Final Year Falmouth Illustration Students Visit London 2018

While their fellow students were visiting New York Art directors a number of Falmouth 3rd year illustration students visited London to get their work in front of some of the top art directors in the world as part of their professional practice submission. Included in these visits was feedback from some very established alumni and also significant friends of the course, including Chloe Luxford, Lauren Humphrey, Jamie Edler, Amy Kitcherside and of course Sam Arthur from Nobrow and Flying Eye Books.

The students did an incredibly professional job of securing some great visits that included amongst others:

Scoop Magazine
Pickled Ink
Wide Eyed Editions (Quarto)
St James Park Squirrel
Walker Books
Lauren Humphrey
Paul Gravett Talk at the House of Illustration
Wellcome Trust
Jamie Edler

Many thanks to all of the professionals that gave their time to give such insightful feedback to the students. Here are some photographs from the week…..


Falmouth Illustration New York 2018

Forty Falmouth Illustration students are are currently on the coach to Heathrow to catch their flight to New York.this annual pilgrimage  to the Big Apple once again will involve these final year students getting invaluable portfolio feedback from some of the worlds best art directors. I will keep updating the blog throughout the week….

Falmouth 1st Year Illustration Students Visit London (2017)

Once again Falmouth 1st year Illustration students have been in London this week to visit a variety of art directors and designers at a wide range of companies as well as attending a fantastic Illustration Forum, held for the 1st time at The City Literary Institute.

Classic London skyline

The first visits kicked off on Monday with Tilly and Tom taking eleven students to MacMillan Children’s Books where they were met by Chris Inns and Lydia Coventry. Chris and Lydia were able to provide incredibly useful insights into the process of commissioning and the process of children’s book publishing.

Chris Inns at MacMillan Books

Tom then went on to take another seven students to visit Pete Fowler in his studio in East London. This is a rare opportunity to visit the creative hub of the artist responsible for the iconic Super Furry Animal album covers (amongst many other remarkable professional and personal projects)… inspirational…

Rachel and Nigel visited Egmont Children’s Books. The team at Egmont we’re really welcoming, and gave great presentations firstly on cover design for 7-12 age range and then a second presentation on Picture books. Both were hugely informative and valuable. It was also fantastic to see how well the former Falmouth Illustration Graduate, Laura Ellen Anderson is now doing with numerous books that she has either written and /or illustrated for Egmont.

Egmont visit+ Laura Ella Anderson’s Barbaric Ball

The afternoon continued with two editorial visits to The Guardian (Sarah Habershon) and time 1843/Economist (Gary Cochran). Both visits shed light on the unique challenges of this fast paced area of the industry. A genuine optimism for the future of Illustration seemed to be the message. Despite the pressure of the shift to online platforms, there seems to be little drop off in the appeal of Illustration. Yes the market is more competitive but the knowledge gained from these kind of visits will hopefully give Falmouth graduates an edge.

Visit to the Economist’s new offices

At the end of the day Tom and Tilly took a small group students to visit innovative agency, ‘Lover’s Creative’. This was something of an unknown for us but turned out to be a great visit. The team at Lovers Creative champion the illustrator within the creative process, actively seeking out work that an illustrator wants to undertake rather than what they feel the need to take on. This subtlety different view of what the future might hold for illustrators was a breath of fresh air for those that were on the visit.

Lover’s Crelative visit

Just after the Penguin Books

Tuesday started with our yearly visit to Penguin Books. Three former Falmouth students now work as art directors/designers at Penguin. Two are Illustration alumni (Richard Bravery and Jess Hart) and one, a Graphic Design alumni. This is always a great opportunity to open up the process of book publishing from the perspective of the illustrator. Having studied the subject at Falmouth before going on to do an MA in typography at LCP Richard was able clearly communicate what his team are looking for in an illustrator. A really useful visit.


Tom then took a group of students to Us Two Games. This is an award winning digital games company that are famous for developing the game ‘Monument Valley’.

