Ray Carter, Illustration student, reports on the recent trip to London.
Photography: © Manon Wright
One or two weeks before everyone else heads home for the festive season, the illustration students embarked on a 5-day study trip to London.
Many of us, slightly disgruntled at having to arrange our own travel, ended up on the same early morning train to Truro (including the tutors) as the first instalment of a pretty exhausting four-part journey. A feeling of school-trip camaraderie set in as we reached our destination together- however, as the trip itself actually allowed us tonnes of freedom, we naturally splintered off into groups dictated either by friendships or the demands of our individual London-based projects.
This actually allowed us to go out and have a lot of fun; clumsily through to expertly navigating the tube and the buses all over London to go shopping, to concerts, to pubs and tourist attractions. Of course, we also had to do the research and drawing that was the actual purpose of the trip.
The trip was also punctuated by an impressive array of visits, courtesy of the tutors. Setting us up to make our first few steps on the pathway to industry connections, publicising and professional practice, we were each seen by two different publishing houses, illustration agents or magazines. My own included the telegraph newspaper- where the five of us were glared at by security guards (as we were casually told, ‘because of the Charlie Hebdo thing’), chatted with the art director and were given a tour of the huge office, nicknamed ‘The Zoo’ which included a gym, a Mc Donald’s and a Costa Coffee. We were also introduced to the art director of Tate publishing, who produce unique and innovative illustrated books for children and who explained the process of pitching work to publishers.
With the apparent expanse of free time, I’m sure few of us expected the trip to be so crammed with activity- from waking up ridiculously early in the morning to avoid the shower rush and be in time for breakfast, to seeing as many tourist attractions, galleries, Christmas markets, landmarks and exhibitions as we could. I happened to come across the wonderful gliding paintings of our very own Peter Lanyon, who I didn’t even know was an artist before the trip, at the Courtauld gallery. Filled with space, lightness and movement, at once airy and earthy and oceanic, they had a uniquely Cornish feel to them. The exhibition made me think back to both the campus and the coastline, and added another dimension to Falmouth and Penryn.
The trip was peaked with the illustration forum at LCC, which took place, as usual, rather too early and in which we were treated to the perspectives and processes of three very different illustrators. The first was Olivier Kugler, a reportage illustrator and journalist who most recently spent time in Iraqi Kurdistan at refugee camps documenting the lives of displaced Syrian people. His striking and detailed observational work can be found at Olivierkugler.com. The next, Jonny Hannah brought a dramatic change in tone with whimsical and imaginative illustrations and art pieces spanning from editorial work to sculpture, painting and print, all connected by fascinations with signage, patterns and text. Finally, we came to the elegant illustrations of Aude Van Ryn, characterised by anonymous figures and a poetic simplicity, whose work can be seen here: http://www.heartagency.com/artist/AudeVanRyn/gallery/1.
Needless to say, Nigel the course leader was collecting material for his blog throughout the whole trip, so for a more comprehensive account of what went on, Falmouthillustrationblog.com is filled with his pictures and commentaries throughout the trip.
Though I found myself missing the slowness of Cornwall, it was trumped by the opportunity to go straight home on Friday, which many of us did- catching buses, lifts, planes and trains to wherever was ‘home’ for Christmas, all being thoroughly cultured and educated and having spent much more than we should on food and souvenirs.