Developing a Professional Practice as an Illustrator

In Articles, Courses, Features, Profiles, Tutors by Steve MepstedLeave a Comment

Morley College tutor  Stephen Hall  has over 25 years embedded in the disciplines of graphic design, illustration and education, Stephen’s commercial creative career seamlessly crosses the bridge between hand made and digital outcomes. Starting in fine art before becoming a commercial Illustrator and then studying graphic design, he launched Magpie Designs in 2000.

Specialising in providing illustrative graphic design solutions across a wide array of formats including print, web, animation and multi-media he continues to deliver to an array of national and international clients. His creative practice has complimented his equally diverse educational work, including 9 years at LCC and CSM colleges for UAL.

Here Stephen talks about his new course in Digital Illustration for Publication and the ‘Association of Illustrators’: a non-profit making trade association dedicated to it’s members professional interests.

I often encounter many students interested in illustration whose starting point is their love and/or ability of image making. My course Digital Illustration for Publication: Essential Skills has been structured and developed to explore this profession while developing digital skills to compliment this ambition. Beyond learning the ins and outs of being a professional illustrator its good to get up to date advice on how to further navigate your career beyond your time at Morley. Something I have always recommended to potential illustration students is The Association of Illustrators or the A.O.I.
Established in 1973 and based in Somerset House in London’s the Strand, its’ a non-profit making trade association dedicated to it’s members professional interests and works to advance and protect illustrator’s rights and encourage professional standards. I myself have been a member for more than 15 years and benefitted numerous times from it. Membership fees are very reasonable and there is a discount if you are studying at Morley.

For this you get great advice – everything from how to make a contract that will protect you, how much to charge for a job, and strategies for promotion. Even tips on how best to structure and manage your accounts! Maybe it’s not the most exciting part of being an illustrator, but vital if you serious about earning a living. In addition to this, members can get a free portfolio consultation, purchase up to date client directories, have an online portfolio, attend illustration industry related events and talks and receive VAROOM! – the only UK dedicated magazine to illustration.
Finally, you can enter illustration competitions at a reduced fee and potentially get you and your work noticed to those who commission illustrations. Each year there is The World Illustration Award, The V&A Illustration Award and The Prize for Illustration.
As part of my illustration course, students are encouraged to submit a piece of work to these as part of their portfolio development. Check out all the details here –
The Association of Illustrators

Looking forward to seeing you!



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