I chose Falmouth because it was the only art institution in the country that had a 100% teaching score in the quality assurance assessment, and the calibre of teaching staff along with the course structure was beyond excellent.
The freedom that the Illustration degree offered was ideal. What I wanted to do was not really traditional illustration – I was interested in paper folding, pop-ups and models – but I still had the support to explore my interests regardless. The tutors even brought in a paper engineer to give me some specific tutorials. I now work as a paper engineer for leading children's book publisher, Dorling Kindersley.
I loved my degree because my tutors gave me the skills to go and get it; there was no hand holding. They taught us to be ambitious from the very start; in the very first term of our course we met agents and publishers in London to learn about approaching people, and once I understood that I could really push myself to succeed.
I contacted the top paper engineers in the world for my dissertation, so that on a study trip to New York I was able to arrange some studio time with the best in the industry. It was an amazing experience. I got to spend a day in the studio with the world’s best commercial paper engineers – Robert Sabuda, Matthew Reinhart and Kyle Olmon – and also went to see my personal hero, Ed Hutchins.
Establishing a dialogue with publishing houses during the course also opened doors for me. On graduation I was offered a month’s internship with Dorling Kindersley, and two weeks into the placement I had four job offers to choose between, all in my specialist area of interest.
Be a first rate version of yourself and don’t ever settle for second best were two philosophies that Falmouth drummed into me. I knew it was an elite industry that I wanted to break into, but then my way of viewing it is that someone has to make it, so if I work hard and am dedicated, why shouldn’t it be me?