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Graphic Designer and Illustrator Jane Houghton

Jane Houghton graduated with 1st Class Honours in BA Graphic Design from Northumbria University in 2012.

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‘On the second year of my course you had to specialise in one of three pathways, the choices being publishing, branding or image-making/illustration. Although the three pathways overlapped in certain respects, my portfolio became predominantly illustrative having chosen the image-making pathway. I found the choice difficult to make as I have a broad interest in all aspects of design and have interests in each of the areas, though I think my passion for image-making is stronger than my other interests which perhaps is a result of my fine art education at school and college before university.’

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‘My style is normally quite experimental and I try to approach individual projects with a fresh and open mind. I tend to use a hands on approach, either drawing, painting or using mixed media or photography, and then perhaps implementing these methods into digitally rendered works. I love hand-rendered type – something which always happens to slyly sneak its way into my project whatever it may entail, and colourful compositions that attract the eye.

I am influenced by everything around me – I’m sure just like any designer or illustrator – and the people I associate with and the experiences I have. I have been working in London since last summer and enjoyed embracing the challenges within the industry and the buzz of London lifestyle. With endless galleries, exhibitions and museums to explore, theatre to watch and different subcultures to embrace, there’s always something to draw inspiration from and develop as an illustrator.’

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‘I expected work life after uni to be a challenge and potentially difficult to obtain a job, but I feel that I was very fortunate and one of the luckier ones as I got a job shortly after graduating and the adventure started there! I am currently working at a digital production agency specialising in interactive design and rich media advertising – which is 100% different to anything I have ever done or thought I could end up doing, but I thought it would be a great opportunity to embrace a completely different style of work and gain experience in another type of design studio. It has definitely been a brilliant learning curve so far in terms of developing my knowledge of computer software and adhering to really strict guidelines and work methods.

Alongside work I normally keep my brain ticking over with different personal project ideas and plans for the future. I am working on freelance projects where possible and working on strengthening my portfolio. I don’t think new graduates should worry too much about their first year after university – I think it was something I was quite apprehensive about and it can be a nerve-wracking time not knowing where you might end up after three comfortable years in an educational environment. I found that keeping an open mind to different opportunities, a dedicated work ethic and a positive, pro-active attitude were vital qualities to get on the right track.’

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Website | Behance | @jkhoughton13