Student Wins New Zealand Competition…..

One of our students who passed the pet Portrait Diploma with flying colours is Annie Robinson from New Zealand. She has wasted no time in furthering her career by entering a competition and winning first prize with the painting below. Congratulations Annie – the first of many we hope! This is what Annie said about the competition…..

“……..After finishing  my course in Pet Portraiture  with the college  this year I entered for the first time in a competition the painting below  in a  Shoe firm in Taupo NZ that sponsors up and coming  young and not so young artists. The winners get to have printed in their catalogue their painting along with a cash prize. Their catalogue is wonderful encouragement  as it not only goes around our own country but overseas as well. I was thrilled to be informed that I had won in my category as a first time winner in the novice section. For me to win this prize  is also a win for the College and all the dedication of the tutors to their students. Best wishes Annie Robinson.”


Student Of The Year Competition

We proudly  announce this year Student of the Year competition, which is going to be slightly different from other years.  This year students are encouraged to submit their own work, comprising of  a single piece of artwork – drawing or painting,  that they have produced from the course, or from their own personal work. The closing date for submission September 30th and we will review the winner and runner up in early October. The winners will be announced on this blog and we will add a link for students to view all submitted artwork.

All submission need to be sent to along with the following details
Full Name, Address and Telephone number, Course and student number, Title and Medium of piece. Please title your email Student of the Year.

Artwork should be in jpeg format and no smaller than 1000 pixels on the smallest diameter.


Observation Drawing Skills…

These drawings are from a student who is studying on the Pet Portrait Diploma. All students are encouraged to draw anything and everything that inspires them on a daily basis to help improve their observations drawing skills and their pencil techniques. Capturing animals is a tricky task and so to be able to hone your drawing skills by drawing every day objects really helps in a student’s development. These are two wonderful drawings from a current student, Haley Kittle which we felt held not only great pencil techniques, but great compositions too.



Welcome to our new Cartooning Tutor….

We would like to officially welcome our new cartooning tutor John Byrne! We are delighted that he has joined our team of tutors and we feel that he is going to be warmly welcomed by our students too. We have some information about John, a photo and some images of his work below, and we hope that everyone on the cartooning course enjoys this addition to our team.



John Byrne B.Des ANCAD

John Byrne has been a professional cartoonist and writer for over 20 years. Originally from Dublin, Ireland, he has been based in the UK since 1993.
John’s cartoons and comic strips have appeared in a wide range of publications ranging from Private Eye, The Guardian  and The Stage to The Bookseller, Christian Herald Media Week and Tesco’s in-house newspaper The One. He has published numerous books for children and adults, ranging from cartoon joke books for publishers including Harper Collins, Random House and Puffin to ‘’how to’’ books on comedy writing, singing, dancing and of course several best selling books on Cartooning. His book ‘Learn to Draw Cartoons’’ has now passed its 10th edition.

A former tutor at the Museum of Cartoon Art, John spends much of the summer and half term periods travelling around the country with his ‘Learn Cartooning Live’’ show which has been a big hit at festivals and community events for over a decade. Broadcast work has included stints as resident cartoonist on Nickelodeon TV and comedy and sitcom writing for Virgin Radio and BBC radio 4.

John originally trained at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin and at Bolton Street College of Print Technology also in his native city. Having forged his own career by doing several different jobs within the creative arts field, John is passionate about helping artists of all kinds make an effective living from their skills in addition to developing the skills themselves. However, he is equally committed to the need for freelance workers and especially artists to have a healthy work/life balance overall, so students who want to study cartooning just for fun are heartily welcome too!

As the career advisor for The Stage newspaper with a weekly column and with a growing number of speaking engagements dealing with the business of making a living from performing or artistic talents, John is very excited to have joined the London art college course team. With cartooning being a market which is constantly changing and growing, John believes that personal contact and individual work with each student are  one of the key factors which can make all the difference to success in this fun but very competitive field.

John lives in London with his family, and enjoys watching Dad’s Army and old movie musicals, reading western novels and enjoying all the great comics from Asterix to Peanuts to Marvel but as a fan rather than with his business hat on.

Congratulations to Julie for winning CP award

Our Coloured Pencil tutor Julie Douglas has just won a prestigious Coloured Pencil Award for her artwork ‘Boy on a Swing’ pictured below. We have been lucky enough to blog about the award and the artwork and the college would like to congratulate Julie on winning this fabulous award. You can view more of Julies work and read about her on her website – Julie Douglas.


