With careful composition and a beautiful colour palette, it’s hard to resist illustration student and It’s Nice That Graduate Anna Skeels’ wonderful work. Finding her stride while studying at Camberwell College of Arts, Anna, like many of us, felt the stresses and pressures of university but has come out smiling: “I’ve met some of my favourite people there and am finally happy with the work I’m producing, so it’s definitely been worth it,” Anna explains.
While it wasn’t necessarily planned, art school was a logical step for Anna, having been taught at a young age to do something she enjoyed. “I don’t think I ever made a conscious decision to go to art school. I spent most of my time growing up drawing and painting obsessively – it was the only thing I was any good at.”
With her ability to beautifully capture fragments of stories, Anna found responding to what she was interested allowed her to really immerse herself in her work. It is in her final year that she feels she’s created her most successful work: “Over the course of the year I illustrated All Quiet on the Orient Express by Magnus Mills and The Hothouse and The Woman Who Borrowed Memories, both short stories from Tove Janssons book Travelling Light,” Anna explains. “I decided to keep it simple and really try and capture the atmosphere of the texts.” This is communicated thoughtfully through her use of colour, with muted Prussian blues and slate greys blending subtly with chocolate browns and soft ambers.
“If it doesn’t go to plan try again and again until the work says what you want it to say. It seems really obvious but it really has taken me three years to learn that!”Anna Skeels
Anna’s happy to admit that her first year of university included some of her least successful projects, but it was a time for experimenting: “In first year I found myself really overwhelmed by the choice of what to make and how my work should look. The illustration course at Camberwell is so broad in its approach to illustration, which is what I love about it, but because of my indecisiveness I think for a while I felt lost and my work was really bad.”
Having worked out what style suits her, Anna has picked up some important lessons during her time at university. “Have faith in your idea instead of worry what other people will think and then get on with it,” she says. “If it doesn’t go to plan try again and again until the work says what you want it to say. It seems really obvious but it really has taken me three years to learn that!”
If there was one person she could show her portfolio to it would be David Hockney. “He seems like fun and I’m a big fan of Yorkshire men. But aside from that his output is incredible, I think someone with that longevity, and that drive to make work, would be good to take advice from.”
Having completed her last year at university, looming life decisions and next steps are on the agenda for Anna. In a year’s time the dream would be having someone pay her to paint pictures: “I really want to earn a living doing something I enjoy, making work that’s varied and meeting interesting people.”
We are very pleased that The It’s Nice That Graduates 2015 will once again be supported by Represent Recruitment. The graphic and digital 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 2015.
About the Author
Rebecca became staff writer at It’s Nice That in March 2016 before leaving the company at the end of 2017. Before joining the company full time she worked with us on a freelance basis many times, as well as stints at Macmillan Publishers, D&AD, Dazed and frieze.