Leah Buckman

Leah BuckmanLeah Buckman comes from Twickenham in London and studied (BA) Hons Illustration. Coming from a family of librarians, she always had a passion for telling stories through illustrations and she decided to pursue her dream at the School of Visual Communication.

What inspired you to pursue a career in illustration?

I was inspired to pursue a career in illustration by my love of books and reading. I come from a family of librarians, and I've been interested in telling stories since childhood. I grew up doodling in all my school books and so I felt illustration was the best way to express the stories that I wanted to tell.

Who, according to you, defines the word ‘inspirational’?

For me, artistically, I find inspiration from other female illustrators such as Mary Blair. Her confidence in her use of colour, shape and texture really inspires my work today.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve encountered in life, and how did you overcome it?

My biggest challenges in life are knowing when to walk away from something and when to stick something out. I found I overcame this by thinking about where I wanted to be in life compared to where I am now, and which route would be the best way to get there.

What three tips would you offer to a student about to begin studying on your course? Leah Buckman Illustration 02

For studying illustration I would advise to get involved with the course as much as possible and take up as many opportunities as you can, don't be afraid to show your work in progress and listen to and take in the advice you're given, but ultimately make your own artistic decisions.

What experiences on the course do you think will benefit you most in your next job?

Gaining the confidence to take on roles such as for the degree show treasury and being a New Designers rep has proven to me that I am capable of doing things that seemed difficult at first. This will help me in future jobs as I know I can work both independently and with others.  

What are your career plans after graduation?

I would like to either become a freelance illustrator after I graduate, or work at a book publishers or design company, but would like to keep my options open.

Describe yourself in three words.

In three words, I would describe myself as humanist, hardworking and imaginative.

What's the funniest thing that happened during your time at university?

The funniest thing that happened at uni was more of an embarrassing thing, but I dropped a whole cup of hot chocolate everywhere one day and nobody has let me live it down since.

If you could travel back 2000 years and take one item, what would it be and why?

If I could travel back 2000 years I would take granola bars because I'm a vegetarian and wouldn't want to hunt for my own food.

What is your favourite thing about Birmingham?

My favourite thing about Birmingham is the cultural history that I wouldn't have known about, had I not gone to uni here. And I really like the friendliness of the city.