Art Schooled: Chapter 2

Welcome to a new semester of Art Schooled - a monthly column all about my time studying in creative education. This term I will be doing things a little differently. Posts will be monthly rather than weekly and be more of a general round-up of my thoughts and experiences from the time in between rather than focusing so much on one particular topic. To stop me rambling on too much, I am limiting myself to a list of 10 things that I have learnt, loved and made each month.

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If you have missed the last series of Art Schooled which covered my first year studying, you can find links to all the posts and catch up on the story so far here. Also, if you are a little confused about the title of the post, I am counting my first year as Chapter one and each month from now on will be a new chapter in my art school story. It might seem a little confusing at the moment but I think it should work best going forward.

I have only been back studying Illustration at DJCAD for a few weeks and already so much has happened so I better get on with it. Here are some highlights…

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Illustration by Nina Cosford

A Brand New Headless Home!

One of the most exciting new things this month happened as soon as I got to Dundee when I moved into my new flat! I am living with one of my best friends and fellow DJCAD student Eva Legemah again this year but in a new place. We were a bit of a trek away from the uni last year but now we are a 4 minute walk and loving life. The flat is actually the upper half of a converted house. The decor is old and really not to my taste but we have made it our own in every way we can. I might even share some of the tips I have learnt about decorating rented properties soon.

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I Hate Not Being Able To Use Colour

For our first brief since returning, we have been tasked with designing inside pages and a cover for an activity book aimed at children who have been through a traumatic experience. The project is actually a live brief which will one day turn in to a real book and I love the concept. There is just one problem however - we couldn’t use colour on the inside pages. Over the past year especially, my style has become more and more reliant on colour so it being banned didn’t exactly fill me with joy. It was an interesting challenge and I was happy with what I created in the end. I am just putting the finishing touches to my other designs so I will show you them next month. By then I will also have completed my next project which I intend to go colour mad with.

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Landscape Can Be Anything

In your third year at DJCAD, you get to choose an extra module to study in your first semester. Modules range from portraiture and comic book illustration to mythology and languages. I chose The Undiscovered Landscape as I was intrigue by it’s open, fine-arty nature. So far, the course has consisted of 4 extremely interesting lectures showing all the different things Landscape art can encompass. One of myy favourite talks was by Louise Scullion who spoke about how she aims to reconnect people with nature through her work. The image above is of her Rosnes Benches which were built to encourage people to take a moment and appreciate their surroundings. You can find out more about them here.

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Let’s Talk About The Circle

If you have read the blog before, you’ll know I used to do a monthly favourites series in this slot. To be honest, it was getting a little stale and forced so I am giving that series a rest and letting this new monthly round-up take it’s place. Whilst Art Schooled is mainly focused on all things art-related, I will be throwing in a few non-designer highlights such as my new TV obsession - The Circle. If you haven’t heard of The Circle, it’s an addictive new reality show where the contestants only communicated through a social media platform. It’s basically the closest thing we have to a factual Black Mirror episode and you should all go watch it now!

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I Need To Get Back In To Embroidery

Last month, I bought a beautiful embroidered jumpers from Zara which I have been loving wearing ever since and each time I do it reminds me that I need to start embroidering again. I did a project at art school last year where I made an embroidered book all about my time travelling. Afterwards I had the idea for a whole line of t-shirts and bags with embroidered doodles on them. That idea has stayed as just that - an idea - ever since but I need to get my needles, hoops and threads out and make it a reality. 

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I’d Like To Learn About Exhibition Design

Another thing I want to get into this year is exhibition design. After one of our Landscape lectures, we were invited for a tour of the Cooper gallery which is a little exhibition space attached the DJCAD building. They have a curatorial society which teaches student how to plan and install exhibitions as well as introducing them to visiting artists. Exhibition design has been something I have been intrigued by for a while now and I would love to display more of my work in future so I will definitely be looking into that soon. 

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Jagoda’s Sunset Exhibition

Speaking of exhibitions, I went to a wonderful one hosted by my friend Jagoda last week. Inspired by the themed of Summer Sunsets, the exhibition showcased a series of mini monochrome illustrations, each expressing the different emotions which a simple sunset can conjure up. Taking place inside her flat, the intimate gathering was a lovely way to celebrate what an amazing talent Jagoda has! I love her DIY attitude and it made me think about how I should be being more proactive about getting my work displayed. 

You can see more of Jagoda’s beautiful work here.

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I Need To Start Thinking Like An Illustrator

This leads me nicely on to my next point about taking yourself seriously as a creative. I don't want to wait until I graduate to start working in the outside world as an illustrator but it takes some guts to start putting yourself out there and asking people to pay you for what you do. I think the first step is a change in mindset. My thinking is if you see yourself as a “proper’ illustrator rather than an illustration student then others will hopefully see you that way too. I’ll let you know how I get on with this mental adjustment next time. 

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The V&A Is Now Open!

On the 15th of September, the V&A Dundee finally opened it’s doors. Having seen it gradually being built over the past couple of years as well as all the teasers online, the momentum around the grand opening had been building for a while and expectations we sky high. As it turns out, the building is as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside and already feels like an incredibly exciting for Scottish design. I only had a brief visit so far but I will be back soon for a proper look. One of the most exciting things about the V&A opening is the impact on the city as a whole it will have. Dundee is already a great city with lots of creative things happening which I plan on blogging about soon.

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Dundee Had It’s First Pride

Finally, in September Dundee celebrated it’s first ever Pride! And not only was it Dundee’s first Pride but it was the first Pride I have ever attended too! It felt strange that the city had never had one but happily lots of people got behind the debut. A huge crowd of people turned out for the march and walking together in the rainbow-parade you could feel a true sense of pride radiating off all of us. If you fancy getting in on the LGBTQ+ action, I did a little mini series of Pride themed blog posts earlier in the Summer including a list of LGBTQ+ Artists and a Pride themed Favourites post. I’m already looking forward to next year’s pride and hoping it’ll be ever bigger, better and prouder than the first!


So there you go - a little snippet into my Dundee life. I’m really excited about this new series of Art Schooled! I already know October will include our first crits, a few new briefs, a drawing trip up a mountain and a “reading” week. I’m sure there will be lots to discuss from all that so I will see you at the end of October for chapter 3.