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Case Study

Rachel McKenna

Houghton Le Spring, UK

BA (Hons) Illustration and Design

I did the Foundation course at the University of Sunderland before deciding to choose the Illustration and Design degree. It is a great way of finding out where your true creative path lies and what discipline you enjoy studying as well as what areas you excel in.
I really enjoyed my experience at Sunderland and the degree has certainly shaped my career path and given me the skills to pursue a future in illustration. The contacts I have made are fantastic and I know I can call on my lecturers any time if I need help or advice. They have encouraged me all the way.
The skills I developed at Sunderland also gave me the confidence to put together my first illustrated storybook, which is designed for children who have a parent serving in the armed forces. This work in turn has made me look more into early-years education as a career, so my course has definitely shaped what I would like to do in the future.
There was a good community atmosphere on my course. We all had our own dedicated workspace to develop our own ideas, but we were also encouraged to help each other develop as artists.
From day one the lecturing staff also encouraged us to develop as individual artists and work on our own individual profiles. This meant working on a range of projects from putting together a professional portfolio to generating websites and blogs. We were taught that self-promotion is key when it comes to artists carving out a career. 
As well as traditional and digital illustration, the course was also very hands on in working on printmaking methods and typography. Above all the project work taught me valuable lessons in time management and meeting deadlines while overall the course boosted my personal confidence.”

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