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Alan and Dennis Poole are twin brothers who studied visual literacy and illustration, design and animation at The Learning Connexion in 2011. They have since set up their own illustration business on the Kapiti Coast. We asked them some questions about running their own creative business and what life has been like since graduating.

What did you study at TLC?

We primarily studied illustration, visual literacy and design where we learned a great deal about the illustrative processes, the use of visual metaphor to convey meaning, working to briefs and producing high quality imagery quickly. We also studied animation where we both focused on 2D animation using computers to create images and assemble animations via video editing software. We also learned a variety of techniques which are used in the industry and have found these useful when producing imagery for video.

Since graduating from The Learning Connexion what projects have you been working on?

We've mainly been working on a variety of illustrations for educational publishers as well as some work for a U.S. based web animation company. The work has ranged from spot illustrations, backdrops for video, half to full page illustrations, characters (for books and video), diagrams, maps and illustrations for books. We've used a variety of styles to meet the needs of different clients.

Tell us about working in commercial illustration?

What is most important is to follow the brief and to constantly communicate with the client during production of the work. Finished roughs that conceptualize compositions for scenes, character designs and so forth should be shown early on so that the client can get a feel for where the work is going. Often the client will require changes to the work as things go along, so the illustrator should always be prepared to modify images as required. The aim is to make sure that when the final is created, the client doesn't require any further changes. Working digitally makes the process much easier as it is a medium which is ideally set up for making modifications.

What are the advantages of running your own business?

The main advantage is that we can pick and choose what projects to work on, and we only need to answer to the client, not any higher management!


What kind of clients do you have?

Most of our clients are publishers in the educational sector, most of whom are based in NewZealand. Many of them have been returning clients, which is great. We are starting to get work from overseas clients as well.

What have you learnt since leaving The Learning Connexion about working in the industry?

Work comes in clumps. There can be quiet periods with no work coming in and then everything comes in at once! While Iain our tutor warned us about this, there's nothing quite like experiencing it. We're currently experiencing a busy period while writing up answers to this interview.

What do you do in between jobs?

We've been doing some painting and drawing in traditional media in order to keep up our skills in that area. Digital is a great medium but it's always good to be able to do both. We opened up our studio for the Kapiti Arts Trail that occurred on the 2nd -3rd of November and got a really good reaction from those who visited - it got quite busy!

Do you stay in touch with The Learning Connexion? How?

We've mainly kept in touch with TLC via Facebook and TLC Xpress. We'd like to attend more events but we've been quite busy recently! We also keep in touch with Iain as well. At the beginning of 2013 we took part in the Illustrators 2013 exhibition that featured current and former TLC students from design class.