Us Two Games visit

For the first time we have asked students to organise a visit of their own to an established illustrator. Researching, contacting and then arranging a meeting like this is a significant challenge and something that until now we have only asked 3D years to do before their own study trip to New York/London, however it has to be said that the 1st years have done a great great job this year. While it was never going to be the case that everyone would succeed in securing a visit a good number of visits did take place during Tuesday afternoon, with some surprisingly high profile illustrators agreeing to meet our students. These included amongst others; David Foldvari, Roger Dean(!), Alexis Deacon, Will Grill, Katie Ponder.

Students, after visiting David Foldvari

Wednesday started with Tom taking students to Harper Collins. A team of art directors were on hand to discuss the publishing process with our students. Thanks to Tom’s cousin Dominic Forbes for helping to organise this visit.

The Harper Collins visit

Nigel took eight students to see Little Brown Books. This was a new visit but one that we hope we can build on. Art directors Ellin and Bekki were incredibly generous with their time and had helpfully put together a presentation specifically for us. Again the publishing process was outlined to the students and also how they as art directors source their illustrators. This is invaluable knowledge for an Illustration student and only something that can come from someone who commissions Illustration. It was also refreshing to see the importance that Little Brown place on connecting with Illustration courses. Many Thanks to senior Art Director Sean Garrehy for organising this visit.

The Little Brown visit

Tilly took 6 students on the long trek out to see Caroline Thompson at Arena Illustration Agency in Stratford, east London. This is an annual event on this study trip but Caroline and Tamlyn are always so welcoming. Arena are one of the long established London agencies, covering all areas of the industry but with a strong rosta of young audience artists on their books including a number of former Falmouth students.

Later in the afternoon, Tom took students to visit the well known illustrator Rob Ryan at his studio. Rob is of course something of a phenomenon due to the hugely influential success of his papercut work. It was great for students to see his process and to discuss his approach with him. Many thanks to Rob for being so welcoming.

Rob Ryan in his studio

Having finished at Little Brown, Nigel winged it over to Borough Food market for a meeting between students and Folio Society Art Director Sheri Gee in Laithwaites Wine Bar. Before Sheri arrived students had the opportunity to take a good look at the large collection of Folio Society books that were sitting on shelves in the venue. Folio SocietyBooks are one of the prestige commissions that most contemporary illustrators desire to get. It’s great to know that Falmouth Alumni including James Boswell, Anne Marie Jones, Finn Nottman Campbell and Oliver Hurst have all achieved this accolade. The Folio team proceeded to give some great tips regarding what they are looking for in illustrator’s work (particularly useful with the House of Illustration/FS competition in mind). Top of the list was the need for students to strengthen their drawing ability with particular reference to the figure). Many thanks to the FS team and also of course for the glass of wine!

The Folio Society visit

Three visits took place on the Thursday morning. Nigel took students to Folio Agency (nothing to do with Folio Society). This agency is another of the long standing London agencies having been set up 40 years ago by Nick Dawes. Tucked away on the top floor of an old Victorian building in the heart of Holborn, this agency nevertheless has a huge international reach, representing illustrators all over the world, including former Falmouth graduates Owen Davey and Nick Radford. A further Falmouth connection is that Illustration alumni Kimberly Meech now works as a rep at the agency and it was her that met us upon our arrival. It was also great to hear the path that her career has taken since she left Falmouth.

Students having just visited Folio Illustration Agency

Tom took students to Profile Books, while Tilly took 12 students to see Sam Arthur at NoBrow/Flying Eye Books. NoBrow and more recently Flying Eye Books have become very influential within the industry, having championed new young artists and raising the profile of non fiction children’s books. A number of our alumni have worked on NoBrow/Flying Eye titles in recent years including; Owen Davey, Ella Bailey, Joe Lillington and David Doran. Many Thanks for Profile Books and Sam Arthur at NoBrow for being so generous.

Thursday afternoon saw students making their way over to Keeley Street and the City Literary Institute for the annual Falmouth 1st year Illustration Forum. This is a great new venue for the forum to take place in. The line up of speakers came together quite late in the day but actually couldn’t have been better chosen due to the range and nature of their work.

