Blog 12: Exposure


This is the final blog post on the Professional Practice module, where we will be discussing for the last time brand identity and how to market my work.

(I’m sad too don’t worry, no more endless volumes of text to read)

Self Promotion:

Within this lecture, the aim was to obtain a better grasp over how you can market yourself and get your name out there with clear and bold communication. We were told that your visual identity is your tone of voice, metaphorically comprised of your layout and visual elements that make you an individual as no two people are the same. Think of it as your creative fingerprint. The key concepts behind this are:

  • Advertise Yourself
  • Communicate specifically about you
  • Make connections
  • Generate interest in your work

Again, it has been previously mentioned in other posts about aiming your proposals and submissions to the right people in an authentic and consistent fashion. As through your establishing network, you will want to remind your clients and employers that you still exist and want work hence you can send out emails with by annually updates to produce interest of chances of work. Also, it was said that we are always evolving and developing as designers so our individual voices will change as we do so it’s not worrying for your identity to adapt with the type of materials or experiences you have. You are the key factor and no one else can do the job you in order to generate income, which means putting the hours in to keep interest I your work to prfit from it. Letting those relationships go silent is like ignoring people essentially, you want people to still acknowledge you can work for them. As well as that you need to keep up with trends, constantly researching how capitalize upon the current times to stay ahead of the competition otherwise you will be left behind, it’s about being objective about how people see you. You will want people to easily recognize you style and you apply yourself to showcase your work and skill set.


Therefore, we were told to invest time into some marketing ideas for ourselves in the name of self-promotion. Such promotion items include:

  • Web Portfolio
  • Blog
  • Competitions
  • Zines
  • Publications
  • CV
  • Covering Letter
  • Business cards
  • Email

I took the time to start revving my Behance account as it is time to start publishing projects on social media such as Behance and Instagram. Both can be found below. These accounts allow me to showcase my student work in a professional and coherent layout that people can easily access which takes up my web portfolio item. The process is easy to upload and detail my work, linking back to my other sites to have an online network for people to follow and keep up with. Although I haven’t invested time into creating a Facebook page which was a prime suggestion by my illustrator contact Heather Horsley who I spoke with in my last blog post. It would seem creating a Facebook page can generate interest a keep people in the loop about my work, while allowing access to my other public showcases as previously mentioned above.

I even made the banner for this blog a bespoke clue to my visual identity.


Another item I have to promote my work is my silent graphic novel which I got professional published using the printing site Blurb, where I can sell or send out this novel to show my work and storytelling capabilities to an audience and maybe even make some money. Having an item which people can physical interactive by holding and using their sense is more appreciated gimmick as it take your work further in a world where the screen should be your only option as print really isn’t dead.

Post Card:

I took it upon myself to create a first edition post card after reading the impact it had on illustrator and designer Nick Iluzada.

Trifold Postcard Promo - Self-Promotion by Freelance Illustrator Nick Iluzada. Click to visit Nick's online portfolio!

“[Nick’s trifold promo postcard folds] out to be a really beautiful presentation which any art director would love to hang on their wall … [Nick] also took the time to write out who he has worked for, some award’s he’s won, and also briefly talk about what he does specifically. This serves to legitimize him beyond simply writing ‘Nick Iluzada: Illustrator.’”…”

In an article online, Nick talked about how he created a series of illustrated postcards, to get his work to art directors to generate more work. He had designed a tri-fold card which is unconventional when it comes to postcards but ingenious as it presents a new dimension to look at and display work while allowing for a space saving format o showcase even more illustrations.



The idea behind the postcards were to send to directors directly as item to keep and remember is work by, which is something I wanted to do. So, I took an image from my other module in directed projects and applied it to a postcard format, with the intent to provide a list of social media and portfolio sites to send to art directors hose address I could locate in newspapers such as the Guardian. I would have to use a site like Moo in-order to mass produce such cards, yet I would want to tailor each postcard design and content to the person I’m sending it to like I would do with a CV. I found the idea of having a physical promotional item like my zine a great device to send off in the future as a way to produce contacts if I can’t directly talk to people. It’s a more personal establishment of contact to rather than generic email which may or may not be looked, this provides a mystery to who sent the work.

Post Card Design Below:

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As per my action plan I have also updated my cv to incorporate a more visual element to it. I have corrected the grammatical errors and put the information in order of relevance, while evidence my experiences as a part time worker and student to back up my skills. I applied a double exposure effect to the headings as I explored this visual element in my last semesters work which I found rather successful. This should evidence my use of line, ink and digital media in equilibrium.

James Trangmar CV final


To conclude I have researched into more competitions or places to submit to in the future past the deadline of this blog in order to keep a proactive process going into the summer. I will attempt to apply my knowledge from this module into an upcoming job applications as well as submission to gain publicity. Such as entering in the weekly completion for Illustration Friday who judge a variety of weekly submission with a fresh topic each time.








Blog 11: Talking to a Professional

Welcome to the eleventh installment of professional practice, where I will be talking about my experience in getting in contact with an illustrator within the industry.


I decided to search for illustrators who were nearby or within a drivable distance away, to which I stumbled upon the illustrator Heather Horsley. Heather was a recent graduate from the university of derby herself on the same course as me. I decided to ignore the anxious introvert inside me and just take the gamble and get in contact with Heather at the very least to get some insight be it verbally or by email if a meet up wasn’t possible. Within the first few hours I got response which is evidenced below. We discussed further over email about the meet up until we decide upon a suitable meeting place, which was a costa in Burton upon Trent where she is based. I believe putting in the effort to go and visits a professional who has a busy schedule is the right thing to do rather than demanding for them to come to you as its their time you’re using up it its best to exploit that. Otherwise you’ll lose a good contact in my mind.


