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When preparing the final stack of work for the end of the year submission I realized that I have more things than what I thought. This is the result of working like an ant during the year course. Each day seems like you are not really advancing and then end all together is a good pile! So in order to put some order I made these labels to separate one thing from another.

Above you can see some of the labels.


Sweet Lakwena


Lakwena came today to share her experience which was quite different from the graphic designers and illustrators we had before in our Hothouse talks. I must admit that I had prejudge her by the work I looked in internet before the talk and had this feeling in my way to the talk of “oh God give patience to interpret nicely and blog about another strident designer to my best intention”. I know we are invited to criticize other artists work, yet I don’t feel comfortable in doing this because I believe that there’s room from everyone and respect should be a principle in the artist’s community. Anyway, after the talk there’s no need to criticize Lakwena’s work at all.

She gave us a lesson in humility: she didn’t have in her beginnings enough money to buy a computer so used her crafty hands in the same way as we use Photoshop: cut and paste, and paint was basically what she used to do posters, illustrations, flyers, etc. Her first commission was with a barber (who she ended married some time later) and she did something he didn’t ask for, yet she believed it was the best for his business. She never had an agent, everything comes to her by friends (she told us to believe in this as we never know who our friends know) and also Instagram works very well for her. One of the many advices she gave us is that if someone ask us to do a job and we don’t know how to do it we say “yes” to it and after we get the job we work out how to do it…. even if we are scared to fail!!

In her childhood she did lots of trips to Africa and this is reflected in her work. Especially African style of typography has a strong influence in all her work.


She was dresses in black and white, lots of big pieces of gold jewels. Lakwena loves combining text in fabrics as a way of communication. There was something that I still don’t quite work out about her: her work is really strong as colours, patterns, enormous sizes, the way she dress is radical but when she started talking was the sweetest person we ever had in our Hot House. I felt like I could listen to her voice for ever; as if I was a little child listening to a beautiful story. Thank you Lakwena for this moment.



Ideas, initiative, development, business, marketing, promoting, setting up, finding clients, incorporation to work…. All this and more Emma Thatcher brought us from an agency called Accelerator. Being at the end of the last year course we feel a bit saturated by information and things to-do. Yet, I am really grateful for this information because we can use it after we leave university for the next five years. That gives a breath! I will keep this information safe to use it as soon as I will be recovered from the intensity of university in the next year. They offer funding advice and mentoring, office space, workshops, talks to incorporate the students into the “real” world of making a living with the learned skills and knowledge from university. They are also the appropriate place to go with an idea ready to get it out.

Contact for help or advice:\mailing list

Sarah Colhorn and Rachel Gannon


Sarah Colhorn

I see Sarah coming and going in my day to day at uni. I never had any personal contact with her except for when she comes to our studio letting us know about general things happening at university that could concern us. I see her entering and leaving constantly the tutors room; that forbidden place for us where a group of teachers keep track of our work and make decisions about our studies… and the worse: they judge our work! This makes me think of a post-modernist Mercury; that figure from the Greek mythology with winds on his heels in charge of bringing messages from the Gods to the mortals in Earth. And as Mercury does she enjoys interacting with other people. Her small and slender figure, long neck, short hair, big smile, bright eyes would make you think of a fragile person. But once I saw today’s Sarah’s presentation I understood that her strength, her willing power goes beyond any expectation.

She comes from a very different place to London and loves and feels divided between the two places. For her been in a contrasted life seems to be very inspiring. This and other strong statements such as “you just don’t do one thing, there’s a lot to think about” or “do the real thing, why doing it in Photoshop when you can do it with your hands” can only shows this strong personality.

One of the advices she gave us is that we need to tell the client what they need. Usually this seems to be different to what they come asking for as it was the case of Betty Jackson in which Sarah re-did her request.

She has a long list of places where she has done commissions for, including the V&A. Yet Sarah is more than a graphic designer, she is a tailor and a fabric designer too. She also played in a band in her youth! And once again Sarah is divided in two: She is working at university and she is a mother… which is such a big thing!!!


Rachel Gannon


Rachel is one of our new tutors and a new illustration leader at university. Yesterday was the first day I saw and learn about her and her work. I was beautifully surprised that she was going to be one of my tutors. I loved her work and more when she told us about her way of working. One of the first images she put into the screen was an illustration for the Guardian newspaper. As Rachel explained working for a newspaper can be very stressful. Usually you receive in morning a text and you have a couple of hours to send a draft, when approved you have to do it really quick because by twelve pm next day needs to be printed. On top of that you have to summarise and interpret someone’s else idea, often a complex idea and always thinking about the text around the illustration. She added to this that in real life we will be running simultaneously different projects and this is the reason for university to give us different things at the same time.