The John Lyon Theatre, The City Literary Institute

The afternoon started with a presentation by one of the big names of the Illustration industry, Brian Grimwood, founder of Central Illustration Agency. Students would have been less aware of Brian’s influential past but were soon captivated by his inspirational, entertaining and informative presentation and before too long were in no doubt of his talent. Hugely interesting discussions surrounding his use of the IPad were interspersed with amazing anecdotes about his time in drawing in Shanghai, collaborations with Chris Corr, encounters with his grandmother’s monkey and his friendship with David Bowie…

Brian Grimwood

The rather daunting task of following on from Brian fell to former Falmouth student, Owen Davey. Most current students were aware of the success that Owen has achieved in event years and it was great to hear more about his process. A really thorough presentation opened up all aspects of Owen approach to his work from developing ideas through research, the development of roughs and how they are subsequently translated to artwork. Particularly insightful were his thoughts on managing his work and dealing with clients from a professional practice perspective. Owen also discussed questions of ethics, particularly referencing the need to be culturally diverse in your approach to illustration and also inclusive in terms of race and gender. Important issue in the current political climate.

Owen Davey

Finally, that last slot was taken by former UWE Graduate and now successful paper artist / illustrator, Hattie Newman. The story of how she kickstarted her early career with her Fedrigoni Paper mountain project was amazing and an inspiration to students, hopefully making them realise that there is more than one way into the visual communication industry and that the work that they do needn’t be confined to the established norms and contexts. Her enthusiasm was infectious and much appreciated by the students.

Hattie Newman

Many thanks to Brian, Owen and Hattie and the City Lit for making the afternoon such a big success.

Brian Grimwood, Tom Barwick and Owen Davey

Finally the week ended up (as it always does) with a bit of a social get together in the Bar of the Generator hostel. Most of us were border line exhausted after traipsing around London all week but most seemed to revive after a quick half pint. It was great to chat to students about their week and what they have learnt from the experience. Of course Tom needed a little support from Nigel and Tilly to get up and sing but we did in the end! (In fact I think we all secretly enjoyed it!). Everyone has worked extremely hard this semester and this study trip has been a great way to finish the first half of the year.

Thursday night in the Generator bar

Thanks go out to all involved in the trip, including all the companies and illustrators that we have visited, you the students for doing such a good job in representing the course so well. The people that you have met this week will become the start of your professional practice network and the knowledge you’ve gained will be invaluable in the future. Thanks also go out to Brian Grimwood, Owen Davey and Hattie Newman for giving such entertaining and informative presentations. Thanks to Anna Kingsley and Rachel Martin for helping with the administrative side of things. Thanks also to Tilly and Rachel who have helped in organising and attending visits during the week. Most thanks go to Tom for the huge amount of effort that has gone into organising this trip. Until next year…….

New Designers Private View 2017

The New Designers 2017 show comes to an end later today. Sophie Melissa Walker won one of the main ND awards following in the footsteps of Falmouth Graduate Oscar Mitchell who won the same award last year. She also joins Olivia Healy who was presented with her coveted D&AD Yellow Pencil earlier in the week.

The Private View was well attended with a good number of art directors present. These graduate showcases are an important opportunity for students to start networking with industry. The New Blood event came down yesterday. Lots of interest was expressed by visitors to the Falmouth stand throughout the three days of the show, with the comments book full of business cards and potential contacts. The staff at Falmouth will endeavour to make these contacts available to Falmouth students very soon.

Many thanks to all students and staff that worked extremely hard to make both of these showcases so successful. We now look forward to seeing the students at the graduation ceremony in Falmouth in just under two weeks time…

Falmouth Illustration at both New Blood and New Designers Graduate Showcases 2017

It’s amazing how quickly a year passes. Here we are again in London with the work of our talented illustration graduates of 2017. It has been a big effort on the part of both staff and students to get work ready for both shows but it has been worth it. The work for both shows was driven up from Falmouth on Monday. Both shows were put up on the Tuesday. Although staff are well seasoned in getting the work up on the wall there is still a nervous tension in the air as the clock ticks down to the point where we have to get out and let the judges in. Big thanks go out to Sue Clarke and Nick Mott for the New Blood build while Keryn Bibby, Tilly McKerrow, Francisco Sousa Lobo and Lydia Hopwood focussed on the larger New Designers Show.

