Katherine is developing their style in Art & Design

Photo of student, Katherine, who has short brown hair and brown eyes.

School leaver Katherine Bell from North Berwick studied the UAL Foundation Diploma at our School of Art & Design. Katherine is progressing on to HND Illustration after building their portfolio and developing their style. We caught up with Katherine to find out more about their college experience so far.

What were you doing before coming to college? 

I was in fifth year in North Berwick High School, working on my Higher qualifications.

What made you want to come to Edinburgh College?

I was considering staying in high school for sixth year, but I decided that an Art and Design course in college would allow me to develop my artistic skills and understanding of higher education more thoroughly. I was certain at this point that I wanted a future in Art and Design, and possibly to go on to university, and Edinburgh College seemed to be a perfect pathway to nourish my development and forge new connections within the Art and Design community.

How has your experience of studying at the School of Art and Design been?

Over the last year I have been pushed out of my creative comfort zones and encouraged to try new and exciting ways of working. The lecturers at Edinburgh College have been insightful and encouraging, and it has been clear that the whole staff at Edinburgh college not only enjoy their jobs, but want their students to feel as supported as possible throughout the year. The wide range of backgrounds and specialities of the other students on the course has been an inspiring and eye-opening experience, and the variety of work being produced makes for a fresh, innovative atmosphere.

Art work by Katherine Bell

What is it like learning online during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Working online has certainly been a challenge and was odd at first. As the year went on, however, I think everyone got more comfortable with the new way of working, and the lecturers were very accommodating and understanding of the challenging circumstances.

Has learning online provided any opportunities for you which studying face-to-face wouldn’t?  

One aspect of working online I found interesting was our weekly life drawing sessions, as opposed to everyone drawing the life model from different angles, we all were presented with the same view on our screens. This provided for an interesting comparison when we posted our drawings in the chat sections of teams, and we could see all the drawings side by side, and marvel at how different and unique each approach was.

Which platforms have you been using for online learning and how are you finding using them?

We have been using Microsoft OneNote to display our coursework in, and organise our ‘Virtual Sketchbook’. Having a virtual platform to upload and view all of your work in has been a great way to gain perspective on your work, and be able to experiment with the display of your sketchbook in a way that’s not possible in a physical sketchbook. Putting work up on OneNote was also the only way that the lecturers could see the work we had done, and so it was important for us to keep it updated and organised. This meant that the lecturers could view our work whenever and wherever, and so were able to give more in-depth and considered feedback.

Have you had to overcome any challenges during your studies, and if so, how did you do this?

One challenge I have had to overcome throughout the past year has been my tendency for perfectionism. The foundation course is an explorative and experimental course, and I was constantly trying out new things and working with unfamiliar themes and materials. This meant that I couldn’t afford to expect perfection, because if every piece of artwork I did was perfect, it would mean I wasn’t learning. I learned through the course of the year how to accept and learn from my mistakes, and value them just as much as my finished pieces.

What are your plans for the future? What course are you studying next and what is your end goal?

Next year I am going on to study the HND Illustration course at Edinburgh College, where I hope to develop my individual style, and learn more about illustrations application in the world. After this I might go on to further education at university, but I am keeping an open mind, as I never know what opportunities could arise in the future!

If you could describe your college experience so far in three words, what would they be?

Challenging, inspiring, productive.

If you would like to develop your style in Art & Design, view our Art & Design courses.