From A Levels to a career in Illustration

January 11, 2019

Freelance illustrator Joe Munro has spoken about how Havant & South Downs College (HSDC) gave him the ‘grit and determination’ to break into the creative industry.

Joe came to the College in 2009, studying A Levels in History, Maths, 2D Art and Graphics. After putting in the hard work at HSDC, Joe went on to complete a degree in Illustration at the University of the West of England, achieving a first class honours.

However, Joe has put his success down to the foundations he built at College. He said: “Forging a career in the creative industry is tough. There is sometimes 300 people applying for the same job I am applying to. How you will become that chosen one requires grit, hard work, confidence and determination.

“To work in this industry you need to be able to overcome knock-backs and navigate the slippery ladders of the real-world industries.

“I would say that HSDC gave me the foundation of technical and conceptual skills required to get me onto university. But I think it did more than that. It also gave me that grit and determination. I wasn’t the strongest student. When I left HSDC to begin university I was one of the weaker students in a class of 70.”

But this didn’t stop Joe. Putting in more time in the studio than most other students, he graduated with one of the highest grades in his year. Each year following this success, Joe has been invited back to teach on the course.

Speaking about the highlights of his time at HSDC, Joe said: “I love the variety of work I was able to create. From pottery to large canvas painting and metal sculpture portraits – I always try to think laterally and push the boundaries of what my idea could evolve to be.”

And does Joe have any advice for future students?

“You get out what you put in,” Joe added. “Make use of all facilities while you have them at your disposal. Have confidence in your ability and ideas.

“I heard this Steve Jobs quote and think it sums up the career of a creative perfectly: ‘You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.’”

For more information on courses in the Creative Arts, click here.