A week in the life of a Falmouth Illustration BA(Hons) student
23 January 2024
This article was written by Illustration BA(Hons) student Tom.
I don’t usually have anything scheduled on a Monday morning (a win!!) but this week I got up early and started working on some media experimentation for my current project, which is to design a poster for the company Plant One, who focus on rewilding Cornwall’s ancient Celtic forests.
I started off with testing gouache paint and then moved on to ink and posca pens. In the afternoon, I went into campus for a group tutorial, which is where a group of around six students meet with a tutor to discuss their ideas for the current project.
I really enjoy these sessions because you get loads of useful feedback from your coursemates and tutors and they always lead to better final outcomes!
In this particular group tutorial, my tutor pointed out that the ideas I had come up with were straying too far from the brief we were given, and he asked me to rethink the rough poster design I had presented. While this was frustrating at first, the ideas I had after hearing the advice from my tutorial group were a lot better and I was a lot happier with how my project was turning out!
Today I focused on redesigning my poster as suggested by my tutor, so I thought I’d walk you through my process!
I started by redoing a workshop that we had earlier in the project, which asked us to create a few thumbnails of ideas based off a grid system, whether that be a normal grid or something more fun like a curved grid in the shape of a wave.
Then, I did some more research into the company the poster is for to bring my ideas back to the brief, as well as doing some quick sketches of the trees that they plant.
From there, I sketched another rough poster design and added some values in black and white digitally. This meant that I could use Photoshop’s gradient map function to experiment with colour – something I learnt how to do during one of our digital skills classes with our lovely technician Cally!
The digital skills classes are super helpful in teaching you how to use industry-standard programmes like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, which are important tools for an illustrator to be able to use! I had some fun playing around with some different colour combinations and then called it a day.
We have our 'Wednesday Morning Meetings' every Wednesday, which is where the lecturers tell us about what’s happening for the next week, remind us about submission dates and it’s a great opportunity to ask any questions you might have about the current project.
I also had a project review today, which involves everyone bringing their work for a project into the studio and walking around to leave each other feedback on post-it notes. These sessions are super helpful, especially because our tutors leave feedback too!
I finished off the day by working on my PowerPoint for submission – all our hand-ins at the end of a project are submitted online, so the lecturers ask us to gather our work into a PowerPoint.
Today was an exciting day because I had a life drawing class! These are held in our dedicated life drawing studio that’s shared between Illustration, Fine Art and Drawing. The studio is so gorgeous especially when its sunny, and it’s so important as artists to practice drawing the figure so I really enjoy these classes!
We use a variety of different techniques like drawing with your non-dominant hand, drawing with something other than your hand and sometimes even using printmaking! The technician supervising the sessions has a dedicated life drawing playlist which he puts on which creates a chill atmosphere while we’re there.
To finish off the week, I went into the printmaking centre on campus to start a lino print for my poster project. The centre is such an amazing facility and the technicians are so helpful if you’re just starting out with printmaking (like I am!) - they’re on hand to help with whatever you need.
My lino printing process started with transferring my design onto the lino plate, and cutting out my first layer, remembering to make my text backwards so it comes out correctly in print. I rolled ink on to the plate, and then the technicians showed me how to use the printing press – which is the original one they have had since 1902!
I ended up being on campus from around 10am to 4.30 – this is by no means a typical day but cutting my lino takes a lot longer than you might think. It was such an enjoyable day and a fitting end to a fun week!
Have you got a question about studying Illustration BA(Hons) at Falmouth University?