Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Look what arrived in the mail! It's a brand new Ella & Olivia. This book is all about the school sports carnival and I really enjoyed drawing all kinds of fun things, like three legged races, the egg & spoon race, and tug-of-war! It's in stores in January so keep an eye out!

In the meantime, if you are still in need of some stocking stuffers for Christmas, then Ella & Olivia's Christmas Surprise might be just what you are looking for! It's out in store NOW or online HERE.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

82 Illustrations...and still going strong!

Wow! Another couple of weeks has gone by in the blink of an eye! I am still madly catching up on my freelance workload. Since finishing the course in early November I have completed 52 full colour book illustrations and 30 roughs! Another 30 roughs to go by Christmas! Phew! I am really excited about these projects and hope to share more detail with you in the New Year....but for's back to work!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


A BIG WELCOME to all of the new readers visiting me on this MATS (2) PART A Blog Tour!
My name is Danielle McDonald and I am an Illustrator. My family and I recently made a ‘tree change’, leaving behind all of the hustle and bustle of big city life in Melbourne, to adopt a quieter lifestyle on a little farm near Australia’s capital city – Canberra.

This blog was starting to become all about the farm and my two girls (3 years old and 8months old), as I was not really doing much creatively to share here….UNTIL I discovered the Lilla Rogers Make Art That Sells Course.
This course not only reignited my passion for all things creative, but it proved that I CAN MAKE TIME to achieve my creative goals. I learned how to push myself to give 110%. I was nurtured to try new things, and I was welcomed into a wonderful new on-line community (My Tribe!)

Here’s some proof! Since finishing the course I have been flat out with a busy freelance workload, but somehow I still made the time to create this little animation…(it’s my first ever animation too!)
It was made in response to Lilla’s request for video feedback on what we learned in the class. 

I could share so much more on what I got out of the classes and how it has changed me, but many of my classmates seem to have expressed it so much better than I can, so I would encourage you to visit some of them via the links at the end of this post.

I just want to wrap things up with my favourite piece I created for Week 2: HOME DECOR. (Slightly revised following some great feedback from Lilla.)

What surprises me about this piece is that it’s the only one I created without characters (my forte!), but still feel like it expresses all of the fun (or JOY!) that I usually like to get through character design.  You can check out each of my projects and a full write up on each week, by reading back through my previous posts here:

I am sharing today's tour with Jennifer Appel. 

Jennifer created this gorgeous piece for the Week 5 GIFT Assignment, but you can actually purchase this great design on a whole host of products here, via Society6! Be sure to check out her blog too! 


Thursday, November 21, 2013


Ok - the Make Art That Sells(A) blog tour is officially underway. I have included the current schedule below. There is a huge amount of talent hidden in amongst this group and if you are interested in learning a bit more about the course, or seeing what other students have come up with for various projects then this is the tour for you! 

Basically the way it works is that on the given dates, each person will post a special review of their experience and thoughts on the course. (This list may be subject to change as more students get on board with it! There are also lots of timezones covered so the dates are a guide.) I am scheduled for the 4th of December, and am looking forward to gathering my thoughts to share with you then. The first three reviews have already been posted, so off you go! Get touring! x



Martina Lenhardt-

Melissa Doran-

Sarah Gager -

November 27

stephanie corfee -

November 25

Son Atwal Sonia Atwal -

November 26

Sarah Ehlinger-

Jordan Vinograd Kim-

November 27

Jen Burbridge -

Carolina Coto -

November 28

Eva Marion Seyffarth -

November 29

Anna Whitford -

December 2

December 3

Melinda Hopkirk -

December 4

December 5

Renske de Kinkelder-

December 6

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Back to the real world...

Now that the Make Art That Sells course is done and dusted, it's back to the real world a bit now. I feel like I have been in this magical place for the last few weeks and I allowed myself to just get caught up in it all.

This meant putting a few projects on hold for a while, but of course they have now all become urgent!

I have had to call in my parents to come and help baby sit for a week or so, in order for me to get some work done! (They live about 4 hours away!) They are heading home on Monday, so I need to keep at it over the weekend to make the most of my time.

