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Online talk: Illustration First Moves

Online talk
15 March 2023
10:30 – 14:30

Bookings for this event have now closed. If you are interested in watching the recording, please email and we will let you know when replay tickets become available.

We've invited freelance illustrators, agents and industry professionals to share their stories, experiences and top tips. This half day of sessions will be packed with inspiring examples and practical advice for starting out as an illustrator.

We will focus on ‘how to carve out an individual illustration practice that works for you’ by identifying personal strengths, nurturing creative passions and collaborating with other people.

Each guest speaker has found their own definition of success within and around illustration. Together they demonstrate the range of different opportunities that illustration has to offer, and how to go about finding them.

Collage with a bright teal background with a family with a mum, dad and two young children portrayed in bright orange and pink cut-outs

Split into three sessions, you’ll hear advice for getting your personal and professional practice up-and-running in a way that works for you. From finding the right opportunities and people to work with, to nurturing an online presence and nailing application forms, we’ve got you covered. Aimed at recent graduates and early-career illustrators, come armed with a notebook and lots of questions.

Showcasing diverse and innovative approaches to illustration practice to help you consider the options available at this exciting stage in your career.

Confirmed guest speakers include illustrators Manjit Thapp and Shirley Hottier, plus The AOI’s Membership Manager Sarah Morris, with more to be announced soon.

Digital illustration of a girl with dark hair peacefully sitting with her eyes closed against the backdrop of the sky with a small orange sun
Illustration of a girl's profile, holding a flower. The picture includes an ornate floral border typically seen in Asian and Islamic miniature paintings.

About the speakers

Manjit Thapp's illustrations combine digital and traditional techniques to capture female characters, nature and everyday life. Her first graphic novel, ‘Feelings: A Story in Seasons’ was published in 2021 by Penguin Random House.

Harry Woodgate is an award-winning author and illustrator of inclusive and inspiring children's books. Their book Grandad's Camper was awarded the Waterstones Children's Book Prize: Best Illustrated Book 2022, a Stonewall Book Award Honor and a CILIP Yoto Kate Greenaway Award nomination.

Merlin Evans is an award winning illustrator, scribe and educator with a passion for using the arts as a tool for social engagement and change. She has worked with brands including Tate Modern, John Lewis, Bloomsbury Books, the NHS and others.

Shirley Hottier is an award-winning illustrator and urban designer. She has a passion for promoting diversity as a way to celebrate her multiple cultures, through the warm, lively scenes and characters she crafts.

Beth Suzanna's illustration practice is all about capturing the vibrancy of the everyday and the energy of both people and places. Her playful body of work makes complex issues easy to digest and has been featured in numerous publishing to editorial projects.

Sarah Morris is the Membership Manager at the AOI and a former Illustration Agent, with a wealth of commercial knowledge and passion for illustration and design.

George Morton is a Senior Creative Agent at Grand Matter and a freelance illustrator working across branding, design, events and advertising. He has worked with Amnesty International, Condé Nast, Vans and others.

Vibrant and playful illustration of four women with megaphones
Power Within for Save the Children © Shirley Hottier

What our students say

“I liked how we heard from a range of different artists, who were happy to share their work and break down their creative processes.

“The range of speakers was really inspiring, especially in thinking about careers which related to how can illustrators bring something unique to their work. Thank you for promoting self care, individualism, different career paths and (especially) opportunities.”

“Warm and welcoming environment”

“Very well paced”

It showed me some of the many opportunities that are out there for when I graduate”