Clare based artist Julie Douglas has just been awarded a major art prize in Atlanta, Georgia, for her artwork, ‘Boy on Swing’ in the CPSA  (Color Pencil Society of America) annual exhibition. Julie won the Staedtler Award for Exceptional Merit, which was $1000. This show is highly competitive, with only 60 pieces selected out of an entry of around 1000. Julie entered for the first time last year, when it was held in Seattle, and won an award then too for her artwork ‘Dappled Son’ – both years she has been the only artist from Europe to have work included in the show.

The boy in the drawing is called Elliot Day, and Julie saw him playing at the local swings, and asked her own children to go and say hello to him and to point out his Mummy. This he did, and Julie approached her, asking if she could take some photos as she loved his hair! His mother was delighted, not least because so many people mistook him for a girl, with his lovely flowing locks. They met up again another day, for Julie to do some drawings. The bit she most looked forward to completing was the chain on the swing, so she did that first – BIG MISTAKE, as she realized that she had nothing left to look forward to except hours and hours of work!! Lesson for the future..  The artwork took about 6 weeks, and though Julie was tempted to make the trousers plain, she knew she just had to suffer a bit more and put the pattern in.


Botanical Illustration Students Artwork on show….

As many of you know who read the blog on a regular basis, I often come across students’ work that really stands out to me, that I feel is blogworthy. Shona’s work shines out as you can see below.  I asked if she wouldn’t mind us using some of her pieces on the blog and to write a short paragraph about herself  to accompany her work. I hope you enjoy reading it and are all inspired by her work!

“My name is Shona and I’m currently doing the Botanical Illustration 1 course. I trained in graphic design in the 80s but I’ve never worked professionally in art. Instead I have enjoyed painting in watercolours as a hobby for years with plants and flowers often featuring in my work, so I thought it was time I learned the techniques involved in true botanical illustration properly and I signed up for the course last year. Learning to observe the detail needed to produce good illustrations, as well as new watercolour techniques, has been a challenge that I’ve enjoyed immensely and it has improved my general art skills too. I have one more assignment to complete then I hope to begin the second course right away!”



Mural in Soho…Students Wanted!

We have received a request below for students who are interested and live in the London Area and would like to take part in creating a mural in a popular Soho bar. If anyone works on the mural we would love to see photos!


Hi there my name is Virren Simpson and I am a part owner of a bar in Soho. I was inquiring really if any students would like to take part in a project for our bar?

I have a wall approximately 8ft by 30ft wide on which I would like a theme in black and white, pop art like a comic book strip or a picture of a bar itself! Any ideas form your side would also be thought of.  All equipment would be paid for and it’s a great chance for the students to promote themselves.

My contact details are as follows

Virren Simpson- 07742768802,

Pastel Competition

The Pastel 100

Get rewarded for your finest work—enter the  Pastel 100 Competition today. It’s your chance  to win CA SH and PRIZES for your art!

Sponsored by The Pastel Journal, America’s leading magazine devoted to pastel artists, and sister publication of The Artist’s Magazine, this annual competition offers cash, prizes and publicity to its lucky winners.  All entries must be postmarked by September 1, 2009, so don’t wait to start creating!

The Ruth Richeson/Unison Pastels Awards:
Set of Unison Pastels (324 pieces, value $1,800) + $750 worth of Richeson Co. products
The Art Spirit Foundation/ Dianne B. Bernhard Gold Medal Award For Excellence: $1,500 Cash

The Art Spirit Foundation/ Dianne B. Bernhard Silver Medal Award For Excellence: $1,000 Cash
The Jack Richeson/Unison Pastels Category Awards:
5 First Place Awards—
valued at $500 assorted Richeson pastel surfaces
5 Second Place Awards—valued at $250 36 piece Unison Pastel set, plus pastel surfaces
5 Third Place Awards—valued at $150 18 piece Unison Pastel set, plus pastel surfaces
5 Fourth Place Awards—valued at $100 36 piece Richeson soft pastel set, plus pastel surfaces

5 Fifth Place Awards—valued at $50 18 piece Richeson pastel set, plus pastel surfaces
All top prizewinners and placewinners will receive features in The Pastel Journal (April 2010 issue).
Image and information about each painting will be published in The Pastel Journal.

Visit the artists network for more info.