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    David Doran: Quotes and Sayings (detail)

The Graduates 2014

Our next Grad is Falmouth-based illustrator and all-round nice man David Doran

Posted by Maisie Skidmore,

David Doran is an illustrator so on top of his game that he’s already knocked up a cracking client list, and he’s only just finished his degree in Illustration at Falmouth. It’s not hard to see why, though – his skill is second to none, interweaving layers of soft texture, muted palettes and characters so animated that you almost recognise them, to create some of the snazziest tableaux we’ve seen in ages. We can’t wait to see what he’s got up his sleeve next, but in the meantime, get a load of this! Cor.

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    David Doran: Hunger Magazine

Why or who or what made you go to art school?

I’ve been drawing my whole life, but the decision to go to art school came when I was studying Graphic Design at Canterbury college. I’d always loved design, but wanted to involve drawing more. Once I found out that being an illustrator was possible, I knew that it was exactly what I wanted to do! I skipped doing a foundation year and headed straight to the other side of the country to study illustration by the sea at Falmouth University.

Tell us about your best project

I enjoy working on editorial projects the most. I love developing concepts and the satisfaction of answering a brief in a single image. My favourite project is probably Going Home Again, which was for The New York Times Book Review and just won the Editorial New Talent category in The AOI Awards. The image depicts the secluded and contemplative scene of a man travelling back home alone, whilst also involving the stripped back colour palette of the Canadian flag in the spotlight – helping communicate the subtle questions of identity raised in the article.

Tell us about your worst

I made a short book called Fin the Writer in my first year (“Fin” meaning “the end”). It was about a writer who became a depressed alcoholic through a downward spiral of situations in his life. I don’t think I’ve used black in a single illustration since. It was a fleeting dark moment and I cringe looking back!

If you could show one person your portfolio, who would it be and why?

I’d love to sit down with some of the great designers from New York in the 1960’s. I always find listening to how passionate they feel to make good work really inspiring and motivating. I’d love to hear their thoughts on my illustration. 

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    David Doran: Nobrow 9, It’s Oh So Quiet

What was the best moment of your three years at uni (extra curricular included)?

Being in Cornwall during the summer each year has been great; swimming, skateboarding, BBQs, boats and fishing. There’s a pontoon that we visit regularly, which my illustration for Nobrow 9, It’s Oh So Quiet is based on. It’s on a huge expanse of water and at night you can hear all the wildlife on the water’s edge come to life.

A lot is changing – would you recommend art school to someone who is considering going?

I would totally recommend art school to someone considering going now. The tuition fees would initially put me off, but the chance to have three years focused purely on illustration with help and feedback from experienced tutors is an incredible opportunity. 

Finally, if your dreams come true, where will you be in a year’s time? 

I feel blessed with the freedom that comes with illustration. This past year I’ve been working from my space in Falmouth overlooking the sea while sending illustrations off to busy offices in London, New York and San Francisco. It’s shown me that there is the possibility to be working from anywhere in a year’s time, providing there’s wifi! I want to be as productive as possible and am excited to carry on working editorially, developing ideas and hopefully branching out into book covers and other contexts.

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    David Doran: Going Home Again for the New York Times Book Review

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    David Doran: Book Review Cover for the SF Chronicle

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    David Doran: How to Ace a Ted-Style Talk for WIRED

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    David Doran: Quotes and Sayings

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    David Doran: Heart of Darkness

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    David Doran: Computer Arts

Supported by Represent

We are very pleased that The It’s Nice That Graduates 2014 will once again be supported by Represent Recruitment. The graphic design recruitment specialists have developed a peerless reputation working with designers of all levels and matching them up with the right positions in some of the top agencies around. Represent’s support has helped us grow the Graduate scheme over recent years and we are thrilled they have partnered with us again in 2014.



Posted by Maisie Skidmore

Assistant Editor Maisie joined It’s Nice That fresh out of university in the summer of 2013 and has stayed with us ever since. She has a particular interest in art, fashion and photography and is a regular on our Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: The Graduates 2014 View Archive

  1. Jj_judge

    It was something of an honour to have illustrator Jean Jullien in the studio to help judge this year’s It’s Nice That Graduates. Not only is he a really nice guy, but he’s also one of our favourite artists who – in our eyes – can do no wrong. His style is effortless and full of humour, grinning at our modern world through a wry squint – an ability that most of the great illustrators through time have nearly all had in common. Another thing we can all learn from Jean is that he works harder than most people we know and rarely says no to a project, making him in-demand and always on everyone’s radar. Here he is on what he learnt from helping us judge the It’s Nice That Graduates 2014.

  2. Michael

    Graphic designer and Manchester School of Art student Michael Crook is the 15th and final of our Graduates of 2014, securing a spot up there with the best of ’em with his incredibly sharp and effortless-looking design. The projects he won us over with include an identity for an event called The Science of Fashion in which he used thermochronic ink to create a disappearing design, a book about American hobo culture and the secret written languages nomads use to communicate with one another, and an original take on book cover design, in which he made Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 look like a book of matches ready for the striking. Read on to find out about his favourite project to date, and the perfume-soaked tab he’s hoping never to encounter again. Well done Michael!

