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Meet 5 Shillington Half Scholarship Winners, Currently Studying Part-Time in Australia

We’re announcing our 2019 Shillington Half Scholarships next month! To build up the excitement, meet five of our 2018 winners, currently studying part-time in Australia.

Carolyn, Jess, Tara, Taylin and Don were all pumped to win Shillington Half Scholarships back in 2018. We loved their applications, which ranged from videos to GIFs to a super-clever written submission. It was impressive how they learnt new skills and spent serious brainpower and energy to share their stories, and explain why studying at Shillington would be their dream come true.

Read on to meet them, and see their winning applications!

Want to meet more past scholarship winners? Read about Arnold Omanyo, Brian GurevichChristina Capetola, Uzma Padia and Samantha Miller.

Carolyn Hawkins, Shillington Melbourne Half Scholarship Winner

  • Day job while studying part-time at Shillington: High School as an Art Technician
  • Scholarship entry: Stop-motion video

Before Shillington, what were you doing career-wise?

When I left high school I went straight to art school to study printmaking, so my life since then has consisted of working part time at a range of different places (cafe, florist, art store, screenprinting studios) while maintaining an art practice. Right now I work at two high schools as an art technician, as well as a studio and gallery for artists with intellectual disabilities. I also have my own illustration practice and play in two bands so my life feels a bit out of control sometimes!

Why did you want to study design? Why Shillington?

In the last few years I’ve ended up designing and illustrating things like posters, tshirts and album art for different bands, which has come from being involved with local music stuff. I love working on these projects but felt like I was always fumbling my way through the Adobe Suite and the design process in general. Basically I wanted to get better at these things and learn things the ‘right’ way. My dream is to spend more time on freelance design and illustration, and to approach these things with greater confidence.

I chose Shillington because I knew a few people that had been here and loved it, and I really liked a lot of the student work that I’d seen. The part time course also fitted in well with my schedule – I didn’t have to rearrange too many other parts of my life to attend the night classes on Wed and Thurs evenings. I’ve found that learning graphic design at Shillington has been like the missing link in consolidating all the seemingly disparate skills I have into a more cohesive creative practice.

Tell us about your scholarship application.

I made a stop motion animation for my application, which was heaps of fun. I cut everything out of paper by hand and then took a million photos and put them together using a free stop motion program from the internet.

At the time, I’d just made a video clip for one of my bands using the same process, which definitely got me deep in the stop motion zone (and probably had made me a bit delirious – “oh yeah I’ll just make another video”), and I also had everything set up already which was very handy! I made the backing music myself on my keyboard and just recorded it using Garageband. It was a very satisfying experience to be able to put something together like that, from start to finish, on my own.

How did it feel when you found out you won?

I felt a little in shock when I received the phone call! Obviously I was completely over the moon and feel extremely grateful to have been given this opportunity—I’m so glad I applied! Also I really got a kick out of making that video so it was really cool to know that other people liked it too.

What would you say to someone who’s thinking about studying at Shillington?

I’m really loving the course at the moment, so I’d definitely encourage people to look into it if they’re thinking of learning more about graphic design. The course is very hands-on. I’ve already learnt so many things that have opened up the way I approach design—the course is jam packed with content that it’s crazy to think how much you learn in such a short amount of time. It really is a case of getting out what you put in, so you do need to be prepared to sacrifice a good chunk of your weekends to doing homework. The course zooms by so fast!

Anything else you’d like to share?

A bit of shameless self promotion perhaps… I recently made a couple of zines about my local neighbourhood which you can find here and here. It’s the first time I’ve made anything like this, even though I’ve thought about it for ages. I think I kept telling myself that late-20s is too late to start making zines—such a stupid non-reason! Which probably ties nicely into some potential Shillington promotion haha… if you really want to do something then it’s very rarely too late to start. It’s super corny, but I always try to remember ‘the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now’. Best to just bite the bullet and get cracking.

Jessica Freeman, Shillington Sydney Half Scholarship Winner

  • Day job while studying part-time at Shillington: Marketing professional in the travel industry
  • Scholarship entry: Written “Creative Brief”

What were you up to before Shillington?

I completed a Bachelor of Business at university, with a major in Marketing. My first job once I graduated was in Account Service for an advertising agency. Following on from that experience, I decided to go ‘client side’ and have worked in Marketing roles within the travel industry ever since.

Why did you decide to study design?

