Christmas bird tree sketch by Nicola Anne Rowe
Lilla Rogers, MATS, mixed media

New Christmas illustration design for Lilla Rogers MATS blog

I enrolled upon Lilla Rogers MATS (make art that sells) Bootcamp ecourse at the beginning of this year and found the private Facebook page really useful. As a student (and now ex student as the course has finished) we can still post pictures of what we’re working on, ask questions about your work or materials you are using etc, so it’s very useful to have hundreds of like minded artists to be able to help and answer questions you might have.

Well this week we were asked if we would like to submit any Christmas illustrations to the their (MATS) blog. Umm, yes please!!! So I set about sketching and drawing a couple of possible pieces.

Christmas tree bird sketch

Christmas tree bird sketch snow

Christmas tree bird sketch
I liked this sketch the most, so after I finished sketching, I went over my pencil lines in black pen and then scanned into the computer so I could make into vector art and then play around with moving pieces here and there etc.

The images below are what I came up with after playing around with the layout on the computer, after scanning in my original drawing.

Christmas bird tree sketch by Nicola anne Rowe
I wanted to try out moving the ‘Merry Christmas’ sign above the birds, but I didn’t like it… blocked the mistletoe and therefore the very reason why the birds are standing where they are makes little sense. So I didn’t go with this design for that reason.
Christmas bird tree sketch by Nicola Anne Rowe
I liked this design. I think it has a better layout and composition and nothing dominates any one area too much. This was my favourite design out of the three.
Christmas bird tree sketch
This was the design I sketched to start with. My original design if you like. I wanted to put a little birdhouse in there, but then realised that it was looking too crowded and for a Christmas illustration, I wanted the focus to be on the birds and them kissing. I still like this design, but it didn’t work with what I had in mind.

So out of my three designs, I liked the second one the best. This was the one I went with as my chosen design. I then printed this design out onto thick 300gsm watercolour paper ready to colour. I always print my design out in light grey so it’s dark enough for me to see the lines, but light enough that the watercolour and coloured pencils and whatever else I use, will cover the grey lines. I LOVE this bit. The colouring in that is 🙂

christmas design birds tree baubles

You can see my finished design above. Sadly I missed the deadline for entries to Lilla’s blog 😦 but i’m happy to just share here instead.

Anyone interested in Lilla Rogers ecourses can view them here, or to view her blog click here. If you are an artist, whether digital or traditional (I’m traditional), you will definitely find her courses of great value. Lilla is an American art agent, but is/was a very talented and successful illustrator and artist herself having sold her work to many top companies. She is now an agent to nearly 40 international artists.


I’m open to any feedback that people have, good and bad! 🙂

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