  3. Main

    Our penultimate It’s Nice That Graduate of 2014 is Falmouth Illustration grad Lauren Humphrey, whose style is fun and playful and brilliantly authentic without sacrificing her message. It’s not often that you find a creative fresh out of university who so effortlessly aligns meaning with a recognisable and accessible aesthetic, but Lauren does so effortlessly, combining a style she has firmly established with the brief she’s set. She’s one to watch out for! Find her in a swanky studio, or potentially restoring an old boat, before you even know what’s happening.

  4. Charlotte

    University of Brighton graduate Charlotte Bassett’s work is so carefully considered that if you saw it in an art gallery or publishing house, nobody would blink an eyelid. There’s nothing rash or impulsive about her design, which focusses primarily on “curation, interdisciplinary collaborations and publishing”; instead, she combines diverse elements and a thorough knowledge of her subjects in a measured, sensitive and effective manner to create lasting impact.

  5. Grads_judge_accent

    We’ve almost finished our selection of It’s Nice That Graduates 2014, and we’ve well and truly established that this year has produced some of the most talented and exciting creative talent to date. We had a selection of handpicked judges to help us select the entrants who most deserved to make it through to the final 15, and in corner of publishing are Lydia and Lucy from Accent Magazine, “a global celebration of lives lived outside the ordinary.” They kindly left us with a few nuggets of wisdom for new graduates to show what they were looking for.

  6. Grads_thursday_17

    Going through nearly 600 applicants for the It’s Nice That Graduates was a long process, and in it we saw countless photography submissions. To come across a portfolio like Portsmouth graduate Alecsandra’s was truly special, as her website was utterly brimming with fascinating, in-depth projects that stood out as being truly well-researched, full of passion and rather unique. Her love of storytelling led her to focus on politics, family, tradition and emotion, making her body of work alive with folklore and wisdom. How great is it when someone’s work truly opens your eyes to something you had previously never encountered? Here she is on her degree, her passion for photography, and her future.

  7. Tris

    Sleek vintage cars, mousetrap swings, chance encounters with rainbows and days out at the races all feature in the varied portfolio of Tristan Cluett, a recent graduate from Kingston University. He’s spent three years immersing himself in his medium, getting out in the field to shoot cyclists in action or creating polished sets in the studio to provide backdrops for his unusual ideas. What seems key to the success of Tristan’s work is his openness to experimentation – he’s not content to be a one-trick pony – and the level of polish he applies to every one of his projects.

  8. Hannah

    LCC Photography graduate Hannah Burton has spent her three years of undergraduate study working out ways to get as close as possible to her subjects. She’s worn their clothes and camped out in their rooms for shots in which she embodies the subject, trawled east London’s Gascoyne Estate, getting to know its inhabitants as she shoots their pictures and explored her personal relationship with her mother in a series of intensely revealing portraits.

  9. Main4

    David Doran is an illustrator so on top of his game that he’s already knocked up a cracking client list, and he’s only just finished his degree in Illustration at Falmouth. It’s not hard to see why, though – his skill is second to none, interweaving layers of soft texture, muted palettes and characters so animated that you almost recognise them, to create some of the snazziest tableaux we’ve seen in ages. We can’t wait to see what he’s got up his sleeve next, but in the meantime, get a load of this! Cor.

  10. Judge_josh_king

    We love Josh King. He was one of our favourite grads two years ago – his ideas and way of looking at graphic design with actual humour rather than just making stuff look nice was totally refreshing. When we asked him what his best mistake was while studying, he answered: “I once made petrol scented candles. It wasn’t a mistake but it could have been. Luckily no one got hurt.”

  11. Joe

    Much like the content of most of Joe’s work, opening the email attachment of his portfolio when he applied to The Graduates was like stumbling across buried treasure in ancient ruins. To see such honest, informed and unique work that shows dedication and a two-fingers-up to common, trendy illustration is just such a joy that I can barely contain myself.

  12. Main3

    When I was finishing up my final project at university I’d wake up, have a slice of burnt toast, then hobble across slippery cobblestones to a windowless library. When Barnaby Kent woke up on the days that he was working on his graduate project he awoke lying on a bed of luscious leaves in the jungle, and he’d have fresh passionfruit for breakfast before taking a walk in the mountains. It’s no wonder that his work is so magical.

  13. Alice

    Like the large majority of my generation I spend a disproportionate amount of my daily life on the internet, but probing the way that digital spheres function within our actual lives is a task which requires a very specific – and hard to come by – kind of creative brain. Cue the arrival of Alice Stewart, a digital and interactive illustrator from Kingston University whose handle on internet-driven concepts is second to none.