A Trip To London Part 1

A few weeks ago me and a few of my fellow class-mates
(plus tutor) went down to the capital for a flying visit.

Filled with adventure, criminal concentration and plenty of ale
this was a story to be told.

We all arrived in London scattered like bread crumbs in
Trafalgar Square but proceeded to meet up and go to an
agency near Fulham Broadway Tube Station.
I can't remember off the top of my head what it was called but
I will edit this post when I get the information.

I have to admit except for the odd agent within the comfy confines
our studio, this first meeting filled me with dread.
But they easily quashed this by buying a few beers..
and being top-notch people.

As it got to my turn (second to last, uugh) they were quite
upbeat about my work and the intricate nature of it.
Being from a design based background I could tell that they
struggled to see the applications for my work within their sphere.

This could be taken as a negative but I see it as a positive,
now I know if I go down this avenue to fill my portfolio with
my work in context.

This is something that was repeated throughout the journey.

After a few beers in the pub and a few more in the hotel it was
time to rest my weary head (in a cramped three bedroomed room,
that was only clearly meant for one bed...)

On the second day we were up and meandering across London to
get to Faber And Faber to talk to Donna Payne and her team on
getting our work published on book covers.

It was quite informal but set in a highly professional atmosphere.
As Donna talked about how they get from an authors idea to
published book it was clear that a lot of work and thought goes
in to the finished book.
Starting with meetings, with the board discussing what artists
to use to whittling it down to one.
Then sending them an outline of the requirements needed.
After that lots of dialogue between the art director and artist
until a rough concept is born.
Then this is passed to the author to o.k, if not the artist has to tweak
his/her idea until it fits.
Also if font is needed the artist has to provide this as well, a bigger
head-ache but a bigger pay-check.

As Donna opened her mail for that day she went through the pro's
and con's of each letter/postcard she got.
She admitted that she (and other) art directors don't get enough
time to open fiddly ornate letters/boxes and much prefer a few
pieces of selected work with clear contact details such as an email
and a clear and concise website.
These would then be filed/bookmarked away for later use.

Again as they went through my work it was mentioned that for me
to get my work in to context.
If they can see the applications there and then it is more likely
that you will get the job in the end.
And that means money.

Faber And Faber's website.

Then after a bite to eat we headed in to Shoreditch to the Big Orange
Illustration studio to talk Robin Heighway-Bury, Ulla Puggaard and
Paul Davis to talk about how to become a professional in this fickle

Basically it boils down to:
1 Most of us won't make it.
2 Work hard at promoting yourself.
3 Persevere.
4 Take the money!

Ulla talked about the pro's and con's of having an agent.
You get work but with a bite taken out of it,
but you can get quite steady work if your style is in vogue.

Robin lamented the fact it is a difficult medium to work in,
only 10% of us will "make it" - surely fire and brimstone stuff
but well needed.
Being in university's soft warm all encompassing womb makes
you forget about the outside world.
Robin's words were akin to skinny dipping in the Antarctic after getting out of bed.

Paul Davis was a hoot.
He was the one who told us to take the money.

Funny how I write this around Easter
- bit like sage words off the Three Kings.

Also sharing the studio was the Association Of Illustrators.
This was more the business side of the game, tips on how
not to get ripped off and what support they offer the "fresh meat."


Ulla Puggaard
Robin Heighway-Bury
Paul Davis

Then we had a little time spare so I ended up dragging everyone
around a few galleries.

First stop was Nobrow, which was a teeny-tiny shop populated
with amazing magazines and nic-naks.

Then across the road to the Pure Evil Gallery which had an awesome
amount of prints scattered about from many a fine graffiti/artist.
They were getting ready for a new show, which I will post something on
soon, but for a small place they have a good amount of quality prints.
Pure Evil Gallery

Then it was on to Black Rat Projects where the current exhibition
artist is Brian Adam Douglas (Elbow-Toe) who is based is Brooklyn.
His work is awesome up close, not paintings as such but collages of
coloured paper.
Black Rat Projects

Then the final gallery-come-shop was Le Gun's place of residence.
I've always been a fan of theirs so I knew I was in for a treat.
And it was, whole rooms decorated with crude sprawling drawings
and ink with plenty of free Bare Bones newspapers to take away.
Le Gun

Right that is part one done & dusted.

Part two includes a twisted night-time beer-o-art-fest
and a really good portfolio visit in the British Library.


  1. looks like you had a fantastic time, must be great to see so many real life studios.

    ive seen you mention leGun before, really nice work. do they always work in black and white?

  2. Yep they mostly do, but in their publications they print some submissions in colour as well.