Wednesday was the day of the Illustration Forum at The City Literary Institute but before that, in the morning Tilly took a group of students t see the long established illustration Agency, ‘Folio’ just of the Kingsway near Holborn. Former Falmouth illustration graduate Kim Meech now works as a rep at Folio and met our students for this visit. Folio agency has a long history of representing successful and interesting commercial illustrators. Former Falmouth graduate Illustrator Owen Davey is currently on their books. Folio agents talked to students about freelancing, the role of an agent, different types of commissions, how to put together a commercial portfolio and much more. The advice was invaluable and gave students a real insight into a career in illustration.
While Tilly and the students were at Folio Nigel and Nick met at The City Literary Institute to get ready for the afternoon’s Illustration Forum. The City Lit is a fantastic Adult Education Institution that has been providing learning opportunities for the people of London for many years. It is also the first place that Nigel ever taught and so was something of a trip down memory lane for him. students began filing into the small but atmospheric lecture theatre just before 1pm. Much to Nigel’s relief all three speakers arrived in time for the start of the afternoon.
First to speak was Viviane Schwarz. Viv is an alumni of Falmouth University having studied on both BA and MA courses. Her talk was both hugely entertaining and informative. Her unique take on life shone through and her ability to cut through and communicate to subtle details of life that we often miss was clear. Her development of characters through a joyous engagement with media and the tools that she has developed was fascinating. Her ‘ghost’ installation project caught everybody’s eye.
Second to speak was the inspirational reportage illustrator, Olivier Kugler. Olivier is well known for his work with the Guardian but this is the tip of the ice berg in terms of his career, having worked extensively in the U.S. and also Europe. He is an award winning illustrator whose approach to illustration is founded in a desire to connect with social issues, such as homelessness and more recently the Syrian refugee crisis. His wide ranging talk encompassed his early career working in New York and the influence that his American tutors such as Marshall Arisman had on his work. His more recent work has been based upon his direct experiences of meeting Syrian refugees and telling their stories in a unique a compelling montage of journalism and illustration. We are really looking forward to seeing the outcome of his most recent project to document the UK fishing industry.
Finally the third speaker shone a light on the work of the editorial illustrator. Michael Kirkham had travelled down from Edinburgh for this Forum for which we are extremely grateful. Michael perfectly outlined the process of editorial illustration. He has worked for some of the best known editorial clients including most notably The Guardian and knows a thing or two about the ptressures of working in this sector of the industry. He discussed his approach to the figure and also his focus on searching for personality rather than style within his work. Most tellingly he opened up on the ideas process. His focus is on avoiding searching for an idea but instead champions the notion of just pushing the process of just ‘drawing’ around the core theme of a text. Essentially just keeping the search field for ideas as open for as long as possible before committing to the final concept. Judging by the work that he was showing us he has got the formula just right.. A really great end to to a fantastic afternoon of talks.