1.1 Writing a personal statement

The purpose of this exercise was to reflect on my my practice and define it in a personal statement format as my starting point to begin Level 3.

Key words from the brief:

  • Reflect on your practice and think about how you describe it 
  • Review your work
  • Identify a range of your best work
  • Why did you pick your selection? Why did you reject your other work?
  • Identify key words.
  • From these four lists, make a final selection of seven key words that seem most important to you. 
  • Write a short personal statement

Work review

I selected the following work because it most accurately reflects my creative and technical abilities as well as the genres and subjects I like to work in.

Visual diary

What pieces of work do you think are most successful at presenting your interests and talents? 

There are two questions.

The pieces of work that I feel are currently most successful in presenting my talents are life/figure drawing and portraits. I think this is purely because the pandemic lockdown circumstances have meant I’ve focused very strongly on developing in this area. The reason for selecting this work is that I think it best demonstrates my developing ‘personal voice’.

I’ve included a selection of prints produced during Printmaking 1, because on reflection, I think this medium, particularly the relief printing, has an expressive quality that would work with my developing ‘voice’. This is an area I’ve largely ignored since completing the Printmaking 1 unit and one I will revisit.

The question of what work is most successful at presenting my interests is a difficult one because I feel like I’m still searching for what that is.

Before the start of the pandemic I was strongly focused on exploring reportage as a way to combine observational expressive drawing, storytelling and documentary. The lockdowns meant I had to change the form of this work into a pandemic diary that records my personal day-to-day existence juxtaposed with news headlines of the day and at least drawing/painting/image per day. At the time of writing the diary is on Day 301.

What do these pieces of work have in common? 

  • They all contain people and place
  • Most communicate a narrative
  • They have a lose and expressive visual style (apart from the purely digital illustration)
  • Many use mixed media
  • They are almost all observational in nature

Why did you pick your selection?

  • Most of the images demonstrate a personal voice that I feel I’ve made my own
  • They show a level of skill/accomplishment
  • I find the subjects and/or themes interesting

Why did you reject your other work?

  • Working at scale – Rejected because it’s not really practical. Is this true?
  • Animation – Rejected because I don’t currently have enough interest in working in that genre
  • Identity – Rejected because I don’t have enough interest in developing that kind of work, although I’m perfectly happy and familiar with working within design guidelines

Key words that describe the form or vehicle of the work

Produce a list of key words that describe the form or vehicle of the work you find most interesting or would be interested in developing.

This is an area I need to develop and links to the bigger question about how I sustain my practice going forward.

  • Digital – banners, hero images
  • Book illustrations
  • Comic strip
  • Posters/leaflets
  • Point of sale/packaging
  • Editorial illustration
  • Self published books
  • Visual diaries
  • Travel diaries
  • Murals?

Tools most often used

  • Pelican fountain pen
  • Dip pens
  • Bamboo pens
  • Posca pens
  • Pencils – various
  • Charcoal
  • Conte crayon
  • Paint – various
  • Print rollers
  • Light box
  • A3 scanner
  • Scalpel
  • Spray mount
  • Metal rulers
  • Sable brushes
  • Canon digital camera
  • Rostrum lights
  • iMac
  • Wacom Tablet
  • iPhone
  • Woodcutting tools
  • Printing inks – various

The visual quality of the work

  • Rapid drawing
  • Expressive
  • Loose
  • Line weight
  • Mixed media
  • Pattern and texture
  • Sparse use of colour
  • Designed – most important. More of this.

The content


  • People
  • Place
  • Reporting and documenting


  • Human stories
  • Slightly weird
  • Humour/irreverence

Selection of key words

  • Observational
  • Expressive
  • Words and pictures
  • Narrative
  • Storytelling
  • Humourous
  • Documentary

Personal statement

I’m a London based illustrator with a practice rooted in observational drawing and an interest in storytelling, documentary and the slightly strange. I tend to work in a loose expressive visual style and am interested in using this to create narrative and meaning. I’m currently working on a visual diary that tracks my experience of the coronavirus pandemic using my words and pictures juxtaposed with news headlines to give a very personal perspective on truly unprecedented global events.


  • It was really interesting to look back over Printmaking 1 because I think relief printing, particularly woodcuts, are an excellent medium for giving a bold, expressive and distinctive output. I haven’t really revisited this since Level 1. My technical and creative skills have developed a lot since then so this is a medium I will revisit.
  • I feel quite confident in my technical ability to make pictures. What I’m lacking is a clear theme or direction in which to take. The coronavirus pandemic has severely limited my ability to develop my reportage skills so, for now, I’ve had chosen a different direction
  • My pandemic diary is now a huge body of work. Currently 301 diary entries with approx. 600 images. Currently I’m continuing to add new content and haven’t thought about what to do with it. This is an opportunity.
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