‘My name is Lucy Dillamore and I’m a Ba(Hons) Illustration student about to start my third year at Norwich University of the Arts (NUA). Ultimately I’d love to graduate and go into freelance illustration and further education, ideally taking an MA in Illustration.
Realistically, this is hard to achieve. Over the summer I’ve been taking on as many extra projects outside of uni as possible in order to build up my portfolio and develop my practice in preparation for final year.
I’ve been working on a number of small commissions with the aim to push myself out of my comfort zones and trying working methods that I’m not used to. For example, something that I really needed to work on was digital illustration. Through getting in touch with an old friend and small business owner I created some imagery for a local pet shop’s website. This allowed me to get comfortable with computer software that I wouldn’t usually use and even learn the basics of html which I’m sure will be useful in the future, as well as adding this to my portfolio.
With all of the commissions I’ve done I’ve developed a working practice for myself and learnt more about pricing work, time scales and gained confidence in myself as an illustrator. When graduating next year I won’t be completely new to the whole process of self promotion and free lancing and will have a variety of examples in my portfolio to show future clients.
Through constant internet searching and many emails being sent out to various people and companies over the summer, I’ve sought out commissions, contributed to projects raising money for charity and gained a small internship with a collective in London which I discovered through twitter.
I would say the internship was the most useful experience for me, not just because I saw first-hand what life as part of an illustration collective was like, or that I’ll have a ‘purely Illustration – based’ internship to talk about in my cv, but mainly for the people I met, contacts I made and the advice I gained from it.
I met fellow student interns all in various years of study and from across the country as well as members of the collective who had had a variety of experiences in the past to share. With the interns we discussed problems we’ve all faced in our degrees, how we found out about the work experience and how we go across finding out about internships and gaining commissions which, as many agreed was as simple as searching through sites such as twitter and Instagram and following as many design orientated as possible to spot opportunities! The main advice and something else we agreed on was simply persistence in seeking work experience and opportunities: I had been searching for internships since October and was successful at last in July!
The contacts I’ve made from this, interns and members of the collective included will be a reliable source of advice for me and will provide news of other internships in the future.’
Here we can see the importance of getting yourself out there, sending speculative emails is good, but the more you send showing a genuine interest, the more connections you make and the less speculative those later emails become. Although you might not feel this post applies to you this idea really is applicable in any field. Do try and contact people and you will be surprised how far you get. Also do not fall at the first hurdle thinking 'oh they didn't reply so I'm giving up'.. Someone will reply so persevere and you will get there.
if you would like to look at some more of Lucy's work please see the following links: