Tatiana Alisova - FdA Illustration

The Owl and the Pussycat

Tatiana Alisova is a second year FdA Illustration student at Camberwell College of Arts.

Why did you choose FdA Illustration at Camberwell?

My path to this course is quite tangled. I used to work for one of Russia's biggest petroleum companies, and have a management degree in the oil and gas industry. Then I left my job to become a graphic designer. 

This experience helped me realise that I wanted to be an illustrator. I didn't know about Camberwell College of Art, so I applied to the Foundation course at Central St Martins. I’m so grateful to the person who interviewed me during my portfolio review in Moscow, because she recommended the FdA Illustration course at Camberwell. 

Tell us about your college experience?

What makes this course the best is that it gives you the right perspective of the creative industry and the confidence to step into it. I’m happy to say that this course suits me 99%, if not more. I appreciate pure art, but it's much more important for me to be prepared for real-life challenges and to become a professional. That’s why I’m so excited by almost every brief and workshop. My classmates and tutors call me a hard-worker, but most of the time I’m just enjoying experimenting with stuff. I guess my advantage, as a mature student, is that I can understand why we have a particular task and how to get most from the opportunities we have.

What's been the highlight of your course so far?

Perhaps the most important piece of work for me was an interactive illustration for The Owl and the Pussycat I made at the end of the first year. This project, with the industry research about interactive storytelling, brought together everything I like about illustration with my own experiences. As a result, I teamed up with my friends to set up an interactive exhibition in December 2012 that was quite successful. Now we're preparing another one on a bigger scale.

How much contact have you had with your industry through the college?

Firstly, all of our tutors are currently working in the industry. They're really passionate about it, which gives us good role models to follow. Secondly, we have industry practitioners’ talks every week. There are also people coming to our studio to show their work and answer our questions. Finally, some briefs push us to make a links with industry by ourselves. For example, at the end of the first year we had an industry report assignment, where we had to carry out at least four real-life interviews. During the second year, we have briefs set by visiting practitioners with workshops and personal tutorials.

And what are your plans for when you graduate?

In the near future, I’m going to spend some more time in education - I’m applying to an MA Animation course this year. I have some on-going projects and a particular business idea in mind, but it’s too early to speak about it right now.

Who do you think your course would appeal to?

This course is the best choice for somebody who wants to make a career in the creative industry. Somebody motivated enough to work hard, perhaps with a focus on the practical side, but still an open mind so they're ready to experiment.

What's living and studying in Camberwell like?

I like Camberwell. It's not trendy or posh at all, but it has its own charm. There are many hidden places to spend time and find inspiration, which you'd never find at first glance, and there's also good transport connections to the other parts of London.

Any advice for the next generation of Camberwell students?

It might sound obvious but try to speak more with your classmates. It’s amazing to see how differently people are approaching the same briefs. Working in the same studio space is always great for inspiration and insights. 

Don’t be too shy to ask questions, as the more you ask the more you get.