Has anyone ever told you what actually happens after art school? The ‘are you going to be an art teacher?’ question is commonly asked by friends and family. What else is there really? This week Central Station has asked art school graduates to share what they’ve been up to since their graduation in the Life After Art School series.

Alexander Jackson - Self-portrait for Movember
Self-portrait for Movember

Alexander Jackson is a UK based artist, illustrator and writer. He holds a degree in illustration from Edinburgh College of Art. His work has been featured in comics, children’s books, short stories, magazines, newspapers, as well as on forms of commercial art and murals. Here he discusses the realm of editorial illustration work.

Song and Dance Man - Alexander Jackson
Song and Dance Man

Since graduating with my illustration degree I’ve been involved in a number of projects. Most of these projects have taken place within the editorial realm. Shortly upon completing my course, I provided illustration work for The Skinny magazine. I was then approached by The List magazine to provide all of the illustrations for the cover feature of its supplementary guide to the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, which took place last summer. The work featured on the front cover and throughout the guide. As well as this, I have worked on several publications for The Other Publishing Company, providing a number of illustrations for some of their short stories. These will be featured in the newly launched Cracked Eye magazine. Recently, I’ve been approached to provide illustrations for a manuscript for a children’s short story.

Log Lady - Alexander Jackson
Log Lady

Saul and Jenny - Alexander Jackson
Saul and Jenny

As well as the previously mentioned commissioned work, I have been in the process of self-publishing a children’s book called Jenny’s Bath, which I have written and illustrated. It was recently acknowledged by 3×3. I have also been recruited by Phosphor Art agency.

I took part in Saltmarket Design’s Fringe exhibition at the St. Andrews Square RBS building in August. I’m currently planning on taking part in their collaborative show with Redcoat in December. At events such as this and along with my online shop, I’ve been able to make my work available to a larger audience, mostly though selling digital prints of my work. My work is very much inspired by pop culture, character and narrative so it seems to engage with a large mainstream audience. My images have been shared on Twitter by celebrities such as Jonathan Ross and Edgar Wright.

Bill Bailey - Alexander Jackson
Bill Bailey

Despite originally having trained in traditional painting techniques, my work has a fairly graphical style. However, I have still managed to find private commission work for paintings, and I hope to introduce more painting into my illustration work.

Burns Night - Alexander Jackson
Burns Night

My plans for the future include more editorial work. I find these projects can be somewhat simplistic but with a tight deadline which I seem to enjoy. However, I’m still working on broadening my clientele in order to diversify my portfolio, which should bring in some exciting new challenges and add some variety to my portfolio. I’ve also been working on a manuscript for a graphic novel, which I plan to illustrate.

My advice to anyone looking to get into this field would be to put together a good strong portfolio that is easily accessible. Your own website can be accessed by people very easily and has the potential to make you look very professional. People often ask me where they can see more of my work and having a portfolio website is a great place to direct people. Also a strong online presence whereby people can be kept up to date on new work and projects in progress (via social media, blogging etc) can be effective. It also shows viewers that to have a passion for what you do. Most of my work has come through my online presence and using various online platforms to promote my work.

Comment below or on Twitter using #LifeAfterArtSchool & mentioning @CenSta with your experience after art school.

Stay tuned for updates from art school graduates all this week. In the meantime see a what to expect from the upcoming Life After Art School features here.

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