Having worked in both agency and client side Marketing environments, I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside a number of creatives and graphic designers. I found myself becoming increasingly interested in their process and have always loved seeing a project transform from a written brief to finished product. So I decided I wanted to learn these skills for myself as I felt they would complement my existing Marketing experience but also give me the platform to work on some projects for myself on the side.

Tell us about your winning scholarship application!

I had been indecisive about whether to apply for the course for a while and found myself wanting someone/thing to convince me to have the confidence to do it. When I saw the Shillington scholarship opportunity, I thought I may as well apply and see what happens.

I spent a lot of time thinking about how I could make my application stand out and be super creative visually but what I realised through that process was that my reason for studying at Shillington was actually to learn these sort of skills.

So rather, I decided to lean on a skill that I was currently confident with—which was writing.

In my role as a Marketing Manager, I spend a lot of time writing creative briefs for designers and so I decided to turn my internal battle (about whether to commit to the course) into a creative brief for someone else to solve. I used myself as the target audience and created a brief around educating the audience about why Shillington College is the right next step in their career.

How did it feel when you found out you won?

It was completely unexpected so I was pretty excited and proud of myself. And I felt it was a pretty good sign that I should commit to the course!

How has it been juggling full-time work and part-time study?

It’s definitely been a balancing act and in all honesty, I have found it challenging at times—in particular because I started a new job three months into the course! What I’ve learnt is that when I am super organised and actually schedule time during my week specifically to spend on homework or briefs, the workload is completely manageable. I guess you just can’t afford to be disorganised when working full time and studying!

What’s been the best part of the course so far?

There is so much variety—during the initial six months of study I’ve worked on briefs from posters, brochures and magazine covers to type lock ups, brand identity work and UX design.

I’d also say that the teachers are fabulous. Both Sam and Alice are so passionate about what they do and it’s hard not to feel inspired by their lessons.

Any idea what you hope to do after you graduate from the part-time course.
I will continue to work in Marketing but I am excited to see how my Graphic Design skills complement my role. I already feel that I am able to better articulate design feedback and understand the concept from a creative point of view.

Longer term I’d love to have my own side business one day where I can work on creative projects—I’m a bit of a stationery geek so the idea of having my own business designing stationery sounds kind of awesome. But at the moment I am really enjoying the course and settling into my new job, so I will reassess once I graduate and see where it takes me!

What would you say to someone thinking of studying at Shillington?

If you want to immerse yourself in an engaging and encouraging learning environment, Shillington College is the right place for you. As someone who had no prior design experience (and who was uncertain about whether I was ‘creative enough’), I’ve found it to be such a positive experience. The course work is incredibly practical and set at a good pace, where you are learning something new each week but at the same time reinforcing skills already taught. Almost two thirds of my way through the course, I can already see that I am going to graduate with all the tools to be a confident designer, and hopefully a fabulous portfolio!

Follow Jess on Instagram

Taylin Davis, Shillington Brisbane Half Scholarship Winner

  • Before studying part-time at Shillington: Marketing coordinator
  • Scholarship entry: Video

Before Shillington, what were you doing career-wise?

Before Shillington I was working as a Marketing Co-ordinator.  Being in charge of a team meant I spent quite a bit of time managing people and budgets and not so much time being creative!

Why did you want to study design? Why Shillington?

​Creativity has always been an important part of my life and as my career was progressing it just seemed to disappear more and more. My day-to-day was spreadsheets and data and I got to the point where I needed to evaluate the path I was on and whether it was really what I wanted to do.

I studied design at University but didn’t feel like I left with enough skills to pursue a design career—I didn’t even leave with a portfolio!!

I saw Shillington and it answered all my needs: a short course, teachers that were seriously talented and a portfolio when i was done. I decided it was time to try again… and I am so glad I did!

Tell us about your scholarship application.

When i saw there was a scholarship application I knew I had to apply—I had nothing to lose right? In a way, it was also a chance for me to prove to myself that I was still creative and that this really was what I wanted to do. I had dabbled in the other Adobe programs but something I had always wanted to try was After Effects. So I set myself the challenge of submitting an animated video to tell my design story! After countless video tutorials and help forums I finished with something i am pretty proud of and most importantly I was certain that design was the right path for me.

How did it feel when you found out you won?

It was insane! To be chosen out of all the other applicants and given the opportunity to study at Shillington was amazing. Not only am I grateful for the financial assistance, but the fact that people enjoyed what I had created was a real confidence booster for me.

