Two London Art College Students Meet!

This is a wonderful article written by two of our London Art College overseas students who met up in Sri Lanka. Read the article and view the wonderful photos below. Inspiring! If you have met up with another student from the college, please do get in touch and tell us your story!


Our company, Forbes India had organized an annual off-site program to an international location -Sri Lanka. So I took this opportunity of meeting Deepthi, student of LAC who resides and works from Colombo. The purpose of meeting her was to share the design and work culture and experience of two different countries. I e-mailed my itinerary to her and later coordinated the date, time and place for us to meet.

I have never met an international artist before. So I was really very excited to meet Deepthi and share the experience.

I met her at Colombo where she took me for a local sight-seeing. We visited a Buddhist temple, a museum, a restaurant where we had food and a hypermarket to buy good tea. Later in the 2nd half of the day, she had also arranged a meeting with Mr.Jayah, production head of Sri Lanka’s largest daily newspaper – Daily News. It was a very intellectual interaction as Mr.Jayah took us for a small pre-press production tour. My work experience with the newspaper media was handy in sharing each other’s views.

 Above – At A Buddhist Temple

When we were at the museum, Deepthi also shared with me some of her designing stuff. The recipe book (book on the food of the king of the last dynasty) which she had designed was very much interesting and worth going through. She had a good knowledge of the things kept in the museum….so much so that at one point I felt like I was meeting a person who is in-charge of the museum!

She also shared some of her assignments which she has submitted to the LAC and also various mix-media experiments which she is trying out in her graphic designing.

So overall it was a great day in Colombo where it was a multi-purpose visit…a short sight-seeing tour embedded with a design sharing experience.

A special thanks to LAC because of whom I got in touch with Deepthi and also thanks to Deepthi for  making this great meeting possible.



Meeting Hemal in person was a singular experience. Although we were following 2 different LAC courses, i.e. cartooning and graphic design we discovered that we had many mutual interests.

Our love of typography was one such area. This was evident at the Colombo Museum. Hemal, on seeing the inscriptions on some 18th century stone slabs from the Dutch occupation era pointed out the serif type and told me that the buildings constructed during the days of the British Raj located in the Fort area of Mumbai have the same type face etched on their façades.

Our interest in architecture of the colonial era also turned out to be mutual. The Colombo Museum, an imposing building based on Italian design built in 1876 by the British colonial administrators has always been one of my favourite places from the time I first visited it as an 8 year old. The sweeping double stairway leading to 2 parallel landings seemed to hold infinite possibilities for play back then, even if only in my imagination! It was interesting to note that Hemal seemed equally impressed at the sight of those beautifully crafted wooden staircases carpeted in red.

Above – Hemal and Mr.Jayah

Hemal had brought with him to present to me the latest copies of 2 magazines published by the company he works for in India. One of the magazines, Forbes India contained Hemal’s latest output at work. He told me that back home, the magazines would be put out for sale on that very day and that I was receiving my copies simultaneously. A rare privilege indeed! Over lunch we discovered that our work ethic was the same, as we are more concerned about doing a good job of work than achieving  personal fame.

The penultimate highlight of Hemal’s day was our visit to Sri Lanka’s largest newspaper publishing company which publishes 14 dailies and weeklies, the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited. At that meeting with the company’s production head, Hemal’s keenness to learn as well as his willingness to share his knowledge and experience was clearly evident. So much so that we were afforded the exclusive privilege of been given a tour of the latest computer-to-plate machinery by the head of the production department himself! We also took the opportunity to spread the word about the LAC and its courses as we had to explain to him how we had got to know each other.

As Hemal has stated we are grateful to the LAC for conducting courses which enable students from all over the world to interact and pursue their aspirations in art together, fostering friendships like ours which hopefully will be for a life-time!

Above – Colombo Museum

London Art College Competition

London Art College Art Competition 2011

ONLY 1 WEEK LEFT! Enter Today! 

The London Art College are holding a general art competition for all of their current students for 2011. Students can submit any drawing or painting they have completed. The winner will receive a £200 Amazon token and the runner up will receive a £50 Amazon token.

Students need to have their entries to us by 1st September 2011 and they need to email a clear scan or in focus photograph, with no watermarks of no less than 1000 pixels wide in JPEG format to –
Please include your full name, address, telephone number, title of piece, course and student number.

If you have any question or you would like to chat about the competition with fellow students we have a tread for students here – Competition Thread >>

‘Time After Time’ – A Book Cover Design For A Science Fiction Novel

‘Time After Time’ – A Book Cover Design For A Science Fiction Novel 

Written by Deepthi – Graphic Design Student.

