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Work-in-progress Reader

(Eventually this will fold like a pocket valentine)

Uni, as I expected, has been less about the work I’ve made and more about the network of people around me. It has helped me get out my shell, see myself from an outside perspective, and evaluate where I want to be in the big, wide world of illustration. I came in knowing how much I identified with the term ‘illustrator’, and I think it’s become an even more accurate description of what I do as I learned more about it through the course. I had the most fun with projects where I could explore a theme independently and dive deep into research, and though I struggled with the more open-ended briefs, it made me realise that I prefer having a few boundaries to help inspire creative solutions. 


As part of my exit strategy, I want to develop my art on the side and work a full or part-time job; If I’m lucky, I’ll work in an independent bookshop and live with some artist friends and a clowder of cats; if I’m not so lucky, I might be a part-time cleaner living with my parents. Ideally I’d like to get more experience working in galleries, creative venues, or maybe even publishing houses, to get more insight into the industry and network with fellow creatives.


I feel that I need to experiment with my visual language for a while, without the pressure of uni or commissions. In particular, I want to build up a stronger portfolio of book covers: the Penguin and Folio Society’s book cover contests will be good opportunities to get my work out there (or at least test my skills) before I start applying to art agencies. Of the ones I’ve looked at so far, my favourites are Agency Rush, Dutch Uncle​, Folio Art​, and The Artworks, since they all seem very illustration-focused and host a great range of artistic styles.

If I'm accepted in, hopefully they’ll help me get bigger commissions from the companies on my client list (or similar), which includes:


The Folio Society

Les Fugitives

And Other Stories



Little brown group

Penguin Random House

Cannongate books

Welbeck publishing

Breakdown Press



Throughout, I’ll be selling prints and other paraphernalia through my online shop and at art markets. I've had some success selling products and getting commissions through Etsy, but in five years time, I’d like to be able to do this via my own website instead. I’d also like to try taking fanart commissions through Tumblr, not as a career choice but purely for the shits and giggles.


Myself and some of my friends on the course have formed a collective (Sinner Peace), based on our collaborative project from 2nd year, and we’re hoping to keep it up post-graduation. So far we’ve made an online shop, a zine, an interactive installation, and ran a stall at Mila Plants selling our prints and stickers. It would be lovely to be able to work in a shared studio together and collaborate again. 


I don’t have many long-term plans other than being able to support myself as a freelance illustrator, working with a good range of different clients. 


Case Studies


Marlowe Lune works with book publishers and makes a prolific amount of personal work, as well as maintaining a steady income on Patreon where they share exclusive content. I’m not sure I'll ever be able to maintain a social media presence as well as them, but their patreon is a cool example of how to make a community rather than just an audience. 

Nick Hays is the author and illustrator of The Book of Trespass, and I really admire how he marries his artistic and literary skills to convey his political ideas. Both these artists are great at taking ‘traditional’ aesthetics and using them to promote a more transgressive message, which is something I want to develop more in my own practice.

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