Cheryl Day

When I began the Illustrating Children’s Book Diploma Course I was looking to pursue a career as a children’s book illustrator, but I was severely lacking the self-confidence. This course has been absolutely brilliant! Each assignment has challenged me and pushed me out of my comfort zone, but it has also been great fun! On top of that, it has helped me put together a portfolio of work that I’m proud of.

Completing the course had been a struggle as I had quite a few dramatic life changes since I first signed up – I ended a long-term relationship, moved home, met my soulmate, moved home again, and then got married! But I eventually arrived at the ‘dreaded’ final assignment. I say ‘dreaded’, not because the brief wasn’t exciting or wonderful (because it truly was), but because coming to the end of this fantastic course felt very emotional and actually a little bit scary. I tend to put too much pressure on myself for things to be perfect and this can create a lot of resistance in me to even begin to put pen to paper. So, after sitting down and having a stern word with myself, I finally got started.

For the final assignment I began by looking at reference images of tortoises on the internet, but then it occurred to me that my mum has a tortoise named Shelley! So, I paid them a visit to draw him in the flesh (or shell). Sketching Shelley was challenging because believe it or not, he can actually move quite fast, especially when he’s honed in on a tasty foot to bite into, so I also took a few photos of him to use later. Even though the final piece may not have been exactly what I’d visualised, and despite what my inner critic might have said, I achieved a bold, colourful scene and I was very happy with it.

As mentioned before, I actually feel quite emotional that I have come to the end of this course but I am already looking forward to joining the follow-up course!

The most exciting news of all is that due to the portfolio of work that I have put together during this course, I have been commissioned to illustrate my first children’s book!

Thank you, London Art College and an especially huge thank you to my tutor, Maggy Roberts. Your guidance and encouragement throughout has been invaluable and boosted my confidence no end! I couldn’t have done it without you.

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