This assignment was what is known as an ‘open brief’. Apart from the book’s title and the author’s name, the only information we were given was a very limited outline of the story. It was about a successful but bored middle-aged scientist who discovers a way to travel through time to a happier state of existence. Although initially everything goes well, complications set in we were told. We were also told that the author was not well-known and hence his name was not the most important element on the cover. In other words, we were expected to give full rein to our imaginations in tackling this assignment.

Technically, there were a few guidelines which we had to follow. To begin with we had to colour the outlines of the illustration using sepia coloured ink. Thereafter, we had to use poster paints to colour the illustrations. As per a real-life brief, the dimensions of the book’s front cover and spine were also provided. The size of the cover played a pivotal role in the final outcome of the design as I will explain later.

The book cover had to attract the interest of prospective readers as well as ‘to inform and entertain’. It also had to be visible from a  distance across a room, much as in a bookshop. In order to do all that I had to come up with a bold and arresting design. The typography was also vital to the overall effectiveness of the design;my choice of typeface would have to be legible while conveying the essence of the book’s story at the same time.

Above – Detail of Book Cover

Given all these considerations as well as the advice in the course materials I decided to use large, bold illustrations. The essence of the story, i.e. time travel and regeneration provided the basis for my design. Being a design for a science fiction novel I felt that ‘Time After Time’ provided the opportunity to combine realistic  illustrations with abstract motifs.

Early on I had decided to use a life-sized hand holding a stop-watch for the front cover. However, given the dimensions of the cover, this proved impractical. Thereafter I settled on drawing a close-up image of a life-sized thumb and fingers encircling a stop-watch. I felt that the concept of time measured in terms of life and regeneration could be depicted by an embryo drawn in abstract style, curled up within the confines of the stop-watch. I decided to retain an earlier design of a middle-aged man’s face in the foreground as I felt that a human face would cause even a casual viewer to take a closer look. The golden coloured rings to the right of the stop-watch symbolize the vibrations emanating from the stop-watch and also serves to guide the eye to the title of the book. My design decisions seem to have been proven effective by the comments of our course tutor, Mrs.Weaver  who in her critique has commented:

The composition of the front cover image is effective. You have created a sense of depth with the foreground middle-aged man leading the eye in towards the stop-watch and the circular golden rings beyond. The fact that the middle-aged man’s face is only partially shown adds impact to the design”.

The title of the book was set in a free font known as Ringlet Black which was downloaded from the internet. The word ‘Time’ was set in upper case as the letter ‘M’ in this font has a horizontal stroke running across the vertical middle stem giving the appearance of a cross. I felt that this accentuates the  mysterious nature of the story while endowing it with a slight gothic aura. ‘After’ was set in white in upper and lower case (title case) in order to create a contrast with ‘Time’ and also to highlight the repetitive nature of the phrase ‘Time After Time’. The type treatment of the title on the spine of the book is identical to that on the front cover. The embryo-like design on the front cover was incorporated into the design on the spine as well.

The rear cover, like the front cover combines realistic visuals with the abstract. The synopsis of the story is screened behind what appears to be waves. The waves are a subliminal cue to the often quoted “Time and tide wait for no man”. The buttons on the stop-watch are dimmed unlike the one on the cover as time has ground to a halt and the watch is powerless. The middle-aged man’s spectacles which have been placed atop the stop-watch appear to be rose-tinted, thereby suggesting an element of escapism from reality which forms the core of the book’s story.

Above – The Finished Book Cover

The background colours of the cover and spine also required careful consideration as it had to create the right ‘feel’ of the story without distracting attention from the more important elements. After trying out several colour combinations on copies of the drawings I finally decided to use a combination of blue, black and red. Our course material stated that variety in tonal quality was necessary to create depth and interest. I am happy that my efforts paid off as pointed out by Mrs.Weaver in her critique:

Your colour choices work effectively, bringing a boldness to the layout. The use of dark blue in the lower left corner of the front cover allows the stop-watch and man to stand out well. All tonal values have been well considered. Your final piece is well presented. I love the vibrancy of the particular tones of each of these colours you have chosen. The painted finish is completed to a good standard and overall the result is an eye-catching, colouful and striking book jacket”.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mrs.Weaver for her encouraging and insightful guidance. I would also like to add that unlike the other LAC art courses which are more about drawing and painting techniques and discovering one’s personal style, the Graphic Design Diploma requires a different approach from the student. One needs to carry out a lot of research and experiment with different approaches and techniques before attempting the assignments in the study units. What’s more, critical thinking is a must, as graphic design is essentially tied up with the commercial world in one form or the other and as such, the end use of our designs has to be borne in mind at all times. Personally for me, that’s one of the attractive challenges of graphic design!

