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Anna's Illustration Studies Lead Her to Teaching

22 Aug 2018

Hobart born and bred, Anna Seed was determined to follow through on her dream to work in Illustration. So determined, that she turned down an offer in a degree in Fine Arts because it didn’t feel ‘hands on’ enough and so explored options on the mainland that led her directly to us, at Melbourne Polytechnic.

Anna remembers being really nervous with the possibility of not being accepted at Melbourne Polytechnic and to ensure she was not overlooked, created a slideshow of her work portfolio sent not only by email but also USB to meet initial entry requirements. Suffice to say, she was not overlooked and has been looked on fondly ever since.

Con Emmanuelle, a dedicated, long-time Melbourne Polytechnic Visual Arts teacher offered some inspiring words during Anna’s entry interview, leaving her ‘brimming with joy and… a huge cry of happiness with my Mum because a new chapter in my life, one year out from high school, was beginning.’

Con says today, that ‘Anna demonstrated a positive and confident attitude even before she enrolled in her first Visual Arts course. It was this demeanour that helped her achieve such a high level of work and earn herself distinctions with many of her units of study. Anna oozed ambition… with a clear goal and destination in mind (regarding her art career) and her consistent work ethic enabled her to satisfy her ambitions. Her can-do attitude impressed me the most, especially as she was able to overcome any obstacles and constraints that were placed in her path. She continues to impress, going from strength to strength. Anna is fast becoming the role model for the department and is now fulfilling her obligation to inspire other students to achieve success.’

Anna started Melbourne Polytechnic life with a Certificate IV in Visual Arts because it offered printmaking not then offered at Diploma level. The Cert IV was ‘a brilliant base to start from as within the course we had so many disciplines of art I’d never explored, such as photography, printmaking, oil painting, etc. I found myself flourishing and adored the assignments and how hands on the teachers taught and how they had so much relevant industry knowledge.’

Working with Creative Peers 

Anna went onto the Diploma of Illustration, putting her on track for pursuing her dream in career Illustration. The Diploma of Illustration’s Class of 2015, was full of ‘incredibly motivated, enthusiastic, talented individuals and we all supported one another… in fact we still do!’ Even now, three years since graduation, Anna keeps in contact with her friends from the Diploma and still thinks that that ‘year is one I’ll remember as one of my best for years to come.’

It didn’t all stop there though, Anna’s final year at Melbourne Polytechnic was undertaking the Advanced Diploma of Creative Product Development, ‘a course where you get given a studio space, access to the Visual Arts facilities and the talented teachers as your mentors to create and work on a project of your choice. Talk about a dream situation!’

Anna created pieces for her illustration portfolio, suitable to show children’s book publishers and developed a range of greeting cards and an online store. See more of Anna’s work, here.

From Student to Teacher 

Suffice to say, Anna loved her Melbourne Polytechnic experience so much that just when she thought she was leaving the building, she was asked by the Visual Arts department to consider sessional teaching following her studies. ‘I was overjoyed with the thought as I had adored the learning environment and found myself with a natural knack for teaching.’ Through her sessional teaching opportunity, Anna was asked to consider a support role, assisting those in class who might need it. ‘Never one to turn down an opportunity, I agreed and so that is what I’ve been doing this year, alongside my freelance illustration work.’

The most rewarding part of Anna’s job at Melbourne Polytechnic is that everyone benefits from the work she does. ‘The students I assist in class find themselves much more easily able to participate… and the teacher can share time with others in the class equally.’ It is very obvious that Anna loves the support role, particularly in a creative environment, ‘I love I can help them in some small way achieve their potential, I’m so proud of them.’

Support, Learning and Enthusiasm

‘I think I’ve truly found a second home at Melbourne Polytechnic. One full of support, learning and enthusiasm for what binds every student and employee in the department – creativity and the joy of creating.’ Anna’s work at Melbourne Polytechnic helps satisfy a number of key areas in her life. She is a social person and loves the daily interaction with students and also loves her freelance illustration, essentially a solo pursuit – so she has created the perfect work/work balance in her life.

Anna’s freelance Illustration has led to great things – after completing the Advanced Diploma, with a portfolio of work ready and distributed to publishers, she was contacted by IP Publications with an offer to illustrate ‘Waiting for the Night’, a children’s book written by Julie Thorndyke. ‘Possums high in blossoms… dingoes dancing on tiptoes… sugar gliders munching on spiders… blue tongue lizards showering in the flowers…’

Impressed by the native animals featured heavily in Anna’s work and with ‘Waiting for the Night’ waxing lyrical on Australian native animals, IP Publications matched Julie and Anna together and the rest is fantastical history. The book was published on 27 April this year and can be accessed and purchased here, and you can read a glowing review of the book here. 

Inspiration from Interactions 

When Anna was asked what inspires her, she was quick to say it’s her love of people and interactions with others, from her partner, students she’s assisting, colleagues, family or the old woman who ‘strikes up conversation with me at the bus stop. I adore the privilege of getting to know someone. It is what fuels me creatively.’

Inspired by other creative illustrating types, such as Christopher Denise and Inga Moore and a personal favourite, Norman Lindsay and The Magic Pudding, it would appear Anna Seed is now going to inspire at the very least the next generation of Visual Arts students at Melbourne Polytechnic and we look forward to following her bright, shiny star.

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