of time (6 days) to complete the final page. In hindsight the most challenging part of this assignment was illustrating the scenery, so I probably should have gone for a few less panels. But I completed the assignment on time and was really proud of what I had created.

As a whole I really enjoyed doing Bootcamp and I'll probably sign up for it again next year, even with the prospect of having to make another graphic novel! It pushed me to try out new subject matter I would not have probably attempted otherwise and helped me to develop new skills and approaches to my art making. Would I recommend it to other artists? Absolutely!