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Online Art Course Testimonials and Letters

This section is dedicated to students who have very kindly written testimonials about the college, their course, their tutor and we are proud to present them here, some along with a sample of the students work. If you are a happy student and would like to send us a similar testimonial, please don't hesitate to contact us at any time.

Gay Mckinnon successfully completed our Children’s Book Illustration Diploma in 2011 and she has just published her first book as an illustrator. Gay told us that the diploma definitely helped her and she has written a little piece describing how……

I completed the LAC Diploma in Children’s Book Illustration in 2011. In addition to the valuable experience I gained by doing the exercises, preparing the illustration briefs and receiving Maggie’s feedback, I found the Diploma extremely helpful in identifying the area of illustration that I felt most attracted to.

After finishing the Diploma I continued to work hard on improving my illustrations, and in 2011-12, I won the Australian CYA illustration competition for unpublished illustrators, the Omnibus books illustrated envelope competition, and a special mention in the Kids Book Review picture book writing competition.

In 2012, my hard work paid off when I was offered a contract to illustrate ‘The Smallest Carbon Footprint in the Land’ by Australian author Anne Morgan (publisher IP Kidz). The book is a collection of funny, recycled fairytales written around environmental themes. It required silly, lively black and white illustrations in a slightly retro style. As black and white illustration was the unit that I enjoyed most during the LAC diploma, I was delighted.

I did break into colour briefly for the cover art, however! The Kindle version of the book has just been released on Amazon, and we will be launching the print version soon in Australia. I hope that this is only the first of many books for me. Thank you, London Art College, for your help. Why not visit Gay’s wonderful blog and website links below, they are really worth a read and perusal, don’t forget to bookmark them!

Gay’s blog http://silvergumstudio.blogspot.com.au
Gay’s folio http://gaymckinnon.carbonmade.com/

Gay Mckinnon

Jo Allsopp had a keen interest in art most of her life, she decided to pursue this as a career. Although Jo is mainly self taught, shecompleted our 'Illustrating Children's books' back in 2001. 'I gained so much confidence from the feedback and always remember my tutors request to keep in contact to let her know how i was doing'.

Jo is now a successfully published illustrator; she recently illustrated the book 'My Nana is an Alien' by Diane Whitley with the backing of the PHA-UK charity. This book has been highly publicised on national radio and in the media. It is available to purchase on amazon - all proceeds of the book go to the charity. Since taking her art profession more seriously, she has secured many commissions which include; murals for Jungle Madness in Derbyshire, Swingboat nurseries in Leicestershire and Barneys in Leics; business logos for Independent Insurance Bureau, Time 4 U, AMR tackle; designed a Christmas card for the Company Ember Regis; illustrated a map for Kirby Parish Council and much more. She exhibits regularly, and has sold work both here and abroad. 

Jo Allsopp (Illustrating Children’s Books Diploma – D6)

Jo Allsopp

Edit - 2019!
Jo emailed....
Year’s ago I did a home study course and you have a testimonial and one of my paintings on your website.....well I have since appeared on BBC One with Nick Knowles on 'Home is Where the Art is'. Jo has her own gallery called ‘Sable Studio Gallery’ located by the canal at Moira Furnace Museum and Country Park (tourist attraction in Derbyshire). She has been running her own private classes full time for the past 12 years!

jo asllsop

Jo Allsop

Jo Allsop

Hello, Jan!
Thank you very much for your warm and encouraging words! I think your course is amazing and it helps to find different approaches to drawing not only illustrations, but drawing in general. It was easy to read (as I am not English-native speaking) and the tasks were really interesting. It gives more freedom in techniques and shows different approaches to the tasks. So Thank you very much, Jan! Also I would like to thank you for your patience - as I must be one of the slowest students, as the whole course took me more than 3 yaars to complete)) Kind regards,
Olga (Illustrating Children’s Books Diploma – D6)


Hi John,
I've just finished reading your last critique. Thank you very much for your kind words and for the Distinction Certificate. I feel very honoured knowing that you considered my artworks at that award level. It was indeed hard work involved in most of the exercises but it was a lot of fun involved as well. Going through some of the Exercises and, at the same time, managing a new media, have increased my confidence. My Creativity has shifted to a more mature place where I feel very content. I've thanked many times my friend, Madeleine, who recommended me the College's courses. It's the best thing I've done lately.
Ingrid. (Science Fiction & Fantasy Art - C13)

Dear Stu and the College,
I have just completed History of Art Course and what a great course it was! The tutor was very encouraging and had a great sense of humour. Not only did I learn about period/style but the course helped to develop my own preferences and appreciation of art. Hope there's a follow on soon????
Sheree Naylor (History of Art – D4)

Hi Alan,
Just to say I am thrilled to have received my diploma and to pass with distinction. It was worth all the hard work.I really enjoyed the course. The feedback from Maja was so helpful and encouraging at all times. I love the forum and keeping in touch with other students. Now I will try to decide which course to do next! i would highly recommend the London Art College to anyone tied to home who wants to study art.
Nuala King (Drawing and Painting Diploma – D1)

Sarah Bowie has been extremely successful in the time she has been completing the Children’s Illustration Diploma course. Sarah has very kindly written a piece for us below and we are thrilled that she has already completed a set of illustrations for a book. We wish Sarah all the best in her future career.

