Daniel Duncan graduated with a first class honours degree as part of the 2013 cohort.

While studying on the Middlesex Illustration BA 2013 graduate DANIEL DUNCAN was highly commended for the Macmillan Children’s Picture Book prize. Since finishing university he had been signed by the Bright Agency, worked for clients including Aquila Magazine, Mundail Magazine, Vice’s THUMP, and has illustrated several picture books, poetry books and fiction and non- fiction including The Mystery At Nightingale Manor and South which he also wrote. Using predominantly pencil along with digital processes, Dan mostly likes to illustrate narratives and recently received the Highly Commended prize in the Macmillan 2013 children's picture book competition. Most recently ‘The Girl Who Could Fix Anything’ has been longlisted for the World Illustration Awards 2022 Publishing category.

What are the main themes within your work?

I think people often feel like children's books have to always be bright, bold and happy. But I find I often push against that. I like to try and keep real elements in my work. That might be by using a more subtle palette, or by not over stylising the things I draw. I think that's why I really like working on non-fiction projects. One of the projects I've enjoyed working on most was, The Girl Who Could Fix Anything, a picture book about WWII engineer Beatrice Shilling. I loved looking through old photos, and reading about her life and then trying to recreate that world with my illustrations.

How did you progress and grow as an artist/illustrator on the BA Illustration course?

I don't think I knew what illustration was before I started the course, I just knew I liked drawing. Over the three years I worked on loads of different illustration projects, editorial, book covers, children's books, animation, screen printing, everything! By the time I finished my final year, I felt I had a good idea of kind of work I wanted to make. 

How did the course help you when approaching industry/ briefs in the real world ?

I remember having quite a few projects going on at any one time, so I learnt to manage my time between them to make sure deadlines were met. It's an essential skill to have, when you're an illustrator.  Working in children's publishing, schedules for projects often overlap and change too, so you have to be good at managing your time to make sure you're not missing deadlines. Something I've proudly been able to avoid so far!. 

What are your goals and ambitions for the future?

I love my job! I still always feel pleasantly surprised every time a project lands in my inbox. So to be honest I just want to keep being able to work on children's books. This year I worked on my 10th picture book, which feels like a nice milestone to hit - The first of those was South, which I wrote myself as one of my third year projects at Middlesex. It's the only book I've ever written, as well as illustrated. So my next goal is to write and publish another book, something I'm working on at the moment.

Any advice tips or hints for anyone starting/ wanting to come on the course.

I think the course at Middlesex is pretty comprehensive, it really is a full time course. A proper 5 day week. And It's great that each student has their own personal studio space to work in. So use it. All week! 


Represented by www.brightagency.com




Lou Kiss graduated as part of the 2021 cohort. Lou is currently based in Vienna, Austria where she is working as a freelance illustrator for a variety of International clients including Google Arts and Cultured, Glamour, The Big Issue and Telex. Lou has a subtle approach, often combined with wit, creating illustrations that speak about current affairs. She is happy to tackle any brief, translating them into thought provoking interpretations that provoke a deeper connection with the text and/ or subject matter, which is surely the ‘raison d’etre’ of any Illustrator. Lou has been longlisted for theWorld Illustration Awards 2022  in the Editorial (New Talent) category for a set of illustrations for 168 Óra (Published in Hungary) the topic was 'hope' and it was for their Christmas issue 2021. The shortlist will be announced this summer, we wish you luck in the competition Lou!

What are the main themes within your work?

In general I like to use subtle colours and paper-like textures. Since I'm focusing on editorial illustration most of the time, the themes are always very versatile which I really love. I'm always open to exploring new themes, however, recently I enjoy focusing on (mental) health and science related articles, but I have done a lot of political topics as well.

How did you progress and grow as an artist/illustrator on the BA Illustration course?Working on so many different projects while being on the course allowed me to experiment with various styles and techniques which eventually helped to push me into the direction I've always wanted to go. I believe without this course, it would have been much harder and time consuming to be where I am now. 

I think it’s important for illustrators to experiment early on so they can develop a unique style and be confident later. This course provided me with everything I needed to start my career as an illustrator. 

How did the course help you when approaching industry/ briefs in the real world ?

I think especially in third year we had to work on briefs with tight deadlines which was definitely helpful when I had my first live brief from a client. Learning to prepare drafts and final artworks on time was very important I think, it helped to get better and improve my time management skills which is crucial to have when entering the industry. Another useful project on the course was creating an online portfolio. I believe it really boosted my chances when reaching out to clients. 

What are your goals and ambitions for the future?

I would like to continue working as a freelance illustrator and participate in exciting projects. I have a list of ‘dream clients’ I’d like to work with in the future so it would be nice to have a chance to make that happen and tick off a few names from it. Besides editorial work, I would also like to develop my work towards working in Advertising . 

Any advice tips or hints for anyone starting/ wanting to come on the course? 

My overall advice would be to move out of your comfort zone and be brave to experiment with various styles and techniques, as well as learn how to fail: not every single artwork will be your best, so don't feel discouraged if something doesn't turn out as planned, there's always a way to improve and get better.  

I am confident to say that choosing this course was my best decision, I've learnt all the necessary skills to get started right away after graduation. So I would encourage anyone who is planning to have a career in illustration to join the Illustration course at Middlesex. 




Emma Raven  is a graduate of the 2022 cohort and during her time on the course illustrated two published children's books, 'Barry the Beetle and the Missing Honey' and 'Worth Getting Muddy For!' Emma has also been shortlisted for the prodigious 2022 Batsford prize for her animation ‘This Work Book Belongs To Body Image’ It’s theme is  body image in school age girls, focusing on the insults many girls suffer at this early stage in their lives. The animation was created using After Effects, Procreate and Photoshop digital illustration.

Born and bred in East London, Emma now lives and work in Cambridgeshire. Her work is a mixture of digital and hand drawn illustration which can also be  animated. Emma loves storytelling and is working on a variety of commercial and authorial projects including  zines, comics, picture books and illustrated novels.

Emma has many influences that inform her work and take it to different destinations,  including historical costume/architecture, novels, comics, video games, films and fantasy and science-fiction in all it’s forms. I asked Emma the following questions:

What are the main themes within your work?

Civil Rights, identity and lots of creepy fantasy! 

How did you progress and grow as an artist/illustrator on the BA Illustration course

My ability to produce what I cook up in my mind has developed significantly thanks to the course. I've also gained many skills in marketing and professionalism. 

How did the course help you when approaching theses briefs?

I had advice when I got lost and applied these tips to all my briefs. I've a subconscious list of tips and tricks to use on jobs I get thanks to the course!

What are your goals and ambitions for the future?

Publishing as many comics and children's books as possible!Any advice tips or hints for anyone starting/ wanting to come on the course.

Be open to critiques. You won't grow without this. Be a sponge. Soak up all advice you here and decide what suits you once you've tried it out. Draw lots and  don't skip life drawing. No one can make you a great artist without your independent study. 

@raven_illustrated www.ravenillustrated.co.uk

Vote for Emma in the people’s choice award here


Thanks Emma, we wish you luck with the Batsford prize!