Senior Lecturer, Illustration

Sue Clarke has been an academic and illustrator for over 30 years; she graduated from Central Saint Martins in 1989 with a first-class BA(Hons) degree. She is currently Senior Lecturer on the BA(Hons) Illustration Course at Falmouth, and External Assessor for the BA(Hons) Illustration Course at Derby University. She has taught at Falmouth for 17 years, across different roles, including Head of the 1st year and Module Leadership for Level 4 and Level 6.

Previous academic roles include Joint Course Leader on the MA Illustration/Animation Course at Kingston University, External Assessor for the BA Illustration Course at Hull School of Art and Associate Lecturer/Visiting Lecturer at various Universities, including Central St. Martins, Brighton and Buckinghamshire. She has taught across a range of levels, such as Art Foundation, BA and MA, in Illustration and textiles, and has written various short courses.

Sue has worked substantially as a freelance illustrator alongside teaching throughout her career and has built up a large international client list across Editorial Illustration, Design, Advertising and Publishing, in the UK, USA, Spain, Italy, Germany, Japan and Holland. Selected clients include Time magazine, Wall St. Journal, The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph, The Radio Times, New Scientist, Penguin Books, Walker Books, Transworld, Macmillan, Hyperion/Disney, BBC Educational Books, The Royal Festival Hall, NatWest, Amnesty International and Decca Records. Notable, sustained commissions include regular contributions to Wall Street Journal in the US, Europe and Asia, and several self-authored fiction and non-fiction children's picture books and award-winning pop-up books.

Personal research in conjunction with 'Painted Words' Illustration agency in New York continues to explore paper engineered books with inbuilt visual illusions, based on the Chinese 'Jacob's Ladder' toy mechanism.

Recent research includes a written contribution to an academic book on Illustration titled, 'A Companion to Illustration', edited by Alan Male, published by Wiley Blackwell in the US, with worldwide distribution, for which she also illustrated the cover of the book. Her chapter is titled: 'The Illustrator as Visual Problem Solver: A Deconstruction of Conceptual Strategies for the Contemporary Illustrator'.

External Links

Contact details



Year Qualification Awarding body
1989 BA(Hons) Graphic Communication (Specialism in Illustration) Central St Martins School of Art
1986 Art Foundation Oxford Polytechnic

Honors and awards

Year Description

Award: 'Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies for 1995' (USA) for children's book 'Tombs of the Pharaohs', published by Hyperion (USA), Tango Books (UK), Lemnisaat (Holland), Mondadori (Italy), and Susaeta (Spain).


Thames Television Travel Bursary Award and Prize for corresponding Exhibition at Thames TV.

Research Interests

Research interests and expertise

2019 research output / publication: a written chapter for an academic book on Illustration and book cover illustration.

Chapter title: 'The Illustrator as Visual Problem Solver: A Deconstruction of Conceptual Strategies for the Contemporary Illustrator'.

Book title: 'A Companion to Illustration', published by Wiley Blackwell (US) with worldwide distribution, 2019. (Hardback, Paperback, ePDF, ePub, Online Books, ISBN: 978-1-1191-8553-6).

My chapter examines the role of ideas within the context of illustration, explores a breadth of visual problem-solving techniques and provides a 'Toolkit' of conceptual strategies.

Current personal research explores paper engineered books with inbuilt visual illusions, based on the Chinese 'Jacob's Ladder' toy mechanism (in discussion with New York Illustration agent 'Painted Words').

2019 - 202I, I co-produced the BA(Hons) Illustration Alumni/Graduate Magazine, 'Wunderkammer', taking responsibility for the art direction, research, editorial content, interviews and editing. The editorial narrative and research was a key role, addressing topical themes in contemporary illustration, such as the breadth and diversity of Illustration, challenging subject matter for illustrators and their roles and responsibilities, and Illustration 'making a difference' to society.

Academic subject specialisms:

  • Conceptual Thinking / Visual Problem Solving
  • Young Audience / Narrative Sequence / Paper engineering
  • Professional Practice for Illustrators
  • Contextual Illustration (Editorial Illustration in particular)
  • Visual Studies / Materials and Processes


Courses taught

  • BA(Hons) Illustration

Professional Engagement

Independent professional practice

Freelance Illustration commissions include editorials for magazines and newspapers, self-authored children's books (including several paper engineered pop-up books), book covers, CD covers, textiles and a range of contexts/platforms for Design and Advertising.

Selected clients include:

Selected magazine commissions include: Time Magazine (USA), Wall Street Journal (US, Europe and Asia), Harvard Business Review (USA), The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Times, The Financial Times, The Times Educational Supplement, Radio Times, Scotland on Sunday/Spectrum, The Express, New Scientist, Elle, Marie Claire, You Magazine, Woman and Home, Mens Health, Tomorrows World magazine, and Icon magazine.

Selected publishers for self-authored children's picture book commissions include: Hyperion (USA), Lemnisaat (Holland), Mondadori (Italy), Susaeta (Spain), Viking Penguin (USA), Robsons (UK), Tango Books (UK), Parragon (UK), Aurum Verlag (Germany), and The Educational Television Company (UK).

Selected publishers for book cover commissions include: Walker, Penguin, MacMillan, Transworld, Doubleday, Scholastic, Collins, Flamingo, Element, Routledge, Quartet, Orion, Quarto, Chivers, Hardens, Longman, Readers Digest, Duncan Baird, Simon and Schuster, BBC Audio Books, BBC Educational Books Cambridge University Press, Pleasant Company (USA) and Naklada Ljevak (Croatia).

Other selected clients include: The Royal Festival Hall, NatWest, Decca Records, Amnesty International, Kings College/London, The Maybourne Hotel group (Claridges, the Connaught, the Berkeley), NHS, Southern Arts, The Art Group, Paperchase, Light and Coley Design, The Partners Design group, Bostock and Pollitt Design, and Smith and Gilmour Design.

Social, community and cultural engagement

Exhibition work includes curation and exhibiting.

Contributions include various contemporary Illustration shows in London, in conjunction with galleries, museums, universities, and other institutions, such as the AOI (Association of Illustrators), The London Transport Museum, The Conningsby Gallery/Debut Art Illustration Agency, The Mall Galleries and Central St Martins.

Engagement with professional associations and societies

  • 2021 - 2025 External Examiner - BA(Hons) Illustration at Derby
  • 2007 - 2011 External Examiner - BA(Hons) Illustration at Hull School of Art and Design
  • Member of the Association of Illustrators (UK)