The D&AD New Blood Private View took place last night (Tuesday 4th July). As always seems to happen, the weather seemed to improve on the rain that we left in Cornwall resulting in a hot and sticky Truman Brewery. The PV was well attended with a good number of industry people in attendance. As often happens at Private Views the real business of ‘looking’ at work became more difficult as the space got more and more crowded but it became pretty clear that the Falmouth stand was beginning to attract interest from the likes of the Guardian, Dorling Kindersley, Egmont and others and it was great to see the graduates using the knowledge gained over the three years of the course to engage in networking with these potential future clients. Olivia Healy was recognised for her yellow Pencil win while Calum Heath received a coveted ‘one to watch’ sticker on his work. The work looked amazing on the wall with a great array of dummy books in evidence. Thanks to Keryn and Sue for their hard work in designing the drop banners and the books for the show.

While the New Blood show was going up, across town, Keryn, Tilly, Francisco and Lydia were putting up the New Designers show ahead of tonight’s Private View (Wednesday 5th). This is a much bigger show held in the Business Design centre. The Falmouth Graduates have done a great job of preparing their individual boards and this show is also looking amazing. If you are in London then come along to either or both shows and say hello. More photos and news will follow over the next few days…..

Falmouth BA and MA Illustration students attend the Bologna Book Fair 2017

Sue Clarke and several BA and MA illustration students attended the Bologna Children’s Book Fair last week. As the most important annual international platform for children’s publishing it was an amazing opportunity for the students to show their portfolios to a range of publishers from different countries, to meet lots of other illustrators, to gain enormous insight into current trends and thinking in this field through the many talks and workshops, and to be inspired by the various illustration exhibitions.

Two BA illustration alumni won Bologna Ragazzi Awards this year. Will Grill won the Ragazzi Non Fiction Award for his book ‘The Wolves of Currumpaw’, published by Flying Eye Books, and Emma Lewis won the Ragazzi Opera Prima Award for her book ‘The Museum of Me’, by Tate Publishing. It was very exciting to see their work so celebrated at such an important and prestigious event and so prominently displayed on huge screens, banners and cabinets around the fair and in book shops around Bologna. It was also great to be able to attend the presentations of these awards and hear why the judges selected them.

With Will Grill’s book, in terms of the illustrations, the judges were drawn to the contemporary visual but traditional honest technique, the beautiful balance of art and non-fiction, and the rhythm of the book which they described as a ‘visual symphony’. In terms of his writing they applauded its intensity and the rare way that it doesn’t hide difficult emotions for children. Sam Arthur, co-founder of Flying Eye Books, took part in the discussion and was able to describe the lengths that Will went to in researching the book, including living in the wild, literally with wolves!

With Emma’s book the panel discussed how intriguing, personal and imaginative her illustrations are. They felt that the message behind the book is a really important one, in helping children learn how to look at the world around them. They described the book as a door to discovery, not just to art and artefacts, but to themselves. Holly Tonks, commissioning editor from Tate Publishing, discussed how the book really embraces the Tate’s ethos in that it is a vehicle to help break down the boundaries of children going into galleries. She discussed the integrity behind the book and how great it is that Emma made the book she wanted to make and for it to be so recognised and applauded Internationally. It is now due to be published in 11 countries.

Emma Lewis’s work for ‘The Museum of Me’ was also selected for the main exhibition at the fair, showcasing contemporary innovative work in this field. She was able to attend the ceremony at which all selected illustrators were applauded in turn by the huge jury panel and the very lively audience!
The whole awe inspiring (and slightly overwhelming) event was a real eye opening experience for our current students (and for several other falmouth illustration alumni who we unexpectedly bumped into there!). They did fantastically well to get 11 appointments with publishers over the week, from which they got really useful and positive feedback on their work. Having started the week with slight trepidation it was great to see them leaving the fair full of confidence and inspiration for their work (and great to have chance to celebrate such a potentially pivotal time over a few beers in hot sunny Bologna!)

