Jake Rowlinson - BA (Hons) Design and Illustration graduate

Current employer: Freelance

Current job title: Illustrator

Current location: Plymouth

“When I went to Plymouth I was a chap that could draw. When I graduated I was an illustrator. That wouldn't and couldn't have happened without the course.”

Tell us about your career path since graduation.

I was really fortunate in that I finished my degree in the Levinsky studio on the Friday, and started a pretty big job Monday. I got that gig through the course leader, Ashley Potter, and wouldn't have been in a position to go for it without the tuition and support of the staff. After that more immediate step onto the career ladder, I've done all sorts of stuff: comics, logos, branding, posters, children's books, cartooning demonstrations with kiddy-winks, and all sorts.

Has your career path changed since graduation?

I wouldn't say it changed so much as never really plateaued. Illustration is a funny game in that way: you never really know what the next job will be, and what particular skills will be expected of you. It keeps you on your toes.

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

I think when you get a commission or proposal that is completely out of your comfort zone, but go for it anyway. You end up coming up with work you'd never thought you were capable of, never mind that most of the time it ends up being your favourite stuff.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?

Draw. Draw and draw and draw. It's very easy to get fed up with no paid work for big periods of time. But if you stop, it's very hard to get back in the saddle. Same goes for graduation. Don't do the “oh, I've finished now, I'll give myself the summer holiday off, and get back into it after.” I've known too many folks that never sat back down to it.

What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth?

The studio. It's an incredible coup for the course at Plymouth to give every illustration student a desk of their own. In the third year I pretty much lived there. The camaraderie, the stability. Cracking.

Is there anything else which you would like to share with our current students?

Keep at it. Don't stop. Don't get lazy or complacent. Take advantage of the studio and the extra-curricular things on offer. There were loads of illustration jobs floating through that I wish I'd taken at the time, and the free lectures! I went to so many awesome history society lectures for nothing. That I miss.

Inspired by this story?

For more information about studying illustration, please visit our BA (Hons) Illustration page. For more information about our range of courses within the School of Art, Design and Architecture, please visit the school page.

Want to find similar alumni?

If you would like to find out what other alumni from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities are currently doing, please visit the art, design, media and performance interest area.


Image by Ross Ingielewicz, www.rossillustration.com