GRADUATE PROFILE: DIONNE KITCHING

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Print-maker and illustrator Dionne Kitching graduated from Middlesex’s Illustration BA in 2012. Amongst working on various commissions , Dionne has been awarded a print fellowship at Northampton University, created patterns for Urban Outfitters, frequently sells her work at and craft fairs and has recently relocated to Berlin.
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– Tell us a bit about what you’ve been up to since finishing the course?
Since graduating I’ve been keeping myself busy with various projects, I’ve just completed a print fellowship at Northampton University, I’ve been selling prints and illustrations online and also at various craft and illustration fairs, had a few exhibitions and some really exciting commissions, including my first publishing job and various pattern design jobs, gig posters, map designs etc, and I’ve just moved to Berlin and plan to stay and work here for a while.
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– How do you go about produce your images? Are there any parts of the process you particularly enjoy?
I’ve recently started to embrace the sketchbook finally! my ideas tend to start there, sometimes just as doodles sometimes already a fully fledged idea. Then I draw all artwork by hand usually on a larger scale, before scanning and colouring digitally. Because I often screen print my work, all my drawings are drawn with layers, so I will plan which colours will be where and draw each colour on one layer, if that makes sense. It’s hard to explain but it’s quite straightforward in practice. My favourite part is drawing the final artwork, the ideas part can be quite difficult and at times frustrating.
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– What’s a typical day of working freelancing like for you?
I’ve learned to be a bit more disciplined these days, I get up at a reasonable time and plan my day, responding to emails and checking social media first, then onto whatever the day involves, hopefully drawing, but there is a lot of other boring stuff involved too. In the afternoons I like to go for a run or do something fun, and then get back to work in the evening. But it doesn’t always work out like that! It’s also hard to keep a routine when you have to fit being an illustrator in with other jobs! The key is planning things and not leaving it until the last minute.
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– As well as taking on commissions you also sell your work on various websites like Etsy and Society 6 and regularly take part in craft fairs. Can you tell us a little bit about your products and the benefits of running a shop?
Running a shop is great, it’s a good way of reaching out and meeting people, sharing ideas and seeing how people react to your work, especially if you go to markets and fairs rather than just online, you can also approach local retailers and galleries, they’re often more than happy to stock independent artists work! There are also some sites like SOCIETY6 where you simply upload your work and they do all the hard work for you, this is great for having a kind of passive income, but it does take some of the fun away. Some of my products are entirely hand printed/painted by me, some are professionally printed, I think it’s important to know where you strengths and weaknesses are and go with that to get the best possible product. Unfortunately, my online shop is taking a short break at the moment, as I’ve just moved to Berlin, but I can’t wait to share a bunch of new products soon!
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– Are there any projects that have felt like milestones for your career as an illustrator? 
I guess URBAN OUTFITTERS was pretty exciting because it’s a big international name and I’ve always wanted to do some work for them, it’s nice to know you’re doing something right when jobs like that come along. At the same time though, each new job feels like it’s own little milestone in a way, and I really feel like I’m only just starting out!
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Screen-Shot-2015-06-13-at-15.47.40_63935501931_018_b– How did you find the transition from student to practicing illustrator? Do you have any words of advice for any recent graduates who might be in that position right now?
It’s pretty hard, but don’t be disheartened. I graduated in 2012 and I still find it difficult to keep going when there’s a gap in between jobs, and I still have to have another job to support myself. I think if you just remember that you do it because you love it, and make sure you keep producing new work, keep putting yourself out there and good things will happen.
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– What are you currently working on? Are there any projects coming up that you can talk about?
I’ve got a load of new ideas I’m working on at the moment, I’ve had to stop taking new jobs and close my shop temporarily while I get settled here in Germany, but it’s been a lovely opportunity to go back to basics, sketching every day, producing personal work and drawing for the fun of it!
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Dionne’s work online:
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2015 DEGREE SHOW

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Earlier this summer our graduating 3rd years showcase their work at Middlesex’s annual degree show. If you didn’t manage to make it down  at the the Truman Brewery here are a few highlights from the exhibition; 2014-06-20 20.50.38 copy RESIZE 2014-06-20 20.51.20 copy RESIZE 2014-06-20 20.51.41 copy RESIZE

