Wrexham Glyndwr alumni lends artistic talents to Ukraine fundraising efforts
An illustrator who honed her craft at Wrexham Glyndwr University is using her art to raise vital funds for those affected by the war in Ukraine.
Graduate Helen Robinson has helped put together a group of illustrators contributing work to the Nightingale and the Bear, six of whom have studied at WGU.
“We are at the stage of final art work now and the book is looking wonderful,” she said.
“The range of styles makes it a wonder to behold and it is a real book of kindness with busy illustrators all donating their time to help others in need!”
Helen, who is originally from Yorkshire but now lives In Old Colwyn, graduated with a first-class degree from Glyndwr in 2012 before completing an MA in Design Practice at the university.
During this time, she won a Cynnal Cymru award for a glass and ceramics installation that highlighted the issue of control and abuse.
She formed her own company, Jaminosh Designs, in 2016 and two years later established the Kind Bay community initiative in Colwyn Bay, which support the vulnerable, the homeless and those suffering with mental health issues.
Helen fondly remembers her time at Wrexham Glyndwr University as the most “transformative years of my life”.
She said: “The standard of the teaching on the illustration degree was at such a high level. The three main tutors I had were Sue Thornton (children’s illustration) Yadzia Williams (general illustration) and Dan Berry (graphic novels), the combination of their experience and knowledge was superb and I still stay in contact with sue and let he know how I’m getting on. When I illustrate I hear her in my voice guiding me still – it’s quite surreal!
“The tutors encouraged me to be the best that I could be, to experiment and to step outside of my comfort zone and although I never class myself to be the best artist I embrace my uniqueness and don’t feel the need to follow the crowd. I definitely feel this came from my time at Glyndwr!”
She added: “We did a module on professional development practice when i was on my degree and through this I researched the industry, and this was a good foundation as it opens your eyes to all the possibilities and encourages you to be as professional as possible when being involved with the industry.
“I learned about copyright and contracts and the business side of illustration and this has stood me in good stead when dealing with publishers and clients.”
Helen is currently illustrating titles for Resilient Hedgehog, whose books are based on using a system that helps children to develop mental toughness and resilience. The latest project is called Resilient Creatures.
The books have recently been on display at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, as well as the London Book Fair.
“For this series i have had to work digitally which as a traditional illustrator has meant me learning new skills as i go along, but i have tried to use digital media with a traditional style, hoping to stay true to the work i have previously done,” Helen said.
“I feel that the foundation of learning that I had at Glyndwr stood me in good stead to be able to try new things and to be brave.”
For more information on The Nightingale and the Bear, visit resilienthedgehog.com.
To learn more about studying artistic programmes at WGU, visit: https://glyndwr.ac.uk/courses/
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