Charlotte Ager

The Drawing Year 2018
BA Illustration, Kingston University London

After completing The Drawing Year, I am working as a freelance Illustrator. The work that I produced during the course felt more personal and in-sync with how I wanted to develop and as a result I have found that the commissions I am working on have become more in-tune with my practice. I was recently commissioned to design the cover for Sylvia Plath’s Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom by Faber & Faber in celebration of their 90th birthday. I loved the connection to narrative and the freedom I received in the briefing. Other recent commissions have included reportage drawings for Vice, animations for Vogue online and Mailchimp for whom I created a series of playful spot illustrations.

Alongside commissions I continue to make personal work that keeps the excitement and reflection in my practice going. The Drawing Year gave me time to experiment and try things out; my BA projects could sometimes feel too quick and the outcomes of my drawings felt rushed. Drawing had sometimes taken a backseat over ideas because I hadn’t had the time and space to develop it. The Drawing Year allowed me this time and my instinct to draw became more natural and thoughtful.

Slipping into the Lake

I learnt the most from watching my incredible fellow students whose responses to drawing varied enormously - it was exciting to see how people reacted to different classes and made me less precious which my own work. My practice developed from seeing these reactions and understanding people’s various approaches.

Courses that asked me to look at real life were particularly important for me; I loved being in different locations and responding directly to the places and people in front of me. The Drawing in the Park course in the Summer Term allowed me to explore parts of London I wasn’t familiar with and the time I had in these places allowed me to react to the certain feelings they inspired in me and I could use my imagination more and more, it became more natural within my practice. I also found Drawing in The National Gallery extremely enlightening; paintings which I had long taken for granted became revelatory. As an Illustrator I am excited by the way we tell stories and use composition to do so and I found endless inspiration in the Sainsbury Wing.   

Losing Summer Heat

I am particularly interested in the way that drawing can reach more people in a nuanced way, presenting drawing outside of a gallery setting. I find working with books and narrative really exciting and am eager to combine my drawings in this way to tell stories and reflect on the world around me.