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Five years of illustration

By UCOL on Thursday, 13 October 2016

Illustration of a lady by Gem Farrell

An exhibition of work from UCOL’s Bachelor of Applied Visual Imaging is showcasing five years’ worth of digital creations and celebrating the process of illustration.

Featuring some of the best digital illustrations from UCOL degree students and graduates alike, from cohorts of 2009 onwards, the exhibition ‘Digital Distractions’ is on now at Square Edge in Palmerston North. 

UCOL Illustration Lecturer Steve Leurink says the works on display show excellent conceptual skills translated into digital. 

“Most of the students now are digital natives but the traditional illustration is always a feed in – you can’t deny it,” he says. “The illustration work at the start is crucial – you always need ideas to start with, and then you combine ingredients.”

Steve has kept every digital piece of student work since he’s began as a Lecturer on the Visual Imaging degree in 2007, and the works on display from a variety of illustrators are the “cream of the crop”.  

Work exhibited has been created by a variety of emerging illustrators’ assignment work at UCOL as well as illustrative samples of work from six former UCOL students who have got their degree and are now working in industry:
  • William Bennett (Weta conceptual artist)
  • Leanne Reynolds (Freelance conceptual illustrator)
  • Mikal Carter (Tattooist, Freelance illustrator, Mural artist)
  • Jeremy Cameron (Freelance illustrator)
  • Samantha Pocock (Freelance illustrator)
  • Gem Farrell (Tattooist, Freelance illustrator, Mural artist)
These illustrators have supported this exhibition by submitting current work to be displayed alongside some of their UCOL work whilst studying.  

“Creativity is their life,” Steve says. “It’s in their DNA and they’ve got to live it. For those who are successful, they set themselves a benchmark and they don’t drop it, they just keep on climbing and are very career focused. Leaving UCOL is just the first pathway.”

“I want to give the students an opportunity to show the calibre of their work, and I think past students can inspire present and future students.”

“Also, a lot of the time the illustrative students’ creations are working a narrative; some assignments are based on true stories involving researching into family war stories and illustratively recontextualising them. It’s imperative to find one’s style and build a portfolio of work to suit where the student wants to be placed in such a diverse industry.” 

Digital Distractions is on at Square Edge until 25 October, Monday – Friday 10am – 4pm. Entry is free. 


Image above: Illustration by UCOL Bachelor of Applied Visual Imaging Graduate Gem Farrell; one of the works on display now in the Digital Distractions exhibition at Square Edge. This Year 3 assignment was based on self-promotion. A part of this assignment was to create an illustrative impression of oneself something that could be used on social media.