Katharine Nicholls

Job title
Senior Lecturer
01326 370406

As a Senior Lecturer on BA(Hons) Animation and VFX at Falmouth University, Katharine’s professional background is diverse and has led her through many aspects of animation, illustration and design, with a strong interest in storytelling always underpinning the work.  

Katharine fell by happy accident into the animation industry when a job came in from her illustration agency to paint a background on a title sequence for Tandem Films. She enjoyed the collaborative way of working in animation studios and went on to work at TV Cartoons as a background artist on the film, ‘Father Christmas’.  At TVC there followed, ‘The Tailor of Gloucester’, ‘The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies’, ‘Oi! Get off our Train’, ‘T.R.A.N.S.I.T.’, ‘The Wind in the Willows’ and ‘The Willows in Winter’. She also painted backgrounds for Grand Slamm Childrens Films on the 2D TV series, 'Angelina Ballerina' and worked in the art department for other studios on characters and backgrounds on many commercials and title sequences, using a wide variety of production design styles.

Katharine has worked extensively with with writers, directors, students and VFX consultants at the The Cross Channel Film Lab, a Creative Europe sponored R&D project that connects Cornwall with Brittany in France.  With the CCFL Katharine has helped to develop feature-films that innovate in their use of visual effects, bringing together screenwriting, technology and production design. In this short film, Katharine talks about her contribution as an artist to ‘Dome’, one of the films developed at the lab.

In addition, Katharine was a key collaborator on the experimental, multidisciplinary learning and teaching film project, ‘Deep’, directed by colleague Derek Hayes, on which students worked with professionals and staff.

Katharine’s current research interests lie in virtual reality painting and form the basis of her study for an MA in Creative Education. Her greatest professional rewards come from seeing Animation and VFX students realise their ambitions.

Profile image by Estelle Car at the Cross Channel Film Lab


YearQualificationAwarding body
Falmouth University
Falmouth University

Membership of external committees

HEA Fellow

Research interests

Research interests and expertise

Currently undertaking pedagogic research as part of the Creative Education MA into increasing spatial awareness in drawing for animation, through the use of VR creative tools.

Research outputs

Publications and research outputs

Conference or Workshop Item

Nicholls, Katharine (2016) ‘The Cross Channel Film Lab’ case study. In: HEA Conference Inspire – sharing great practice in Arts and Humanities teaching and learning, Thursday, 3 March, 2016, The Waterfront Hotel Brighton BN1 2GS. Item availability may be restricted.

Nicholls, Katharine (2015) ‘The Cross Channel Film Lab’ case study. In: Society of Animation Studies, Beyond the Frame, Canterbury, 2015, 13th - 16th July 2015, Augustine House, Canterbury, CT1 2YA (Christchurch University). (Unpublished)

Nicholls, Katharine (2014) Deep Presentation. In: Creative Animation Knowledge Exchange - C.A.K.E., 14th - 18th July 2014, Edge hill University, St Helens Road, Ormskirk, Lancashire, L39 4QP. (Unpublished) Item availability may be restricted.



The Cross Channel Film Lab workshops, Brittany, France and Falmouth, Cornwall.


HEA conference, Brighton


Client Congress, 'Step across the Border: Transmedia Strategies & Interdisciplinary Approaches'. Zurich


Areas of teaching

Drawing for animation
painting and design

Courses taught

BA Animation and VFX

Business engagement

Business engagement case studies

Worked with The Cross Channel Film Lab, 2014 - 2016.

Professional engagement