May 2, 2018


We’re very pleased to provide a short ‘spotlight’ on a few of the young artists that took part in the Pop Up Creators project from across the four countries. These haven’t been selected based on merit but rather to show a snapshot of the vast array of styles and stories that unfolded during this challenging but rewarding process.

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Alice Nguyen is an illustrator from Cambridge School of Arts. Her interests lie in the worlds of history, rich fantasy and melancholic fairytales that she brings to life through both her words and art, mixing traditional illustration techniques with her own vision. She was mentored by Estonian artist Joonas Sildre and her leporello has been published by Nobrow Press.

Where did you find inspiration for your story?

I’ve always been interested in greek mythology which started while exploring books in my home library as a young child. I’ve never had the chance to do any artwork based on Greek mythology and thought this would be a perfect opportunity. I also wanted to create a composition that is long and vertical and where the character fills up the whole frame – the leporello format allowed for that to happen. In my graphic story, I chose to depict the two Primordial Goddesses of Greek Mythology: Nyx – The Goddess of the Night; and Gaia – Mother Earth. Born from the same dark void of ‘Chaos’, their stories veer in two different directions and together help shape the basis of all Greek Mythology, and yet they are rarely spoken about.

I’ve always had a keen interest in incorporating text, specifically hand lettering, into my artwork. I wanted the text to feel a bit more ethereal, and hence the format of the poem worked best. When I began writing the poem, the words came very organically.

What were some of the challenges you faced?

When I first started the graphic story I always intended to have it in black and white.  To set myself a challenge I decided to add colour. This led to the further challenge of making the text more legible.

What style did you use for your artwork and why?

I don’t have an established style, but I use pen and ink a lot as well as hand-lettering. The colouring was done using watercolour brushes on Photoshop as I found this looked better than actual watercolour. It was the first time I did Photoshop watercolouring, much to the surprise of my tutors.



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“It took a little while for Alice to adapt to the physical limitation of the leporello format, particularly with regards to how much lettering to use, and the text size. Alice solved this by making several actual size sketch versions, noting where the folds occurred. This was a rare opportunity to develop a personal project that required working with professionals on a commercially printed item. Excellent for the student’s portfolio and professional standing.”

Allan Drummond, teacher


“At first I felt that she had made the task too difficult for herself. But as the drawings and the story developed I felt more secure about the topic and style that she had chosen. Alice was very confident about the story and seemed to gasp the mythology part very well. In the art she struggled a bit with the anatomy and composition but was very open to any suggestions and corrections. Alice was very careful and thorough with each part – story, sketches, inking, lettering, coloring. She really surprised me with her lettering skills. I had even suggested to make the lettering in the computer but luckily she chose hand writing – obviously a good choice. I saw that at the end, seeing the whole work, she was surprised with herself too. It’s always nice to see that in a student.

I hope that Alice will have a opportunity to illustrate something similar soon – where she can use and develop her drawing and lettering skills even further. I see that she as quite unique style and this should definitely be nourished.”

Joonas Sildre, mentor

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