Falmouth Illustration London Study Trip: Day 4 (the final visits)

The final day kicked off with Nigel taking a group of students to see Sarah Habershon at The Guardian. Sarah has been championing illustrators for the last 17 years at The Guardian. She is a well known advocate for illustration and was referred to as such by Michael Kirkham in the previous days tal at the City Lit. She spent an hour of her valuable time to explain the process of commissioning an illustrator to our students.her presentation was hugely informative. Thanks to Tom Barwick for organising this visit.

Meanwhile Nick Mott took students to see the well known Children’s Book publisher Usborne. Mary Cartwright spent the best part of an hour discussing the children’s book publishing industry to our students.

Tilly McKerrow took a group to Bernstein & Andriulli for the 2nd visit of the week to this fantastic agency. Thanks once again to the team at B&A for their time. The students really appreciate it.

Debut Art was the next visit for students. Nick took 11 students to see Andrew Coningsby at this important illustration agency. Thanks to Andrew and his team for taking the time to see our students.

Finally Nigel took students for the last of the 23 visits during the week. Carlton Publishing stands out in that it’s range of publications is particularly broad and diverse. It was really exciting to see how they approach the production of a book. They are unashamedly commercial in their intentions but nevertheless produce very high quality books. both Emily and Clare spent around an hour with out students. Their clear passion for working with Illustrators shone through. There description of the Bologna Book Fair has I am sure whetted the students appetite for a visit in the 3rd year of the course.

All that is left of the week now is to relax with a long tall glass of beer and maybe a few ‘magic’ tricks………..

Until next year…..


London Study Trip: Day 3- The Forum

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.



London Study Trip: 2018 DAY 2

Day Two of this year’s 1st year Illustration study trip to London began with a trip to see former Falmouth Illustration Graduate, Richard Bravery, who is now a senior cover designer at PenguinBooks. Richard outlined the process of commissioning illustrators for book covers and focussed on the need for the illustrator to contribute in the ideas generation process rather than being simply a technician who applies their style to an idea developed by the design team. It was really refreshing to see how designers still value the skills that illustrators can bring to the table. It was also interesting to hear about his own career path.

Nick Mott took 10 students to see the Ryan Claydon at the Illustration Agency JSR. This was a new visit For the course but proved to be really valuable.

Meanwhile Tilly McKerrow took a group of students to visit the creative agency ‘Lovers’. This is a rally innovative creative agency who really value illustration. Many thanks to Lisa Armstrong for agreeing to see our students.

Hot on the heals of the Penguin visit Nigel rushed over to Somerset House to meet up with 9 students for a meeting Stuart and Amy of the Illustration Agency known as ‘HandsomeFrank’. This relatively young agency is making waves in the industry and it was great to hear about their approach to representing their roster of artists. Stuart and Amy gave the students an hour of their valuable time and delivered huge insights that will prove to be invaluable to them in the future. Thanks to the AOI for their help in organising the fantastic venue.

11 student met Tilly ahead of their meeting with Illustrator PeteFowler at his studio in the east end of London early in the afternoon. Pete has generously offered his time to talk to Falmouth students over the last couple of years. He talked at length about his career, including his work with the ‘Super Furry Animals’ and his current projects. Many thanks to Pete and also Tom Barwick for organising this visit.

Nigel took 4 students on the long track to Stratford to see ArenaIllustrationAgency. Tamlyn Francis and Caroline Thomson are long standing friends of the course and have been seeing students from Falmouth on this study visit for many years. Every year they give a great presentation of what they do as agents discussing individual projects that their artists have been recently involved in. This is hugely inspirational for students making them aware of where Illustration as an industry can take them.

At the same time Nick was taking a group to see Creative consultancy ‘POCKO’. POCKO are an artist Agency and creative consultancy whose services include brand activation, Illustration, animation, and photography. Their objective is to curate and create innovative content through collaboration. They represent the trend towards multidisciplinary within the visual communication industry.

Finally, Nigel took a group of students to see Art Director/designer Gary Cochran at The Economist/1843. These two magazines epitomise what editorial illustration is about and it was fascinating to hear Gary talk about the process of commissioning illustrators and why he is so keen on illustrators as ideas generators. Gary’ significant experience within the field of magazine design was of huge value to the students that were on the visit. It was also great to be given a tour of the Economist offices and to see the amazing roof terrace views.

London Study Visit: Monday’s Visits

The day kicked off with a great visit to Thames & Hudson. Art Directors Anna Ridley and Aaron Hayden spent over an hour talking to students about the process of putting a high quality Children’s Picture Book together. Their talk was hugely informative. Thames & Hudson are fairly new to Young Audience Picture Books but have developed an enviable reputation. Aaron particularly focussed on illustrators needing to have a good knowledge of reprographic processes.

Nick Mott took 5 students to visit Jo Cochran at The Guardian/Observer. The Guardian and Observer have always championed Illustration and it was really refreshing to hear Jo be so positive with students, with possible connections through projects in the future. It was interesting that she chose one our most successful recent graduates, Harriet Lee Merrion to use as a case study when explaining the editorial process to students.

Lipstick of London is an international Illustration Agency that connects a select range of illustrators to clients in a large range of fields such as fashion, advertising, live drawing, and animation. Tilly took 6 students to see this Agency in the morning. Marie-Claire Westover was really generous with her time, sharing her insights into freelance illustration including how to approach self promotion, current trends, working with different clients and the benefits of having an agent.

Because there have been so many visits made this year it has been impossible for tutors to attend every visit. the trip to Scriberia as a result was student led. Scriberia are an slightly unusual left field visit for our students. Their focus in on providing ‘live scribing’ services to industry whether visually recording a conference event or visual problem solving sessions. This is really relevant to our students and by all accounts the visit was a great success. Thanks to the students for managing this visit on their own….

