News / 19 Dec 2023

Alumni illustrates Royal Mail's Christmas 2023 stamps

Foundation Diploma in Art and Design

Foundation Diploma in Art and Design alumni, Tom Duxbury, was chosen to illustrate Royal Mail’s Christmas 2023 stamps this year.

Tom is an illustrator from Bingley who graduated from Leeds Arts University in 2008. Tom’s illustrations feature mostly in storybooks and on book-jackets for publishers such as Penguin and Puffin. Tom has worked on book covers such as Philip Pullman’s ‘Serpentine’ and ‘The Collectors’.

Tom was approached by the creative agency Steers McGillan Eves to produce some illustrations for Royal Mail. Tom’s brief was to capture the Nativity, whilst incorporating lyrics from old Christmas carols such as Away in a Manager, O Holy Night, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Silent Night and We Three Kings.

“I found the brief quite a challenge. It wasn’t clear whether the carol lyrics should take precedent over the illustrations, which resulted in a tremendous amount of experimentation between text and image. But I kept feeling drawn to rich, luminous night-scapes. So, I replaced my usual creative process of lino-printing with watercolour, and let this medium take me on a journey. Using watercolour enabled me to create the vibrancy of colour and softness of texture that I was searching for.”

Tom Duxbury, Foundation Diploma in Art and Design alumni

The stamps are the first to feature the silhouette of King Charles III and allow customers to watch a Christmas-themed video via the barcodes on the stamps created by Wallace and Gromit creators, Aardman studio.

"It's been a privilege to illustrate the first set of Christmas stamps to bear the silhouette of His Majesty King Charles III. The theme of nativity became a chance to create rich, luminous nightscapes. They echo my own experiences of being out in nature at night - especially the moors where I live.”

Tom Duxbury, Foundation Diploma in Art and Design alumni

Tom's Christmas stamps can now be purchased on the Royal Mail website.

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