DANIEL METSON

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TARO QURESHI

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ELLIE LAWRENCE

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YUN RU TAN

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SACHIKO OGURI

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NATALIA GLADOSZ

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JASMINE BRADY

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CHLOE WIFFIN

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INDIA-TAYLOR SMITH

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JOONAS VALLIUS

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CHARLOT KRISTENSEN

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SINEAD MCKEEFRY

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KYLE TESTER

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AMY LAKER

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DERVLA MARY LEOARD

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SALOME PAPADOPOULLOS

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GRADUATE PROFILE: ALEX FOSTER

ALEX FOSTER graduated from Middlesex with First Degree Honours in 2013. Now based in Margate he has worked on a variety of projects for clients such as Roald Dahl, Anorak Magazine, Hallmark/M&S cards, Talented bags and The Poetry Society. He has also produced illustrations for The Folkestone Triennial, Totally Thames Festival and his House Portraits were featured on ITV’s This Morning and The Guardian Gift Guide. As well as this he runs his own ONLINE SHOP offering clothing, stationary and personalised illustrated prints.  

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– Tell us a bit about how you make your images. “I produce my images by starting with a pencil rough, then tracing the individual shapes with layout paper. I then scan this in, and cut out each shape on Photoshop, this allows me to move the pieces around and change layouts and colours as I go. It is sort of a ‘digital collage’.”

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“A Typical day for me is after breakfast I get to my desk, get through my emails, then I will spend the day working on any commissions I have on the go. With my shop and orders from that it usually means that I will be working on those as well, then packing orders and trips to the Post Office. Me and Farrid are friends now.” London+map+lores AlexFosterIllustrationAnorak     Poetrydayillustration2online   – On top of freelancing you also run a successful online shop. Can you tell us a bit about your products and what you feel the benefits of having an online store are?  “Personalised products just seemed like a good idea to me and that it makes great gift ideas and that people will like them. It is mostly about building up my shop as a business, then also me as a freelancer. I do plan to get some more products released when I have some more time to work on that, things like a greetings card range and stationery.”

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– Are there any projects that felt like milestones in your career? A fun one was when the House Portraits were featured on the Guardian Christmas gift guide, which led them to be featured on This Morning on ITV. Seeing Phillip Scofield talking about them was cool and surreal! I think the best thing so far has been seeing my poster for Totally Thames all over the London Underground and UK train stations.

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How did you find the transition from student to practicing illustrator? Do you have any words of advice for students who may be in that position right now? The transition is definitely difficult, especially with the pressures of rent etc if you have that. All I can say is work hard, and the more work you put into it the luckier you’ll get with being noticed! 11402783_838678409546683_521028331239825350_o – What are you currently working on? I’m currently working on the biggest project I’ve ever had which is a big map for the new Roald Dahl offices. It’s a bit of a dream come true getting to draw all these characters and locations that everyone loves, and the map is 4 x A1 size, featuring 22 of Roald’s books – so there is a lot to fit in! 11258108_841928182555039_7686087028777973892_o     Find more of Alex’s work online:

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STUDENT NEWS- WORLDWIDE PICTURE BOOK COMPETITION

Second year student EVA STRASSBURGER has been selected as one of the winners of this year’s WORLDWIDE PICTURE BOOK PRIZE. Now in it’s second year the international competition run by Walker Books and the International Centre for the Picture Book in Society invites illustrators from around the globe to submit their work. Below are some of Eva’s spreads from ‘Poor Dragon Willy Dinkywing’.
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“One of our second year projects was to produce a children’s book. I decided to tell the story of a dragon who one day finds himself out of flames. He learns he has a cold so asks his friends if they know what he can do to breath fire again.”

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“The book is aimed at children who are suffering from a cold, the flu or other typical children’s illness. You may have noticed that the book is black and white; I know from personal experience that I was always very bored when lying in bed sick all day. My mum always used to bring me books to read or colour in so I decided to make my book both a heart-warming tale about beating a cold and a colouring-in book for after reading as well- double the fun!”

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“Since I got some good feedback from my friends and tutors I decided to submit it to The Worldwide Picturebook competition. I couldn’t belive it when I saw the email telling me I was on of the winners! It’s great because the prize is not only being part of the touring exhibition but being included in a catalogue that will be presented to publishers at the Frankfurt, Main and Bologna book fairs.”  

You can find more more of Eva’s work online:

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