Published on February 22, 2022


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In the Creative and Performing Arts department at North Hertfordshire College, we’ve been looking back at some of our alumni to see what they’ve achieved since finishing their courses with us – like Sean O’Brien! Sean is one of our Foundation Art and Design Diploma alumni whose time at the College has helped open the doors to his artistic career.

Foundation diplomas not only bridge the gap between level 3 and level 4 (degree-level) study in terms of critical thinking, but they also provide the perfect opportunity to try out different art forms and techniques. During his diploma, Sean experimented with a range of digital art techniques and software, including Photoshop, Illustrator, textiles, illustration practice, and printmaking. Through this freedom to experiment with ideas, Sean was able to find his preferred style of illustration and animation, build a portfolio of his work, and take his skills to a BA Illustration Animation degree at Kingston University – where he graduated with a First!

Now, Sean works as a freelance illustrator and animator and has worked with clients such as The Barbican, Somerset House, Cancer Research UK, and the Jewish Museum. Sean also runs the collective Minute Books, bringing together artists of different mediums to produce topical art, and has had his work featured in It’s Nice That.

When asked about how his time at NHC supported him on his artistic journey, Sean said: “My year at North Hertfordshire College proved an integral part of my confidence and my development as a practitioner, and I am incredibly grateful for the time I spent there.”

Roger Healey-Dilkes, the Course Team Leader for NHC’s Foundation Art and Design Diploma, said: “The bedrock of Sean’s practice is his ability to draw and think through this medium. On the Foundation course, he found that this skill and his love of printmaking helped to secure a pathway as a successful illustrator.”

If you’re feeling inspired to start your journey into the creative industries, why not find out more about a Foundation Art and Design Diploma from North Hertfordshire College? Find who you want to be today!