(Costa is the haven for all formal chats, coffee sends a good vibe)

I went prepared with research about Heathers work and turned up early to make a good impression. When we had, both gotten a drink and had done away with the awkwardness that follows when you meet new people, it became insanely easy to talk and converse with Heather about both the trivial and serious side of our industry. I had some preconceptions that I would communicate due to my own anxieties but we broke the awkward ice and simply chatted like normal human beings, because at the end of the day that’s what we are despite any occupational titles. The interview was itself really broadened my own insight and further horizons.

Question Time:

I will paraphrase my notes as a recording of our interview as that was the only way to record the reams of knowledge.

What are you working on at the moment?

-Heather is working various portrait illustrations for twins as well as creating an interactive pop up map of Burton for the city council, alongside some charity based work.

How did you start out?

-Heather informed me that initially she started out as freelancer in illustrating gift cards and pattern designs for a few years before taking the leap back to education as an older student at the university of Derby. This as primarily due to the more trending use of digital media and techniques which she wanted to use and perfect in her own practice leading to a 2:1 at BA level.

What challenges did you face initially?

-Initially she mentioned that it was the online side of getting work out into the public domain, where she needed to build a coherent website that clearly explored and showcased her visual identity. As well as being apart of the AOI to get portfolio and finical advice to avoid start up troubles. Heather was also based at Bank Mills studios from the start until she moved to burton, yet they had set her up with the space and widespread support needed. She suggested that I should take consider a place after a university or the company Seed creativity who provide informative guidance and lectures on the industry as well as various skill sets to explore.

How have you used social media?

-Her approach to social media involved having a central hub for everything such as her website which will be shown below. Here she centered her consistently updated Facebook page as blog with a professional Behance Portfolio, along with her other sites for her portrait business as well. She mentioned he importance of having a rigid and clear cut LinkedIn page to thoroughly communicate your visual identity through the focused networking site.

How do you approach clients?

-Simply put, be yourself since you’re selling yourself essentially. Whist being professional and show good engaging body language, again remember you’re all human, just remember to do background research as that’s what she did with meeting me. As she approached our meet up as like meeting a client. Always be enthusiastic and remember you can say no if the job isn’t right for you, or you can pass it on to one of your contacts as not to let the client down.

Any advice for someone starting out in illustration?

-Be clear of which direction you want to follow and don’t over saturate your portfolio.

What I presumed would be a quick chat turned into 2 hours of insightful conversation, I really got to know how Heather worked as an illustrator with her hand drawn and precise process with a contemporary and fresh modern output. As well as the ins and outs of how to handle time management and daily life as illustrator. Heather took a glance at my work and pointed out that I had a passion for politics and editorial work which evidences what this blog has portrayed. Since she did background research on me using this very blog.

Even after the conversation we spoke about keeping in contact for similar talks on our industry, giving me another contact in the form of Thomas Phillips to help gain some focused insight on editorial illustration. As a part of the AOI she mentioned an event in May called Picture Hook where other practitioners will present their work and talk about the industry which I will be attending for further insights and perspectives. This experience concludes that by taking a chance you can really network by being yourself having the right attitude to make contacts.

Little White Lies:

Also, below is the final update on the Little White Lies Competition that I had previously mentioned in earlier posts. Although I didn’t win or get shortlisted, as stated it was the experience to handle such deadlines and different projects to highlight some improvements, Such as typography to which I lack a lot of knowledge on.

Winning Submission:


Blog 10: Becoming a Master?

First I apologise if you thought you were reading this post to learn the secrets of become a Jedi master, again sorry to disappoint you and myself this will be a discussion about Master’s degrees.

Serious Talks:

Unfortunately, instead of learning about the mysteries of the force we will be talking about the mystery behind the postgraduate degrees. The lecture we had was directed by the head of the MA courses at the university of derby followed by two current students who are taking the course. The masters itself at Derby specifically is split into two different courses, being the (MA) Visual Communication and the (MDes) in either Illustration, Graphic design or Animation. This is again a serious topic, which follows more adult decisions into whether you want to spend another year studying building up more debt or embracing the chaos that is the real world. Although at derby current BA students get a 10% discount towards the fees of £640 per 20 credits for the MA and £9,250 for the MDes.

(It’s like bargain deals but with your time and much more money.)

The discount itself is an incentive to apply but I feel that it’s not enough of an advantage to sway my decisions into applying. The courses take 12 months to complete and include a compulsory third semester which doesn’t exist at BA level, meaning no long summer break, which in my opinion is great. Don’t get me wrong I like time off but it leads to procrastination if not kept in check hence a third semester would keep me occupied. This amount of time is dedicated to studio practice an being able to go the next step further with independent exploration whilst being supervised by lecturers to truly stand out of the crowd.

Derby Masters:

Even the students at the presentation gave their thoughts, which included the independence to follow their ambitions, challenge the norm, grow into a better designer as well have the discussions and feedback by students and teachers alike to truly develop at post graduate level. Ultimately the point being put across was that this higher tier of education gives you an even bigger head start in the industry, even employers head hunt Ba students but they will appreciate the time and effort the master students have taken to complete such a degree which will work in their favor.

The only hindrance I can think of with this is, that the extra year in education censors you incredibly to the real world and creating a network as we were told previously. I consider that the university will provide experience and simulate the industry but it makes more sense to maybe take a step into the world and make your mark in such times. By this I mean the current climate of Brexit and British industries is heading into vast uncertainty. The creative side of UK seems to be at risk when we leave the EU due to vast amounts of funding and experience we gain from such cooperation. Hence, I personally would want to get myself out there, making connections with companies and getting work into the public sphere to compensate for the upcoming loss of that European infrastructure. Being able to work and earn as well puts less pressure on yourself after leaving university’s you can back yourself up before it gets any worse, merely as selfish counter precaution.

“The MDes in Illustration has offered me the chance to extend my learning straight through BA levels into something more profound. I really enjoyed the first three years studying at Derby and felt that I wanted to push myself that little bit further and develop my skills to master’s level.”

