Mr John Kilburn

Mr John Kilburn

Lecturer in Illustration

School of Art, Design and Architecture (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business)



Programme Leader

MA Illustration

Exchange: Illustration


Yr 2 co-ordinator BA (Hons) Illustration

Strand Leader for Comics & Visual Narratives


Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP) - University of Plymouth

MA Illustration: Authorial Practice – University College Falmouth

BA Graphic Design – Bath Spa University College

BTEC Multimedia – Chelsea and Kensington College


John is interested in the importance and potential of illustration in communicating ecological narratives and rhetoric to new audiences, with emphasis on the role of humour and absurdity. His current research relates to how sustainability can be embedded into the Illustration curriculum at the University of Plymouth and the potential for illustration to be an essential tool for global communication and transformative learning. John's research has led to many successful community focused or inter-disciplinary student projects with groups such as The Sustainable Eel Group, Fresh Air, Bikespace, I Know You, Guillemot Press, Port Eliot Festival and the Open Doors Language School. These projects have resulted in research trips to the European Parliament in Brussels (to campaign for the critically endangered European eel) and to Uganda (to develop illustrated educational materials on lung disease) supported with funding from the Global Challenges Research Fund, HEIF, The Sustainable Eel Group and the Sustainable Earth Institute's Creative Associate Awards. 

As an illustrator, John graduated with a BA in Graphic Design & Illustration in 1999 and began working in the entertainment industry creating over 400 club flyers and posters. After completing his MA in Authorial Illustration John became immersed in the small press scene as a director of Atlantic Press and working on the production of international artzine Tiny Pencil. In 2012 John founded the gallery and artspace 64 Killigrew Street in Falmouth with the artist Vincent Larkin. John’s illustrations, handmade zines, pop-up books and comics have been collected, published and exhibited internationally by the likes of Thames & Hudson, Cappelen Damn, the TATE, V&A, Gestalten, Printed Matter NY and the Yale Center for British Art. 





Bunnies Behind Bars with Astra Papachristodoulou, Knives, Forks and Spoons Press, 2021

Auditioning for Poem Atlas with Astra Papachristodoulou, Poem Atlas, 2021

Archipelago: An Atlas of Imagined Islands.Thames & Hudson, 2020 (anthology)

The Eel Suitcase with Luke Thompson, Guillemot Press, 2018

Robot Squirrel by Luke Thompson, ZimZalla 2017

Henry and the Moon Baby by Rob Magnuson Smith, Guillemot Press 2016

W.A.A.F.P.P, self-published 2016

72 Hours, Atlantic Press 2015

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Filtered Through The Hypercube, self-published 2015

Only Now Do I Know: Poems of a Five Year Old Boarder, Carole Inman 2015

Visual Families, Gestalten 2014

Snuff Comix vol.6 2014

Tiny Pencil IV: Death and Resurrection, Tiny Empire Press 2014

Making Time - Featuring William Arnold, Hannah Guy, Andy Hughes, Nicholas Hughes & Oliver Raymond-Barker 2013

Tiny Pencil II: Mammals, Monsters, Mars! Tiny Empire Press 2013

Tiny Pencil: The Forest Issue, Tiny Empire Press 2013

The Leviathan, self-published 2012

The Golden Plaice, self-published 2012

Blood, Breasts and Beasts, self-published 2011

As co-director of Atlantic Press:

Seacroft by Steve Braund

The Black Madonna’s Song by Mat Osmond and Kate Walters

Licitus by Viktoriya Staykova

CHAOS: A Co-Creation

By Orchestral Waters by June Moore

Cassiopia: Knee by Hannah Rae Alton, Irene Vidal Cal, Amy Goodwin, Anne Harild, Catrin Morgan

Mouth - anthology

The Red Haze by Emilia Wharfe

Vassa Zheleznova by Emily Juniper

the clearing by LukeThompson illustrated by Mairaed Dunne

Stone by Em Strang illustrated by Mat Osmond

On Ridgegrove Hill by Alyson Hallett illustrated by Phyllida Bluemel

Isomorphology by Gemma Anderson

The Devil’s Noose by Heidi Ball

Pick me up by Anna Kiernan illustrated by Harriet Lee Merrion


• Save the European Eel: Where next for eel protection? ft. eels from the Eel Suitcase, The Natural History Museum, London, 2019

• 'The Creel' an exhibition of illustrated eel poetry, The Dutch Church, London 2019

• Save the European Eel: Where next for eel protection?, ft. eels from the Eel Suitcase. The London Wetlands Centre, 2019

• 'Seeing Voices' group exhibition. Falmouth, 2018.