Like so many people I had no idea what I wanted to do when I left school at 17. Rather, perhaps I knew deep down what I wanted to do, but was overwhelmed with what I should be doing. Even though I had spent my childhood drawing and writing stories, I ended up studying marketing, which is a subject I had absolutely no affinity with whatsoever. Of course, the moment I graduated and began working in financial services I realised what a terrible mistake I had made. It was a slow, long journey – attending life-drawing classes in the evening after a very stressful day in a busy bank. I thought about going back to art college full-time, but not only was it very expensive, I just didn’t feel it was right for me.

After several years of experimenting with various painting and drawing techniques I realised what I wanted to do was children’s book illustration and ultimately writing too. I knew that this is what I had been searching for all those years. However I found it incredibly difficult to remain focused and put a portfolio together. I’d get disheartened and give up on pieces before they were finished. That’s where London Art College comes in. I was idly surfing the web one day when I stumbled across this distance-learning course in children’s book illustration. I signed up straight away!

The course was well structured and gave sample briefs similar to what one might get in real life. My tutor was always friendly and encouraging and really helped me to build confidence in my own ability. At the completion of each brief I felt a great sense of achievement, and had something tangible to put in my portfolio. Just before I finished the course I got a commission to illustrate a picture book for a small publishing company. I’m busy working on that now, and I really feel that Jan and the London Art College were instrumental in helping me to focus and build confidence in my work.
Sarah Bowie - (Illustrating Children’s Books Diploma – D6)

Sarah Bowie

Lynne Garner has been extremely successful since completing the Children’s Illustration Diploma course. Lynne has very kindly written a piece for us below and we are thrilled for her and wish her all the best in her future career. 

Having had success in getting some of my books traditionally published I found late 2009 and the first couple of months of 2010 very frustrating. A couple of books were pulled from publication at the very last minute, one company went under and a couple of picture books after months of waiting joined the rejection pile. So with my partner we set up our own publishing company called Mad Moment Media Ltd. Rather than publish in the traditional paper format we decided to go the electronic route with apps for iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone. This seemed a good idea at the time but what followed over the next few months was lots of stress and many a late night.

However we have finally launched our first picture book app (Captain and Nugget) and placed it for sale on the iTunes store. The next one should be up within days (a free mini app - The Enormous Carrot) with a further four titles (A New Sister for Kodi - Puppy Why Do I Love You? - Scaredy Cat - A Surprise For Mum) due for release within the next few weeks. If sales of these books do well (and the first five days of sales have pleasantly surprised us) then we already have a further five titles lined up. We would also love to work with other writers and illustrators to turn their books into apps (but that's a fair few months away). Each book has to go through a long process including being written, illustrated and rendered in Photoshop, narration recorded and coding created so all this digital data can be turned into an app.

Each app allows an adult or child to read the books themselves, have the book read to them whilst they turn the pages (a simple swipe of the finger) or the 'auto read' function will play the narration and turn the pages for you. Each app is currently priced as £1.19 and can be viewed on the iTunes store via www.madmomentapps.com
Lynne Garner (Illustrating Children’s Books Diploma – D6)

Dear London Art College,
I am greatly enjoying the new challenges presented on the art course and feel that I have already benefited from my tutors helpful comments"
Yvonne Crossley (Illustrating Children’s Books Diploma – D6)

Dear London Art College,

I love to draw/paint - used to be my favourite subject in school. I even tried to get accepted to some different art schools after secondary school - didn't succeed, so I gave it up. The years went by and I got an education in IT instead, meet my husband, bought an old house and got two sons. There were no time for me to paint - except house walls! But now, when my two boys are a bit older, 10 and 13, I again have own time to spend! I have tried some evenings courses earlier and last year another distance art course but has been rather disappointed. I think that LAC will prove to be a much better choice! I have just started with the portraiture course, hopefully it will be a step towards my long term goal that one day be able to do portraits on commission.
Pernilla (Portraits Certificate – C7)


Dear London Art College,
I just wanted to write and thank you for all the help I received during two courses I did with the London Art College.I successfully completed the Painting and Drawing Diploma and The Children’s Book Illustration course, both passed with a merit grade, which has given me a good base to start with as now I have enrolled on a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at my local college.Doing both of the courses gave me the courage to carry on with my art and perhaps I will be able to make a living out of it
thanks to Linda and Jan Nesbitt for all their help and constructive criticism I will thoroughly recommend you to anyone who wishes to do this type of course in their own home. I will keep in touch with my progress over the next couple of years.
Debbie Sheldon (Drawing and Painting Diploma – D1)