Laura Vann, MDes Illustration graduate

There was a theme of journey being centered around this lecture, that the masters were another step along an individual path, hence why they look out for contemporary and ambitious students to tackle the postgraduate level awards. The groups are smaller it would seem, which means more concise and insightful discussions and connections on the course, as there are still people on my course now I haven’t spoken too nor remember their names due to the large class size. Another thing the students said, was that the masters allows you to truly look inwards at your character and your work be it in process or attitude, ultimately being able to adapt a change your preconceptions. As the work and yourself will evolve on this course, you can truly hoe your craft in a safe environment which is another positive but this censorship could blind you from the realities which you inevitable need to face in the industry and to which I have mentioned in my previous posts.

Other Courses:

I took this chance to look up other university courses on the same level in order to not be blinded by what the lecturer at my own university said.

(I’m not a traitor trust me)

One such courses was at the University of Edinborough where the courses description goes on to say that the postgraduate study is a reflective programme to delve into areas such as web design, publishing, theatre and television. In comparison with Derby it is a combination of studio directed practice and heavy theory driven studies, to repaper for employment. Although this programme is 21 months long at the cost of £6,150, which again it’s down to matter of prioritty; whether you keep building knowledge with the access to university level facilitiess or in the same time build those vital connections and portfolio. Again, it’s a small difference as leaving university and going on to the next level is more about time and cost. Although the Brexit climate and the looming shadow of a second independence referendum for Scotland would make Edinborough a temperamental choice and cost, as I could be considered an international student if they secure independence in a vote.


The other university I investigated was Falmouth, where they provide an (MA) Illustration: Authorial practice. This course differs from the others as it focuses in directly on print, publishing and authorial world as a hint in its title. This narrative, editorial and sequential focus is an invested niche for illustration, as the other universities took a broader approach with the industries that their postgraduates could focus on. I won’t mention the costs again here, as its becoming apparent if you took a degree at BA level you don’t take the cost into consideration if you want the experience, it’s like they say you must take the chance if you want it rather than standing a far.  I look at what the students at Falmouth had to say about the course itself which are as follows:

The course injected a great deal more motivation, professionalism and creativity into my practice, helping me foster and cultivate connections and progressions in my chosen area, especially combining traditional craftsmanship with new technologies.

Jenny Soep MA Illustration: Authorial Practice graduate

I joined the MA because I wanted time to develop my own independent practice away from the pressures of contracts and clients. The research I began at Falmouth, with grants I won whilst on the course, has taken me in a completely new direction. This enquiry has involved working as an artist in residence and workshop participant in the UK, Germany, Scandinavia and the Netherlands.

Sue Corke MA Illustration: Authorial Practice graduate

From those comments the Falmouth course like the others does its upmost to mold their students further into a hybrid of traditional and digital practitioner who challenge the conformity of visual communication, who rightly want to explore the field in depth. The postgraduate tier again is a pool of opportunities to exploit as they mention with projects abroad and grants which is all part of that design experience. Yet in illustration there is not direct route to gaining the top jobs, you could progress further without a degree if you have the mindset and skills. In conclusion, I would further consider a masters after I had established my free-lance work as more of a future millstone, as due to o the current economic climate its paramount to get in and setup before it gets even more difficult to do so.

With this all in mind, I will be trying to contact a professional illustrator to get their own insight on the industry.

Blog 9: The CV Clinic…

The title for this post makes it sound like the discussion will about some academic infection that needs checking out, apart from procrastination, crippling debts and hang overs then that’s about it for student problems that need seeing too.

Anyway, welcome to the ninth installment of professional Practice where we will talk about the CV Clinic that me and other students in the module took part in. Essentially the Clinic was meant to simulate a really job application process by handing in your improved CV from the other lecture, which would then be processed as if it were an employer. By the end of the day we would find out if we had been binned, kept on file or moved forward for interview as per the actual practice. The judgment was a collaborative between our creative lecturers and eh careers hub advisors from the university. Thus, combining the creative industry with the practicality of the cv experts.

For this exercise, I reformatted and considered the content I’m providing in my cv, I took the advice that content matter more than appearance which was a prominent force in the other lecture before. Also we had to create a job to apply for which needed a cover letter too, I chose to fabricate a printing company and apply my skills to that application.

Below is the updated (PDF) CV:


Covering Letter

At the end of the day we all gathered back to meet our judgment at the hands of these CV Executioners, waiting for the chop.  It turned out that 10 people were asked to interview and 15 were kept on file while the rest met their end in the bin. I was within those few who were kept on file which was what I had expected, as my document lacked any indication of my creative style for the sake of the vital relevant information.  Below are the comments that were made:

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I agreed with the comments that were made with my documents to a far extent.  The amount of focus I applied on the information, I may have overloaded it with text some not being key or relevant enough for the position, merely filling white space. Or it could be down to just the formatted order of information putting the most relevant at the start and going chronologically from there.

They mentioned how I had listed the modules but it didn’t evidence any skills or prove what I got from them, since a name of module to a stranger means little to nothing. This is something I can address and expand upon as an improvement. My aim of getting the content right was almost there apart from silly minor mistakes that I should have picked up on such as grammar and word choices that break the flow of documents, or are just too wordy for their own good. The same focus on content was brought up as there were comments about the beginnings of a visual identity being shown in hierarchy but nothing else, with this feedback I can try and apply some of the creative skills into my documents to evidence my skill set and show my visual identity at the same time. This in my opinion and the feedback would get me closer to the position of interview.

From a professional stand point, it means because I was kept on file in this hypothetical exercise that I could be called upon in the future for other such positions. The lacking part of my CV was most certainly the appearance or indication of creative skills both in visuals and evidence in text which is something I can improve upon.

Portfolio Item

I can apply for internships such as this open position at ‘Big Fish’, who are a design and branding company that consults clients on their marketing and design ventures with a professional creative team. Their client list rosters with giants such as Coca Cola, BBC, Fanta, Abercrombie & Fitch and many others. With a more refined CV I could be able to apply such a position that involves working as part of a crew of highly skilled creative professionals with other industry readers to tackle their visual communication projects.