Written by Deepthi – Graphic Design Student.

Children’s Book Rally…..

This is an email we have been sent and have posted here just in case any of our students are interested in entering. Good luck and let us know how you get on!


Children’s Book Rally with fantastic prize

We are extremely excited to announce our Children’s Book Rally in collaboration with boutique children’s book agency Frances McKay Illustration . We have a really special opportunity as our prize, courtesy of Frances McKay illustration  and Mike Jolly of Templar publishing , a chance to show off your portfolio to a real industry vet!

Example Submissions

For more information please visit our websites –

Children’s Book Rally

Student Artwork…

We have received a lovely write up from one of our students who has painted in oils for the first time, while working on the Drawing and Painting Diploma (D1). We hope that you find it inspiring and we would like to thank Evelyn for taking the time to write this for us!


This was the first time I ever painted in oils, so it felt really daunting initially. I loved the smooth consistency of oils but struggled with the colors and trying to get the tones and hues I wanted. I found practice, experimentation and observation to really make the difference, not just with colors but with lighting and shadows, too.

Another thing that helped a lot was painting from life whenever possible. For example, when painting the grapes I put a big cluster of grapes beside me and based my colors on them, and when painting the carafe and glass jar I got a bunch of glassware from the kitchen and studied them to give me an idea of how to paint that translucent sparkle.

Painting with oils took much longer than I’d expected, but I enjoyed the results. I think one can achieve effects with oil paint that are hard to achieve with other mediums. I hope I’ll learn more about oil painting as I continue studying the course!

A writer’s experience of being illustrated

A writer’s experience of being illustrated
by Janet Foxley 

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I had written stories for older children (unsuccessfully) for many years, and I also drew and painted a bit, so when I started to have ideas for picture books for the very young I enrolled on the London Art College’s Illustration Children’s Books. I had just completed the course and embarked on the extension course when I heard that my novel Muncle Trogg had won the 2010 Times/Chicken House competition for a children’s book by an unpublished author.

The prize was publication by Chicken House, and because it was to be marketed for quite young readers (7+ years) it needed black and white illustrations. They asked me to send them my ideas of how I saw the characters (who are giants) and suddenly I had to get used to how other people saw them. As a debut author I had no influence at all on either the illustrations or the cover and most of my preconceptions about they way in which illustrations add to a book have been overturned.

I sent them my idea of Ma Trogg:

But the Ma Trogg they published looks like this (the hairdo is right for a special occasion but the clothes could have come from Marks and Spencer!)

My Wise Man:

And their Wise Man: (The illustrations are by Steve Wells, a graphic designer who does most of Chicken House’s book covers.)

It was quite a shock to see my characters turned into childish doodles, but they assured me that this was currently the appropriate style for that age group. In addition all the pages have smudges, thumb prints etc to reflect the slovenly nature of the giants. The whole thing was designed to look rather like Cressida Cowell’s hugely successful How to train your Dragon series.

I soon got used to the style of the illustrations, but what I still find hard to accept is that the illustrations do not accurately reflect what it says in the book.

In the text the giants have long tangled hair, but in the pictures they have crew cuts. In the text Muncle is barefoot, but in the pictures he is wearing shoes. In one scene he dresses in knee breeches but the picture shows him in a lounge suit.

In the text the giants have grey skin, but on the book cover, the only coloured picture, they have pink skin. (Muncle has had to explain this away as an illness on his Facebook page!)

And what is that horn on the cover? It’s not in the book!

Some of the illustrations have had captions added, such as ‘who are you calling ugly?’ Now the story is told from the point of view of the giants, and they don’t find themselves ugly, so who is saying ‘who are you calling ugly?’ Apparently the pictures are supposed to look as if they had been produced by a child doodling in the book while reading it, and the captions are partly the child’s thoughts and partly the character’s response to the child’s thoughts.

So here are a few things to consider when you are illustrating a book:

• What is an appropriate style for the subject matter?
• What is an appropriate style for the readers’ age?
• What styles are currently fashionable?
• To what extent should the pictures reflect what it says in the text?
• Should the pictures be from the characters’ point of view or the readers’?

Janet Foxley August 2011
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