Talented Illustrator Wins Backing for Business Plan

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A graduating University of Worcester Illustration student has been given two reasons to celebrate after completing her studies.

Amanda Summers, from Ecton, Northampton, has been announced as the overall winner of the University’s CreativeLab project, unique professional development opportunity for final year art and design students. She will receive £2,500 plus business support and mentoring for up to a year, to help launch her career as a freelance picture book illustrator.

In addition, Amanda has also earned a First Class Honours degree, after a successful three years at Worcester.

She explains: “I was over the moon to get a First Class degree and really shocked to win the CreativeLab project. You don’t immediately associate being a picture book illustrator with having a business plan, so I nearly pulled out of the competition.

“However, my lecturers all gave me the support that I needed and talked me back into doing it. They gave me the confidence to stick it out; I can’t thank them enough for this.”

As part of the CreativeLab project, Amanda had to submit a business plan, before giving a presentation to the judging panel, explaining her ideas in greater detail.

She continues: “The competition helped me as it prompted me to put into motion some of the ideas I had about what I wanted to do after university. I had some really useful feedback on my pitch to the panel, and the also provided me with contacts to help me pursue my ideas further.

“With the assistance from the CreativeLab project, I hope to put my business plan into action. My ambition is to get my first book published; I am currently working closely with the publisher Otter Barry Books, who are particularly interested in my World War II evacuation-themed children’s book.

“Longer term, my plan is to set up educational and creative workshops for children, based around historical themes.”

Maureen Gamble, Head of the University of Worcester’s School of Art, says: “The CreativeLab initiative was launched earlier this year in order to support students in setting up their own creative business after graduation.

“Students needed to have a business idea that was creative, innovative, sustainable and that benefited the local community in some way.

“The judging panel was impressed with the way that Amanda had linked her talent and skills with the potential to inspire schoolchildren to engage with historical events. Her animation will bring historical events alive for children, especially if that is tailored to their requirements and presented with new technology.”

During her time at Worcester, Amanda was chosen as one of twelve artists to exhibit work at the prestigious International Lemniscaat Illustration Competition Exhibition, which was displayed in various locations across the world, including Rotterdam, Shanghai and The Hague.

“I have really enjoyed my time at the University, and I’d like to particularly highlight the support that I had from my tutors and to the technicians in the department,” Amanda adds.

“The course was constantly improving throughout my time at Worcester. I loved the endless opportunities that were given to us to make the course more interesting; from meeting my favourite illustrator, Axel Scheffler, to volunteering opportunities at the annual Beeline Storytelling Festival for Children which is hosted at the University.”

Amanda will graduate at Worcester Cathedral in November.