Nick took 8 students to visit the well known children’s book publisher, Simon & Schuster. Art Director Jane Buckley was able to provide really useful insight into the process of putting a Picture Book together.

In the afternoon Nigel took 8 students to see his former agent Bernstein & Andriulli at Borough Market. After a minor panic trying to find their offices, Matthew, Karrie and Sam spent an hour passing on their in-depth knowledge of the industry to students. They talked at length about the need to maintain a level of professionalism when dealing with clients in order to build your reputation as an illustrator that can ‘deliver’. They cited former Falmouth Graduate and B&A artist, David Dorian as the perfect example of this philosophy. Many thanks to Matthew, Sam and Karrie who have also agreed to see a 2nd group of Falmouth Students on Thursday (if they have recovered from their Xmas party!)

Hachette were the next visit of the day. Tilly took a group of students to see art director Sophie Stericker who spent a good amount of time talking about how they work with illustrators and also aoutlined the Carmelite Picture Book prize which Falmouth alumni Riki Sekiguchi won last year.

Nick then travelled over to the other side of the city with a group of 14 students to visit Laura Bird at Egmont. Egmont are a long-standing contact who have provided great insight into the business of Children’s Picture Book publishing. this year was no exception.

Finally at the end of the day Nigel took a group students to see Sara Marafini at Hodder. Hodder produce high quality adult fiction and non fiction books,. The art directors that we saw predominantly focussed on fiction covers. Really interesting discussions about the relationship between text and image and how Illustration functions on a cover were followed by some great questions from the students.

Many thanks to all the art directors and designers involved in today’s visits…..

1st Year Illustration London Study Visit: December 2018

It’s that time of year again when 1st year Falmouth Illustration students descend on London. This year just over 100 students have made the trip to visit art directors and designers at some of the city’s most prestigious publishing and design companies. This year we have managed to arrange more visits than ever before (23 in total) alongside the much anticipated London Illustration Forum. The visits this year are:

Thames & Hudson / The Guardian & Observer / Lipstick of London / Scriberia / Simon & Schuster / Bernstein & Andriulli / Hachette / Egmont Children’s Books / Hodder / Penguin Books / JSR Illustration Agency / Lovers Creative Agency / Handsome Frank Illustration Agency / Pete Fowler / Arena Illustration Agency / Pocko / The Economist & 1843 / Folio Illustration Agency / Usborne / Debut Art / Carlton Books

This year’s Illustration Forum will again be held at The City Literary Institute and will feature talks by former Falmouth Graduate and now successful Children’s author and Illustrator Viviana Schwarz. Also speaking will be renowned Reportage Illustrator Olivier Kugler aswell as prodigious editorial Illustrator Michael Kirkham (Heart Agency)

The following posts will hopefully update you on the visits as they happen throughout the week……

Wunderkammer 2018 Hot off the Presses!

This year’s much anticipated edition of Wunderkammer flew off the presses literally a day before both London and New York study trips. This year’s cover has been illustrated by former Falmouth Illustration graduate and rising star Ana Jaks.

The standard of work in this year’s book is extremely high, showing the full range of talent that is about to graduate from the BA (Hons) Illustration course here at Falmouth. All staff that have taught the current final year students through the course can, alongside the students, take a share in the high quality of the work published in the book. Particular credit goes to the third year staff for the huge effort that they have made to research, design co-ordinate the production of this book.

Thanks also go out to the alumni who have contributed insightful interviews. These include: Calum Heath, Beth Wheatley, Owen Gent and Hugh Cowling (Uncle Ginger), Jamie Edler, Thomas Pullin.

Here is a sample of some of the spreads from the book. Images from the book launch will follow shortly …..


Falmouth Illustration New York 2018: POST no.2

Last week’s Falmouth Illustration trip was a huge success with around 40 students making the trip to the Big Apple. Numerous visits took place during the week and included some of the world’s top art directors. As with the trip that was happening simultaneously in London students had done a great job of securing some really stellar visits that amongst others included:

Debut Art
Peter Lott
Mendola Illustration Agency
Bernstein & Andriulli
3×3 Magazine
The New York Times
The Wall Street Journal
Vault 49

It is a major challenge to secure visits of this calibre for even a professional illustrator and so the students should be applauded for their success.

The purpose of these visits is to get feedback on their portfolios of work at the end of the course with a view to fine tuning just before they enter the ‘real world’ of illustration. This year however, one student, went one further and was commissioned by The iconic New York Times. Tom Paterson showed his portfolio to the art directors at the NYT and before the end of the afternoon was commissioned to produce an illustration for the online version of the newspaper. The deadline was the next day for the rough and the end of the week for the artwork. With a borrowed iPad and a quick run through ProCreate he got to work, eventually delivering the artwork on time. This is a first for any student on this study trip and congratulations go to Tom for doing such a great job with the illustration.
Screen Shot 2018-04-24 at 02.20.54

Another highlight was meeting up with Beth Wheatley and fellow Falmouth alumni Sophie at Vault 49. Former Falmouth Illustration graduate Beth now works at this well known Brand Design Agency that originated in the UK but is now based in midtown Manhattan. The story of her journey from Falmouth to New York was an inspiration to the students on that visit. It was also great to meet up with senior designers Jonathan and Richard for a drink afterwards.


Thanks to the students for making the trip such an enjoyable and successful one. I am sure that they have learnt a great deal about their work and the industry from the week. Thanks also go to all of the designers and art directors that were visited during the week for making time available to see our students. Much appreciated. Thanks also go out to Sue Clarke and Keryn Bibby and the Arta dmin team for organising such a successful trip. Here are the photos that I have at the moment. I will try and post more as they come in….

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…….