James Cluer – BA (Hons) Illustration graduate

Year of graduation: 2016

Current employer: FromLucy

Current job title: Illustrator and Graphic Designer

Current location: Tavistock

“Other than the amazing location and great facilities, you also get to spend a lot of time with your tutors for feedback. You get your own desk rather than a communal space and plenty of computers and software to learn from!”

Tell us what you have been doing since completing your studies.

I continued to work within retail for a few months and spent most evenings searching and applying for positions in illustration and design. I was lucky enough to find a suitable position in September after I graduated and I have been working as a designer and focusing on my career ever since.

Has your career path changed since graduation?

I found a job role that was just what I was looking for, so what I was studying at university has been a massive contribution to my career.

What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career?

Whilst looking for a suitable job role, I found it difficult getting enough shifts at my retail job. I knew that soon I would have to find a full-time position that could pay the bills, so it was down to me if I could find an illustration position in time. I put all my spare time into pursuing this.

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

I have illustrated a children’s book, along with my boss, which has been published. It was a proud moment seeing people enjoying a book with which I was involved.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you could?

Although I am very happy with the time I spent at Plymouth University and what has happened since graduating, with hindsight I would have liked to have learnt more software for type and product design. Since graduating I have learnt how to create fonts at work, but knowing this beforehand would have given me a huge boost. There is a lot of software used in design so it’s valuable knowledge.

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

Your portfolio is everything. Spend time creating and re-creating it. Make sure it is printed to a high standard: it can be expensive, but worth it. Also show your work in context to show that you know what you are talking about, to show your potential employer that you love your work and you are passionate about what you want to do! This was one of the most important things I was taught at Plymouth University.

What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth?

Presenting my final major to my tutors and family. It was a great feeling looking back at what I had done over those three years. I learnt so much and grew to be ready for the professional world.

Do you stay in touch with other Plymouth University alumni or lecturers?

Of course! I regularly speak to tutors and alumni from various years. I gained many, very talented friends who give very valuable feedback and support even after graduation!

Would you recommend undertaking a course with Plymouth University, and why?

Definitely. Other than the amazing location and great facilities, you also get to spend a lot of time with your tutors for feedback. You get your own desk rather than a communal space and plenty of computers and software to learn from! Also, the staff in the print rooms and the tutors love what they do and love to see you succeed!

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

Do more! Simple, but it was effective for me! You are studying something you love and want a career in it, so put that extra effort in. Get a head start and don’t be afraid to go for something just because you don’t have the experience or because you may have failed before. You’ve got nothing to lose!

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