As a (fairly) recent graduate I’m always intrigued to find out what other graduates are doing today.

This is well and truly nosy of me, of course it is, but who isn’t going to want to know? Being a regular reader to any form of book or magazine I came across the featured section in Digital Arts a while ago. One illustrator who caught my eye was Laura Hopewell. With only a snippet of information given and a few images displayed I really wanted to dig a little deeper and say hello. So here’s me saying hello and being a little nosy as to how other graduates are doing coming out of university in today’s society.

Nicola Manuel: Hello. Please can you introduce who you are and what you specialise in?

Laura Hopewell: Hello! I am a recent graphic design graduate who specialises in illustration, including paper cutting and embroidery.

Edward Lear’s Book of Nonsense

NM: I hear you achieved the Hallmark award for design and illustration, congratulations! What was the piece that you won the award based about and what led you to create this outcome?

LH:  Thank you! I was very happy to win it! It was actually a collection of pieces taken from my final year, which won the award, including 3D paper illustrations and hand-embroidery. I really love making illustrations by hand, whether that be by sewing or paper cutting or just sketching and it was really just my love of working in that way which led me to create these outcomes.

NM: What has been the most valuable thing you’ve been taught to date?

LH: “Work hard and be nice to people!” – it’s so true and it’s the only way you’re going to get anywhere in life!

NM: Describe your style in three words.

LH: Quirky, colourful, and diverse. 

NM: Some of your work that you have created has really done successfully for you, including your ‘Have I Got News For You’ animation, but what has been your greatest achievement been?

LH: Winning the award at new designers was definitely a highlight! I also really enjoyed seeing paper models I made while on work experience at the wonderful Fred&Eric on TV – it was for a hand-made E4 advert which went on to win an award, I was really proud to have helped on it!

Hand-embroidered illustration

NM: What words of advice would you give to students in university now who are near the graduation phase?

LH: Don’t be a slave to the mark scheme! We all want to get the best grade ever, but what really counts in creative subjects is your portfolio, nobody even asks about your grade when it comes to looking for work! Instead of wasting time and energy ticking boxes for marks, spend it making sure your portfolio really reflects the kind of work you want to get afterwards.


NM: You work both with the hand and digital aspects, which for many people is an up and coming way to work. What is your work progress from work to finish and how essential is the digital aspect for you in your creative work?

LH: I always start with sketching – I find it much easier to visualise with a pencil and paper than onscreen. I’ve usually already decided what medium I want to use, so I then tend to look through pattern sourcebooks for interesting colour combinations, or select papers or threads, then get cracking! Some sort of digital aspect will always present, whether it’s actually making the illustration or just photographing at editing it, so I guess it’s pretty important.

ABC Project

NM: If you were to choose between working either by hand or digital for the rest of your life- a little bit dramatic- what would it be and why?

LH: I’d have to say by hand, it’s just that little bit more satisfying knowing the extra effort you’ve put in.


Time for those quick round questions! What are/is your favourite…

Digital artists? Helen Dardik is amazing – her characters and uses of colour are so quirky.

Part of your process? Sketching – especially when a drawing seem to come out of no-where!

Publications? Wrap magazine is beautiful and full of some amazing illustrations.

Food? Ribs, smothered in Jack Daniels BBQ glaze with a side of fries!

Season? Spring – not too hot or too cold!

I’d highly recommend having a closer look at Laura’s work because it’s beautiful on the eye and a real inspiration to get creative. Graduating from university can, to say the least, be a daunting prospect but hearing about graduates who have done extremely well, like Laura, definitely should push some positive thoughts into your head.

Work hard and be nice to people.

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