"I discovered my passion for illustration and printmaking during the first year of my degree"
I discovered my passion for illustration and printmaking during the first year of my degree and was encouraged by my tutors to pursue these avenues further. The guidance and encouragement I received on my course gave me the confidence to follow my dream of pursuing a career as a self-employed illustrator and printmaker.
In 2012, after launching my business ‘Snowdon Design & Craft’ selling hand printed paper and textile goods from my online shop, I was selected by the style journalist Charlotte Abrahams to appear in 'Spotted', her curated area of new talent at Top Drawer in London. My work is currently sold in galleries and independent shops in the UK, Europe, Canada and Australia, as well as in my online shop. I also work on specially commissioned illustration and lettering projects. I love to travel and much of the inspiration for my work is drawn from folk art and vintage typography from around the world.
If current or prospective students are considering a similar career path, I would like to pass on the most important advice I was ever given: know what your strengths are and work on improving them. No one can be good at everything and it's best to invest time improving what you are already good at, which also makes for a much more enjoyable working life to be doing what you are best at rather than continually wrestling with the things you struggle with.
Do what you are best at and enjoy most, and you will shine! Remember to let people know what you do and want to do and don’t be afraid to use social media or any other communication method that is most appropriate for your line of work. Show examples and talk about your skills, works in progress, and consider doing some self-initiated projects in the community or some voluntary work – you could add these to your portfolio too.
Also, good spelling, a polite telephone manner and good general office manners are very important – they can take you far, just remember to try to stay positive, even under pressure! Finally, don't be afraid to ask advice from someone experienced in your chosen sector. Most people will be happy to give a few minutes of advice and could turn out to be a good contact, so be sure to always thank them for their time.
Nigel Billson and Lenore Gristwood, two of my lecturers on the BA (Hons) Graphic Design degree. Lenore gave me the confidence to believe that being a self-employed creative was a realistic option! I have Nigel to thank for showing me how to 'think outside the box' and making me believe in my abilities to become an illustrator. He pushed me out of my comfort zone and made me realise I was capable of more than I thought I was.
For the stimulating creative atmosphere and the inspiring fellow students and lecturers I met every week.