• Save the European Eel: Europe's Own Ivory Trade, The European Parliament, Brussels 2018

• The Murmuring Guillemot, Collaborative daily newspaper at Port Eliot Festival with Guillemot Press, St Germans 2017.

• Guillemot Press. Henry and the Moon Baby launch & exhibition. Terre Verte, Alternun. 2017

• First Impressions 5, Plymouth University 2016

• Comica, House of Illustration, 2016

• The Cultshare Show 2015, Penryn Arts Festival.

• Bristol Artists Book Event, Arnolfini April 2015.

• Marlborough School, Visual literacy workshops for children. Falmouth, 2015.

• Bizarre Noel, Falmouth, December 2014.

• The Small Publishers Fair, London 2014

• ‘As Above So Below’ Resident Artist. 64 Killigrew Street, Falmouth 2014.

• “Of Green Leaf, Bird, and Flower”: Artists’ Books and the Natural World. Yale Center for British Art, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. USA, 2014

• Camp Bestival, Workshop Leader, Dorset 2014.

• ‘Homage’ 64 Killigrew St. Falmouth, 2013

• The Small Publishers Fair, London 2013

• International Artist’s Book Competition Exhibition, Bank Street Arts, Sheffield September 2013

• The Tobacco Factory, Solo Show. Bristol November 2013

• Guest Printmaker, The Print Shop, Bristol, October 2013

• ‘12’ Falmouth Poly. September 2013

• ‘Waterlog’, Falmouth Poly. Aug 2013

• Tiny Pencil Launch Party. Live drawing at GOSH Comics. Soho, April 2013

• Bristol Artists Book Event, April 2013.

• Penryn Arts Festival, Drawing workshop with Tom Hubmann. Penryn 2013

• 64 Killigrew Street - gallery and exhibition space. Co-founder/manager/curator. Falmouth 2013

• The Small Publishers Fair, November 2012

• Comica, London November 2012.

• The Alternative Fresher’s Fair. Falmouth 2012

• Truro Arts, Truro Sept-Oct 2012

• MA Shows. Woodlane campus. Falmouth

• Illustration Stuff Fair, Plymouth CAD. 2012

• Hung,Drawn and Authored. Falmouth Poly, March 2011

• Museum of Walcot Art (MOWA), Walcot Street, Bath, Summer 2010

• Back to Mine, ‘Shopfront’ Exhibition of Posters 2007-2010

• Multimedia Show, Chelsea and Kensington College, Summer 2007

• Squat Art, Ex-Car dealership, Montpellier, Bristol, August 2006

• Bath Fringe Festival, Mural Workshop Leader, Bath 2006

• Solo Exhibition, The Hat and Feather, Bath, 2005

• The Shri Tulsi Mandir Foundation, Resident Artist. Kapsi, India 2004.

• Bath Spa University Degree Show as honorary fellow, Summer 2001

• The Love and Worry Show, The Coningsby Gallery, London. Dec 1999

• Peep! Degree Show, London. Summer 1999

• Bath SpaUniversity Summer 1999



Reports & invited lectures

  • Talk on own practice & small publishing, Illustration Online MA, Falmouth University, June 2019
  • 'Comic Books & Graphic Novels', Folkestone Academy, June 2019
  • 'The Eel Suitcase' with Dr Luke Thompson. Environmental Arts Practice Research Conference, University of Plymouth, April 2019
  • Urban Dialogues, University of Plymouth, 2019
  • 'The Eel Suitcase' with Dr Luke Thompson. Sustainable Earth Conference, June 2018 (marketplace presentation)
  • 'Service Learning and Sustainability within ILLUS510' Sustainability in Higher Education Conference, January 2018 (poster presentation)
  • 'Making the Golden Plaice' MA Illustration Research Symposium, Falmouth University 2013