Portfolio Item


Blog 8: The Publishing Wizard Nobrow


Just before I start discussing the lecture given by one of the co-founders of the innovative company ‘Nobrow’, there will be no jokes about eye brows

(I know your devastated, heartbroken even, but it simply isn’t the time nor the place).


As mentioned above this post will be discuss the lecture revolving around the company Nobrow and their sister company Fly Eye Books who master craft ‘beautiful’ books and illustrated publications as an independent publisher. He went on to provide his origin story detailing the creation of both publishing house, which began after university studying graphic design.

Image result for nobrow logo

Words of Wisdom:

The leap into becoming publishing was after noticing a massive niche hole in the market for visual publishes who didn’t prioritize on the literary pieces. This isn’t to say that there aren’t visual aspects to publishers in the industry such as Penguin or Ladybird Books, yet they accompanied vast amounts of text which seemed to have industry bias or consensus. Although the startup was intriguingly new at the time with developments such as a store front, festivals and moving store fronts; the company grew in fame due to a growing list of contributing illustrators. There rise to infamy, poetically put was down to their practices of reviving print from its presumed death due to digital applications. They overcame this idea of the digital revolution destroying the ideals of print so that objects must be both beautiful and practical in use; rather than being in contest with one another. Although this could be a modern take on William Morris and his craft design movement that followed the same basis but with all manner of possessions.

This celebration of visual communication was the principle behind this new publisher. It’s clear to say that the founders clearly found a niche to celebrate the creative side of the publishing industry be it graphic novels or children’s books, to encourage visual designers and designers to spread their ideas and earn from the exposure.

There was also mention of the early pan-tone colour process and the actual printing side of the industry, where we were told that in the early months of Nobrow it became cost efficient to print in less colours such as two colour prints, which makes sense. Since two colours requires less ink thus reduced costs in purchasing inks due to two colours which can be mixed. Although the hindrance in the eye of a designer here is that, if you create a publication for print that is less than four colour print it could work against you. Since the publisher might pay you less due to minimal use of ink, in a business sense that seems logical but it could undermine the designers work with such technicalities just by the creative choice on colour. With that in mind, such a choice would most likely be at your expense knowingly rather than some savage deceit by the publisher. As at the end of the day the publisher is a business and the illustrator in their own right is one too, in this case they are collaborating.

Nobrow publications has followed the same methodology of the Ladybird Book publishers who during wartime and the cost of restricting printing resources found a format in order to publish visual and written material in one sheet of paper to reduce waste. This is still be used toddy by Nobrow as it keeps costs down on paper and machine time, whilst being environmentally friendly as you get my publications per tree.

(Insert historical knowledge approval here)


My thoughts:

In my own conclusion from this lecture, it became apart that from a visual publisher who has grown with illustrators, that you must take every consideration into your thought process. Be it from the work or the earnings from it, just like submitting for competitions or editorial work you have to think if your work is suited to the publisher. The publisher will be looking for original and fresh takes on creative works that done correctly will increase their sales, otherwise if you haven’t invested yourself in application towards your work and considerations of trends in the world then the company won’t see how they could move forward. This application of analysis of the current times is vital it would seem in-order to gain that exposure and get your work published. Since nobody with common sense would take job that has substantial risk of failure on both sides, as its economical suicide.

After the lecture, I took the chance to personally speak with the Nobrow representative to showcase my last semesters sequential work as I was quite proud of it being my first attempt at a graphic novel. We exchanged comments about the reality of how a book like mine with no text inside tends to accumulate less income. This is primarily down to the publications in English being translated for other languages which come in the form of royalties; without any text, you wouldn’t earn anything in this translation process as there is near to nothing to translate. All in all, this information was vital when I consider to ever publish a silent graphic novel in the future into whether or not the money or creative work is more vital in such a venture.

Work can be seen below:

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Up until this lecture I only knew Nobrow from their work with Robert Frank Hunter and his publication ‘ The New Ghost’. The book itself is rich and mysterious narrative that breaks the normal boundaries of an illustrative novel with a newly appointed ghost finding his purpose through a set of events that put a ghost story on its head. Here is what I believe to be a prime and trending example of the standard that Nobrow publisher with their designers by following trends and allowing such insightful works to be exposed and adored in the world, this really evidences their masterful craftsmanship creating beautiful publications.

Below is Robert Frank Hunters work.


New discipline:

The lecture had also showcased the potential of other industries such as animation, where one of their illustrative books created by Luke Pearson’s dubbed Hilda gained such success as publication that it caught the eye of producers at the company Netflix. Netflix are an online streaming service for an endless archive of TV shows and films alike be it new and old, they even create their own material such as when they decided to turn Pearson’s Hilda into an animated show.


This really shows the possibilities that can occur with a well refined and well communicated creative publication can reach new form and audiences through publishers. The fact an illustration was taken into the realm of moving image is quite an event, despite higher exposure and earnings it just shows that all work has potential to take new heights in the world. This lead me to look at an area I haven’t really noticed before relating to my skill set, Storyboarding. I realized it is a transferrable skill and so researched what options or responsibilities such a career can hold.

A storyboard artist tends to work within advertising, films, games and music based projects; where they ‘re tasked with compiling a set of sketches to detail the events of each project. This is vital to such industries as they require guidance and additional vision to complete a project. The skills for this career are as follows:

This discipline applies to me because it takes me into another comfortable area, as I myself enjoy films, games and music and the opportunity to direct or visualize the making of such projects would put my sequential skills in to practice, As I have to create story boards for my narrative in order for the final product to make sense and communicate clearly, which is a skill within other such industries require.

Here are some current vacancies that are open that involve such a skills set:,17.htm


Blog 7: Necessary Evil the CV

Welcome to what would seem to be a laborious topic revolving around the concept, presentation and content of this infamous occupational obstacle. Its social accepted that this document can aid the normal person get a job in any sector, yet this discussion will go in to detail about the stark difference and complexity that lays behind your resume, rather than it being a list of your skills and hobbies. Oh no, a document of such importance in a world where its increasingly more competitive every day requires strategical planning and consideration which they forget to inform you about when you leave school. Hence why this post is centered around the lecture given by our careers officers at the University of Derby who informed us about succeeding by normal graduate CV standards, as well as pushing for the creative market.