Hi Vanessa and the college,

Shortly after that I discovered London Art College webpage. How fantastic on-line diploma course in Art in Graphic Design, wow.. and many more interesting courses...I was so so happy because on-line course gives me more freedom, specially with the time. I love to take also Science Fiction & Fantasy course after cause my sketch books are full of characters and I love comics, tales & short stories.... Art in Graphic Design course gave me a lot. It enriched my personal style for bold ink style which I never had before and gives me fantastic pieces for my personal portfolio, which can open me a door to graphic design which I try to learn.
(Graphic Design Art Diploma Course D3)

Hi Vanessa,

I took the art in design course with a hope to start freelancing on-line, what is my dream. I moved to London recently and plan my solo exhibition for next year...My personal work is drawing on MDF- wooden boards, based on organic unusual pieces which I usually resize or just simply take out from context and change from organic to industrial or industrial to organic. This way I play on peoples perception, what they actually see is nice delusion of little humble object what will otherwise pass us by.
Hana Tesarova (Graphic Design Art Diploma Course D3)

Hana Tesarova

Hi Maggy,

Many thanks for your tips, feedback and encouragement throughout this course. It has been a delightful experience. All the best,
Julia Dimbylow (Illustrating Children’s Books Diploma – D6)

Thank you to the London Art College,

After being diagnosed with restrictive health problems in 2005 i needed to find a focus in my life. I was watching the wonderful Charles Evans programme one day and he really inspired me to pick up my paints again and have a go, i have no formal art training as such and reneged on a place at Art College in the 70's in favour of getting a job....i needed to fund getting to my Punk rock gigs somehow! I have worked as a Detail Painter in the past, painting fine china and plaques, after re-discovering the joy of painting again i decided that that was all the therapy i needed, i have always loved Illustration and would sit for hours from a young age trying to emulate the beautiful, highly detailed illustrations in my Faery story books. I wondered if there might be a Home Study course somewhere on this subject, fired up the computer and found this almost straight away!

I enrolled as soon as i could and with the gentle, encouraging and wonderfully humerous tuition of Jan i could feel my confidence returning, i am nearly at the end of the course now and it has taken me a little longer than some due to my health problems (and the soiree's into the Pet Portrait world! thanks Melanie and the members of Pet Portrait forum for their wonderful help when i needed to earn some money to fund art materials! )

My goal at the moment is to finish the course and strive to do the best work i can ( and get the trim marks and bleed right for once!!! not my strongest point! ) then embark on the follow up course and see where i end up, but for the moment im enjoying the journey immensely!
Debi aka Moonstone (Illustrating Children’s Books Diploma – D6)


Hi Maggy,
Thank you for your critiques to both illustrations: I found it very useful and helpful, not only for the good points, but also for my mistakes and missed points! I wished I had some good critiques like yours in my life. You really 'unwind' the students ' process of illustrating and make them see things that were hidden to them.
Paola Tavoletti (Illustrating Children’s Books Diploma – D6)

Dear Sirs, 

I am delighted to have recieved my Certificate for the Coloured Pencil course as a pass with merit. Thank you for a most interesting and useful course. The critiques provided by Julie were very helpful and they have passed on her enthusiasm for the medium..."
Ray Trapmore (Coloured Pencils Drawing – C12)

Ray Trapmore

I must say I found this whole art course incredibly useful. For the most part, I have needed to do at least a little bit of work every week which has been really useful to keep the creativity flowing! I also feel that my style is a lot clearer now and thank you so much for your helpful criticism, I am trying much harder to work on my weak points. So here is my final piece, the poster for the model car exhibition. I figured that because it is for a local town hall, I kept a white background to keep printing costs to a minimum. Originally I wanted it to look like the a paint splash where a car is sort of seeping through, like how model car enthusiasts put the cars together and paint the finished thing. But it was pointed out to me it looks like a rally car crashing a colourful puddle, I liked that idea too so I didn't rework it. I used Hattenschweiler for the font style, paintong the car as a background first in watercolour and then touched it up in photoshop, darkening it and adding the words. Many thanks, for this critique and for the whole course!
Tenille Vesey (Graphic Design Art Diploma Course D3)

Michelle Oke is currently studying the Art in Graphic Design course. She recently had some commercial success with a logo design for a Birmingham Bathroom Warehouse which is a new online business. This is a terrific achievement as it is the ultimate goal for any graphic designer.

Michelle told us....

".....The logo had to have a bull in it, as it represented the city of Birmingham. The font and bull had to be black. I drew the bull in pencil and then edited it in Photoshop making sure it had some highlights so not to appear flat. To further enhance the design, I decided to give the bull a shadow with a ripple effect; ideal for a bathroom environment. I presented the company with 5 variations of the bull and font. I am particularly pleased with this project because: one they were happy for the logo to be developed in Photoshop and two the bull looks very realistic. They requested I save the work in file formats JPEG, GIF and PNG.
Michelle Oke (Graphic Design Art Diploma Course D3)

Michelle Oke