My Plymouth: Jake Rowlinson

llustrator Jake Rowlinson already had a couple of jobs lined up in Plymouth before he even graduated, so it seemed like a no-brainer to launch his freelance career here as well. He tells us what brought him to Plymouth, and the reasons he decided to stick around…


What drew you to Plymouth?

I looked at loads and loads of universities (as you do), but Plymouth really seemed to offer exactly what I was looking for. You get some courses that have a predetermined house style, some focus too heavily on one aspect of the industry, trying to fit every square student in the round hole of children’s picture books, or editorial illustrations. Others are obsessed with computer aided artwork (not necessarily everyone’s cup of tea). The illustration course at Plymouth was open to personal choice, and diverse enough to encourage you to explore new, unimagined directions.


Why did you decide to stay in Plymouth?

Primarily, I stayed because I was already employed as a full-time freelance illustrator, straight out of the course. I landed two different jobs through my connections with the University. I did move back home to the Midlands for a little while, but the creative juices just weren’t flowing like they do when I’m here. Perhaps I was a fish in a former life? Most of my course chums moved away after uni, but quite a few came back.


Was it easy enough to find work?

Well, you just have to be in the right place at the right time. I’m a bit rubbish at getting my work out and about, and just wish that commissions dropped through the letterbox, but you do have to do the legwork. I’ve got a part time job as well, to get me out of the studio from time to time. The internet is a great space to find work, and conventions and art fairs. But most of the time, it just tends to be serendipity.


Where is your favourite place to hang out in the summer?

I think three of the biggest feathers in Plymouth’s cap are its proximity to Dartmoor, Cornwall and the Brittany ferry. Cycling through the moor, or a few days in Morlaix, or walking the Tamar valley. It’s grand. That, and there’s a really vibrant folk scene in the south-west.


What’s your favourite night spot?

Well, I’m a bit of an old man in a young man’s body, so I’m a real ale drinker. The best pub for proper beer is the Fortescue, easy peasy. I also run a monthly folk session in The Dolphin, singing and playing predominantly English folk. (Shameless plug over.)


Is it a good home for an artist?

Plymouth is a really good home for this artist. I think there’s a pace to the city that supports creativity, rather than the hustle and bustle of a more obvious metropolis. I’ve had quite a few opportunities from being where I am, and the cost of living is relatively cheap. I’ll probably never be a millionaire, but I’m very busy, and very happy here.

"Deciding on Plymouth is one of the best moves I’ve ever made"

Jake Rowlinson – BA (Hons) Design and Illustration graduate

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.

Jake Rowlinson

Student Life magazine: Summer 2016 issue 3