Why an MA? - Georgie Bennett
I had always quite liked the idea of doing a postgraduate course, but after doing a degree for three years I felt like I needed to experience the ‘real world’ and have a break from education. Not knowing whether illustration was something I wanted to do as a full-time profession I began trying out lots of different jobs. Over the last three years I have worked as a cashier, waitress, kitchen porter, receptionist, gallery assistant, gallery steward, theatre usher, museum assistant, visitor service assistant and workshop leader. As a result, my illustration practice took a back seat.
It was only when I was invited back to my old university to talk about my commission with the Folio Society that I started to seriously consider doing a postgraduate course. In preparation for the talk I reflected on my illustration practice and found that I had unconsciously lost focus in what my work was about and why I loved drawing. I discovered a separation between my more commercial illustrations and my on-location drawings, which were more expressive.
I missed the inspiring and stimulating environment of an art studio and through talking with tutors and students I was reminded of how exciting illustration can be. I decided, despite the inevitable loan debt, to attempt a Masters course.
I have just started on the Illustration: Authorial Practice course at Falmouth University. This was the only MA I applied to. This is down to two reasons; one, the location is stunning and I feel a deep connection with Cornwall from the many family holidays I have enjoyed here, and two, the course is completely unique as it considers the illustrator as author.
I am nervous about the prospect of writing essays again, but excited to learn new skills; particularly in narrative illustration and advancing my on-location drawing. Throughout this year (which I have been warned is ‘very intense in a good way’) I hope to develop a stronger, more confident illustrative voice, generate a clearer understanding of my art practice, and have fun.
Words and images by Georgie Bennett.