(There will be a word Talley of how any times CV is used for no valid reason so don’t question it)

The Lecture:

At the start of the lecture, it was laid out that that as far as illustration goes within the market that in comparison to Graphic Design, the market was a lot more saturated or competitive. Presumable due to the high demand of Graphic designers for online sites and text publications which would warrant more jobs, whereas Illustrators seem to require a tactical plan to battle it out for jobs be it permanent or free-lance based. Although I would argue that in support of Geoff from Hill Langdell mentioned in his talk is that a title should define you but you can combine graphic design, illustration and animation under your brand identity. This identity will be present in a CV either way so in this sense, the amount of jobs available is up to how you portray yourself. The more skills you have in different areas the more you can apply to those areas.

The debate further engaged us to find the key underlining foundations for which we should present or contain in our CV’s. This included:

  • Be professional
  • Be the Boss
  • Content over Format
  • No more than two sides
  • Relevant information
  • Specific skills
  • Reflect the company and yourself.

I would agree that these in cohesion would stack up a strong approach toward any employer from my novice point of view. It’s easy to presume that an art based CV should be colorful and show all your skills as an artist or designer, it became apparent that this presumption was completely incorrect. Content over format, employers will treat it like any other job selection process, who can catch their eye and meet the brief of the job description. If you go mad with creative flair over the content then you’re essentially painting a shell with nothing inside. The information is key, employer’s can search for your creative work on a website or portfolio which you present as information, rather than trying to force it.

As we were told a CV is a record of your personal details, work experiences, qualifications and achievements formatted by chronological relevance.

It’s a marketing tool for everyone even for us creatives, its common procedure to have a CV that on basic level is  well-structured otherwise if you fail the basics then how can show any niche or expertise to build from those foundation stones. Ultimately, it’s a document in place to test if you’re the kind of person worth meeting, as employers are human too as much as lecturers make out that they are evil doom bringers, they need to be able to associate with you as an employee who they can trust and work with. I mean if you switched the roles you would do the same, the myth behind employers who crush CV’s is just a myth if you consider how to form your CV with relevance and legible communication. Essentially if you apply to be a visual communicator and you can’t communicate your importance through a document, then that is proof that you may not be able to compete against those who consider these foundations when it comes to CV’s.

Reflecting on my own CV:

In reflection to this lecture I will now go through and analyze my own current cv which is present below:

James Trangmar CV old

In all honesty, this CV has only ever gotten me to interview twice after applying for numerous jobs. The overall layout isn’t abysmal yet it does waste a lot of the page with white space rather than putting more relevant information on one page. As seen by my Qualifications that I have displayed all my GCSE’s and grades where I could really sum up what is taking up a third of the page into a single line or two. Including the locations of my qualifications isn’t an issue but my personal statement on its own screams out a very cliched individual who in my view after the lecture wouldn’t be worth meeting, due to its mundane and lack of relevant information towards the role that could spark any interest.  This clichéd approach occurs again on the second page within Key skills and Personal interests, its simply stating the subjects without any sufficient evidence to back it up. This could be further improved by intertwining my work experience and my kills to provide a well informed and evidenced statement that represents my abilities in a favorable light. In conclusion, my CV is more of average Joe kind of document that would generate much interest apart from filling up the void of bin.

Action Plan:

In preparation for the CV Clinic I will have consolidated my qualification, skills, and interests with relevant evidence suite to the job role. As it was mentioned the more I understand about the job, the more easily I can give the employer want they’re searching for. A generalized CV won’t cut it in such competitive market be it for part time jobs or illustration jobs, each role needs to be tailored to engage with the interests of the employer who provides the roles.

Guardian Tips:

Further research from the guardian under the article ‘How to write a CV for the arts’ written by Care Whitmell who provides some basic rules to follow in accordance with.

  • Develop more than one CV
  • Be selective and concise
  • Highlight the practical value of qualifications and training
  • Include a covering letter

These points back up what I have mentioned in my own analyze of my CV and lectures you must rule out a general CV as it will be instantly seen as unselective or consider document that isn’t worth the time, since the person didn’t make the effort to refine it. Again, by being selective, you should avoid stating everything you’ve ever done in a hope to impress, as it will seem broad and unfocused, being concise and to the point with sufficient evidence is enough to catch their attention it would seem by the lecture and Whitmell’s stance.

Insight from Creative Bloq:

Before the end of this post, I will take advice from Creative Bloq Staff who wrote an article named ‘Create the perfect designer resumé: 20 pro tips’.  Creative Blow provide consistent news and advice about all types of design in the world with an modern approach to handling the creative process as well as the formal side of the creative industry such as this topic.

The same principles and jargon were implemented by that of the lecture and the Guardian with this publication but what stood out that wasn’t present in others was the presentation of a creative CV. I had mentioned not to go overboard with designing it as the content matters but for a creative CV to differ it must portray some clues to your brand identity as designer, otherwise it’s not a self-promotion tool at all but more of data base of text that is useless. These visual clues would spark interest thus would take a further glance at your portfolios or sites. As Creative Bloq mention and I quote:

Keeping things simple is not the same as making things dull. A resumé is a reflection of your disposition and persona, and the recipient will be scanning it, consciously or not, for elements that distinguish your resumé from the other hundreds they have to wade through. Make your resumé stand out with an idiosyncratic design and personal touches.

There is a different between being professional as a creative and being too excited, a lack of visual substance isn’t going to crush your chances but as they mentioned its those subtle personal touches that the employer can identify as your personal voice as well as show of your design skills in a more procreative manner that is clear rather than ruining your well-crafted content with overloading visuals.