Here is a bit of a peek at one of my current projects. I hope to share things in more detail soon, but for now I just need to get on with things. It's part of a series of 'readers' (books for children who are just learning to read), so the images, layout and text all need to be quite clear and simple. 

I have hand painted the characters with black line work to create focus for them, and all backgrounds and incidental detail is flat colour with no outlines - again to allow the characters to be the main focus.

Check out the full series here until I can share more detail with you. 

Friday, November 15, 2013


Just wanted to give this little guy a bit more of a feature!


Ok, I thought I'd better sneak in a post about our last assignment (even though I am supposed to be doing my freelance work!) I can't believe the course is finished and I feel a bit flat these last few days. I miss it!

Anyway, our last week was learning about the GIFT market. This is such a broad market and there are so many opportunities for artists and designers in this area. Our Mini assignment this week was to gather personal things that we "collect", to photograph and draw. There were some beautiful ornate and vintage collections shared in our facebook group, and it made me realise I am a bit of a "plain Jane!". 

If I had to confess to being a collector of anything it would have to be books and kids stuff!  I have always been drawn to the fun and colour of the kids world, (long before I actually had kids myself) and I put together a small collection of wooden items for my inspiration.

I did not really get any time to sketch and play for the mini this time, but once the assignment was revealed I really enjoyed just playing with ideas based on toys. The assignment was to create a HYPER LUSH zipper pouch crammed full of as much 'stuff' as we could manage!! It needed to really "WOW" and "POP" to create something that would really stand out in a portfolio or at retail.

Given that this assignment allowed me to concentrate on a theme I was really passionate about, the ideas just flowed this week! I have so many ideas and lots of pages full of sketches. I am looking forward to revisiting these pages again at another stage. 

 This was the sketch that excited me the most, so it became my starting point.

First up, I scanned the sketch and traced over the shapes in Illustrator to create some vector artwork.

Colour is my favourite design element, and I always LOVE the thrill of seeing my characters in colour for the first time!! So here's my little music box bear.

I was tempted to draw up some of my other characters to interact with this guy, but I thought this week I would use a 'focal point" and make him the starring role!

I did not really have a game plan or layout sketch this time, but decided to just dive right in! Lilla encouraged us to use any bits and pieces from previous weeks work and I remembered some water colour experiments that I did not use.

I focused in on one section and repeated it over a yellow background...

...then layered it with some textures from my wall art painting. 

I loved how the colours worked together with the bear, but he was already getting a bit lost on the background.

I added some white behind him to make him 'POP'! (Lilla uses this expression A LOT...and I guess it's stuck with me!) The bee was getting a bit lost and changing the balance of the white area a bit, so I edited him out!

I don't normally create the artwork on the product template until it's finished, but this time it really helped to remind me of the end product as I progressed.

Next stage was to "LUSH" it up a bit! FUN! I wish I had more time to create various florals and new shapes, but I will work on this more when I re-visit this project to tweak it for a portfolio piece.

With the addition of more and more detail, the finished piece finally emerged.

I am still really happy with it, but will rework it a little if I am to use it in my folio. I also still need to work on some sort of logo for my name, but I am booked up until Christmas with a ridiculous amount of freelance work, so I will rework my assignments a bit more in the new year.

Oh, I nearly forgot. We were also able to include a few extra products to match our zipper pouch. In the end I felt they distracted a bit from the pouch, so I did not include them in my submission, but I was really happy with this one, so thought I'd share it here!

There was some incredible work produced by participants in this weeks assignment and it really was a great way to bring together everything we have learned over the last few weeks. I also thought it was very clever of Lilla to base this assignment on personal collections, because each person could then create with themes that were special to them. This really came through in the artwork. (Incidentally we are working on some plans to create a blog tour of participants in this recent running of the course, so I will share more detail with you when we finalise things.) 

I also hope to share my thoughts on this course, and some self-critiques of my assignments over the coming weeks, so drop by again when you get the chance.

I am also very lucky to have had special permission to share FULL details of one of my current projects with you, including works in progress and various processes, so I hope to find time to get that going for you too! So it's back to work for now...