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FRANCES MOFFATT

Co-Founder

Frances Moffatt MA PGCE FHEA


Hi there! I’m Frances, a freelance illustrator, writer and educator.  I’m so excited to be welcoming you to the School of Illustration, where I can share my passion for creativity, learning, and entrepreneurship.


After the well-worn academic pathway of school, college and university, with a brief detour into the fashion industry, I took a leap of faith and followed my soul’s call back to my childhood passion for words and pictures. I left a shiny ‘dream job’ designing luxury handbags in Shoreditch and returned home to the North East, determined to start a new career as an illustrator.


There was just one problem, though.

Or actually, there were several. 

I had no money, no contacts, no illustration portfolio, and was back living with my parents, which as you can imagine, wasn’t exactly making me feel great about myself. I was also living in an area of the country that, in common with anywhere outside a big city, there was a distinct lack of creative opportunities.


So I decided to go back to uni, with the goal that alongside being an illustrator, I could also lecture in the subject too. I figured that could provide a steady part time income to offset the precariousness of freelance life, plus growing up with a maths teacher dad and a primary teacher mum, it felt like a familiar world.


I enrolled on a full time Post Grad teaching course, then a part time Master’s Degree in Design, patching together an income from temporary teaching and office jobs and honing my craft,  until I graduated with an online portfolio of fashion and lifestyle illustrations .  After a momentary feeling of achievement and triumph though, I felt like I had a whole new mountain to climb… I was on my own again, with no creative community and no contacts, feeling very far from my dreams (again!). 

 
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​So I got to work, poring over any books, magazines, websites and blogs that contained any little piece of info on how to be a professional illustrator. The Writers and Artists Yearbook became my messily marked-up bible, and a spent every second I could ( at this point I still had a day job) emailing and cold calling potential clients.   Ever so gradually, my persistence paid off and I began to build my freelance career, and was lucky enough to experience many amazing career highlights.

  • Being shortlisted for the AOI (Association of Illustrators) Illustration Awards and scoring representation with a globally renowned illustration agency straight out of uni

  • Authoring and illustrating 3 books (the latest of which was selected by The Independent as one their ’13 best adult colouring books for unleashing your creativity’)

  • Serving on the judging panel for The Batsford Prize, one of the U.K’s most prestigious art and design competitions

  • Writing, then lecturing on one the country’s most innovative and successful illustration degree courses

  • Speaking at TEDx Bloomsbury on the subject of creativity

  • Writing for the Writers and Artists Yearbook on ‘Illustrating for Non-Fiction’ (this felt like the ultimate full circle moment)

  • Co-curated and delivered talks at the award winning Northern Festival of Illustration 2016-2019

Which all leads right here to The School of Illustration.   I’m beyond thrilled to be able to create a space that’s exactly what I would have wanted when I first started out as an illustrator, a place filled with no nonsense advice, step by step guidance, creative inspiration and a supportive community of like-minded creatives. 

 

IF YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE..

Check out my credentials below to read more about my experience:

I SPENT A RIDICULOUS AMOUNT OF TIME AS A UNIVERSITY STUDENT

Seven years in total! I studied English Literature at Newcastle University for a year, but I was really bored, missed being creative and also didn’t have clue what I was going to do when I graduated. So I moved onto Northumbria University, where I completed a BA (Hons) in Fashion Marketing. This was a four year course, with a year out in industry – I worked at a Fashion PR agency just off Regent Street and could be found most lunchtimes in Oxford Street Topshop (RIP) spending all my meagre intern wages.


Part two of my higher education marathon was as a mature student, hilariously worrying that I was ‘too old’ to ‘start again’ in my late twenties! I completed a Post Graduate Certificate (PGCE) in Post Compulsory Education and Training (translation – teaching in college and uni rather than school) at the University of Sunderland, then studied part time for a MA in Future Design (Illustration) at Teesside University.

I WORKED AS A LECTURER AND RESEARCH ASSISTANT AT A CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE FOR TEACHER TRAINING (CETT)

From 2012 to 2014 I was a Lecturer on the Post Graduate Certificate (PGCE) in Post Compulsory Education programme at the University of Sunderland,  and a Research Assistant at the Sunderland University Centre for Excellence in Teacher Training (SUNCETT).  I’m fascinated by educational theory and love geeking out on Vygotsky and Piaget, and this job was an amazing grounding which enabled me to really immerse myself in the world of education and solidify my beliefs and approach to learning. You’ll notice me feeding this knowledge into my content at the School of Education ( it really is interesting I promise!)` as I believe it’s so important for everyone have an understanding of the behavioural psychology behind learning, whether that’s being a student on a course or learning a new skill, to help you better understand the pitfalls and challenges that you will encounter along the way , and not blame yourself when you’re actually just being human!

I'M A FELLOW OF THE HIGHER EDUCATION ACADEMY

Whilst lecturing at The Northern School of Art, I was awarded a Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). This award recognises commitment to professionalism in learning and teaching in higher education across planning, delivery, assessment and student support.

I HAVE OVER 10 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE OF LECTURING IN DESIGN AT DEGREE LEVEL

I wrote, and lectured on, the BA (Hons) Illustration for Commercial Application degree course at The Northern School of Art from 2015 to 2021. I have also been an Associate Lecturer in Design and Illustration at the University of Sunderland, the University of Cumbria and Teesside University, teaching on both undergraduate and post graduate programmes.