What would you say to someone who’s thinking about studying at Shillington?

Don’t think, just do! The content is amazing, the teachers are supportive and extremely talented and you will see your skills transform every time you are in the classroom. It is amazing seeing everyone grow. My class has people from all walks of life, including people who had never worked on a Mac before. Now they are consistently producing incredible designs! If you have ever wanted to give design a try—this is the place to do it.

Tara Cosgrave-Perry, Shillington Brisbane Half Scholarship Winner

  • Day job while studying part-time at Shillington: Freelancing illustrating/designing and working in retail
  • Scholarship application: Illustrated GIFs

Before Shillington, what were you doing career-wise?

I work in retail part-time and attempt freelancing design and illustration on the side. I’ve done some pretty cool things freelancing, but my retail job is consistent, it pays the bills, but doesn’t fulfill me.

Why did you want to study design? Why Shillington?

I’ve always been drawn to design and often wonder, I’ve studied design and illustration at Enmore Design Centre in Sydney which gave me a drive for design but still lacked confidence feeling like I was good enough. When I moved to Brisbane a few years ago I immersed myself into the local design circles by attending events like creative mornings, the Design Conference Brisbane and The Design Kids, where I met a lot of wonderful, talented people. Often in conversation it would come up that they had studied at or highly recommended Shillington. Last year I decided to check out a Shillington graduation with a friend, and I was utterly blown away by the all of the student portfolios. I was so impressed that such incredible content could be learned and produced in such a short amount of time.

Tell us about your scholarship application.

A friend sent me a link to the Shillington Scholarship program, I applied super last minute, which is always a bad idea.

I honestly didn’t expect to win the scholarship, but I really wanted to try. So I gave it my all and researched past winners for inspiration as to what type of application might really stand out.

I decided to create a simple animation to show off my creativity. On paper I drew out each page with details and cute illustrations on why I wanted/ needed this. Then I traced the six pages four times each, scanned, then aligned them in photoshop with a colour overlay to make it pop! I turned it into a gif and emailed it through and hoped for the best.

How did it feel when you found out you won?

It was a very surreal moment for me. After it finally sunk in I felt really excited to be studying again to work towards the type of career I’ve desired for so long. I’m thankful for this amazing opportunity I wouldn’t have had if I didn’t win.

What would you say to someone who’s thinking about studying at Shillington?

If you’re ready to up your design game, Shillington is an amazing resource to get you there in a short amount of time. Brush up on design principles and be open to experimenting and pushing your boundaries. Enjoy the ride!

David Don, Shillington Melbourne Half Scholarship Winner

  • Day job while studying part-time at Shillington: Creative Development Coordinator for Brisbane City Council
  • Scholarship entry: Stop motion video

Before Shillington, what were you doing career-wise?

Before Shillington, I was a festival director whilst studying fine arts at university. I am currently Creative Development Coordinator for Brisbane City Council

Why did you want to study design? Why Shillington?

I wanted to study design due to my interest and amateur exploration in animation and motion graphics. I felt that Shillington would offer the necessary foundation and edge to better understand the design process and application to further develop my skills to advance competently to motion graphics. But above all, I just love creating!

Tell us about your scholarship application. How did it feel when you found out you won?

When I realised there was an opportunity for a scholarship I wasn’t terribly confident in my chances. My first thought was to create something that would stand out and capture Shillington’s attention. Given my explorations in animation, and at the time I was really interested in paper craft, I thought a stop-motion video would be different from the fixed imagery that would be normally submitted. I added a little narrative and silly jingle at the end and voila!

Basically my advice is to think of something unexpected and silly, laughter most of the time works cutting through the grey.

When I won I was totally surprised and absolutely stoked! Apart from being able to save on tuition fees, I thought this was sign from the universe to follow design as a career.

What would you say to someone who’s thinking about studying at Shillington?

I think even if you thinking about signing up, you’re looking for something different in your life. Whether you on another career path or in the industry and looking to up-skill, Shillington provides a place to think differently with the added bonus of having the tools to execute your ideas. It’s a slog but totally rewarding, even if you don’t pursue design. You work alongside other like-minded people who are looking for a new direction which only validates the choice you made was the right one.

Follow David on Instagram

Do you want to apply for a Shillington Half Scholarship for September 2019? Keep an eye out for the announcement in June! Announcements will be made across all our social media channels and on our website.

Study 9 months part-time from anywhere in the world and take the Shillington online graphic design course.

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