I’ll be showcasing my illustrated travel journal at New Designers Part 2 in a few weeks time. Chapter 1 follows a car journey from a greenbelt area into a large city, with the progression of the journey portrayed through the steady change in landscape. Chapter 2 focuses on a group of hikers travelling over the Black Mountains.
I’ve been particularly interested in the importance of landscapes within illustration since completing my BTEC at Bournville College, and have often emphasised this in my work. My 2015 illustration of the iconic Hereford Cathedral and old bridge across the river Wye won me the opportunity to see it mass-produced on library cards across Herefordshire, and I also designed signage for one of Longbridge Public Art Project’s spaces in the summer of 2016, incorporating the architecture of the new town centre into the typography.
My second year research, which I presented at the British Conference of Undergraduate Research 2017, helped me understand the responsibility we have as illustrators towards the subjects of our images. This isn’t visible in the finished travel journal chapters but it was definitely there in the decision making. I wasn’t going to fall into lazy stereotypes of rural and urban areas when the narrative I already had available to me was so rich!
As I’ve specialised in painting over the past year, one challenge has been dealing with people’s preconceptions regarding the medium. I’m determined to show that paintings can be as accessible to the general public as other media more commonly used by contemporary illustrators.
Being based in a less densely populated part of the UK it can be difficult to get my hands on the right materials, especially at short notice. I get round this by making the absolute most of the materials I have, giving away materials I don’t want any more to other artists, and having a rule that every time I am at an art shop to buy my materials, I purchase something unusual that I don’t really need. Through being extremely organised and having a readiness to invest in small things that aren’t useful in the immediate future, I overcome some of the problems with living in a more rural area.
My time in formal arts education has gone so fast, but I know that just because I’m graduating it doesn’t mean I’ll stop learning. I’m excited to start my journey as a freelance illustrator, and I’m looking forward to meeting other graduates from across the UK starting their journey at New Designers Part 2. Come and find me at the Hereford College of Arts stall if you have the time!