CV Tally: 22

Blog 6: Taking a Break in Liverpool

In this blog post I will be talking about my insights from a recent trip down to the city of Liverpool that was organised by the course staff. There will be some discussion into how such trips can affect your mindset based on your surroundings, as well as my thoughts on an illustration competition that has been brought to my attention. Although the topics up for discussion contrast, they all link due to the visits to the cultural hub of Liverpool, this talk will center around how such opportunities be it organized or spontaneous have no disadvantages for all people especially those following a creative occupation.

(Well unless you’re allergic to sunlight or fresh air)


The trip down to Liverpool itself could have been perceived as a shipment of ironically fresh zombies in the disguise of students.  Then again, I think the three-hour drive is what caused that perception, mostly from my view I didn’t know what to expect apart from an armada of Liverpool FC shirts and banners, the city was a mystery due to it being my first visits yet I would go again. Despite the mumblings of students for bus journeys, there was a shed load the city provided be it from creative outlets such as the Tate Liverpool and other prominent gallery’s, Striking architecture even the weather decided it was bare its warmth.

(If that didn’t seduce you enough for gander, they even have a Five Guys)

Tate Exhibition:

The Tate Liverpool was almost an internal mirror of the Tate Modern in London, I didn’t expect anything else from the array of contemporary, sometimes mind blowing fine art that stood in vast white void like rooms and halls. One such exhibition was ‘Sprung a Leak 2016’ by CÉCILE B. EVANS, which displayed a moving narrative loop focusing on the relationships between robotics, artificial intelligence and humans revolving around a paradoxical time frame. You could walk around with the animatronic beings as you can see below, had human like features of a recognizable face and upper boy limbs; although their movement was conformed to wheels.The robots held intellectual and conscious discussions between themselves, other machines and screens. By the end of the narrative the robotics enact symptoms of about being self-aware and conscious in their job, feeling negative emotions after failure.

In Relation to Illustrator Health:

This paradigm be it complex allows your minds to breathe and soak in new perspectives. In a way when we work we are set in method and process in a literal sense which we can break out of as we wouldn’t get aid thus can’t live.

The parallels from this exhibition recalled my thoughts on how as creatives we do need time to break our condiments and leave the studio to see the world, away from screens or sketchbooks. The lack of pressure in my case boosted my confidence and gained a new perspective to look down, on how you easily communicate abstract meanings like in this exhibition. Ultimately the recluse that we put ourselves into work can restrict our thinking. We shouldn’t become robotic due to economic pressures, allow the time to experience the world around us, as creatives it would be ironic if we didn’t act creatively, to which I think being stuck in a room night after night drawing away becomes arbitrary. The time and space to relax, along with completing commissions or projects should work together in equilibrium, otherwise we aren’t better than machines. When as creatives we should be getting out there for opportunities or simple insights.

By no stretch would it be right to not work but, there are allowances to just remove yourself, and gain a new outlook which will boost your creative efficiency otherwise we would become zombified as I mentioned initially.

In the Huffington Post Blog, I found an older post dubbed ‘Taking Timeouts to Decrease Stress and Increase Creativity’. This article supports what I mentioned about removing yourself to re-energize. All be it Robert here mentions about consistent breaks throughout the day or ‘Timeouts’. He follows the same outline you can’t run on infinite energy when you don’t have any; the rest bite you take allows you to consolidate your thoughts ultimately relaxing to boost creativity, thus reducing stress. This is a procreative ideology I will take seriously, not in the sense of becoming master procrastinator, because that is dark path to follow in creative environment. As you will become untrustworthy in employer’s eyes with your lack of effort or attitude which is something I strongly avoid and will continue to do so in order to build a credible reputation as a possible freelancer for the future.

Editorial Competition?!:

During the minor adventures, me and my other students around the coast docks where the galleries presided, I received an email from my tutor about a illustration brief for company ‘Little White Lies’. The brief consisted of creating a magazine cover for the new film ‘The Personal Shopper’ starring Kristen Stewart from the incredibly popular vampire films which make no comprehensible sense.

(You know what I mean, I dare not utter its name).

Usually in the past I would ignore the extra work load passively but this time I feel I should just challenge myself with something completely random such as this brief. Again, regardless of winning or shortlisting, it’s about taking part to boost my experience and learn from any mistakes.

I shall conclude this tale in the further posts.

University Blog 5: Seeking Wisdom from a Geoff

In today’s session, we were given an insightful lecture by the head of Hill Langdell which is a design company which holds a broad range of specialisms such as illustration, graphic design, product design and the list goes on. This ideal of being multi-disciplinary is what grounded Geoff’s lecture along with real time working advice into his own personal journey within the creative industry.

The discussion was light and rich with professional content while carrying that witty introversion, which seems to be a common trait in creatives today. Yet Geoff talked about using your introverted nature to take risks, as previous mentioned in the fourth blog post you have to network and create sustainable contacts while this seems straightforward Geoff proceeds to informs us that we have little control towards our career. While we need to take an unconventional approach to manage this haphazard fate that seems to be our creative career and that ultimately you shouldn’t:

  • Fear Failure.
  • Worry about money.

I would have to agree in his insight, as the research that I’ve shown previously would suggest that if you can manage the balance of working and living while maintain contacts and motivation you shouldn’t have to worry as it will become natural process to you. Or you basically don’t have time to worry as I’ve said before, and using this chaos to fuel your ideas and processes. When work takes a turn, due to economic, world climate or the clients’ needs you have to adapt and be flexible.

 (Insert Darwinism here)untitled-1

This ideal of not fearing failure, to me is a steady progression. As we are taught to just create material not fearing if it’s not perfect in a sketchbook yet somehow it’s hard not to make everything perfect or complete. This is partially to a fear of being seen as inept at drawing or lacking precision, yet now I see more of a growing or experimental process to get to that refined outcome.