For Rachel is very important to have her work in real life. She is interested in working her practice with context and not to be just by herself doing some drawing in her room.

She has work for many different clients. One of them is the Tate in Liverpool. Also Rachel works for the “Documentary and Reportage Illustration”. We saw some work about “Dreamland, Cairo, Research” and the architecture of the UK borders. The mediums for the UK borders are pencil and gouache. When working in digital she doesn’t like Illustrator and would only use Photoshop. I was glad to hear about someone else, apart from me, who doesn’t like Illustrator.

In the afternoon we had a class with her and we learned how to do an animation with Photoshop. I told her that this year I am happy that I’m doing more illustration that the previous years and she said something like “let’s have a very intense last month’s illustration time” and that, I felt, melted my heart!


Joe Cruz


Yesterday, finally, we had in our Hot House talk an illustrator instead of a graphic designer as it has been happening since these talks started. As we are students in our last year and potential workers in the industry of arts Joe Cruz gave us advices based in his own experience in finding work after university. Joe was determined to be a freelance illustrator. He looked for opportunities and tried different things yet he ended up having to sign on in the job centre, where he felt they couldn’t help very much to achieve his dream of working as an illustrator. After a while he got a part time job as an invigilator in a gallery for two years. He finds that this was very fortunate because it gave him time to do things related to his own practice as well as being closed to arts. Also he could read in his work hours in the gallery! Meanwhile he kept looking for opportunities for his own work as an illustrator and researching and gathering images in a file from other artists. He makes a point here on trying to keep looking and researching at other artists after leaving university.


Also he advised us about the importance of being closed to other artists. Joining a studio abled him to discuss ideas and he wouldn’t feel isolated in his practice after the intensive years of university. His first project was Celebrity Culture about fashion which is an area he is very interested on. Actually for his FMP he made an illustrated introduction of the fashion industry for young children. He finds a very useful way of getting work to search into the design websites where he sends his work through the links he finds in these webs. So far it has worked really well for him. He cautioned us about the agencies and companies trying to get advantage of internships and students work for free. When he likes a magazine he tries to get in touch with them, if possible to have a coffee, and brings a project for them. Last September he had his first solo exhibition in the Book Club. This exhibition was funded by the university he works now for.

About his art work is strong and beautiful. With little components in the images, usually very saturated strokes of pastel colours on top of black and white images. He doesn’t like screen printing because is messy and difficult so he developed his own printing way which is an idea that I have been thinking about lately.



Sara Boris

Sara Boris came on Friday to our Hot House as a graphic designer guest. She is also a tutor in the Press studio. Her talk was full of useful tips on how to enter and keep a career as a graphic designer. She worked for the Barbican for two years and a half. It was encouraging to know that they didn’t accept her first application but she entered in her second try. She pointed with this that we don’t always sell ourselves in the right way so is worth to redo an application and try again. After a while in the Barbican working as an internal designer she wanted to do more things within the company and for this she convinced the curator that she could do more such as creating a visual identity for the company through her designs. Then after talking about her experience at the Barbican she gave us a tour through the many jobs and works she has done in her career as a graphic designer. The last one was with Phaidon publishers until February 2015. In this company she worked with different artists such as Toni Urgeres, illustrator for children and erotic books, among others. If I have to put a name to her presentation it would be “efficiency”. In around fifty minutes she delivered so much information within the graphic design field, her work, experience, and all this in a very understandable and entertaining way.

What I most liked was he studio “Le theatre del graphics” in which people were invited to go in and talk to her. This seems to be linked to her past as a student of theatre. Also at the very end she talked about what was “her” work, meaning not for any company but for her as an independent artist. In this section she showed a rug made with one of her designs. And this triggered my imagination… I’d love to design rugs with my illustrations! I will definitely explore in this field. And there was another section called “not work” in which she showed things she likes. Here was a little treasure: a collection of old books from her grandfather.

grandfather collection

The images for this presentation had a general air of tidiness and a “serious sense of playfulness” She claimed to be a fan of black and white.


Hot House. It’s Nice That.

“It’s Nice That” introduced yesterday the first Hot House event. Emily Gosling gave us a presentation-tour through the agency and talked about the great success and magnitude of this company which was quite amazing! Half of the studio is a creative agency. The way to find content for the agency is through email, Tumblr, Flirck but she recommended the most to meet people in social activities. These is usually the best and most fun she pointed.