Spencer Hill

College tutor Spencer Hill and his partner Vicky Oakey have produced a cartoon collection centred around horses. The book is entitled ‘Cartoons from the horses mouth’ and will be published next month by Quiller Publishing under their equine imprint Kenilworth Press.

The book contains over a hundred colour cartoons describing the experiences of horses from their perspectives, and is based on science and experience as Vicky not only has an Msc in equine science, but considerable experience as a groom and rider.

Spencer explained that he originally produced the cartoons as a practice exercise. Take a subject and see how many cartoons you can generate from it. When he reached 25 he realised he had struck cartoon gold and decided to see what interest there was in syndication with one of the equestrian magazines in the UK. There wasn’t any, so they pushed on and got the number to a round 101 and self published with lulu.com  instead. The idea was to see what interest there was in the collection, whilst simultaneously producing a dummy book to take to a publisher. They drafted a list of the most likely publishing houses and approached them in order. The first one was Kenilworth and they were immediately interested. A contract was drawn up and a release date agreed. The book is available to buy at www.countrybooksdirect.com

Vicky and Spencer are now working on a sequel using the same approach as with the first batch; Vicky will sit and tell Spencer stories of her experience with horses, or explain equestrian concepts to him, and Spencer turns them into cartoons. Spencer has an article on his website www.spencerhill.co.uk which explains this transformation process in more detail.

We are keeping our hooves crossed that the book will be a success!

spencer-hill-1 spencer-hill

Giana Cochrane

Giana Cochrane completed our Illustration Children’s books Diploma course with Maggy Roberts and is now doing the 52 week challenge on Facebook, along with lots of out other students. Why not find out about it yourself here – and read about Giana’s work below.

52 week Challenge blog >>
Facebook Group >>


My name is Giana Cochrane and I am also a member of the 52 weeks illustration challenge.

I completed the Children Illustration Diploma Course with Maggie Roberts last year and recently joined this Challenge group in order to keep practicing while looking after my baby who is now 7 months old.

It is a really dynamic and friendly group and the talent you encounter there is just fantastic. It is humbling for me to have been shortlisted for week 3 – Retro on the blog.

Please find below my submissions for Week 3 – Retro and Week 4 – Insect.

Giana Cochrane
Illustrating Children’s Books Diploma

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Tanya Hempson


I am a student doing the Diploma of Children’s illustration. I’m also participating in the 52-week illustration challenge, and have found it a great way to experiment and view fantastic levels and styles of artwork. 53-week Challenge has been running for a year and is now going into its second year… I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some of the other members and briefly meet Tania McCartney who runs the challenge.
Attached are my most recent offerings entitled Kitchen, Italy and Fairytale
The prompts run from Tuesday evening for a week! It’s a fantastic way to meet and discuss anything to do with illustration. It would be great to meet other London Art College Students there!
Tanya Hempson
Tanya-Hempson  Tanya-Hempson-2

Keziah Herbert

Keziah Herbert is currently studying with Maggy Roberts on the Illustrating Children’s book diploma course and has written about her experiences and work below. We are thrilled Keziah is doing so well and wish her all the best for her future pieces!


I am training to be a Children’s Book and freelance Illustrator, and I couldn’t be happier that I signed up to do the Illustrating Children’s Book Diploma Course with Maggy Roberts. After I quit university, I lost all confidence in my work and stopped doing any artwork for a long time. I resolved to get back into education and after lots of searching I signed up with the college. Doing the course has helped me to get back on track, made me feel so much better about my work, and allowed me to work towards a new career.

It took me a while to get going due to moving house, but once I started doing the modules it was hard to stop! I found them challenging and engaging, and the support from both Maggy and the other students in the college forum really helped me to focus and work hard.

The feedback I’ve received from Maggy has been informative, honest and on the mark. I’ve felt all the way through that I’ve been learning lots and improving too! I am currently working on the final module and am pleased to say that through modules one to five I received a distinction and I’m hoping I end up with the same for my final piece.

I am planning on continuing on to the Illustrating Children’s Books Follow on Course, and then hopefully on to the Illustration Diploma. In the mean time I have started my own blog, Facebook page, and am now even taking commissions! One of my most recent pieces was for a lovely lady who has two disabled dogs called Nubbles, and Bebe. I drew her beloved 2 legged dogs as super heroes, “The Wonder Dogs”

Keziah Herberts – Blog >>
Keziah Herberts Facebook >>

Keziah Herbert 2Keziah Herbert

Eleanor Patrick

A wonderful post from Eleanor Patrick who is on her third course with the London Art College. Read on and View Eleanor’s work to find out more……..


I enrolled on the Digital Illustration course when I was still working through the Children’s Book Illustration diploma. The reason was that I was using a digital app (Inkpad on the iPad) for the Fiery Fred (dragon) assignment and thought the two courses would work together to help me progress. I did the final Children’s book Illustration assignment digitally too. By then I was well on my way with Spencer Hill’s course.

Doing this was simple in one sense because I had a graphics tablet and stylus and used them regularly (it can take some getting used to if you start from scratch), and difficult in another because the course wanted us to submit in Gimp, which meant using it! I hated it at first and still prefer Manga Studio and Photoshop – but me and Gimp, well we’ve made our peace. It can come in useful at times. Like an old paintbrush you’ve mangled to death and hate but which can still make a beautiful hedge in watercolour.

I was already on the course before the assignments changed to being more directive, and Spencer was great about allowing me (us, presumably) to submit whatever fulfilled the criteria, which was to prove we could use the tools well.

I started off tentatively and really simply, not knowing quite what was expected, and one of my assignment 1 pieces (to show opacity and depth in black and white) was a simple tree.

By assignment 3 I was going a little bit mad and needed to use dodge, smudge, burn and blend along with everything else learnt so far. I sent Spencer three such different pictures he must have wondered where I had emerged from. I just hadn’t settled on a digital style yet. My favourite was the alien hound, but Spencer liked the girl waiting on the platform and put it into the college gallery, so I took that as a hint about direction.

At one point I borrowed a still life from the Children’s book Illustration course (courtesy Maggy Roberts) and produced it digitally. One thing I found I liked doing was to start in my real sketchbook and then bringing it into Gimp and continue from there. The boy waiting at the bus stop started that way. (I draw a lot of waiting people while they’re not looking. The others scare me to death!)

Assignment 6 has to be done using the vector software Inkscape, which I found non-intuitive. I now use the new Affinity Designer app – but I do like what vector does for digital art in terms of inking drawings and being infinitely expandable without loss of definition.

I have a long way to go but have just joined the recently advertised Illustration Diploma which ranges much wider than both Children’s book Illustration and Digital Illustration and can be done in traditional or digital media. I am looking forward very much to getting to grips with this.


Eleanor Patrick
Digital Illustration Diploma
Illustration Diploma
Illustrating Children’s book Diploma