That sense of failure is present in my attempts to get work, when I applied for an internship at Games workshop in their Nottingham headquarters as a designer. Here I tried something new, trialled 3D software to build a quick portfolio of my work. I didn’t get the job, but it did make me think about presentation and how I showcased my work. That by maybe showcasing too much experimental processes to impress it lacked any refinement. Even the letter I sent would be considered and essay due to my over excitement of the opportunity. So really Geoff is right, you grow and adapt from failures to succeed in the long run no matter the situation.

He also mentioned the fact that you have to recreate yourself in the eye of the public to become an authentic brand. This is both being seen as a visually professional service while maintain a high standard of human contact and reliability. Just creating outcomes that suit the briefs but breaking deadlines or not communicating with client ultimately makes you a one-time service. You need that combination of elements to have clients returning and thus a steady income will turn out in a sense.

All of this talk about providing an authentic service and be flexible makes it quite clear that you really have to remove yourself from a particular label such as illustrator and literally embody a creative person. Be it an illustrator, graphic designer, animator, product designer, story boarder or website creator; you learn an mass amount of all of these skills from university which you can apply into your professional practice. This broaden skills or traits present you as hybrid or jack of trades for the creative industry. This hybrid can animate, draw, layout typography, create visual solutions, storyboard,  direct, print and compose layouts, time manage, handle pressure, meet deadlines, present ideas, and finally communicate. All of this from just university studies and independent practice puts your as visual problem solver with skills so broaden and in demand that you have a higher chance of getting commissions or a salary paid job due to this adaptability and growth you provide.

Personally I would have to mention that my own transferable skills to add to my visual hybrid brand would be:

  • Time management
  • Independent worker
  • Cooperation
  • Analyst/researcher from both visual studies and history studies.
  • Observation skills be it analytical or drawing.
  • Adobe Suite proficient
  • Photography
  • Print/ Paints
  • Collage
  • Gif creation
  • Storyboarding

This also means that this hybrid brand is multi-disciplinary with equal chance against those who focus solely on one practice. Using the example when I attempted to join Games workshop as a trainee, I could also put myself in contention with the other opportunities they provide such as Publications illustrator and Paint & Packaging design manager. Although the likelihood of getting those jobs is low,, its about trying and build up that portfolio for this hybrid brand, they can always say no so whats the harm with putting yourself out there.

For next Time, the plan will be to discuss an upcoming trip as well as attempt to contact other professionals to gain their insight.

University Blog 4: Networking… The Art of Talking

Welcome to another post within this professional practice series. We are going to discuss the topic of Networking from the last of Debbie Longbridge’s lectures from career advice to general skills. The main themes from the discussions on the day were focused on making friends and maintaining relationships to increase your sphere of contacts and influence.

(Imagine creating an empire to dominant the creative industry but by being original, honest and yourself… without the evil war mongering. Historically it pays off to build and maintain links, so you can’t be shy or antisocial in this case.)

The main rules to follow when networking where:

  • Embrace the blag within.
  • Maintain relationships.

This idea of embracing the blag within is something that I would struggle with and have done over my life, it seems that being modest to avoid looking superior or snobbish with your work or skills plays against your favour. Yet, this ‘blag’ doesn’t have to be some self-centered drive to show off that you’re better than others but instead to prove that you can relate and communicate or even challenge ideas. These traits of communication and generally being human allows you to establish bonds to make contacts be it for work, training or simply information.

(it’s not as insidious as it sounds, below is something insidious just to clarify).

Essentially blagging isn’t bragging, as the latter is the embodiment of the negative features I’ve just mentioned. Blagging is an attempt to relate, inform other of your skills and portray your niche or visual voice to establish your footing in a competitive industry.

The debate took us further into the meaning behind Networking, and that is its practically a map or web of people connected by relationships, yet there are two way relationships. They require maintenance to really see any benefits. Debbie mentioned that simply emailing or phoning contacts on a more casual attitude rather than asking about jobs makes the other person feel valued and respected for themselves as people not just their occupation status. I would agree with the entirety of this discussion; the same principles apply with making friends. Being there to listen to their own story or conversation and correspond equally creates that bond. You don’t make friends with those who simply use you, or don’t put the effort in, it just doesn’t work; the same literally applies in the networking world. It’s about how I as a creative can help them, the client. No one wats to be treated like an object to be sued simply for information, hence this human or extroverted attitude is required to build your networking web; otherwise you’re simply a lone wolf falling behind in a rapidly growing and competitive industry without a friend to rely on.

(A network of friendly spies.)

Essentially networking requires you to create bonds, and build on those relationships to further your development. It may not result in immediate work but it’s about playing the long game and reaping the reward in the long run.  There’s also the virtual world where connecting with people is easier and much faster than before, meaning introverts like myself can build those bridges without the first awkwardness of a physical conversation. The internet then leads to that human element thus meaning again that like in the previous blog, that it’s about making and finding opportunities to build upon yourself now before leaving university.

Talking about opportunities I have been researching possible employment or experience to be had within the illustrative industry.

Currently there is the Association of Illustrators world illustration competition that is held every year, as well as their internship programs. Although the internship is about project management it’s still another great chance to build up more skills, knowledge, wisdom and contacts in the practical communal hub of illustrative practice.

Image result for association of illustratorsImage result for association of illustrators 2017 competition

Another chance for recognition or experience is the UN Cartoon competition called the Lurie Award. This is competition devoted to Ranan Lurie, an infamous political cartoonist where satirists and cartoonists come together to communicate the values of the United Nations in a creative manner. I think due to my interests in world affairs and my previous work in caricatures that this would be a fantastic chance to get my work in the public sphere with in a high global level establishment.

There are also internships at the Dutch Uncle design collective, although it’s very selective and competitive, the chance to work with and alongside well established creatives in their everyday working lives. It would allow for a great amount of professional insight and direction from those who’ve essentially made it as working creatives.

These are what the collective state you’ll experience from the internship.

