We caught up with BA (Hons) Illustration student Zatul Iffah Fakharuldin about studying in the UK, what inspires her work and her plans after graduation...  

Why did you choose Leeds Arts University?    

I chose Leeds Arts University because of its reputation as being one of the best Art & Design Universitys in the country. I was very impressed with the facilities, in particular the screen print workshop, book binding, and Mac suites. The lecturers here are really helpful. English is my second language so I have one to one English classes with a tutor who is amazing and very helpful. As well as that, I like how I am surrounded by young designers, I feel like I am in a community.

What made you choose Illustration?

I enjoyed the illustration module the most when I was doing my Extended Diploma graphics design at Leeds Arts University before studying for my degree. My dream from a young age was always to be a designer and I cannot believe that I am now training to be one.

What do you really enjoy about your course and the University?

'Break the rules' and be yourself. Lecturers are good. Especially on my course as it is a small course so I can contact them by email or go to their office if they are not in the studio, but usually there will be at least one tutor in the studio per day. 

What are the studios and facilities like at the University?

The facilities are amazing! Especially the studio, I love it. Everyone has their own table and it is huge! big enough for me to work with my illustration… which is good as I enjoy using mixed media techniques so I need a big space. The technology in our studio is great, we have iMacs, scanners and a printer. My favourite facilities are the screen print workshop and the photography department which I have access to and I’m able to borrow whatever type of camera that I need. The library is good; in fact I can spend hours and hours in there just reading art books.

What are you currently working on and what area do you specialise in?

I am not entirely sure yet but I think my style/tone of voice is suitable for children’s book illustrations as well as editorial illustration.

Where do you draw your inspiration?

I draw my inspiration from my surroundings and people. I like to travel and I usually take my DSLR camera with me to take interesting photos of objects and scenes and then I apply them to my illustration. I also use Pinterest.

What do you plan to do after University?

I plan to do a Masters and Phd so I can be a lecturer as well as have my own studio. In fact at the moment, I am looking for places to do an internship for the next summer either in Malaysia (where I am from) and UK or USA or Canada so I can travel at the same time.

Tell us what you like about Leeds?

Leeds is a great place. There is a mosque near where I live and it is very easy to get halal food and the cost of living is quite cheap. Leeds is really diverse with different people from all different backgrounds. Shopping in Leeds is fantastic, from big shopping centres, small boutiques and the market, where I love to go and get a bargain! There’s a real mix of buildings here from traditional to contemporary which are good for observational drawing.