Getting work experience

Owing to current deadlines, I regret that I am unable to answer your questions until further notice ~ Thank you


A general note for students looking for illustration work experience – I get approached quite often by students encouraged by their schools and colleges, asking whether they can shadow me as I work – if you are in that position you have my sympathy as it’s probably not oing to be easy to find that sort of placement. As you’ll see, if you read on,  it’s not something I am in a position to offer, as I work in quite a small space and it’s quite a private activity.


You might find that your best bet would be to approach some larger graphic design studios, with more of a team of designers, as you would probably get more of an industry overview. When I was a student, we had the option of working for a few weeks for a magazine company in London, as one of our tutors knew a designer there. The job, in the days before computers, mainly involved preparing magazine pages for print. There was a lot of ‘paste-up’ work to do, which meant sticking images and type down in position with cow gum! I quite enjoyed it – it was great working in Covent Garden in the heart of London and, although I didn’t do any illustration, it was still a very useful experience to get a sense of how that industry worked. Good luck with your search!



Q - I’m a year 10 pupil and I’m currently doing photography, art & design and graphical art for GCSE. I’m extremely keen to do illustration as a career as I really enjoy it. I’ve been doing art for as long as I can remember, being special needs with Autism / Aspergers it has been my passion and have been fortunate to be able to complete state schooling. I was also keen to ask if you did work experience from the 9th-13th July 2012. But I noticed that you didn’t (I read one of your previous answers). I’m desperate to do work experience that involves some sort of art or illustration. Can you recommend any ideas or places where i can apply for anything that might help me in some way ?I thank you for your time in reading this and would welcome any advice you may have.


A - Thanks for your e-mail. I don’t think I can really add many new suggestions to the ideas you’ve obviously read on my FAQs pages – thanks for taking a look by the way. I think most illustrators will be like me, working on their own, so it’s not the sort of job that lends it’s self to work experience positions. When I was a student I did a poster for the Cambridge Folk Museum, based on some of their exhibits – it was my idea to do it and I don’t think they paid me for it, although they used it – it was very good experience. I also designed a poster for a play – 12th Night, on a similar basis. They both gave me a taste of being an illustrator.



Q - I would like to apply for a possible experience placement with your company during the 5th July 2010 to 16th July 2010. I am a Year 10 student, I am taking the GCSE Art, graphic, triple science, language and base course in the school. I am particularly interested in art and graphic, so I am willing to work in any area of the art in order to learn as much as possible about the detail of how all the artists work. Also I hope this experience can help guide me in my choice of A-levels. It would be nice to have my work experience with your company because I love art also I’d like to practice all the skills I’ve learnt from the classes. Also I am really happy to work with other people in the company and I would try very hard if there are any opportunities for me to experience.


A - Thank you for your e-mail. I am afraid that I can’t offer you any work experience, I work on my own in a small studio, therefore it isn’t practical for me to take anyone on in this way. Good luck with your future.



Q - Dear Amanda, I am a year 12 student at sixth form. I am studying applied art and graphics and I am looking to do some work shadowing for a week. I have been looking to find an illustrator not far from were I live, as I would really love to see how you develop your drawings from different mediums and techniques. I have seen some of your work on the internet and various other websites, and really enjoyed looking through the vivid colours you use. If you could get back to me, I would really appreciate it, even for future projects. Thank you for your time.


A - Thank you for your e-mail and your thoughts about my work. To put you in the picture – I work on my own on commissions and to be honest it’s a pretty private process – also my studio is on the small side!  Sorry I can’t be of more help, but I think you’ll find that most illustrators work on their own in small studios like I do, although there may be some out there that are willing to offer this. You could try some graphic design studios, which are usually a bit bigger, often with more than one person and with a range of commissions passing through. Anyway, good luck.



Q - I need to find work experience for a week or two in a field related to book illustration. Do you have, or know of, any placements that may be available?


A - This is a hard one. I can’t offer that myself, I’m sorry to say, as I work alone in a small shed, lost in my own thoughts. Also I think that, from the outside, it would seem a rather slow and boring activity to observe. You could try approaching some graphic design studios, or try setting yourself a short illustration assignment to go through the process.



Q - I’m just graduating from the University of Hertfordshire with a degree in Graphic Design and Illustration. I’ve just come across your website and was hoping you could give me some advice.

The freelance illustration route doesn’t really appeal to me at the moment and I really want some industry experience but I’m finding it hard to find any placements. Ideally I want to work as an in-house illustrator for a company with a team of creatives as I feel I would work well in this environment and I was wondering if you had any advice of where to look.


A - Thanks for looking at my site. In answer to your question I’m afraid that I have never come across an illustrator who works ‘in house’ and I’ve been in the industry for a long time. I know many illustrators and they are all freelance, working on one commission at a time. Maybe this sort of job does exist, but I really don’t know where you’d need to look, I guess it depends on what kind of illustrations you do. I’m very sorry I can’t be more helpful, but keep exploring, something may turn up – you may also need to reconsider your decision not to freelance. Do any of the staff at your college have any advice?



Q - I am a year 12 student in Solihull sixth form college, I’m currently doing as art and hope do to a degree in fine art and illustration. By getting some work experience within the area I hope to go in to it will help me for applying to university. If I would be allowed to do the work experience the best dates would be after 12th July as that is the end on my school term, thank you. I hope to have the opportunity.


A - I’m sorry, I can’t offer you any work experience I’m afraid. I work on my own in a small studio with one desk. Good luck with finding a placement.



Q - Hello miss Hall I’m Tumi a student studying illustration and 3d animation I came across your site recently and read all your question and answer. I would like to get some advice from you I have some experience  in the field and I love it its everything I have every wanted to do and. I would like to get a freelance job or part time job in the field so to improve my skills and some extra money on the side as I study. How should i approach this problem, should I work on my portfolio how should I structure it? Who should I be going to for work? Do you have any tips for me?  If you have any advice for me it will be very appreciated thank you for your time.


A - Your question is a big one and very general, but in answer, all my advice is on my website. As you have read it all, I hope some of it has been helpful – I don’t really have anything I can add that isn’t there already.


Where are you at college? You should try asking the tutors at your college, they should be able to help give you some leads in your geographic area – it is their job to help sort you out with work experience. I hope that is helpful and good luck!