The Cartooning Diploma Course:
This is a long blog post (just warning you now!) but the course was 18 months of sheer enjoyment so it warrants quite a few words (and illustrations!) in praise of it. Just in case you can’t be bothered to read to the end, can I just summarize by saying: the course was well-structured with excellent content, the tutor (John Byrne) was brilliant (more in praise of him later!) and Melanie in Tech support guided me through the self-imposed technological bits with patience, skill and lots of screen shots! I got so much inspiration from both John and Melanie that I decided half way through the course to store my rapidly growing body of work in a ‘portfolio-style’ website www.audreyq.co.uk
So why did I choose this particular course:
About five years ago my bridge club in Spain wanted to raise money for a charity for severely disabled youngsters. A friend and I decided to make greeting cards using our own art work. She did local landscapes and I did a few ‘illustrations’ about bridge – thinking they might sell in a bridge club! People began asking if they were paintings, illustrations or cartoons? I didn’t know.
Roll on to September 2018 when I wanted a new challenge:
I began wondering what I could do in the new year of 2019. I thought I might try portraiture as I’d just done a picture of Omar Sharif (I combined it later with Johnny Depp for assignment 4). I spotted the LAC cartoon diploma course and thought this might help to answer the question of what was I currently doing?!! Were they cartoons or simple line-drawings or humorous water-colours – and if they were cartoons, how could I improve them…
Why did I choose London Art College?
I began looking at on-line art courses because I move every 3 months between England and Spain. Once I’d decided on Cartooning I did look at other courses but decided on LAC because it seemed the most thorough and, unlike the others, it didn’t promise miracles of cartooning success. How could any course guarantee me success if they hadn’t seen my work? What LAC did do, and fulfil, was promise to give a professional approach to cartooning… and this was what I wanted.
My tutor? What can I say other than superb? Well lots more actually! I can’t speak highly enough of the tutor – John Byrne. His critiques were always positive, encouraging and useful to apply ‘across the board’. He seemed to have the knack of zooming in on one important area in which I could improve my work and these areas influenced all of my future work… To give just one example, my first cartoon for John was ‘Edith and her Egg Whisk’ and he suggested I altered the direction of her eyes so that they led the viewer to Ernest’s legs. Nearly two years later, when I did the ‘gentle reminder about paying your subs’ I automatically had the eyes going towards the kitten. Thank you John!
The course materials:
The whole enrolment procedure was very efficient and when my lovely folder arrived I was immediately impressed with the thoroughness of the course content. There was revision of many areas like perspective, which I already knew about, but it all came in useful later as I began doing work for websites and newspapers. The advantage of seeing the whole course ‘at a glance’ was that fairly early on (I called it advance preparation!) I flicked through to the end which was about getting your work published. I realised that this was a long-term procedure and the written advice gave me the confidence to start having a go! Fantastic experience because I kept getting very positive feedback and a desire to publish my cartoons – but not to pay! I eventually decided to opt for a weekly cartoon in a newspaper that is published across Spain in exchange for a small advert for the chosen charity. (Nearly a year later and I am still sending off new cartoons every month and I still get fun seeing them ‘in the flesh’ and on-line when I’m in England.)
By the time I was halfway through the course I was producing regular cartoons for two duplicate bridge websites – one in Spain and one in England. This was also good practice because I was working to a strict brief and for a specific audience. (I should add that I also had lots of rejections from other newspapers and magazines!) The two bridge clubs that I play at regularly had my pictures around their walls and a further club actually paid for them! I got some cartoons published in the English Bridge Union magazine and the Christmas front cover for 2019 – kudos! As I got to the end of the course (and with lots of help from John) I realised that the last assignment could cover doing ‘cartoon-style illustrations’ for a book about fitness for female farmers. The above illustration was for ‘the menopause’ … always be prepared to adapt to a client’s wishes said John – yep, the editors came back with a Health & Safety request to add a crash helmet – which thanks to Melanie, and her time spent helping me with GIMP, I could do in minutes! This whole project was a wonderful experience and not just because I got paid for it!
So what next:
I had so much fun doing the course and I made so much personal progress that I resolved to give myself a new challenge every year. My challenge for 2020 was to start the LAC Digital Illustration course and to start my own illustrated blog: http://bridgeplayerblog.com
The Cartooning Course more than fulfilled my expectations. It led me into areas (both artistic and technological!) that I would never have thought to explore and, more importantly, it gave me the confidence and desire to go on exploring!
Cartooning Diploma Course
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