4.0 Online social networks

The purpose of this exercise was to research online forums, networks and information sources to gain a new/different understanding of contemporary practice.

Key words from the brief:

  • Find online social networks that connect with your work or present content that you’re interested in.
  • Find a range


I carried out my research throughout an afternoon and wandered around the internet whenever and wherever I saw something of interest.

I started by reviewing the OCA Student site blogs and articles. The Arts websites page was particularly helpful.

I also revisited resources that I was already aware and of course used a search engine.

There are alot of illustration agencies representing illustrators and designers that may at some point become useful, but I’ve left these out for now.

The list of sites and resources that I reviewed and find interesting or informative are:

Professional networking







Industry support


Discussions around illustration












What did you find and how does this inform your understanding of illustration?

I noticed several things.

There’s a lot of information out there of very variable quality and currency. I’ve filtered out everything but the places I think have some value.

The discussions around contemporary illustration, what is trending and why is interesting, The three websites listed under ‘Discussions around illustration‘ are good examples. I like the video interviews with artists and practitioners because it’s a chance to get a more in depth view of the subject/practice.

Along with the ‘Reference’ sites, these websites have archives of previous articles/interviews that will be excellent reference sources for future research.

There are plenty of opportunities for students and graduates to get exposure for their work through competitions and getting featured in several periodicals – the trick is how to get the website editorial teams to notice your work in the first place. It would be interesting to get the experiences of other OCA graduates/post graduates.

I’ve been on Linkedin for many years under my current work role – nothing to do with illustration. What’s going to be really interesting is working out how to shift myself away or at least expand my professional network to include a creative/visual element. After looking at various creative job boards I’m convinced that I need to find opportunities to build on my current work and skills and probably pursue personal/collaborative projects in parallel.

I take inspiration from how illustrators such as Russian illustrator Victoria Semykina are using digital platforms to create a business.

I was pointed to Victoria Semykina by a fellow student via Instagram.

She has:

She’s been a practicing illustrator for 16-years and has plenty of excellent content to work with.

She is a great case study for how to exploit the potential of digital networks.

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