Illustration really is vast, from a pencil on paper in traditional times we have seen a swift transition to what can now be seen as many new traditions. I’m sure you’ve all seen illustrators who now adapt this new change, really giving illustration that need of fresh air and new meanings. Tom Barnard, a recent gradaute of University College Falmouth pushes this transition, developing collage, hand drawn, 3-Dimensional Design and the computer aspects together to form a stlye which is one of a kind.

Having studied Illustration in Winchester, I thought it would be interesting to find out another students view coming from another university campus having studied the same degree.


Nicola Manuel: Hello! If you had to describe yourself as a practitioner in a sentence, what would that sentence be?

Tom Barnard: To most people I’d just say ‘graphic designer’, but, in a short, snappy sentence, I suppose I’d go with something like: ‘Visual communicator, aiming to communicate in a fresh way, whilst effectively solving the problem’.


NM: How would you describe your work in three words?

TB: I aim for it to be fun, effective and engaging.


Image: Have Fun, Self Initiated.


NM: If your work were to be transformed into a biscuit, what biscuit would it become and why?

TB: Glad you’ve asked! It’s a question that’s haunted me for a while; it’s got to be party rings. Everyone likes them; they are eye-catching, tasty and satisfying. If my work could be strive to be more like a party ring, I’d be happy.



NM: If you were to approach someone who did not know what illustration was, how would you describe it to him or her?

TB: For me, illustration is just a really good way of visually communicating in an instant way. I like it because it allows for individuality. Often illustration is used to compliment text, but equally, it can work on it’s own. A picture tells a thousand words and all that.

Image: James and the Giant Peach front and back cover, 2nd year.


Image: James and the Giant Peach front and back cover, 2nd year.



NM: ‘Illustration is typically pen on paper’. How much do you agree with this statement?

TB: I’d have to disagree; it’s not always about ‘drawing’, although this is perhaps the most obvious and popular form of illustration. You can illustrate in many different ways, I’ve come across people who illustrate using paint, digitally, or even in a 3D way. Although I love drawing and making 2D marks, I’ve dabbled in cutting out paper and 3D montages, and found it a good way to communicate the relevant message.



NM: Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

TB: Hopefully, still doing what I enjoy. A lot can happen in that time! Ideally, it would be cool to be either working in a design studio or doing freelance… who knows what will happen! I’d just like to be getting stuck in, producing good work and trying to make a little bit of difference.


Image: Make the Most of the Middle, 3rd Year.

Image: Make the Most of the Middle, 3rd Year.


NM: What is the one thing that you have learnt within the creative world that you would pass on to the general public?

TB: A belter of a question to end on! Although there are many things I’ve learnt from inspirational fellow creative’s and tutors, I reckon the most important thing is to be yourself, to stick to your guns. By this, I don’t mean don’t take risks, (because that of course is another vitally important thing) but don’t be changed by everything and anything. Stick to your morals and aim to celebrate your personality through your work, that way you’ll create work that is unique, and that stands out. Artists typically aim to create work that expresses who they are, why can’t that be the same with design?

If you fancy a quick cup of tea then run out, get yourself a packet of party rings, turn on that laptop and have a look into a bit more of Tom’s work here or even a cheeky contact right about here. Illustration is really making its advances at the moment so watch out for those graduates coming out of university, in particular Tom Barnard!

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