Falmouth Illustration: 1st Year Project X

Last month 1st year Falmouth Illustration students worked on ‘Project X’. This project has a long history and go back many years. Essentially it is a challenge to tackle an hypothetical editorial commission in a couple of days to test the ideas generation skills that they have been developing throughout the 1st semester. Here are some samples of the outcomes….

‘Clingfilm’: A new risograph zine project from Falmouth Illustration students

‘Clingfilm’ is the brainchild of new Falmouth Illustration lecturer, Francisco Sousa Lobo. Francisco has brought both his love of film and comics into the third year studio through art directing  this new innovative zine with a range of third year Falmouth Illustration students contributing interpretations of their favourite films to this first risograph project. The limitations of the risograph printing process has brought the best out of students as has the challenge of distilling the films into short narrative sequences. Samples of the spreads can be seen here. The book is currently in production with an edition of 50 planned. Many thanks to Dion in the Graphic Design department, the illustration students involved and of course Francisco.

2nd Year Falmouth Illustration Students Visit Bristol

On March 1st 2017, Natalie and Linda travelled up to Bristol with a group of 24 Level 2 students on a study group trip ,to reconnect and collaborate with Falmouth Alumni, headed by successful Illustrator / Drawn in Bristol founder and Studio Manager, Dave Bain. Dave is recognised nationally and internationally for his playful, vibrant and colourful illustrations.

On our first evening in the city, we headed out, En masse, towards the Bristol waterside for a hedonistic, multi – cultural feast at Za Za bazaar, organised by Teigan.

Falmouth Illustration Alumni and others working in Hamilton House and the Bristol area gave presentations of their work followed by Q and A’s. Our students were very excited to hear about the experiences of graduates working and living in Bristol and were shown around the Illustration studios in Hamilton House , including the space inhabited by the ‘ Drawn in Bristol ‘ collective and were guided through Artists and Illustrators studios in Jamaica Street close by. It was great to hear from our Falmouth Alumni, which included presentations by Harriet Merrion and Hannah Sunny Whaler and for students to be given tours of the studios and to be able to chat with former graduates, including Freya Hartas and Paula Bowles.

The students were excited by what they heard from the Alumni and others working in the field and by the edgy, youthful atmosphere of Stokes Croft, the creative area of Bristol in which Hamilton House is situated.

Inspired by the project theme of ‘Regeneration ‘, students had plenty of free time to explore this culturally and historically vibrant city and to gather and record visual and physical information which would be the catalyst for formulating artwork for their exhibition at the weekend.

One of the highlights of the week was the Light Projection workshop with Tom from Limbic Cinema, a group of Creative Practitioners with a range of skills who collaborate with a variety of clients, including theatres and music venues. Tom worked tirelessly with the students to digitally capture their drawings and project them onto 3D plinths and onto the surface of the gallery space. Students were very inspired by the workshop and it was very exciting for them to see how technologies might be utilised to transform their work.

It was also a great experience for our students to have access to and be able to work alongside Dave Bain and other Illustrators in his new studio, SPACE, which is situated in Old Market, another culturally rich up and coming area of Bristol and for them to have a place to develop their initial ideas into more consolidated artworks and 3D pieces.

The culmination of the trip was at SPACE gallery on Saturday evening and each of our students contributed to the exhibition, which was an exciting mix of 2D, 3D and animated work and included several collaborative outputs, including work produced with Limbic Cinema. The exhibition was well attended by staff, students, Alumni and student’s friends and families and was followed by an extended social get together a few doors down, in Dutch, a local Stokes Croft bar and music venue.

We would like to thanks all Level 2 students who participated, for their enthusiasm and spirit of adventure, in what was a novel and rich experience for all involved and we especially thank our main contact and collaborator in Bristol, Dave Bain, who went above and beyond what was expected, to ensure we all had a great experience.

Linda Scott, March 2017

Thanks to both Linda and Natalie for organising such a valuable trip.