  • Helping with workload on creative projects
  • Liaising with international freelancers
  • Researching new projects
  • Visualising designs and creating concepts
  • Assisting on commissioned assignments
  • Refreshing portfolio’s and social news

Ultimately what we can conclude from these discussions and findings is that networking is about people. Nothing more and nothing less, if you treat greater or lesser than your build yourself up for failure. The human element behind is what brings people together, even introverts like me can ironically come together in that collective sense of awkwardness to communicate.  By taking those chances to create bonds or gain experience from other you grown and evolve as person and professional creative, hence why I will pursue the united nation competition and other competitions to get myself out there, even sign up for a creative internship. Despite it possibly ending in failure to win or be accepted it’s the experience that matters.

(Don’t be a machine basically.)

University Blog 3: Realities of Work, Work, Work…

Welcome to another installment of this professional practice blog, hopefully this post won’t be death by text like the previous. The entire blogging experience itself is becoming more organic which is a different stance to my every day working practice which is more organised and clinically precise. Within this post, I will be reviewing my thoughts on a lecture provided by Debbie Longbridge on the theme of us as designers working within the visual industry.

Overall, the topic of discussion provided a new sense of self confidence and motivation towards my own practice, without being modest. As I had previously though that that hardships of being an illustrator where much more technical in terms of training and qualifications. Yet the discovery that it’s based on your own visual language and how you apply that definitive talent into the industry to become an individual in demand. The reassurance that to reach that level of professionalism to be recognised depends on following and researching visual debates was well met as it’s an aspect of my illustrative process that I commit intensely upon to really engage with every factor for a brief. So, by having that skill of observational and analysis put my mind at some ease for future employment.

Here are some sketches that I made from this new motivation.

There was discussion into the process of portfolio working which was displayed with a diagram that depicted a timetable of how a designer may reach their professional job. This included having a ‘pay the rent job’ to fund living expenses and general existence; while creating illustrative work at home to bolster your portfolio or creative presence in the design community. Although I felt that this method of switching between a job that pays the rent and a job that appeases your creativity (justifying your degree) could be haphazard. The flow of income would be switching from a salary paid basis to a self-employed basis which could be chaotic for financial reasons including tax. Along with the added pressures of the combined jobs. As terrifying as it sounds, as a visual problem solver it was an instinct to bypass this income dilemma that was being discussed.

The theme running through the lecture was be opportunistic and prepare for everything, so it makes no sense to switch between jobs to build a portfolio which could be founded before you enter the war zone known as the working wold. My solution involves using the time, space and resources from university to stack up the portfolio and my network is a far more forgiving and efficient method in my view to follow.  It would provide much reassurance by having a pay the rent job that was design based due to the early build up before my inevitable leave from academic studies, this could possibly increase any early introduction into my professional area of illustration.

With this solution in mind, it perfectly leads to Debbie’s other suggestion in line with preparing for industry life which talked about the ideals of volunteering, work experience and internships.

Yet it’s fair to say that as a student, the capability to balance academic studies, part time work and general existence is being developed all the way from the start of your degree. Currently within that position, it’s become accustom to abandon stress and let the pressure fuel you like an ironically controlled adrenaline to meet deadlines and maintain your sanity. Having this attitude has been successful in progressing and developing my own academic grades as well as my personal growth. As by taking a creative career path you don’t have the time or energy to concern yourself all eventuality, instead it’s about focusing your efforts to completing a task in your own original voice to profit from it and essential survive in a world that’s already full of pressures.

After the session, I thought it would be best to examine the area of illustration that has caught my interest in recent light. This area coincides with my passion for culture, politics and history which would be the editorial scene in the creative industry; aka newspapers and printed publications. I went out and picked up a copy of The Observer, The Economist and The Private Eye; to analyse a varied range of printed media from deeply liberal to causally satirical.

The range of commissioned illustration ranged from editorial, comic strips to advertising within these infamous publications. Although as individual mediums of print, its best to attempt and hypothesize what price rates the designers would have been paid for their illustrations within these publications.

Implementing the Association of Illustrators helpful and informative section on working rates it would seem there is a varied range of potential earnings dependent on the scale of the publication or the area of influence the publication has.

Below is the link to this insightful section that I will be using.(SPOILERS!… You have to be a member to view..)


The images above show’s scans The Private Eye newspaper known for its highly comical and satirically perspective on world affairs. The publication itself tens to lend its readers to a larger amount of text mostly broken up with small comics strips and illustrations that put a humorous twist on serious events. The illustrations themselves are more intricate in meaning than in aesthetics which moulds equally with the text not being overbearing or underestimated. Using the rates from the AOI it would seem a small spot illustration would earn ‘£100-125’ from this issue in theory, thus creating multiple spot illustrations would provide a somewhat reasonable income, but it would need to be consistent to keep up with living expenses. Yet the more minimalist strokes and designs of these illustrations means you can create a multitude of them as a block to compensate for the publications small allocation to image space.


This image is the Economist where the banner illustration devoted to the voting system would seem to bring in a paid rate between £175-220 due to its relative small size but the sphere of circulation it has makes it a continental publication. This would back up the discussion that the larger the circulation of a commissions is or the royalties it comes with can provide a competitive block sum or a consistent injection of income over time. Although it would take a great deal of portfolio working and experience to reach commissions of global level which is more of an aspiration than a starting goal at this point.


Within the Observer Magazine there was more of an advertising theme with the drawn material, likely as its sister publication The Guardian includes a vast array of scalable illustrative pieces. The AOI talks about all sections of commissioning such as adverts, it would suggest that having clients that would advertise products or services with your illustration it could bring about rates of £ 500-2000 dependant on the client size or time of prolonged advertising exposure. Ultimately having a consistent set of both editorial and advertising commissions would seemingly keep an illustrator afloat, but in a competitive world it would seem you must truly fight and battle out your creative problem solving and visual voice to gain clients.

To conclude what seems like an unfortunate essay of information to digest it’s all about balance and motivation. With a career in illustration you need the spark to shine out in a competitive industry, which is why it would be a efficient idea to start portfolio working as Debbie mentioned before entering the working world to gain the upper hand. For the next blog, I will hope to explore possible working opportunities be it hypothetical or experience based.