We spoke to Jaya Francis, current BA (Hons) Comic and Concept Art student, about the three most valuable things they have learnt whilst studying and how their in-person feedback sessions improves their practice...

What project are you currently working on and what's involved? What have you learned?

The most recent module we did was specialist art tests, where we either chose two briefs from a collection set by the tutors or found a brief from outside the University. I chose to do the clip studio paint comic competition! I learned LOADS doing this and I felt like I really improved my comic work - a lot of the improvement was made in response to feedback I got on the module I completed before. It was really fun having an opportunity to explore my process and figure out my style for comics. Plus, doing eleven pages and a cover in full colour and rendering was a tonne of work and feels like such an achievement!

Image: Courtesy of Jaya Francis

What advice would you give to someone considering studying Comic and Concept Art at university?

Have fun with it! This course is all about doing what you're passionate about and following what you're interested in, so why wouldn't you enjoy it? I think enthusiasm for your work is a must - not just so that you enjoy what you do but also so that you're able to do it. There's quite a lot of work to get done, but if you love doing it, then it's ok!

Image: Courtesy of Jaya Francis

What does a typical day/week as a Comic and Concept Art student involve?

Being a student of the Covid era means my experience has probably been quite different from the old normal. We have four scheduled sessions a week, three online, and one in-person. The online seminars/workshops talk us through industry practices, technical skills and introduce us to new artists to look at. The in-person one is to get feedback on the work we've done that week and to make sure we're getting it done on time.

What do you like about living in Leeds?

Everything! I absolutely love Leeds! There's so much to do in the city centre and the nightlife is fantastic with so many places to go. The University is in walking distance from everything, so you can hang out with all your friends after class! It's a very exciting place to live and I love it here!

Image: Courtesy of Jaya Francis

What are the 3 most valuable things you've learned while studying at Leeds Arts University?

3 things!

Firstly, the importance of good friends! Especially in creative spaces, it's important to have a group of trust and support - they can help you with your work, and you can help them with theirs! It's awesome having a group of super creative people to motivate you!

Secondly, how to carry out briefs in a way you'll enjoy. You don't always get briefs that are your dream project, or even something you're that interested in, but you learn a way of working that means you can still have fun with it. Steps towards perfecting your process are important things you'll learn at uni! The tutors help a lot with this and are always there for you to speak to about what it is you want to do.

And number three is deadlines. I was never someone who was super good with deadlines, and I struggled with the first few. However, with each deadline I have learnt more about how to balance work and life, what my process is and how long I take to get stuff done. You figure out your way of working, and you make it work!




Header image: Courtesy of Jaya Francis