Laura White - Illustration & Visual Media
Throughout this DPS year I have been mainly entering competitions to count towards my work experience. This was not necessarily out of choice - I personally found it difficult to find work experience and internships, and not for lack of trying. I applied to a variety of types of work experiences and internships - design and/or advertisement agencies, publishers, theatres, event organisers - basically anyone looking for a design or arty person. However, I rarely received feedback and if I did I was told: -
"too illustration focused"
"... purely because I would prefer a graphic design student, rather than an Illustration student."
"not what we're are looking for"
Even though I had the skills they were asking for, and was always enthusiastic to learn, it always felt like that they were after graphic designers, even though the skillset for an illustrator is not too much of a stretch.
But I digress - since experiences in offices or studios were not coming easily, I started to look into competitions that I could apply my skills to or learn something new. Throughout this DPS year I have entered a variety of different competitions, some illustration based, many not. I shall briefly talk about three of the competitions I entered to show the the variety of work I produced for them.
Little White Lies x Barbican Centre: Life Rewired - this brief was inspired by Life Rewired, "a season exploring what it means to be human when technology is changing everything" at the Barbican Centre. The brief was to produce a portrait of a famous actor enhanced by technology. The portrait was to be produced purely digitally and had a small colour scheme, both of which I had not really had to consider before.
From entering competitions I have expanded the mediums I more confident with, particular with digital work, since I am more of a traditional illustrator. I have also come to realise, like the companies looking for interns, that you need to understand design, not just image making, to get work and to get work done. Illustration skills are transferable and flexible and can only improve when incorporating with graphic design. Plus this stuff is great for my portfolio and I now know of companies that do competitions so I can keep an eye out for future ones. Although I wish I was doing work experience in a psychical studio or office or the like, following briefs for competitions definitely gave the experience of being a freelance illustrator/designer, and it kept me busy and practising my discipline.